KTM'S 'MAGNIFICENT NINE' ALL TEST AT VALENCIA!
The 2012 season MotoGP sees 250ccm four-stroke motorcycles competing in the new Moto3 to replace the former two-stroke machines of the 125ccm class – this also heralds KTM’s return to the World Motorcycle Championship. All riders competing on the KTM-driven machines this season were on the Valencia (Spain) circuit last Monday and Tuesday for the first tests.
A total of nine motorcycles have been equipped with the KTM 250 cecum M32 engine for this season. Five of these are for KTM’s own Moto3 bike, which has been completely developed and constructed in the Mattighofen (Austria) factory. The other four Moto3 bikes are those of KTM partner and chassis specialist KALEX Engineering. These bikes, constructed in Bobingen, Germany will compete under the name KALEX-KTM.
Germany’s Sandro Cortese, Danny Kent of Britain and Australian Arthur Sissis will ride three of the KTM motorcycles for the “Red Bull KTM Ajo” team. Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Malaysia) in the “Airasia -SIC-Ajo” team and Niklas Ajo (Finland) of “TT Motions Event Racing” are the other two KTM riders. Seventeen mechanics from Finnish team boss Aki Ajo constructed the five bikes in KTM’s Racing Department in the last week in January. Ajo is the father of the rider with the same name.
The four KALEX-KTM bikes have been developed and constructed by a small five-man team led by Klaus Hirsekorn and Alex Baumgärtel at KALEX Engineering in Germany’s Bavaria. KTM delivered the engines to the former Opel German Touring Car Development Center, which has also developed the Moto2 World Championship bike for Stefan Bradl as well as manufacturing parts for Formula 1 and other products. The motorcycles then left the Bobingen production plant and were delivered straight to the two teams that will race them in 2012. Spanish riders Alberto Moncayo and Hector Faubel are in the “Aspar Team Moto3” headed by team boss Jorge Martinez while Luis Salom of Spain and South African Brad Binder are competing for the “RW Racing GP” team.
All nine KTM Moto3 riders were able to test in near ideal conditions on the Valencia circuit, putting in a substantial number of laps in order to provide good feedback for the teams.
Pit Beirer (KTM Motorsport Manager): “The tests in Valencia were probably the most important days so far for us in our Moto3 project. We have been working very hard over the past two months to transform the prototype into a race bike and preparing the engines for all nine bikes. Now in Valencia we had good lap times and we were able to collect a lot of very useful data. This gives us the right basis for further improvement.”
Aki Ajo (Red Bull KTM Ajo Team Manager): “I am feeling quite positive although at this stage it is normal not to expect too much. While some of the riders have tried out the prototype, this was the first time with the finished bike. The riders like the Moto3 class and the construction of the bike. I was quite surprised at how well it went and we really didn’t have any problems. Next week after when we have the test in Valencia with the rest of the Moto3 riders we will know much more.”
Alex Baumgärtel (Constructor of the KALEX-KTM): “All riders did well and put in some good laps. We had very good support from KTM and our riders had a good feeling on the bike and with the engine so we are pretty happy. We had no technical problems and the cooperation with KTM is working very well so now we can start to prepare for next week’s tests.”
The Moto3 riders return next week along with the Moto2 field for the Official IRTA test at the Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo, from the 8th to the 10th of February.
Unofficial lap times Valencia test (recorded by teams):
1. Luis Salom (E), KALEX-KTM, 1’43.2 (32 laps)
2. Alberto Moncayo (E), KALEX-KTM, 1’43.3 (52 laps)
3. Héctor Faubel (E), KALEX-KTM, 1’43.7 (62 laps)
3. Sandro Cortese (D), KTM, 1’43.7 (48 laps)
5. Nikklas Ajo (FIN), KTM, 1’43.9 (50 laps)
6. Danny Kent (GB), KTM, 1’44.6 (45 laps)
7. Zulfahmi Khairuddin (MA), KTM, 1’45.4 (44 laps)
8. Arthur Sissis (AUS), KTM, 1’45.9 (45 laps)
9. Brad Binder (RSA), KALEX-KTM, 1’47.2 (25 laps)
1. Cortese, 1’43.2 (48 laps)
2. Salom, 1’43.5 (31 laps)
3. Faubel, 1’43.8 (56 laps)
4. Ajo, 1’44.0 (50 laps)
5. Khairuddin, 1’44.1 (43 laps)
6. Moncayo, 1’44.2 (52 laps)
7. Kent, 1’44.2 (64 laps)
8. Binder, 1’45.7 (49 laps)
9. Sissis, 1’46.2 (55 laps)