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Istoria Ready to Race

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ready_to_race

Istoria Ready to Race

Povestea constructorului care domină segmentul off-road a început în 1934 când Hans Trunkenpolz şi-a deschis un atelier de reparaţii în Mattighofen, Upper Austria. După trei ani, a mărit afacerea începând să vândă motociclete DKW, iar 1951 a creat prima motocicletă. Producţia de serie a primului KTM (KTM R100) a început în 1953, iar compania care se numea Kronreif, Trunkenpolz, Mattighofen şi-a început implicarea în competiţii.

În 1968, decid să intre pe piaţa din Statele Unite ale Americii cu o motocicletă de motocross de 125 cmc, iar în 1974 KTM obţine primul titlu în Campionatul Mondial de Motocross. Pilotul care a adus titlul în Austria a fost rusul Gennadij Moiseev care s-a impus la clasa 250 cmc.

În anii `80, Heinz Kinigadner (actualul director sportiv al KTM) şi Trampas Parker contribuie decisiv la crearea legendei KTM aducând la Mattighofen încă trei titluri mondiale în motocross.

1984 este anul în care KTM a început lucrul la primul său motor în patru timpi răcit cu lichid, iar 1987 primul LC4 intra în producţia de serie.

Problemele economice de la sfârşitul anilor `80 afectează extrem de grav compania austriacă, şi în 1991 KTM Motorfahrzeugbau AG intră în faliment.

Din fericire, un an mai târziu îşi începe activitatea nou-înfiinţata divizie KTM Sportmotorcycle GmbH cu o strategie nouă focusată pe hard enduro şi raliuri, iar în 1994 este produs primul Duke.

Din 2001 KTM domină celebrul raliu cunoscut sub titulatura Paris Dakar, iar experienţa acumulată în raliuri a început să fie transpusă în modelele de serie odată cu lansarea în 2003 a modelului 950 Adventure (un travel enduro).  În acelaşi an, KTM începe să intre şi în segementul on-road datorită succesului înregistrat la clasa 125 cmc a Campionatului Mondial de Motociclism Viteză. Astfel gama on-road s-a mărit prin apariţia lui 990 Super Duke şi a modelului 950 Supermoto. Primul superbike KTM a fost produs în 2008. Este vorba despre 1190 RC8, model în şaua căruia Stefan Nebal a terminat pe locul doi în Campionatul de Superbike al Germaniei sezonul 2009.

Din 1950 până în prezent, KTM a câştigat 165 de titluri mondiale toate produsele sale, indiferent că este vorba despre motociclete, quaduri şi mai nou maşini, fiind vândute sub filosofia "Ready to Race". Practic, îţi poţi achiziţiona o motocicletă şi doar cu setări ce ţin de greutatea pilotului a doua zi te poţi înscrie într-o competiţie.

