The time for tests, talk and tentative speculation is over. MotoGP 2019 begins this weekend and will see KTM’s biggest and most ambitious assault on the FIM World Championship fire into life as the factory hopes to dazzle under the Losail lights.
For the fifteen year in a row the Losail International Circuit will welcome MotoGP. The Grand Prix paddock will gather again less than two weeks after the second IRTA test of the pre-season period took place at the same flat, pacey and demanding facility close to the ever-changing metropolis of Doha.
In those final rapid laps of experimentation and refinement of the Red Bull KTM RC16 Pol Espargaro got to within half a second of the best time while new teammate Johann Zarco – who will mark a notable career milestone after first gracing a Grand Prix circuit as a Red Bull Rookie in the 2007 inauguration of the series – continued his adaptation to the factory bike.
Red Bull KTM will tackle only their third year as part of the MotoGP grid and with memories of their maiden podium finish at Valencia for the final fixture of 2018 not yet faded. Espargaro boasts a best result of 7th at the Qatari circuit in five years of MotoGP competition while Zarco has a 8th: 2019 will be just his third term in the premier class.
KTM presented their full line-up in a comprehensive launch event in Austria last month, and will watch the first round of nineteen with interest through the categories. Like many race fans the ‘orange family’ and KTM followers will have their own questions: how far will Red Bull KTM Tech3 duo Miguel Oliveira and Hafizh Syahrin push into the pack? Will Brad Binder start the new Moto2 era with a trophy? Will Can Öncü make another immediate impression in Moto3?
2019 gets underway with the first Moto3 Free Practice sessions at 11.50 CET this Friday. The races themselves will occur at 15.00 (Moto3), 16.20 (Moto2) and 18.00 (MotoGP) CET on Sunday.
Pol Espargaro: “Losail is a strange track and pretty different to all the others; mainly because it is the first grand prix and everyone wants to start the season well. There is a lot of pressure. Racing in the night means the temperatures are usually quite low and the humidity is high, from one hour to the other or from the start of the race until the end the track can change a lot so you have to adapt fast. We’ll look to do our best and get the race set-up fixed as quickly as we can.”
Johann Zarco: “I first raced at Losail in 2009, so ten years ago. I remember leading race here in Moto2 and I had a mechanical problem and had to finish the race in third gear and missed the win! My first race in MotoGP was also nice. It is a fast track and of course what makes it special is to ride at night. It’s also the first race so it has a different kind of pressure: you start a long season here but then when you arrive to the end it always feels like it has passed so fast from this first moment.”
Miguel Oliveira: “I think the approach for the first GP is always quite simple, it’s to do my best and try to do my job as always, plus making the team happy with my performance. I feel it’s important for me to finish the race, to get experience and to get to know where to improve my riding. The most important thing is to gather this experience in my first race in MotoGP, I don’t think about any result in specific.”
Hafizh Syahrin: “I’m looking forward to the first race very much! We had some tough pre-season tests, where we tried to adapt to the bike step by step. It was pretty good and I felt better and better with the bike. So we keep on working hard, try to understand everything and keep the mind fresh to be ready for race day. Let’s see what we can do.”
Mike Leitner, Red Bull KTM Team Manager: “The target is to reach the top positions as much as possible but we have to be realistic and this is just the third year for us. We are still fighting against manufacturers with many more years in this business. We are pushing to improve our package on many different aspects and this will of course take some time but racing is racing and we will always look for good results. Doha has been a difficult track for us. We started our project here two years ago and that’s why we are really happy to see the test lap-times closer than they have ever been to the fastest. I think for the race we can be optimistic and find the good set-up in the four sessions. The challenge there is that the track conditions can change day-to-day. We just have to be open and adapt to what we find.”
Tuesday, 05 March 2019 15:47 Published in Rider and Team Releases
KTM ended a busy pre-season after three evenings of laps and testing at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar and can now set their sights on the first round of the 2019 MotoGP season at the same track on March 10th. Today Pol Espargaro further improved his pace to classify just half a second away from the fastest lap.
Day three of the second and last IRTA test of the 2019 MotoGP pre-season took place in windy and cool conditions at Losail. The climate permitted around four hours of work and laps as the grid took the final opportunities to try ideas and race set-up adjustments with one eye on the fifteenth Grand Prix of Qatar.
Red Bull KTM’s Pol Espargaro again made qualitative gains with the KTM RC16 and ran consistently among the leaders through the timed period. His 27th lap (of 37 in total) was his best of the test at 1min 54.770 and the former world champion capped a decent month of work by sitting just half a second away from countryman Maverick Viñales. Pol’s lap was also a second faster than his best at the same test twelve months earlier.
