When the KTM RC16 project for MotoGP was first announced, KTM CEO Stefan Pierer said that one day a customer version of the race bike would eventually be available for consumption. Today is not that day…but it’s close.
This is because KTM is making available two former MotoGP race bikes for private purchase – effectively ruining your holiday wish list. They bikes are not cheap however, and you will need to have at least €250,000 in your bank account to buy one.
KTM is the new kid on the block, for the 2017 MotoGP season – and it is clear from the test times at Phillip Island that the Austrian brand has some work left to do on its V4-powered race bike.
The 2017 KTM RC16 is notably slower than its competitors, though shows a great deal of promise – especially as just a newcomer to the series.
KTM’s riders, Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro, will be looking to tame KTM’s monstrously powerful engine into something that can put the power to the tarmac, and they will also be looking to refine the steel-tube chassis into a proper scalpel on two wheels.
In other words, the 2017 season will be a development season.
Though a rookie season it will be, KTM’s partnership with Red Bull means that the squad is no stranger when it comes to marketing and presentation.
So we should not be surprised that with the team’s official livery unveiling today, that we also get a bevy of artsy high-quality (and high-resolution) photos of the team and the RC16.
Of course, no pixel was spared to bring you these gorgeous photos. We hope your bandwidth is up to the task.
We knew from the outset of KTM’s MotoGP project with the RC16 race bike that the “Ready to Race” brand would also release the KTM RC16 as a track-only model for customers, which would cost six-figures in European currency.
Talking to Germany’s Speedweek publication, KTM CEO Stefan Pierer has tipped some more information on the “consumer version” of the KTM RC16 race bike.
Good news too, as Pierer says that KTM hopes to make at least 100 units of the machine for consumers, and that KTM wants to keep the customer RC16 as close to the MotoGP bike as possible.
The media is a fickle beast. Normally, journalists and TV only have eyes for the top half of the timesheets. Or more realistically, the top half of the top half of the timesheets.
As Valentino Rossi once joked one weekend during his time at Ducati, when only four or five journalists turned up to speak to him, rather than the thirty or forty he used to see at Yamaha, “So this is what it’s like to finish seventh.”
If media interest beyond tenth place is sparse, it is absolutely nonexistent for last place. Normally, the rider who finishes last has no visits from journalists, nor will anyone come to speak to their crew chief. But Friday at Valencia was anything but normal.
A brand new manufacturer joining the grid is anything but normal, however. And even when the rider on the new bike finishes last, the media crowd waiting outside the garage is seriously impressive.
The back of the KTM garage was thronged with journalists, first to speak to Mika Kallio about his day on the RC16, and then to grill Kallio’s crew chief Paul Trevathan about the bike, and the problems they encountered.
And so the 2016 MotoGP season is nearly at an end. Though the major honors have been awarded, there are still the final few t’s to cross and i’s to dot. We have our three champions – Johann Zarco the last to wrap up the title in Moto2 at Sepang.
Honda are hot favorites to win the constructors’ championship, while Movistar Yamaha hold a narrow lead in the team championship. Cal Crutchlow has a commanding 17-point lead in the battle for top independent rider. Second place in both Moto2 and Moto3 is still up for grabs.
In reality, these don’t matter all that much. Once the championship is settled, the riders on the grid race for pride. And given that we are talking about the best professional motorcycle racers in the world, there is an awful lot of pride at stake.
So the battle at Valencia will be just as fierce as anything that has come before. If anything, it will be even more fierce, given that nobody has very much to lose.
They will need an extra dash of abandon at Valencia. The circuit is pushed up against a hillside, and encircled by grandstands, cramming a serpentine four kilometer track into a very tight space. Reaching the required Grand Prix length requires a lot of corners, and that drops the average speed.
Valencia is the slowest circuit on the calendar, and with so many tight corners, passing spots are few and far between.
Turn 1 is an obvious candidate, a hard-braking left turn at the end of a long straight. Turn 6, another sharp left hander after a short straight. And a final dive up the inside into Turn 14, after the long and glorious left at Turn 13.
With the KTM RC16 MotoGP bike nearing its very first race, as a wildcard at Valencia, the Austrian motorcycle manufacturer is starting to preview that first appearance.