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      Who?
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      When?
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      Cairoli and Herlings battle at the sharp end of the field at the opening MXGP round of 2020.
      PC @RayArcher
      Their results and numbers establish immediate credibility. “I don’t think we’ve seen something like that, with the amount of titles under the same tent. It’s very rare,” offers Gruebel. When it comes to ranking the trio as ‘the greatest’ there is a degree of subjectivity away from the statistics, and comparison of eras and the different demands, techniques, length of the seasons and standards of equipment means the exercise can be fruitless. For many, even inside KTM, there is only one possible rival.
      “KTM is a bit like the new Honda of the 80s,” opines KTM Motocross Manager Joel Smets, a double champion himself for the manufacturer. “The full HRC line-up: when I was a kid I remember thinking ‘how is that possible?’ It really was a dream team.”
      In 1985 and 1986 the red triplet of Dave Thorpe, Andre Malherbe and Eric Geboers finished 1-2-3 in the 500cc World Championship in that order. The team would shape-shift with the likes of Jeff Leisk and Jean-Michel Bayle coming into the frame. “They didn’t have that many titles when the original three came together and I think Eric still had to win in the 250s or 500s – he believed he was going to blow everyone away, but he fell on his face a few times. Malherbe was a double world champ and Thorpe won in 85-86,” Smets describes.
      Cairoli’s first GP was in 2002 and the Sicilian has won nine World Championships since.
      PC @RayArcher
      “From the point of view of image and competitiveness, for me, our guys are on the same level. Of course, Tony, Jorge and Jeffrey are top of the bill now, but Malherbe’s nickname was ‘Mr Hollywood’! That was the period shortly after they raced in leather pants and I remember him coming out for a mud race in completely white gear, holeshotting and finishing all white! Eric Geboers was a real star. Thorpe was more the working-class hero and respected as a sportsman but I think Geboers and Malherbe can easily stand next to Tony and Jeffrey. I lived that era as a spectator and perhaps I am not best placed to objectively judge it because now I’m looking at things from an inside point of view. I struggle to remember any other line-up like the one we have now at Red Bull KTM. Yamaha had Donny Schmit and Alex Puzar and later Stefan Everts and Marnicq Bervoets but they still don’t come close to these guys.”
      On the awning floor and other members of Red Bull KTM believe that the riders themselves probably don’t have enough distance or perspective to see their general place in the sport’s landscape. “For sure it is up-there as one of the all-time greatest teams,” says Herlings’ mechanic Wayne Banks. “Do they really appreciate it? I think they are too focused on the job and they are all winners. Second place doesn’t mean much. I reckon they’ll [appreciate] it later but now they are caught in the moment.”
      Herlings on home soil – the Dutchman battles the Valkenswaard sand.
      PC @RayArcher
      2018 saw Herlings and Cairoli tussle for the MXGP crown and classify 1-2 for the year with only one other rider capturing just one of the twenty rounds. 2014, 2017 and 2018 saw inter-team tussles for the prize in MX2, of which Prado was a protagonist of the last. The prolificacy both against rivals and within the team led to a degree of excellence and ultimately the 2020 line-up. “If you wanted to plan it then I don’t think you could,” smiles Gruebel. “As a company it is also a really big effort to have three guys that are all so good that they could each win the title. Why should we make that huge investment for ‘three horses’? It just happened, but you never know what can happen next in racing. Tony is still going, Jeffrey is in his prime and you could say it is quite early for Jorge.”
      Prado’s first Grand Prix on the KTM 450 SX-F was positive following his winter injury.
      PC @RayArcher
      Arguably the chief architect was Pit Beirer, a seven-times Grand Prix winner and KTM rider and now Motorsports Director, who signed all three to the factory’s bountiful hall of fame. “I think this is the greatest MXGP line-up we’ve had at KTM and, like Dirk said, it is not something you can really plan,” the German said. “You can have a long-term strategy but then all three riders manage to change that! I almost feel sorry to say it, but Tony is still so good for a rider who is into his 30s: we probably expected him to have stopped by now but he’s like a good bottle of red wine. In the middle you have Jeffrey who we thought would have a very strong spell in the class but it was not easy to plan with him because of the injuries that occurred. Then on the other side you have Jorge coming and I don’t think anybody expected him to go like a rocket through all the categories to show up as a two-time world champion in MXGP for 2020. So, the team wasn’t planned but it is a time to enjoy them out there. Let’s all stay healthy and let’s hope we can start the season very soon.”
      While all three riders have only appeared on track together twice so far in 2020, away from KTM and there is recognition for the strength of the gathering. “I think there is a case for Suzuki’s era from Joel Robert to Gaston Rahier to Eric Geboers to Michele Rinaldi and then Honda brought nine titles through their three main riders from 1980-90 but if you are looking at a single team, a single line-up then Red Bull KTM has the credentials,” says former Grand Prix winner and now full-time TV commentator and presenter Paul Malin. “Not only are all three supreme athletes but, numerically, of their 15 championship 12 have been won in KTM colors and the scary thing is that they could well be adding more in the next few years.”
      Cairoli still has his eyes on the main prize as part of an incredible Red Bull KTM Factory Racing MXGP line-up.
      PC @RayArcher
      “In the 80’s the 500 class was similar to MXGP today; all the best riders and main factories were involved,” offers legendary French journalist Pascal Haudiquert, a man who started covering Grand Prix in the mid-1970s and with more than 500 races under his belt as part of the media corps. “In this period the factory teams lined up with two riders maximum, Honda had three of the best in the world. But since this period no factory had such a strong team as KTM do now, for sure.”
      How will the years enrich and preserve KTM’s unique collision of talent? Fortunately for the younger generation of MXGP fans they can savor the sight now and the memories later on. Until the next flagbearers arrive.
    • De Dementor
      THE SPAWN OF SPORN: THE KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R CREATOR TALKS
      Posted in Bikes, People Herman Sporn is the father of the KTM SUPER DUKE; an innovator, engineer and a damn fast rider. Here he talks about his work with the 2020 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R and THE BEAST 3.0 concept, how it compares to the first 990, how KTM has changed and how the ‘ultimate’ Naked bike can still get better…
