KTM Motorsport Director Pit Beirer has announced that he is considering following the example of rival Ducati and expanding his KTM RC16 fleet to three teams and six bikes in the near future.
After considerable success in the Feeder 125 / Moto3 and 250 / Moto2 categories, the Austrian manufacturer finally celebrated its full MotoGP debut in 2017 and, despite a slow start-up phase, has firmly established itself among the front runners since 2020 and has landed five wins during this time.
After KTM had started their MotoGP project with just one factory team supported by Red Bull, KTM added Tech 3 Racing to its roster as a satellite setup and won a spec machine in 2020 that earned Miguel Oliveira two victories.
Now KTM is considering whether to take a third team into the field, also because it has an impressive talent pool of young talents in the lower area. Prepared by race winners Oliveira and Brad Binder, the dominant Moto2 pair of KTM Remy Gardner and Raul Fernandez have landed Tech 3 KTM seats for 2022, while the highly touted Pedro Acosta is expected to follow in 2023.
A third KTM team would mirror Ducati’s tactics, which will double its armada from four bikes to eight in 2022 by adding VR46 Racing and Gresini Racing to its existing factory and Pramac setups.
“We haven’t actively looked for partners in recent years because Dorna has told us that each manufacturer wants to set up two teams,” Beirer told Speedweek. “That’s why we took a step back when we noticed something was happening at Avintia and Gresini.
“But now we see Ducati with four teams and KTM with two for the next two years. Of course, we feel a little misinformed. Because of course you have a certain power when you have four teams under contract after this season and supply a third of the starting field. “
What could a third KTM MotoGP team look like?
A third KTM team may not necessarily see it as a “KTM” team.
While there is a penchant for persuading an existing privateer team – as was the case with former Yamaha partner Tech 3 – there are no obvious options as the only non-manufacturer team, Honda customer LCR, got down two years ago Rejected an approach for years.
Instead, KTM could use a third team as an opportunity to publicize one of its sister brands.
The manufacturer is already using the Grand Prix paddock as a marketing measure beyond its own name, with Husqvarna and the recently acquired GASGAS running their own Moto3 teams, albeit with machines built by KTM.
Although Husqvarna is the profile of the two and returned to Moto3 in 2019, it is the Spanish company GASGAS, which specializes in enduro and motocross, that will get the chance to compete in Moto2 next season in collaboration with GP stars Aspar .
Given that Aspar recently had MotoGP references, there is a clear connotation suggesting that GASGAS – which will soon also be offering KTM-based street models – is best suited for such an occasion, even if again KTM RC16 Equipment is used.
There is a fourth option for KTM, however, that would likely pique the interest of both Dorna and FIM; Chinese giants, CFMoto.
The Austrian company is not a pure Pierer Mobility brand, but holds a large stake in CFMoto, which builds motorcycles for KTM in China and uses its chassis models sold in Europe.
CFMoto was already about to make a concerted foray into the European market recently and recently announced its entry into Moto3 via a connection with PruestelGP with KTM motorcycles. While Dorna won’t turn up his nose at the GASGAS Spanish flag races in MotoGP, CFMoto is certainly an attractive prospect given the potential to tap into the vast Chinese market.
Much, however, will depend on whether Suzuki and / or Aprilia launch their coveted satellite teams to fulfill Dorna’s request for at least 24 motorcycles – four per manufacturer – plus four more for Ducati, bringing the starting field to its maximum of 28 inches Equestrian.
Both manufacturers have hinted that they are interested in putting a second team on the grid in the near future, but after Suzuki saw talks with PSRT-converted RNF Racing and failed Aprilia’s hopes to keep Gresini on board, it remains unclear whether this could happen anytime soon.