Concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 virus and subsequent travel restrictions led to cancellation of the MotoGP™ class race at the QNB Grand Prix of Qatar as well as postponement of the second round at the Chang International Circuit in Thailand for the whole championship. Losail will still open the 2020 contest as the Moto2™ and Moto3™ teams are already stationed at the floodlight facility just outside of Doha in the wake of recent tests from February 28-March 01.
At least 15 new KTM RC4 motorcycles will dispute wins, podiums and points in the Moto3™ division this year. Red Bull KTM Ajo (Raul Fernandez and Kaito Toba) and Red Bull KTM Tech3 (fielding riders in Moto3™ for the first time and enlisting Deniz Oncu – the youngest on track - and Ayumu Sasaki for the task) will join other riders include Andrea Migno and Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46), Max Kofler and Darryn Binder (CIP Green Power), Jason Dupasquier and Dirk Geiger (CarXpert PruestlGP), Albert Arenas and Stefano Nepa (Angel Nieto Team) Davide Pizzoli and Riccardo Rossi (BOE Skull Rider Facile Energy) and last year’s Red Bull MotoGP™ Rookies Cup winner Carlos Tatay (Reale Avintia Racing).
The Losail International Circuit habitually opens the Grand Prix campaign and will stage the FIM World Championship for the 17th time. KTM will be hunting their first Moto3™ win at the track since Jack Miller triumphed in 2014. The race starts at 14:20 CET on Sunday and if any of the competitors listed above reach the checkered flag first then they will achieve the distinction of gifting the manufacturer their 100th Grand Prix win on the tarmac.
KTM ceased official participation in the Moto2™ category as a chassis manufacturer at the end of 2019 but still retain an important connection to the competition thanks to the Red Bull KTM Ajo crew and KTM-contracted riders Jorge Martin and Tetsuta Nagashima. Directed by long-term KTM collaborator Aki Ajo, the squad fills a key stage in the KTM GP Academy program as the last rung on the ladder to MotoGP™ contention. The scheme identifies, assists and supports the best young racing talent that stands out from the Red Bull MotoGP™ Rookies Cup and the new Northern Talent Cup initiative and filters through each level up to the premier class. Former Rookies racer, Red Bull KTM Moto3™ World Champion and Moto2™ championship runner-up Brad Binder is the first athlete to scale the KTM GP Academy pyramid.
The 2020 MotoGP™ calendar has been adjusted with the movement of the Grand Prix of Aragon and the rescheduling of the Thai Grand Prix.
Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsports Director: “It’s a shame that our MotoGP™ boys still have to wait some weeks before they can begin their season, but we’re excited to start racing in Qatar this weekend. We have some brilliant names and talent on the Moto3™ grid this season and it will be interesting to see how they progress and what results they can reach. Moto3™ action will again be intense and we hope to be right in the middle of it.”