Tom Vialle’s stunning victory at the Grand Prix of Turkey and the 18th and final round of the 2022 FIM MXGP World Championship allowed KTM to celebrate its fourteenth MX2 title since the inception of the class in 2004. The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing star’s achievement also marked the first FIM ‘gold medal’ with the new generation of KTM SX machinery, launched this summer.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing entered the 2022 season faced with obstacles and a hefty challenge. The all-conquering motocross team had won a world championship every year since 2010 bar one but the tragic loss of their upcoming talent Rene Hofer and a lengthy foot injury for Jeffrey Herlings meant that Vialle, who was recovering from his own injury recovery in the winter, was the sole representative. The team were also facing the shortest off-season in the sport’s history and the knowledge that they were developing the brand-new 2023 KTM 250 SX-F for the harshest demands of elite racing.
The motorcycle helped Vialle fly out of the traps
Last weekend’s Grand Prix of Turkey finale saw the 21-year-old needing to beat principal rival Jago Geerts (which he managed with 1-1 scores in the motos after bearing incredible pressure) with just two points splitting the pair. The Frenchman had been vying hard with the Belgian all season – from March to September - and across diverse circuits, terrain and climates. Vialle totaled an impressive 10 victories from 18 Grands Prix. He won 17 of 36 motos and appeared on the podium 15 times. #28 also won the Fox Holeshot award for the year and led double the laps compared to Geerts’ tally. It was his most prolific campaign and brought his second title in just four years in the class; becoming the fourth rider to earn more than one championship with the KTM 250 SX-F since 2004.
Vialle will move to the US to contest the 2023 AMA 250SX and 250MX championships next year but his accumulation of two world crowns and 24 wins since coming into the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team as a rookie in 2019 is testament to his work ethic, his union with Joel Smets, Dirk Gruebel, Harry Norton and the rest of the team staff and the enduring competitiveness of the KTM 250 SX-F.
For 2023 KTM re-worked the chassis and dynamism of the KTM SX line with a completely new range. The ‘anti-squat’ handling concept created the company’s most agile and stable motocrosser to-date that also boasted a number of other innovative features including refined ergonomics and an even stronger single cylinder four-stroke powerplant.
Vialle’s journey with the KTM 250 SX-F will now continue in the American stadiums and outdoor tracks for both supercross and motocross. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing will look to groom the next talent in the Grand Prix pipeline for 2023 with 18-year-old recruits Andrea Adamo and Liam Everts filling the new MX2 roster.
Tom Vialle, 1st and 1st for 1st overall in MX2 & the 2022 FIM World Championship title: “I’m so happy. To finish the season like this is so nice. This is my final race in MX2 so it was special. I wanted to enjoy the last few races and with the team, who have given me such a strong home for four seasons. To have the title for the second time is amazing. The first one was crazy but also this one because it was so tight. I had to come here and go 1-1 but that wasn’t so easy.”
Joel Smets, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team Manager: “What a day, what a year, what a championship. I don’t think I have ever felt stress like that in any season, even in my own racing career. We’ve been in close situations before but we knew it would all go down to some very tight action today and Tom was able to deliver. I’m so grateful to everybody behind us and I like to think that somewhere and somehow Rene was looking down and enjoying that one.”
Dirk Gruebel, Red Bull KTM Team Technical Co-ordinator: “Unbelievable today and it is unreal what Tom managed. The mindset was there in qualification but what a difficult situation. Even though Jago did not give up it seemed like Tom just wanted it a bit more. A real drama today but we walked away as the winners and I’m happy for Tom and the whole team after a difficult season. We were always chasing so to take the title is something special.”
Robert Jonas, Head of Motorsports Offroad: “We faced logistic and sporting obstacles for 2022 and the shortest off-season we can remember and to finish the championship in this way – with another title for our superb team and the talent of Tom Vialle – is the best payback. All the credit must go to the entire Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team who never gave up and kept pushing and working and developing and with one goal in mind. A brilliant effort and it is something the whole factory can be proud of.”
Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsports Director: “I’m extremely happy right now because it has been a challenging season for us in MXGP and how we went into 2022 was especially tough. Tom had to peg back a big points gap and to be able to take it to the last race on the last day and then win is an incredible achievement. I want to thank the whole team and everybody in the factory who has built this fantastic motorcycle and of course to Tom who has done an outstanding job. He is a real-world champion and I feel he is ready to go to the USA. It was a masterpiece to deliver those two wins today under such big pressure. Not many people can do that.”
For more information about the 2023 KTM 250 SX-F and the entire SX line-up click HERE.