KTM has confirmed they’re going road-racing next season, in a partnership with Kalex Engineering.
According to Faster and Faster, an in-house KTM team is working on a new bike powered by a four-stroke, 250cc engine for the 2012 Moto3 season. German-based Kalex, a company that’s already had success in MotoGP’s Moto2 series, will also use the KTM engine, but their bike will likely feature a different chassis and braking system.
Rumours about KTM’s interest in the Moto3 program started swirling late last year, and although there hasn’t been much information about the company’s effort since, KTM Motorsports head Pit Beirer says the development process is all on schedule. The Austrian manufacturer hasn’t picked a rider out for their bike yet, though.
The Moto3 move would be a huge step forward for KTM. The company got out of MotoGP racing in 2009, and they’ve always been best known for super-moto and off-road racing efforts anyway. But, it opens another question up: Will KTM start work on a small-displacement sport bike if their MotoGP efforts are successful?
They already sell the 125cc and 200cc versions of the Duke in other markets, but the smashing success so far for Honda’s new CBR250 has the motorcycling world taking notice. Could KTM’s Moto3 bike eventually lead to a similar project? Their previous road-racing efforts haven’t led to a shift towards street bike production, but the timing to release a quarter-liter sport bike has never been better.