They are doing so through a series of videos, which they are sharing on their YouTube channel and via their Social Media channels. The videos include interview fragments with the team behind the bike, as well as footage of the machine.
The video is remarkably revealing. The engine layout is clearly shown, as is the 90° V4 engine, though this was no secret. The video also shows the engine performing a simulation of Mugello, which gives a good idea of what the bike sounds like.
The engine being tested on the dyno sounds remarkably similar to Honda’s V4 RC213V engine, which uses a “screamer” firing interval, each cylinder firing separately.
At the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, at the Austrian round of MotoGP, KTM finally officially presented its MotoGP project, the KTM RC16. There had been months of testing, with press releases and photos issued.
There had been KTM’s participation in the private MotoGP test at the Red Bull Ring in July, alongside the rest of the MotoGP teams. But at the Austrian GP, the fans and media got their first chance to see the bike close up.
What are we to make of it? First, we should ask what we know about the bike.
On their corporate blog, KTM list some specs for the bike. There are few surprises: 1000cc V4 engine, using pneumatic valves, housed in a tubular steel trellis frame and an aluminum swing arm.
Suspension is by WP, while brakes are by Brembo, and exhaust by Akrapovic. Electronics are the spec MotoGP Magneti Marelli ECU.
The Austrian GP might be tomorrow, but today the news is all about MotoGP’s newest entrant, KTM Racing. The Austrian team used its home to debut officially its MotoGP program, showing the KTM RC16 MotoGP race bike in its officially Red Bull livery for next year.
The livery itself is what you would expect between at KTM/Red Bull collaboration, with the same blue and orange paint scheme as can be found on the Red Bull KTM Moto3 squad. The big difference of course is the rumored fire-breathing, 270hp, V4, engine, which Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro will attempt to tame.
At the MotoGP test at Spielberg, the KTM RC16 was two seconds behind the incredible lap times that the Ducati machines were capable of at the Austrian track, which bodes well for the project.
The bike’s next outing will be at Valencia, where Thomas Lüthi and Mika Kallio will ride with the MotoGP-regulars once again, competing as wild card entries.
The best apples-to-apples comparison though might be the subsequent MotoGP test at Valencia, where Smith and Espargaro will get their first rides on the KTM RC16.
So far though, the indications are good. In the meantime, if you’re looking for a new desktop background, these photos are MEGA high-resolution – because we love you.
The KTM RC16 MotoGP project showed good pace this week in Austria, at the Red Bull Ring and in the hands of test riders Mika Kallio and Thomas Luthi. The Austrian factory might have a home-field advantage, but it certainly gained some praise from the MotoGP paddock.
And while the KTM RC16 will make its formal public debut during the Austrian GP, with a parade lap and display, it has been confirmed that we’ll see the MotoGP race in anger at the last MotoGP race of the season, the Valencia GP.
If you’re like us, the debut of the KTM RC16 MotoGP race bike cannot come soon enough. The machine will officially be unveiled at the Austrian MotoGP round, which is the first race after MotoGP’s summer break, on August 14th.
We can expect to see the KTM RC16 take its first public hot laps at Valencia later this year (Austria should see some parade laps on the course), the post-season test also being Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro’s first chance to ride the new race bike.
Until all that happens though, we will have to suffice with the testing photos we get from KTM, as test riders Mika Kallio and Tom Luthi continue to hone the V4-powered machine.
If you believe the hype from KTM, the RC16 is a beast – making in the neighborhood of 270hp already.
Making the horsepower might be the easiest part of the project though, as KTM will not only have to ensure that reliability exists in its engine design, but also make sure all that the RC16 can get all that power down to the tarmac.
As such, the KTM RC16 was out spinning laps at Mugello last month. We don’t need much of an excuse to bring you massive high-resolution photos of this machine, so we won’t make you wait any longer.
Enjoy them after the jump, there is a new computer desktop background or two for you in the collection, for sure.
In addition to working on a secret Moto2 project, KTM will also be entering into the MotoGP Championship for the 2017 season. The Austrian brand has been busy developing the KTM RC16 race bike platform, with the help of a bevy of test riders.
Initial feedback has been positive, with the RC16 looking very competent – though, it should be noted that everyone saying that is on KTM’s payroll. Still, we expect big things from the project as it develops more this year.