Just over a year since announcing its return to MotoGP, KTM has debuted the RC16 at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. And it looks blisteringly sexual in testing guise.
Ridden by lucky bastard the factory’s test rider and ex-GP pilot, Alex Hoffman, the shakedown lasted three days and, apparently, went very nicely indeed. The KTM RC16 and the ensuing project has been developed entirely in-house at Mattighofen, and will be the tool for the Orange firm’s return to the premiere class in 2017. Given the success of the sortie – and the fact the bike doesn’t look like a test mule – will we see an earlier outing or wildcard next season?
Details are sketchy but that definitely looks like a steel trellis frame housing the V4 motor.
KTM’s Motorsport Director, Pit Beirer: “Thursday was a very emotional moment, not only for me but also for the company, and I believe for many KTM fans in Austria and all over the world. This, and the start of the project on the racing circuit are just as important as any lap time. A very big thanks to Alex (Hofmann) and the entire team for the excellent performance. The feedback and the fact that we were already able to put in very many laps without any problems gives us a lot of motivation for the next steps in this long journey towards our entry into MotoGP in 2017”
Alex Hofmann: “What shall I say? Just take a look at my boots and the bike. They both look like new. I have already experienced very different premieres. A big respect for what KTM has already achieved in this extremely short time. I think you can not only see it in my face, but also among all those who have worked here with such enthusiasm and professionalism.”
Not entirely sure what Alex means there but he knows his onions, and will be joining the recently signed Mika Kallio in another test early next year. Rumours that KTM are trying to sign Dani Pedrosa to spearhead the 2017 effort are slowly dwindling. Maybe Valentino will be looking for future employment soon?
For a company that sees no future in road-going superbikes (KTM’s CEO reckons they’re too dangerous), there’s a fair amount of effort being ploughed into this thoroughbred racer and no production bike to filter down R&D. The RC16 would look pretty sweet with some lights fitted, eh?