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Are KTM lining up a Ducati buy?

During an interview with the German motorsport website Speedweek.com, Stefan Pierer, owner & CEO of KTM and Husqvarna, expressed his interest in the motorcycle brand Ducati. Asked about the enormous takeover price that current owner Audi will ask for a possible sale, the wealthy Austrian replies that it is not so much the price, but that engine brands might be better prepared for the future through cooperation.

Although the Indian partners Bajaj (49% owner of KTM) had wanted to buy Triumph Pierer said that’s not an option.

I have an emotional relationship with Ducati (…) The only brand that suits us is Ducati, everything else you can forget.” MV Agusta is too small, because of the diesel affair and e-mobility will soon have different priorities than a motor factory. (…) Of course it would be interesting in our group to have such a brand: it is not about the price, but about: when everyone realizes what situation he is in. “New homologation challenges are waiting for us. (…) And there is demographic development in Europe as well – today you have to go to Asia with a motorcycle company, to India If you are not successful there, you are ultimately So it’s not about the purchase price at Ducati, but the question: How can we become stronger together?

Strikingly enough, Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess recently mentioned a merger with another brand as a real option for Ducati: “I can also imagine a merger or a collaboration with other brands, Ducati simply as a motorcycle icon within the VW company. is not enough.” 

Will it ever happen? We’ll just have to wait and see.

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Toby Price wins Cross-Country Rallies World Championship

His win in Morocco elevated the former Dakar winner to the top of the championship standings, allowing the Australian to claim his first ever world title.

Winning two of the five stages of the Rally du Maroc, as well as the short, opening Prologue, Price secured the overall win ahead of his teammate Mathias Walkner with a comfortable margin of over seven minutes. With his nearest title rival Pablo Quintanilla finishing in fourth place overall, Toby leapfrogged the Chilean rider in the standings to claim the championship by a six-point margin.

Toby’s journey to the 2018 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship title has not been an easy one. A crash at the 2017 Dakar Rally forced him to retire early from the event with Price subsequently spending much of the year recovering from the broken femur he sustained. Returning to competition at the 2018 Dakar last January, Price impressed with his outright speed, ultimately taking two stage wins and finishing in third position overall. 

Riding with great consistency throughout the 2018 season has paid off for Price. Multiple stage wins as well as podiums at the Atacama Rally and Desafio Ruta 40, added to his win in Morocco, have resulted in the 31-year-old becoming a worthy 2018 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Champion. 

Toby Price:“What an amazing season – I can’t believe it. It’s been a tough one and I didn’t expect to be at the top of the list at the end of it. I had some bad luck back in Abu Dhabi at the beginning of the year, but after that every rally has gone well and I’ve finished on the podium at every round. To win the world championship with a win here in Morocco makes it all that little bit sweeter. If I am honest, I was nervous out there on the final stage today, there are no guarantees in rally racing, especially when I had to lead the stage out. This is my first world championship in any category so I am so, so happy. It’s all credit to my team and everyone at Red Bull KTM, without them behind me I wouldn’t be standing on the top step. I’m standing on the top of the world and it’s the best feeling ever.”

Jordi Viladoms – KTM Rally Sport Manager: “Winning the rally world championship is a great result for Toby and KTM. Last year was really tough with the injury to his leg. He wasn’t even fully fit when he arrived at the Dakar at the beginning of this year but he did an amazing job and took third position. This was already a great success considering what he had been through. As the 2018 season has progressed, Toby has shown more speed, more confidence and all his hard work has paid off by dominating this race and winning the championship here in Morocco. We are really happy for him and he deserves this title. We still have some time to improve even further and hope to arrive at Dakar even stronger.”

Wrapping up the Rally du Maroc in second place overall Matthias Walkner, although disappointed not to have taken the win, was pleased with his riding and the performance of his KTM 450 RALLY.

Matthias Walkner:“It was a tough day today – very fast, rough and the sort of stage that you could easily make a big mistake. I had a comfortable gap to the rider in third so I was able to take things a little steadier and aim for a safe finish. Overall, I am happy with my performance here in Morocco and thrilled to take third in the championship.”

