KTM ANNOUNCES FACTORY TEAM FOR MOTO3
KTM, which returns to MotoGP competition in 2012 to contest the new Moto3 class, has announced the rider lineup for its Red Bull KTM AJO Factory Racing team. The three-rider team combines experience and youth and is to be spearheaded by Sandro Cortese of Germany. Arthur Sissis of Australia and British rider Danny Kent join Cortese in the KTM factory team.
Cortese is coming off a very successful 2011 season in the 125 cc class, which has now been phased out in favor of Moto3. The German rider won two GPs in 2011 and was on the podium on four other occasions for his three second places and one third place to finish the season in a commanding fourth overall.
Sissis was a strong contender for the highly competitive Red Bull MotoGP Rookies title in 2011, but in the final race had to concede to eventual winner Lorenzo Baldassarri, who stays one more year in the Rookies Cup.
Kent, who finished second in the 2010 edition of the Red Bull Rookies Cup, has already completed his rookie year in the 125 class, finishing a creditable 11th overall.
Pit Beirer, head of KTM Motorsports underlined that once again KTM relies on strong partnerships and key figures in the company’s factory teams in what he says is the beginning for a strong commitment to this long term project. KTM counts on a strong partnership with Red Bull and Ajo Motorsport for the main factory team, which will run the 100% made and developed KTM bike, but also with Kalex Engineering, which is producing a parallel concept for the 250 cc single cylinder four-stroke bike to be fielded by other customer teams.
Pit Beirer: “We are very pleased to have a team manager of the high caliber of Aki Ajo in charge of KTM’s Moto3 factory team. We can also be proud that someone of the managerial status of Jorge Martinez will be involved with the Kalex-KTM bike for his Moto3 team.”
Ajo will have another two riders on the KTM Moto3 factory bike in parallel teams, and in total, including the customer teams running the Kalex-KTM bike there will be nine KTM Moto3 riders on the grid of the competition.
Aki Ajo: “The new season can provide some very exciting races, and naturally as a KTM Factory Team we hope to be right at the front from the start. We have a strong package so our aim is to be at the top of the new class. This is going to be a learning season for everyone but for us this is a long-term project and each year we can gain more. First priority is to establish the operations in the new class during testing, and then to keep things well coordinated and running smoothly. I feel once we get the ball rolling, the results will come.”
KTM’s re-entry into the MotoGP competition in the Moto3 class is a natural progression from its longer-term commitment in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, which it has supported as bike supplier since the competition first began. This highly competitive series for younger riders provides a fast track for emerging talent to enter into road racing at top international level. It is also an indication of KTM’s commitment to foster the next generation of talent in the sport, a natural extension of its “Ready to Race” philosophy.
The new Moto3 engine was first fired up on the KTM Racing test benches on August 26 and since then comprehensive testing has been carried out. The project is on track and on time with its preparation for re-entry onto MotoGP when the 2012 competition begins.
KTM’s MotoGP history
KTM is not new to the MotoGP having contested the 125 cc and 250 cc class in the past with such prominent racers as Casey Stoner, Mika Kallio, Hiroshi Aoama and Marc Marquez in its factory teams.