Teammate Johann Zarco’s evening was effectively halted by a crash at Turn 2. The Frenchman was one of many riders to slide into the Losail gravel as the temperatures dropped below 20 degrees. Zarco (who finished the session down in 19th) continues his quest to find more corner speed but was also pleased with his ability to post regular lap-times.
Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Miguel Oliveira (20th) was another to go even faster but also fell while Hafizh Syahrin posted 42 laps and tried a race simulation to further acclimatise to the RC16 for what will be just his second term in the premier class of Grand Prix.
Three days in Qatar completed 2019 tests that also included five days at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia earlier this month. In just over a week the KTM teams will be travelling back to Doha and to Losail to launch the 2019 season for the first race of nineteen.
Pol Espargaro: “I’m impressed by the potential of our bike and what we have done here. This is normally a track where we have struggled the last two years but to see us just half a second away is great. We did a good job, a good lap and a good rhythm. The conditions can change for the race but we can take a positive feeling from this test and have a good target for the GP. We still need to work carefully and concentrate on what we are doing. The conditions at the end were tough with the humidity going up and the temperatures dropping. There were a lot of crashes. Anyway, I think we can think big, and we have to do the best we can in the race but also be safe to not lose those first points of the season.”
Johann Zarco: “A bit sad with the crash. It was colder and the Medium tyre was not good enough for me so I could not improve my performance. It was a shame because it was then hard to make another step. Anyway, I got more information and experience and maybe we found a limit, so we need to work more and move that onwards. I’m too slow at the moment – for the final day here anyway – but in consistency I am not too bad and we’ll see where I can be for the race weekend. I’m quite impressed by Pol’s performance today and I’m happy for him.”
Miguel Oliveira: “Today we definitely found harder conditions than the two previous days because of the wind. We started a bit slow in terms of lap time but then I was picking up the pace and riding quite good. Unfortunately, a crash ended the test, but I felt I was coming stronger and also the team made quite a few changes to the bike, with which I was very satisfied.”
Hafizh Syahrin: “I’m very happy to improve my lap time and as well about the work on the last day with the team. We know, that we are still very far, although we were quicker. I started to understand a little bit how to adapt to the bike. We tried a race simulation, which was not really bad, but also not very fast, as we needed to understand the bike. At the same time, I did a race distance for the very first time with the KTM. We need to push harder during the race weekend, this is sure. Let’s see what we can do there.”
Mike Leitner, Red Bull KTM Team Manager: “I think we did a great job over these six test days in total. It was tough for the riders and also the company to deliver all the parts and suggestions we wanted but everyone was pushing hard and there were not many runs where we used the same bike spec! The last day was about focussing more on race set-up and looking for a good lap-time but Johann still wanted more from our bike so we looked at more ideas. He understands now what he will mix together for the GP. The Tech3 team also did a great job. Losail has not been an easy track for us but we started our project here two years ago and it is really good to see how much closer we are to the fastest lap: before we did not manage anything better than 1.2 or 1.3. It’s still hard for us here and especially for a single fast lap but this shows we made a great improvement. The goal now will be to make better results and to start the season strongly when we come back here.”
Qatar IRTA Test Day Three final times
1. Maverick Viñales (SPA), Yamaha 1:54.208
2. Fabio Quartararo (FRA), Yamaha +0.233
3. Alex Rins (SPA), Suzuki +0.385
4. Marc Marquez (SPA), Honda +0.405
5. Valentino Rossi (ITA), Yamaha +0.443
7. Pol Espargaro (SPA), Red Bull KTM +0.562
19. Johann Zarco (FRA), Red Bull KTM +1.508
20. Miguel Oliveira (POR), Red Bull KTM Tech3 +1.565
23. Hafizh Syarin (MYS), Red Bull KTM Tech3 +2.163
Monday, 25 February 2019 22:36 Published in Rider and Team Releases
KTM’s best, largest and most ambitious assault on MotoGP Grand Prix racing was unveiled a short distance from the factory in Mattighofen, Austria this afternoon. Riders and staff from Red bull KTM Factory Racing and Red Bull KTM Tech3 were introduced by KTM management as part of the company’s most comprehensive line-up to face the FIM World Championship.
Tuesday, 12 February 2019 12:38 Published in Rider and Team Releases
Chambly, QC –KTM Red Bull THOR Factory racer Jess Pettis held up a solid performance at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona against the top 250 racers in the world on his WP suspension equipped KTM 250 SX-F.
Pettis battled his way through the Last Chance Qualifier to secure a position in the evening’s 250SX West Main Event. Pettis began just outside the top-ten in the Main Event and maintained a consistent pace throughout the 16-lap race to bring home a solid 12th overall for the night.