Following an issue earlier in the rally where a heavy impact with a large rock damaged his rear tyre and mousse and resulted in lost time, it would always be a challenge for Sam Sunderland to bridge the gap to the front-runners. Despite the setback, the British rider posted some excellent stage results, enough to regain a position inside the top-10 at the climax of the event.

Sam Sunderland:“I am really happy with my rally here in Morocco – the team have all done a great job. I had some bad luck earlier on but overall I am pleased with how things have gone as my riding and navigation were strong throughout the rally.”

Team junior Luciano Benavides rode a solid Rally du Maroc and continues to gain valuable experience onboard his KTM 450 RALLY machine. The young Argentinian now looks forward to his next ride at the Dakar in three months’ time.

The next competitive outing for the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team will be the 2019 Dakar Rally in Peru, starting January 6, 2019. 

Final Standings – 2018 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship

1. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 91 points
2. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 85pts
3. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 75pts
4. Paulo Goncalves (POR), Honda, 70pts 
5. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 56pts

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Time for the 2018 Atacama Rally

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Matthias Walkner, Sam Sunderland and Toby Price have travelled to Chile to contest the 2018 Atacama Rally – round three of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship.

Following a strong start to the season at the opening round in Abu Dhabi, the trio will be keen to score valuable points as well as spend time on their KTM 450 RALLY machines in preparation for the 2019 Dakar Rally to be held in Peru in January.

The rally, this year held exclusively in the Atacama region around Copiapó, will see competitors contest five full stages of racing totalling over 1,300 kilometres. The condensed route, centred around the Chilean mining town, has resulted in short liaisons between each timed special. The riders won’t have it easy however – a lack of rain in the area has left the desert dry and without the usual vegetation, making navigation even tougher for all.

The Atacama marks the return to rally competition for Sunderland and Walkner since round one of the world championship held in Abu Dhabi back in March. Over the next two months, KTM will field a selection of riders at four events including the Atacama Rally, the Desafio Ruta 40, the Desafio Inka and the Rallye du Maroc.

All three Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team members contesting the 2018 Atacama are former Dakar Rally winners; Price in 2016, Sunderland 2017 and Walkner the current Dakar Rally reigning champion. Each rider is aiming to add to their current world championship points tally with just three rounds remaining. KTM Rally Sport Manager Jordi Viladoms knows the significance of the Atacama Rally in terms of both the World Championship and perhaps more importantly, preparation for the 2019 Dakar Rally.

Jordi Viladoms – KTM Rally Sport Manager:

“The aim going into these last few cross-country races of the season is to win the world championship and bring all the riders back up to speed for the Dakar. The Atacama has been tricky in the past for the team, we are also up against the current world champion at his home rally. We saw last year navigation was tough and the road book was difficult to follow in places, so minimising mistakes in Chile is paramount for all riders. We have carried out some successful testing on the bike this year, but we now have to focus on the sandy conditions that will be seen throughout the 2019 Dakar – some of the Atacama stages will be perfect for this so we need to gain all the knowledge we can here in Chile.”

The main event for the motorcycle class starts on Tuesday August 14, with the first of five full days’ racing covering a total of 1,700km. Over 1,300 of them are timed special stages.

Photo: Marcin Kin Photography

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#790SUMMER COMPETITION

You will meet the riders, experience what goes on behind the scenes and get to watch the race up close and personal in KTM’s awesome hospitality. They’ll will even throw in a few extra PowerWear surprises for you too.

To enter, spread the word on the KTM 790 DUKE by creating a video on why you want to win this amazing experience, then post your video on your social media tagging in #790SUMMER. Keep it concise, you have one minute to make your mark.

KTM will be looking at how many people you reach with your epic rendition and your reason behind the buzz. Good luck and get vlogging!

#KTM #790SUMMER #READYTORACE

 
Terms and conditions apply:
Competition closes 16 August – the winner will be announced on 17 August
KTM UK will provide insurance cover for the duration of the loan
Applicants must be 23 or over
Available to collect the KTM 790 DUKE from Silverstone on Monday 20 August
Hold a full UK Motorcycle (A) licence
Have no more than 6 points on their licence
No insurance claims in the last 3 years
No drink or drug driving convictions in the last 5 years
The KTM 790 DUKE must be stored in a locked garage when not in use
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A new generation of KTM SX is here!

