With the success of the KTM Duke, particularly, in Europe, and the slow but steady development of a big-bore V-Twin (already shown in prototype form), Cycle News now reports that KTM will go GP roadracing, as well.
In conjunction with the development of a range of V-Four streetbikes, according to reporter Alan Cathcart, KTM is aiming to line up on the MotoGP grid in 2004 with a 990cc V-Four roadracer.
One of the many interesting things about this report is the fact that KTM will diversify into a significant range of streetbikes on its own, without a partner. As you may recall, KTM has been a rumored acquisition target for several European street bike-only manufacturers looking to diversify into dirt bikes. American manufacturer Harley-Davidson was also a rumored suitor. Apparently, KTM has been so successful with it’s dirt bike sales that it can now budget this diversification internally.
KTM has long been known as a quality manufacturer. In recent years, it has also reacted quickly to market changes. For example, KTM radically updated their four-stroke motocross and enduro machines, and brought those new, super-lightweight bikes to market long before any of the Japanese manufacturers, except Yamaha. Their two-stroke machines, as well, are now updated frequently, and remain on the cutting edge of development. An all-new two-stroke 250 is in development for production next year, and the bike is expected to be a new benchmark for the class.
All in all, it will be interesting to watch KTM’s diversification process. Given their recent successes, however, one would have to expect KTM to pull it off quite well.