      45 year old Hermann Sporn lights another cigarette. The lofty, grinning Austrian has just stepped off the production motorcycle that he and his team have created from the ground-up; if anything, his satisfaction is reassuring for taller customers that the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R is a comfortable ride. The fact that Sporn cannot suppress a smile – even after all of the thinking, work and development time of three years for the SUPER DUKE – is vindication of the quality of his work.
      PC @MarcoCampelli
      The KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R has been described as the flagship motorcycle for the factory: the embodiment of technology, style, intent and performance that KTM want to convey with their street bikes. Sporn was at the beginning of the story, and thus holds something a veneer of status in the halls of the Mattighofen factory and R&D department.
      Afforded a quick talk before he takes another group onto the Portuguese roads around Portimao for the 2020 bike’s official presentation we pushed to know a bit more about his narrative and latest fabrication…
      Was the SUPER DUKE your first bike for KTM and how did it come about?
       I started at the factory in 2000 and came to KTM with the brief that I had to make a ‘SUPER DUKE’ – there was no real name for it at that time but they had made the first prototypes for the Adventure and wanted to do a two-cylinder Naked bike in parallel. I worked alone for three years and did everything from swingarm, frame, subframe, exhaust system and so on and after we had a good prototype we went to the designer to get a good fairing and shape and then it was ready. We wanted to start in 2004 but then we made some modifications – switching to injectors and improved the capacity from 950 to 990 ccm – and launched it in 2005.
      The growth of KTM in that time – and enduring the financial crisis – has been immense. You must have seen some changes…
       [Smiles] There were far fewer engineers. Now with all the R&D in Mattighofen and the two construction offices – one in Spain and another in Salzburg – I believe we are round 650 people. When I started we were just sixty! In 2005, with the first SUPER DUKE we got the feedback: the fuel tank was too small and the bike was not so refined – it was a bit too nervous – and that was the start points for the next generation in 2007 and that version was a lot better than the previous one. The production of KTM PowerParts that same year led to the single-seater R: the first one. It’s funny how the R came about actually because a motorcycle magazine contacted KTM as they wanted to make a race bike out of the SUPER DUKE and we said no, and then thought ‘let’s do our own’! We built up the track bike from zero and we used only parts to make the bike lighter, faster and stronger, additionally we wanted the bike to look cool, so my mechanic had the idea of making the frame in orange and I said let’s do the rest in black; everyone ended up liking it so much that it was the first time we had a R version with an orange frame and it has been something that’s been in place ever since. We started making a lot of tests at Pannonia-Ring with Andreas Meklau, who was riding in WorldSBK at this time. My mechanic and I were also doing a lot of riding because we didn’t have any professional test riders at that point.
      PC @HermannSporn
      The KTM SUPER DUKE 1290 R is obviously a sophisticated motorcycle. How do you compare it to the original 990? Is it like an iPhone 11 up against a 1?
      I think, it is more like going back to a rotary phone! We built the first SUPER DUKE R fifteen years ago which is why it looks old. It was not refined, and we didn’t have the possibilities that we do now. We have one of the largest test centers in Europe, where the motorcycles are running for weeks with robots at full load, or entire assemblies are checked for lifetime on 2 Poster- and Vibration test benches and of course much more is now possible in FEM calculation and design of the components with the help of topology optimization than before. This meant the current bike was on a much higher level at much earlier stage. Also, you have to count the experience: we started from zero in 2000 with the SUPER DUKE R and the 2014 1290 model was one of the first KTM bikes to have traction control and advanced electronics. It grew with the time.
      There are some limitations for development so do you still fully buy-into the Naked bike concept?
      Of course. When can you really enjoy a superbike on the road? It is a pain to ride one, literally. In the hands, the leg, the seat, the damping was too harsh. It is a bike made for the racetrack and where there’s no problem to have maximum power, the torque on high rpm and when you want to find the limit you need also the tight damping. The big advantage with the SUPER DUKE was the huge amount of torque; it almost doesn’t matter what gear you were in. It is easy to ride, more comfortable and gives you a better view in traffic due to the upright seating position. In fact, testers were riding the SUPER DUKE for two-three days and well over 1000 km and were saying we should make a touring bike out of it; for that reason, we made a GT version prototype that everybody loved and now that’s into its second generation.
      KTM are calling the 2020 model ‘the ultimate Naked bike’. So how can you improve the benchmark?
      I like a challenge! We want to maintain the good properties from the previous bike such as the easy rideability, good ergonomics and also good seat comfort for a whole weekend of riding. But, additionally, we wanted better feel from the front end, improved anti squat behavior and also a better handling. For this one we were given a free hand to make our brief, and I had some discussions with my boss, when they saw the number of tests we were making on the track. We said: “this doesn’t mean it will be worse for the street…we have to feel the limit to know if the frame, swingarm and rim stiffness is at a certain level where we feel what the tire is doing”. You can sometimes only make discoveries when you are at the maximum. 95 or even 99% is not enough. It has to be 100. For the future the work goes on and we continue to look at all aspects. We know the motorcycle is arriving to a really high level, but we noticed that we can improve the tire. The standard [Bridgestone] S22 had a problem with the torque-and-power ratio in combination with the low weight from the bike for getting the power to the ground when it started to slide; it was happening too quickly. So, we spoke with Bridgestone and that’s where Jeremy McWilliams was so good. He was able to explain to them that the contact patch was too small, and we didn’t have the grip we needed. We wanted a softer carcass and were given some prototypes and they worked. I remember one test where we used the old tire on the first day in dry conditions and when the bike accelerated hard out of a corner we were always experiencing a huge amount of slide. The following day it was wet and with the new tire the front end was lifting under the same acceleration from the same corner! There was more grip in wet conditions with the new tire than there had been with the old one in the dry! It was amazing how much the performance of the tire improved.
      PC @SebasRomero
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