KTM debuted in the 2017 MotoGP world championship with Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith as its riders. Everyone in the team performed brilliantly and so did the bikes, therefore, marking a ‘successful’ debut for the Austrian firm.
KTM had a lot to learn from every aspect of the 2017 MotoGP world championship. The world is fully aware of KTM’s involvement in various other motorsports but MotoGP is different from all of them in many ways. To begin with, the bikes are way too powerful than what KTM had been dealing with in the past.
For the 2018 season of MotoGP, KTM says that it will stick to steel for the chassis of its race bikes. Sebastian Risse, Technical Director, KTM, said, “We have a lot of experience in other classes where this basic question is the same. At the moment the main point we are missing, and working on, is the knowhow – what exactly is the target [for the chassis properties]. To achieve the target in terms of any particular design property is not a problem in steel, for us. We have a lot of knowhow in the manufacturing and the design process to do this with steel.”
He further added, “We had huge respect before we stepped in and prepared as well as we could, but you cannot prepare [fully] for your first MotoGP season. So we had to learn every day, every hour in this paddock. But things went better than we expected. We started on the very last row of the grid in Qatar. It was dark, a little bit rainy and we could almost not see the starting light! Then we made it up to the second row just a few weeks ago [Espargaro qualified sixth in Australia]. So, it was definitely an amazing development. Our team did a fantastic job. I have to thank all the riders and the team for this effort. We are happy and really proud to be part of this first-class motorcycle show.”
KTM isn’t following the crowd and wants a steel chassis for its race bikes. In the previous season, it also didn’t pick Ohlins suspension and went with WP to do the job. And the results are in front of all of us. For the 2018 MotoGP season, Espargaro and Smith will continue to be the full-time riders of KTM and we wish the entire team good luck.