KTM Motorsports is selling two race-prepared 2019 KTM RC16 factory MotoGP bikes in a move that seems certain to attract global attention. The bikes will be race-prepared and will be sold with a wide range of additional benefits including official KTM team apparel, merchandise, a set of Pol Espargaro’s race leathers and helmet, plus a VIP MotoGP hospitality weekend in 2021.
The only time a competitive MotoGP bike has been sold by a factory race team previously was in 2012 when Ducati sold the 800cc Desmosedici MotoGP machines of Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi at auction, fetching €251,550 (US$324,979) and €245,700 (US$317,421) respectively.
Unlike the KTM RC16s being sold at present, the Ducatis were ineligible for MotoGP at the time they were sold, as the 2012 MotoGP season saw an increase in capacity from 800cc to 1000cc. Conversely, Stoner’s bike was sold with quite a resume as it had considerable success in 2010, winning one Grand Prix, placing in three others and setting three pole positions.
KTM is not being specific about which of the bikes being sold was used in which races, and potential purchasers will not get a choice of machine. Instead, those prepared to pay the €288,000 (approx. US$340,000) asking price will be put on a buyers list and KTM will make a final decision on the destination of the two race bikes once the list is finalized.
While the term “race prepped” is used in KTM’s announcement, it is not clear whether the bikes are intended to be used for competition, or whether the phrase “all the MotoGP trimmings” means a spares kit, or whether further spares would be available for purchase if it were to be used for competition.
The overwhelming expectation appears to be that the bike would be sold to a collector, given the package each bike is being sold with – a set of Pol Espargaro race leathers and a signed race helmet, plus a VIP MotoGP hospitality weekend in 2021.
The experience includes a behind-the-scenes tour, a meet-and-greet with the MotoGP riders and a full set of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team wear. That’s not merchandise, but the real deal worn by the team.
There’s also a full weekend of access to the Red Bull Energy Station unit with full catering and refreshment.
The KTM brand is one with a very clear message: “ready to race.” Within a year of producing its first series production motorcycle in 1953, it had won its first title – the 1954 Austrian 125cc national championship.
Since then it has won more than 260 world championship titles, most of them in the realm of off-road racing, and most prominently in the Dakar Rally where it has won every event from 2001 to 2019.
While it has not always been successful financially, it has achieved everything it has set out to do in racing, with only the Moto2 and MotoGP crowns still to be won, and in both classes, the company now produces competitive motorcycles.
In the 2019 season, the fortunes of the two factory RC16 riders was starkly different. Pol Espargaro gathered 100 points across the season, finishing in 11th place in the championship and performing so well that he has been drafted into the Honda factory team for 2020 alongside Marc Marquez. Espargaro actually put the RC16 on the front row at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli and logged eight top ten finishes.
On the other side of the garage, Johan Zarco was unable to adapt to the handling of the KTM and almost ended his career. He managed just 27 points from 13 starts and left the team mid-season. Mika Kallio filled in for Zarco in the remaining races, scoring seven points from six starts.
As an investment, the future value of the RC16 will largely be determined by how well KTM’s MotoGP campaigns of the next few years fare, and whether the sale of the factory machinery becomes a regular thing.
The laws of supply and demand apply to the value of all things, and even the rather stilted supply of two bikes a year would be too great if KTM’s factory team doesn’t continue to live up to its promise. No indication has been given as to whether this practice of selling factory machinery from the previous year will continue in the future.
With Pol Espargaro leaving the team, the only rider that has successfully ridden the bike will be gone. For 2021, the riders will be Brad Binder, Miguel Oliveira, Iker Lecuona and the experienced Danilo Petrucci.
After just two starts on the bike so far in 2020, Binder looks capable of putting the it amongst the front runners, but until he has done so and done it consistently, KTM’s future fortunes are still hard to determine. If KTM were to continue moving forward and begin winning races, the value of these machines would surely rise. If not, future values are difficult to predict.
Serious enquiries should be directed to [email protected]