In keeping with KTM’s READY TO RACE promise, these world-beating, ultra-light machines have been radically refined to ensure KTM continues to lead the way in the offroad market. The latest models, from the KTM 50 SX for the youngest orange fans right up to the Motocross World Championship winning KTM 450 SX-F powerhouse, are currently being launched at the home track of KTM’s champion Tony Cairoli in Malagrotta, Italy, and will be available in dealers soon.

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Red Bull KTM Team positive test at Jerez

Both Espargaro and Smith tried the updated version of the KTM RC16 that Kallio used to claim tenth position in the 25-lap race on Sunday. The Fin continued his work on evolving the future incarnation of the MotoGP machine as well as assisting the Grand Prix squad with a view towards the Grand Prix de France at Le Mans on May 19-20.

Espargaro: “It has been a good week. Even if the result was not that great in the race we have worked hard and have kept positive. After the two day test I am quite impressed and happy by the improvements coming for the future. The best is yet to come but we are also improving with our current racebike and we tried a lot of stuff and recorded a lot of info. I’m happy with it. We keep learning about this bike; we are working like crazy and one day I am sure we’ll be in the top ten regularly.”

Smith“We made some definite progress during the GP in a few areas and that helped towards the better result. The test was then about trying to build on that and my weaker areas. We worked through a lot of different parts like chassis and swingingarm to the new development bike for the future and to give some input on suspension and ideas to help gain an advantage. We have a good understanding of our situation after riding three bikes. We have everything very clear and that we are not missing anything – even if that means mixing some of the three. I go to Le Mans happy with our progress. It is a track with some very hard braking points and in cold conditions it is important to warm-up the tyre. We’ve been working a bit on that today. We finish our work here happy and in better shape for the French GP.”

Kallio“We’re satisfied; both with the race weekend and the way the whole team was able to work and from our side to adjust to a more hectic timetable. Everything went well: no mistakes and my riding was on a good level. For the two-day test we wanted to look at different swingarms and despite some difficulties we were able to make enough laps to work out the direction we want to follow to create more mechanical grip. We had a couple of requests to test for the race team, so we worked through those and found a better setting than the one used at the weekend. It has been a hard five days of riding and hard work for the mechanics also. So we’ll have a short break and continue again in Barcelona. We not only have to think about the race weekend but also the future and the bike for next season.”

Sebastian Risse (Technical Director): “A lot of things piled-up – a lot of parts and ideas – that we could not go through the overseas races and even some things left over from pre-season tests. We also had some doubts and decisions to make so this test was important. We had good conditions and we’re very pleased with the results. Not only was the pace good but we made a step forward in many areas and now we need to prove that on other racetracks and in other circumstances. We discovered some answers that we didn’t find on the race weekend at Jerez, so it was already quite positive in this aspect. We are also happy regarding some longer-term ideas that we confirmed with the GP riders. Now we are looking forward to the next race.”

 

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Johann Zarco Joins Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 2019 With 2 Year MotoGP Agreement

KTM’s READY TO RACE philosophy often means the creation of some special stories from the field of competition. The signature of 27 year old MotoGP sensation and double Moto2 World Champion (the most successful French rider in the history of Grand Prix racing) Johann Zarco for the next two years fills a standout narrative. 

The Cannes-born athlete will return to KTM and the brand with which he made his first impression in the world of motorcycle racing when he claimed the 2007 Red Bull Rookies Cup; the KTM-supported series designed to filter the best young talent through to the world stage. 

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing is thrilled to be able to bring Johann back to Orange. He will partner Pol Espargaro on the KTM RC16 for the next two years. 

Pit Beirer (KTM Motorsports Director): “There has always been a good contact with Johann and since the Red Bull Rookies Cup. We supported the Moto2 project through WP and our Moto3 Team Manager Aki Ajo is a good friend of him. We also have a nice connection with his manager Laurent Fellon. It was a group effort to get this done. We had to trust in our capability to build a winning bike and Johann would not come over if he did not see and feel that trust. We feel very responsible now to get that package strong enough so that he can continue on the level where he is. It is our big target.” 