Jess Pettis – KTM RED BULL THOR Factory MX2 Racer: “Round 2 in Glendale, AZ was another solid weekend for me. The track was challenging and slippery which made it difficult. I qualified 12th into the night show, but the slippery conditions caught me off guard and I made some costly mistakes in my heat race which resulted in some crashes. I was able to regroup in the LCQ and make it into the Main Event, where I got a good start and was able to battle for 10th position the whole moto with the top racers again. I made a mistake with two laps to go, and had a tip over, but I am still happy to come away with 12th place in the Main Event.”
Jean-Sebastien Roy – KTM Red Bull THOR Factory Racing Team Manager: “Again, super happy with Jess performance. He rode with heart and never gave up. He was in the top 10 until he did a small mistake 2 laps to go and fell down. All in all, good weekend for Jess. He is adapting very quickly to his bike and making improvement each week. Jess wants to continue to improve and he is not scare to work hard.”
Next Race: Anaheim, California – January 19, 2019
Tuesday, 15 January 2019 09:25 Published in Rider and Team Releases
Chambly, Qc. – Brand new member of the KTM Red Bull THOR Factory Race Team, Jess Pettis is competing in the 2019 Monster Energy AMA Supercross beginning this weekend in Anaheim. Jess will be racing against the world’s top racers aboard his all-new WP Suspension equipped 2019 KTM 250 SX-F.
Pettis, the 2018 MX2 Canadian Champion, is following in the footsteps of other successful Canadian racers by traveling down south to test his Supercross skills against the best Supercross racers in the world. In the 2018 AMA SX season down south, Pettis turned heads and left a lasting impression on the KTM Red Bull THOR Factory Racing team. He followed that up with a solid performance up north during the entire Canadian Triple Crown season where he secured the 2018 MX2 Canadian Championship. Now, equipped with a new chassis, experience and confidence, Pettis is ready to dominate.
Jess Pettis – KTM RED BULL THOR Factory MX2 Racer: “I have been working extremely hard and have been super excited for the AMA SX to begin. After finishing strong in last year’s SX rounds, I feel confident in not only my ability as a racer but in my brand new 2019 KTM 250 SX-F. I am pumped for the first round in Anaheim and can’t wait for the gate drop.”
Jean-Sebastien Roy – KTM Red Bull THOR Factory Racing Team Manager: “We are super pumped about having Jess racing in the prestigious AMA SX series. It’s going to be a great experience for him and it’s going be exiting for the Canadian fans to follow him as he battles against the world best supercross athletes in the world. Jess is ready for the challenge and we are behind him 100%. He has the right equipment’s to go out there and battle his way through.”
Thursday, 03 January 2019 17:15 Published in Rider and Team Releases
KTM 790 ADVENTURE AND KTM 790 ADVENTURE R REVEALED AS 2019 MODEL IN NORTH AMERICA
Tuesday, 06 November 2018 10:42 Published in Industry News
Every fall, Milan, Italy provides the backdrop for the unveiling of the latest and greatest innovations from the motorcycle industry. When KTM rolled the production model of the 790 Duke onto EICMA’s world stage in November 2017, fans of naked bikes stood up and paid attention. Now, almost a full year later, with the production requirements for Europe’s motorcycle-centric population satisfied, the 790 Duke has arrived as a 2019 model in North America. When KTM called with an invitation to test out this machine on California’s sun-drenched twisties, the answer from IM was a resounding “YES!” Our full review will be in your mailbox and on newsstands in the near future, but in the interim here is a First Impression look at this exciting new motorcycle.
Upon initial glance, the 790 Duke fits right into the Duke family, sharing the same aggressive minimalist design right down to split LED headlight, but make no mistake: while the 790 Duke adds to the lineage of a lineup that will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the original Duke 620 in 2019, this motorcycle represents a new chapter for Austria’s best-known motorcycle manufacturer.
Developed with a goal of creating a mid-point in the brand’s street lineup, the 790 Duke is the culmination of over 100,000 man-hours that went into creating this motorcycle. At its heart is KTM’s all-new compact LC8c 799 cc DOHC liquid-cooled parallel-twin engine. In addition to being the company’s first foray into this configuration, the pairing of the engine as a load-bearing element of the chromium molybdenum tubular steel frame is another first for the company. Thanks in large part to this new frame design, the 790 Duke tips the scales with a svelte dry weight of just 169 kg (372.6 lb) and with a claimed 105 horsepower the resulting power-to-weight ratio moves it to the forefront of the highly competitive middleweight class. KTM representatives explained that the engine has been tuned to provide low-end torque without sacrificing the ability to pull power out at the top end. While it is easy to be skeptical of statements like these, it was immediately clear when riding the bike that the 790 Duke delivers on this goal as it pulls hard from the initial twist of the throttle right through to its 9,500 rpm redline.
