One of the many hot topics this MotoGP season is undoubtedly the progression of KTM, which has moved up from the bottom to the top of the standings in just a few seasons.
In 2020, the Austrian manufacturer brought home three race wins, one with Brad Binder and two with Miguel Oliveira, one of which was scored at the season finale at Portimao.
Despite not winning a race, Pol Espargaro did score five podiums and two pole positions, finishing fifth in the overall standings with the same points total as Andrea Dovizioso.
RC16, the revelation of the year
In 2021 Pol will move to Honda Repsol, but it remains to be seen whether this will mean a step forward. The RC16 is proving to be an all-rounder; well capable of taking on its competitors, it is fast along the straight, stable in braking and fast even in the hands of riders with different styles. Whether it’s the smooth riding of Oliveira or Binder and Espargaro’s more aggressive style, the Mattighofen machine is nevertheless able to achieve excellent results.
Playing an evident role in this growth is Daniel Pedrosa. At a time where there is much talk about test riders – a case in point being the Crutchlow-Lorenzo debate – the contribution that the Spaniard, renowned for his smooth and sensitive riding, has made to the KTM cause seems clear.
"When we were at the back of the first race at the start of the season in Doha, three and a half years ago, I said: we need to change the situation, we want to move forward", stated Stefan Pierer, KTM CEO, in Portimao. They’ve definitely got a lot done since then and the aim is to remain consistently up at the sharp end, also trusting in the contribution of new entry Danilo Petrucci, the new Tech 3 rider in 2021.
Projects include a trophy with which to launch new Austrian talent
In Austria, they are also keeping a careful eye on junior categories, look at the great season Albert Arenas has had in Moto3 for example, securing the championship title with KTM. As reported by Speedweek.com, Pierer is also focusing on identifying new Austrian talent and is set to launch the “Austrian Talent Cup”. “Yes, we’re doing everything we can. We’re organising this Junior Cup to find the best local talent so that the front pages are not only dominated by skiers.”
Now that the bike is competitive, it’s only right to think about a 'school' of young riders, perhaps with a view to a future all-Austrian bike-rider package. To this end, the series will be reserved to riders aged 13 to 20, who will be followed by former Superbike rider Andy Meklau.
Translated by Heather Watson