“It is clear that we want to take another step in MotoGP. The first two years were about building up the project and to get everything running. You always want to get the best possible riders on board and it’s obvious with Johann beating the factory guys on satellite machinery and consistently qualifying on the front row means he is a strong fighter with a strong sprit. I’m convinced we can reach the next level with a rider like Johann with us.”

Zarco went on to win and grasp podium success in 125cc (now Moto3) Grands Prix and 15 victories in the Moto2 class where he enjoyed a fruitful collaboration with Red Bull KTM Ajo Team Manager Aki Ajo and WP Suspension technology on the way to his two world championships. Since coming into the MotoGP category in 2017 – where he gained the accolade of Best Rookie – Zarco has thrilled audiences with his speed, racecraft and attacking prowess. With 4 trophies and 3 Pole Positions his he has regularly upstaged rivals on factory machinery. His ability and potential marked his name as one of the most sought after for the coming seasons in MotoGP.

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Jonass back to winning ways in MX2

MX2 World Champion Pauls Jonass rode to his fourth 1-1 of the 2018 FIM Motocross World Championship for his fourth victory from six rounds of twenty in this season’s contest.

A sixth holeshot of 2018 was snared by Jorge Prado with his KTM 250 SX-F in the first MX2 moto but Pauls Jonass attacked hard by the end of the opening lap and started to build a manageable lead; the Latvian would go on to claim his seventh chequered flag of the year and his first since round three of the series in Spain. Jorge was a solid runner-up and had no answer to Jonass’ prowess away from the gate in the second sprint as #1 nailed his first holeshot of the season.

From that advantage Jonass was able to keep Prado in his shadow and returned to the formidability that bagged three wins on the bounce at the start of the MX2 campaign. Red Bull KTM have owned all six of the Grands Prix so far with Jonass claiming four and Prado enjoying spoils in two rounds; they have 11 of the 12 races in their pockets. Both riders were more than 38 seconds ahead of third placed Michele Cervellin in the second moto. Jonass leads the Spaniard by 20 points in the standings and is 47 ahead of Thomas Kjer Olsen in third. 

Jonass: “After the last two GPs I was a bit bummed about my riding and was disappointed in myself. After Portugal I was telling people I would be ‘back in business’ for Russia and my trainers pushed me hard in Belgium building up to this GP. It was tough but I believed in their programme and people were saying to me already from Saturday morning here that the ‘old’ Pauls was back. Now we need to keep working and not repeat those mistakes. It is always nice to go 1-1 and especially just before my home GP. I hope many fans will come to Kegums and cheer me on because the fans’ support is important. I’ll have a bit more pressure but I’m going as World Champion and will enjoy it. I hope to hear that Latvian anthem on the podium again.”

 

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Zarco to KTM: done deal?

According to motorsport.com, Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) will be riding for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing next year, with the Frenchman reportedly having signed a deal that will keep him at the Austrian factory in 2019 and 2020.

The double Moto2™ World Champion was also linked to Repsol Honda earlier this season, before the current rumours of a move to KTM. In addition, his current team Monster Yamaha Tech 3 have signed to run current spec KTM machinery from next season – ending a 20 year relationship with Yamaha. Could that play a part in Zarco’s future?

(MotoGP)

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KTM 790 DUKE: The Scalpel is in dealers now

For those who want to further sharpen their experience, a wide range of specially developed KTM PowerParts and KTM PowerWear is also available.

Developed alongside the KTM 790 DUKE from day one, the dedicated KTM PowerParts options allow customers to express themselves and intensify their motorcycle by enhancing and further personalizing their vision – whether it’s boosting performance, practicality or style.

Powered by the all-new LC8c engine, the new DUKE is KTM’s first parallel twin cylinder powerplant and its 799cc capacity punches out an impressive 105 hp and 87 Nm with relentless drive and smoothness from low rpm to the redline.

See more…