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KTM MotoGP Signs Bradley Smith for 2017 as It Gets Ready for MotoGP Debut at Valencia This Year

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KTM’s MotoGP effort is moving forward with the assistance of two test riders, including Mika Kallio and Randy de Puniet, who recently completed more testing at Valencia. The KTM RC16 will make its MotoGP race debut at the same track during the final round of this 2016 series.

KTM recently signed MotoGP rider Bradley Smith, who finished sixth in the championship last year and is known for his dogged determination when it comes to both bike development and riding. Smith will finish this year as a Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider before becoming the first factory rider for KTM MotoGP in 2017.

KTM is a racing company, at heart, and after decades of off-road competitiveness and success, it has shown an aptitude for road racing (particularly Moto3).

It will be great to have another competitive factory in MotoGP, and given KTM’s pedigree, you know it will be focused on success from day 1.

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26 Comments

  1. GKS says:

    Hopefully, for KTM, Bradley Smith and Moto GP as a whole, this new, in-house, effort by KTM will end more favorably than their last premier class involvement.
    Or, does no one remember KTM’s abortive attempt to supply engines to Team Roberts?

  2. Tom R says:

    I think this article was something about racing, but all I could notice was the hottie holding the umbrella.

  3. TexinOhio says:

    I wish KTM and Smith the best of luck. Any new blood added to the mix of MotoGP is welcome in my book. Still waiting on my team green to come back, but I’m sure they’re happy with what they’re doing in WSBK.

  4. Uffe Kristiansen says:

    Coincidentally on April 1st.

  5. Starmag says:

    I was trying to dig Smith’s race face but something in that pic kept distracting me.

  6. Provologna says:

    KTM’s record in off-road competition is legendary. How’s their road race record, not including the little 250 class?

  7. HS1-RD-CX100-VFR says:

    I expect that KTM’s entry into MotoGP is going to be another great storyline that will continue to buoy the sport in the years following the decline of Rossi. We all realize that this series and KTM’s experience in the offroad arena have as many differences as similarities. Still, they have proven they know how to dominate at the highest levels of competition. I see parallels in the not too distant future of MotoGP and the world of golf, post Tiger Woods being relevant as a competitor. There might be fanboys of a personality and not the sport who up and leave, but those with a broader outlook will find that many good things come as the series evolves.

  8. Dave says:

    Ducati re-commits, Suzuki comes back, Aprilia has a GP spec bike, and now KTM joins the party. Looks like the rule changes are working.

    • VLJ says:

      Kawasaki and BMW need to follow suit. If Suzuki and Aprilia can manage it, Kawi and BMW certainly can swing it.

      I would love to see Triumph become involved, too. In fact, they oughtta show up with a 275 hp, naked Bonneville GP1. 🙂

      • Gary says:

        But why would Kawasaki come back? They can spend 1/10th of the cost of MotoGP and win in WorldSBK, with a bike you can “buy”. Why spend tens of millions to lose? BMW pulled out of WorldSBK…doubt you’ll see them in GP

        • VLJ says:

          I’ve always wondered the same thing. In fact, I’ve also always wondered why the bottom feeders race at all? What’s in it for the sponsors of teams that have never and will never get a sniff at a top five finish, never mind a podium. Sure, I can see it at the grass-roots level, where it doesn’t cost much to show up at the local National or even the local club race and get your head kicked in, but MotoGP racing is a prohibitively expensive proposition even for the speedbumpiest of teams.

          As for Kawi not racing, well, it doesn’t look good for Kawi to cherry pick in WSB, running the only factory team in the series, while being unwilling to face the big boys at the highest level. Kawi is bigger than Suzuki, so if Suzuki can afford it, so can Kawi.

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “In fact, I’ve also always wondered why the bottom feeders race at all?”

            gotta race sumptin’.

      • Dave says:

        Weren’t a couple of the “Open Class” bikes BMW powered a couple years back? They probably got a good enough look at it back then and said, “no thanks..”.

        I wonder what the R.O.I. for the factories’ participation in MotoGP is? Honda’s sport bike offering doesn’t indicate that they’re aggressively pursuing sales in that market segment, for instance.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          “I wonder what the R.O.I. for the factories’ participation in MotoGP is? ”

          That is a question I’ve often wondered myself. I think winning reinforces the brand which helps sales across all lines. (I mean, how could NASCAR even exist if that weren’t the case?) But I suspect much of the return in MotoGP comes in the form of having sponsors help pay for the development of the next generation of knick-knacks like seamless gearboxes and telemetry-based traction control.

          • Norm G. says:

            Q: “I wonder what the R.O.I. for the factories’ participation in MotoGP is? ”

            A: #1, you’re not digging ditches or delivering packages like the other 7 Billion shmucks on the Planet.

  9. Jdilpkle says:

    We all know that KTM isn’t walking around with their heads in the clouds and dreaming dreams of instant first place podiums and handing Lorenzo his head on a platter in motogp. It’s great to see them there and I hope that they certainly surprise everyone with a better than expected showing early on. Kudos to KTM. All the best. We’re cheering for you.

    PS. Wouldn’t it be absolutely glorious to see a KTM first time out blow past the factory Ducati’s on the straights like they were standing still?!! – ha ha ha – now THAT would be cool.

  10. mickey says:

    Interesting. Yea going to be a tough nut for KTM to crack, but I applaud their gumption and efforts. i’d say nabbing Bradly Smith, a real up and comer on the MotoGP circuit, speaks volumes about their commitment. They could’ve recruited a top ranked Moto 3 rider for a lot less jingle I’m sure. All in as they say.

  11. Jeckyll says:

    I don’t really know why either Aprilia or KTM think they’re going to make a dent in GP…

    • Ron H. says:

      I believe they’ve done well in moto2 and moto3 haven’t they? If Ducati wasn’t where they are now you’d be saying the same about them. Gotta start somewhere.

    • ze says:

      Same was said when they (KTM) entered the dakar, mxgps, moto3. Let’s wait 3 years…

  12. Jeremy in TX says:

    Smith and KTM will have their work cut out for them, but I think this is a good move for Smith nonetheless.

    • Jdilpkle says:

      Howdy Jeremy. I agree, initial development is always a tough nut to crack, both for rider, team, and steed. Nonetheless, another GP species on the ground is always a welcome sight to us motogp junkies. Can you imagine a Triumph motogp bike – ha ha. All hail the Queen.