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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

KTM Going Racing With a Honda-Engined Moto2 Bike


What does it say about KTM that they are willing to develop a race bike, and sponsor a team, that is powered by a competitor’s engine? This is exactly what they will do next year in Moto2 where only chassis differ … all teams run a spec Honda 600cc engine.

The reasoning appears in a quote from KTM motorsport director Pit Beirer, who says “We see the intermediate class mainly as a platform for keeping riders in the KTM family, which begins with the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup and will run right through to MotoGP.” This is the strongest indication of the importance of racing to KTM. We could hardly imagine another major OEM, such as one of the other Japanese or German brands, putting their name on a race bike with a competitor’s engine in it. Additionally, this reflects the entrepreneurial spirit at KTM, which is ultimately controlled by one man, Stefan Pierer. Pierer certainly has the confidence to call his own shots and doesn’t seem too concerned about industry “norms.”

KTM is currently leading the Moto3 championship with Brad Binder and will also race in MotoGP next year with Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith. Binder is expected to ride the Moto2 bike next year along with Miguel Oliveira.

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  1. Norm G. says:

    Q: What does it say about KTM that they are willing to develop a race bike, and sponsor a team, that is powered by a competitor’s engine?

    A: they are on about developing the “Race Trellis” for their new MotoGP projects same as they did for M3 hoping to poke another stick in Bologna’s eye, and the various and sundry eyes of laymen. “cheeky those Austries”. (insert animated stick poking emoticon here)

  2. Joe says:

    Still waiting for some funny front ends in Moto2.
    TransFIORmers is the only one I’m aware of but they’re in the Spanish CEV Moto2 series.
    I’d like to see Dorna offer some incentives for chassis innovation .
    Also, word is that Innomoto is planning on fielding a Moto2 racer with their crazy looking but cool front end but these ventures are grossly underfunded outliers.

  3. Kyle says:

    And guess what, every time they are mentioned it will be the “KTM Factory team” just like how all the bikes/riders are identified by the team name, not the Honda engine team, not the Kalex team, not the Showa team. Good on KTM for all the reasons, they will get a ton of “name recognition” as Binder Brad continues his ascension.

  4. Tyler says:

    As a recent KTM convert I am excited to see them engage more and more in road racing. And like any racing series, more variety means higher quality racing.

  5. Vrooom says:

    What I like about moto 2 is it’s 100% rider talent that differentiates results. Most guys are on the same Kalex bike, all using the same Honda engine. Yes there are suspension variants, but it’s highly tilted to the rider making the difference. GP and moto 3 are fun too, but for different reasons. Looking forward to another factory competitor in GP and to the degree possible moto 2.

  6. redbirds says:

    Good on KTM for having the brass to enter a class with a competitor’s engine. Chassis engineering and setup are major keys for success in Moto2 and KTM will no doubt benefit greatly for their efforts. I enjoy Moto2 as much as GP and 3 and the addition of KTM just makes the racing better.

  7. JimR says:

    Another way of saying it: The reason to get into Moto2 would be to develop the team management bench and connections to upcoming riders. KTM I suspect is getting into GP racing for the long haul. In order to do that they need to have the team operating skills and presence across the entire GP spectrum.

  8. GoodlyRun says:

    That, my friends, is the true spirit of racing.

  9. me says:

    i hope this is a full frontal effort by ktm to upset the single manufacturer policy of moto2. it is the only class i do not watch. the others, moto3 and motoGP, i watch practice, qualifying, and the race. i cannot fathom ktm racing with a honda engine unless that is their ultimate goal. cross fingers.

    • MGNorge says:

      Excuse “me”, but I don’t like the single engine, spec’d engines either but it has nothing to do with Honda. Organizers were obviously trying to level the playing field so that it became a rider’s race and less about equipment and allowing perhaps more teams to get involved more economically. I guess I enjoy the competition between brands and teams as much or more than riders.
      For now KTM must play within the rules and when/if the day comes that the class is opened up to the use of various engine brands I’ll be more interested in it.

      • Dave says:

        The use of Honda’s (or anyone’s) is understandable. They’re cheap and available and this class is about cost reduction.

        Using a branded engine is an obstacle to attracting the factories to participate but the spec is also undoubtedly one of the elements that makes Moto 2 appealing to both fans and teams/sponsors (remember when MotoGP had 12 bikes on the grid and Moto2 had 40?).

        There was talk some time back that GP was working towards a cost reducing spec cylinder so that the classes would be 250cc single, 500cc twin, and 1000cc 4cyl. Maybe with that in mind, a neutral engine supplier can be found in the future, Rotax perhaps? Think of the lightweight 500cc street twins that could come out of that…

        • Aaron C. says:

          When the Motogp2 was first announced I had my fingers crossed thatAprilia would get their 550 SXV twin in the running. I think that would have been a more comparable replacement to the two stroke 250. Obviously they went with a 600 inline to be more mainstream but I would have liked to have seen them go with a more exotic direction.

  10. proheli says:

    Given that KTM doesn’t make inline 4’s, this seems like a non-issue to me. In Moto2 it seems like 90% of the weekend’s work is in suspension set-up anyway, so this is no big deal.

  11. xLaYN says:

    With almost everything the same but the chassis is going to be a nice exercise of the several pros and cons for the old as internet argument of “‘luminum vs steel”.
    Nice to see KTM to be present on all the games, the more players the nicer!

  12. Curly says:

    Binder is for sure one of the next Aliens so it will be interesting to watch his progress in MOTO2 on the KTM.

  13. Craig says:

    Beautiful… and may I say? I’m glad they are doing it there way. Love the tubular chassis and if you are good with it… stick with it. I’m glad not to see another Honda copy out there…

    I’ll be rooting them on next year for sure and we’ll see if POL and Brad can race like Factory Racers… 🙂

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