Covers off and sights narrowed: 2024 will represent KTM’s eighth year on the MotoGP grid and there have been plenty of milestones among the mileage. Brad Binder, Jack Miller, the full Red Bull KTM Factory Racing squad, the testing crew and engineering operation back in Austria are primed for another stellar campaign in which the sporting targets lie in the stats.
The distinctive Red Bull KTM RC16s will be rattling lap records in the hands of Brad Binder and Jack Miller for the second year in a row. The fastest official motorcycle in the prestigious FIM World Championship - now 75 years in existence and watched by almost three million fans at the circuits in 2023 - will carry the latest engineering hardware, software and concepts from KTM Motorsports HQ and the rest of the factory structure.
Binder has worked his way from 11th to 6th to 4th in almost half a decade and is now poised for even bigger prizes as one of the most highly rated riders on the 22-man grid. Miller also has his own personal goals and wants a top three championship slot and more after adapting rapidly to the RC16 at the outset of 2023.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing have already completed the opening test of the short pre-season period and will now head to Qatar and the Lusail International Circuit this week for the final two-day preparation sessions ahead of round one. Around this time and throughout 2024 the comprehensive testing outfit of Dani Pedrosa, Pol Espargaro, Jonas Folger and Mika Kallio and their respective staff will be making significant and key contributions to the MotoGP effort.
The race calendar will consist of 21 Grands Prix and 42 races as MotoGP will again engage the popular Saturday Sprint format at every round.
Brad Binder: “The trajectory is on its way up. 11th, 6th, 6th and 4th so, yeah, I have no doubt we are going to do better than 4th. Last season was great at times and difficult at other moments. I felt like we had more in the pocket. We were much more competitive each weekend and always around the podium battle. This season is where we can make the difference. It’s awesome to be starting 2024 for real. It’s going to be my tenth season racing for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing and it’s been an amazing journey. we have always stuck together and always had the same goal in mind. I think that we have always fit really well together, and I am really happy where I am. The only thing left is to try and finish off the job in MotoGP.”
Jack Miller: “2023 was a year of learning and of growth for me as a person and as a rider. Towards the back half of the season we really got comfortable with the bike and were able to start challenging for positions where we needed to be. In KTM, and my dealings especially in the racing department, when they find something or find a pathway - new ideas, better ideas and strategies - then they go all -in on to have them on the track as soon as possible. Having that power and that motivation and that backing from the company is awesome as a rider. I didn’t get to achieve all the wishes I wanted in 2023. I have a whole new list of wishes for 2024.”
Francesco Guidotti, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team Manager: “2023 was a good year. Very satisfying and where we grew quite a lot. We are pretty happy with how the riders and the bike improved. The approach for 2024 is easy: we have to move ahead with the growth we started last season. There will be areas where we still have plenty of room to increase our performance but in general the project is very balanced, so we just need to push when we know it is time to do it. I can’t wait to start the season and get to the first race because that is where we deliver. It’s when the speaking stops and the real action starts. No excuses. No matter what we have said or done during the winter, it is time to race.”
Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsports Director: “I feel that the package is very complete now and we have all the right people in the right positions and also the rider line-up makes me very happy. Everybody could grow over these last years. We’ve had these MotoGP wins and reached a lot last season: 4th in the championship, 2nd in the Constructors but, of course, our big target, our big dream, is pushing for the world championship and I feel in 2024 we are ready to do so. In general, we have now a great calendar and logistics-wise it is quite demanding for everybody; mechanics, riders, staff, team, everybody but we love racing so if you give us one more race then we will enjoy it every time. We know when it is time to ‘go’ and when it is time to shine. Racing is what drives us every morning to give our best; to be on the racetrack, be with the public, and that’s what the riders like and that’s why I think we are really prepared for ’24.”
Hubert Trunkenpolz, Member of the Executive Board: “Finishing 2nd in the Constructors championship last year is for sure something we can be proud of, but the important thing is that we could close the gap significantly to the competition. I think, next to the motorcycle, the biggest progress we have made is in the team structure. We added good people to the ones we already had, and the team has come together very well. A lot of it is about having the right people in the factory and the right people at the racetrack and the communication between them is super-important and this is where we made a big, big step. We are committed to MotoGP as much as we were on day one. We won’t give up until we have grabbed this title because this is something that we want to have, that we want to achieve and that we will achieve in time. MotoGP is the highest class in motorcycle racing and because KTM is a sport motorcycle brand we gain a lot of knowledge in MotoGP that we can convert into our serial motorcycle development so there is a close linkage. MotoGP is a very important testbench and development center for us and the media and brand value is huge.”