Despite having a very reasonable Canadian MSRP of $11,499, the 790 Duke is loaded with standard features including up/down quick shifter, full-colour TFT display, WP suspension, steering damper, ride-by-wire throttle and power-assisted slipper clutch. In addition to Bosch-controlled lean-sensitive traction control, motor slip regulation and ABS, the 790 Duke includes selectable ride modes of Rain, Street and Sport as well as a Track setting which allows complete control over the level of rider aids including the ability to turn off wheelie control. True to KTM’s Ready to Race mantra, the inclusion of a Supermoto ABS setting, which allows the rider to disengage the cornering ABS on the rear tire, as well as the ability to set the shift linkage to a race pattern without additional parts will satisfy even the most dedicated track day enthusiasts. Need further proof of the abilities of this motorcycle? Take a visit to YouTube and check out Chris Fillmore’s record setting 2018 Pikes Peak run. Save for an exhaust system, rear sets, slick tires and removal of unnecessary street-legal components, the bike you see in the video is essentially the same one that is waiting for you on the showroom floor at KTM.
Anyone who has ridden the 1290 Super Duke or 390 Duke will find the upright, slightly pitched forward riding position very familiar, although the size of the 790 Duke actually feels more comparable to the 390. The ergonomics are very comfortable and thanks to KTM’s forethought to include ample adjustments – four options on the triple clamp plus three further options for rotation – the tapered aluminum handlebar can be positioned to meet a wide variety of physical reaches and riding preferences. Despite being raised to accommodate the level of ground clearance that the 790 Duke’s sporting intentions require, the footpegs are comfortably positioned and riders of various heights reported being impressed with the absence of any leg cramping or fatigue.
So, is the 790 Duke as good in real life as it is on paper? KTM refers to this model as “The Scalpel” which reflects the company’s stated ambition of creating “the sharpest street weapon.” In the case of the 790 Duke, these slick marketing slogans are also accurate descriptions of this motorcycle. From the first corner to the last, this motorcycle impressed with its uncanny confidence-inspiring ability to handle anything that was thrown at it. Light and manoeuvrable, the 790 Duke moves from side to side with ease and tracks perfectly through corners at grin-inducing lean angles. It accelerates with a ferocity that will make its competitors nervous and is built to be equally capable commuting across town as it is carving through canyons or tearing up the track. On top of all of this it looks great, sounds awesome and is surprisingly comfortable. Add in an $11,499 MSRP and it looks like KTM has a winning formula.
2019 KTM 790 Duke
Canadian MSRP: $11,499
Colours: Orange, Grey
Engine: Liquid-cooled DOHC parallel-twin
Displacement: 799 cc
Power: 105 hp @ 9,000 rpm
Torque: 64 ft-lb @ 8,000 rpm
Frame: Chromium molybdenum tubular steel with engine as stressed element
Weight: 169 kg (382.6 lb), dry
Wheelbase: 1,475 mm (58.1 in)
Seat height: 825 mm (32.5 in)
Suspension (front): WP inverted 43 mm fork
Suspension (rear): WP shock absorber with adjustable preload
Brakes (front): dual 300 mm discs with radially mounted 4 piston calipers
Brakes (rear): 240 mm disc with 2 piston caliper
Fuel Capacity: 14 L
Friday, 26 October 2018 12:48 Published in Products
KTM UNVEILS 2019 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE GT & R MODELS AT INTERMOT; KTM 790 DUKE COMES TO NORTH AMERICA IN NOVEMBER
MURRIETA, Calif. – Earlier today at the INTERMOT show in Cologne, Germany, KTM unveiled a sharper, stronger and more refined version of its premium sports tourer with the 2019 KTM SUPER DUKE GT, while ‘THE BEAST’ KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R receives two new graphics options. In addition to the exciting global releases, KTM North America, Inc. is pleased to introduce the 2019 KTM 790 DUKE to the North American market, making its way to KTM Dealerships this November.
Tuesday, 09 October 2018 19:45 Published in Industry News
As MotoGP gathers in Brno for the Grand Prix of Czech Republic this weekend Red Bull KTM Factory Racing sits 14th (Pol Espargaro) and 19th in the current MotoGP FIM World Championship standings and 5th in the Constructor’s table after nine rounds of nineteen in the 2018 campaign.
Thursday, 02 August 2018 10:10 Published in Rider and Team Releases
KTM AND CHRIS FILLMORE SET TO RETURN TO PIKES PEAK INTERNATIONAL HILL CLIMB WITH THE DEBUT OF THE KTM 790 DUKE
MURRIETA, Calif. – Following a record-breaking 2017 performance up Pikes Peak Mountain with the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R, Chris Fillmore and KTM’s Media Racing Department are set to return for the 96th running of the iconic Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, this time aboard the Austrian brand’s latest tool in its street arsenal, the KTM 790 DUKE.
Saturday, 16 June 2018 08:57 Published in Rider and Team Releases