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  1. Red Bull, KTM & MotoGP™: All in the ‘house’ Posted in Lifestyle, Racing We visit Red Bull’s vast Holzhaus in the MotoGPTM paddock and find out about the company’s aims and desires inside MotoGPTM … Red Bull emerged in MotoGPTM through Yamaha, several key athletes, an association with HRC, event sponsorship, Rookies Cups and finally emphatic presence in every Grand Prix class with Red Bull KTM. Today the Red Bull Energy Station ‘Holzhaus’ stands both as a subtle but monolithic presence in the MotoGPTM paddock and reflects the ambition and vision of both the company and KTM’s hunger for racing prestige. Red Bull Energy Station © Andreas Aufschnaiter/Red Bull Content Pool Walking into the Holzhaus is a little like entering the spacious and airy confines of a hotel. The wooded interior with strategically placed monitors, fridges and seating becomes more casual and less functional (but somehow also more exclusive) the further you rise through the three floors. A vast coffee bar greets the visitor once through the doors and past the showbike KTM. The 16 trucks needed to ship the 788m2 Holzhaus first rolled into the paddock in 2017. The catering/entertainment/business facility quickly became a reference for how Red Bull had grown into the sport. “We’ve come a long way in MotoGPTM and I think the series has been rising year after year in terms of relevance and perception by the public and as a brand we want to be involved in the top motorsports categories,” commented a senior Red Bull spokesperson during our visit and tour. “It is a no-brainer to be involved here. We really like this environment and it is accessible for us and enjoyable to work in as a brand, and for this reason the size of our presence in this paddock has been significantly growing.” Red Bull Energy Station © Andreas Aufschnaiter/Red Bull Content Pool Red Bull’s early biking roots were stamped hard in 2007 with the creation of the Rookies Cup; a filtering competition to Grand Prix that has already produced star talent like Johann Zarco, to name one athlete among many. The contest was backed by KTM and the Austrian link spread to Moto3 (the first title was won in 2012) and then Moto2 before completing the circle in 2017 with the KTM RC16 baptizing KTM’s intent on the premier class. The Holzhaus is the home for this ranging alliance. “For KTM and Red Bull in the paddock this is the central hub and from 2018 we are bringing all of our entities inside,” comments our guide. “It is a great way to give our friends and partners an experience of our engagement in MotoGPTM. This space speaks for us.” More than twenty staff appear to be permanently busy while guests eat and drink only meters away from mechanics, TV pundits and Grand Prix riders. Red Bull opened a lot of eyes in 2017 when the hospitality unit that is almost at F1 level (“I think the Formula One station is even a bit bigger but F1 teams are a bit bigger than MotoGPTM teams. I think this is two-thirds of the size.”) and requires three days to build and two to dismantle what was first erected. But it has expanded in terms of scale since. “Mainly because of the Rookies Cup,” we are told. “We used to have a second facility for them but as a matter of efficiency we brought them in here. When you consider we are feeding between 4-500 people each mealtime in different stages then it gives you an idea for the size of the operation and also puts it into perspective because it is a big building but when you consider the amount of people then it serves a good purpose.” Red Bull Energy Station © Andreas Aufschnaiter/Red Bull Content Pool We’re served a coffee and shown the rooftop terrace that again gives the Holzhaus that spotless and desirable ‘hotel’ feeling. There is a hint of luxury, the feeling of canteen downstairs and the sense that this is a sizeable pocket away from the oil, noise and engineering of the race bikes. Our hosts are quick to stress the versatility of the location. “I think you can see from the style and the layout that it is a multi-functional place for us in the paddock. We’ve hosted presentations, a team launch and more events in conjunction with [MotoGPTM rights holders] Dorna. There are many ways we can use it and KTM run media debriefs and we have big screens and multimedia. Our staff is also used to quickly changing the configuration as well.” Red Bull Energy Station © Andreas Aufschnaiter/Red Bull Content Pool Rumors circulated in the paddock of the millions needed to create and run the Holzhaus. It was therefore irresistible (if predictably futile!) to ask about a ballpark figure to make it all happen. “It is an investment!” is as close as we get. “Purely through the sheer size of it but also the quality we are trying to bring. What is important is that our product – the Red Bull energy drink – is something we use a lot on the premises and is part of the gastronomy occasions; and this is a gastronomy outlet and a pretty nice looking one! We try to make our products fit here; we are a premium product so we try to make the surroundings fit as well in a similar style and manner, that’s why we pay a lot of attention to the details and the setup.” Hiking the Holzhaus to at least ten of the nineteen MotoGPTM events in 2018 is no easy (or cheap) task. Is there a risk that it might not pay off in the short term? We’re met with a serious look. “Of course, if you build a facility like this then it is not just for one year so the plan is to use it for many years,” we’re informed. “For us it has been made as the home for Red Bull KTM but also for Red Bull and our guests. We are planning for the long-term and also developing it year-after-year. We are trying to maximize the facility and the space we get in the paddock from IRTA.” Wow, it might get even larger then. It already has a detachable terrace in some of the larger circuit areas. Red Bull KTM MotoGP Team Barcelona (ESP) 2018 © Markus Berger Importantly for bike racing the unit is a symbol for how a major lifestyle company wants to continue to support and back the sport. The Holzhaus might not appear in other motorcycle paddocks but it’s a statement for how Red Bull view two-wheeled competition across the board and for their synergy with KTM. “MotoGPTM has been expanding quite a lot in terms of viewership over the last few years. Motocross and Supercross in the States as well are both healthy sports. We are present in all the key motorcycling categories like MXGP with Red Bull KTM, Rally and Supercross. We try to find the strategy to be competitive in those series, especially because our competitors are very involved, particularly with the offroad side and they are very active with series sponsorships. So, we try to find our positions there and the relationship with KTM helps a lot and we have been winning many championships over the years.” As we descend the stairs and given a friendly farewell it’s not difficult to understand just how and why Red Bull KTM are rapidly progressing to the front of the Grand Prix grids. Photos: Andreas Aufschnaiter/Red Bull Content Pool | Markus Berger
  2. Chris Birch: 5 things I love about the KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R Enduro legend, riding coach and now KTM ADVENTURE ambassador, Chris Birch’s daily steed of choice is the KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R. Riding it constantly since its 2017 launch, the New Zealand resident spent 6000 offroad km last month so we quizzed him for his five favorite features on the most enduro of travel enduros. Chris Birch (NZL) © A. Barbanti Chris Birch is arguably the man responsible for showing the world the extreme possibilities and agility of the multi-cylinder KTM ADVENTUREs. He’s ridden them all; from 950 to 1290 and everything in between (including the upcoming KTM 790 ADVENTURE R) but his favorite of all time is the KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R. Last month, Chris clocked up an astonishing 6000 offroad riding kilometers on this bike, coaching schools all over the world, attending KTM ADVENTURE RALLIES in Australia, Sardinia and the United Kingdom and shooting this incredible Coastal Adventure video in his homeland of New Zealand. [embedded content] He’s also competed on the bike in the 2017 Hellas Rally; a seven-day navigation rally in Greece in which he cruised to the M5 (adventure bike) class victory and finishing an amazing sixth overall against more than 150 racers, competing mainly on 450 Rally machines. Having just added Wales to the list of countries he’s ridden the KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R in, alongside Peru, Italy, Ecuador, Panama, Japan, New Zealand, Indonesia, Canada, USA, Australia, Uruguay, Greece, and England, we sat down with Chris at the Sweetlamb complex at the KTM UK ADVENTURE RALLY and asked him for his five favorite features on the 1050cc orange-framed machine. From 1190 to 1090 … “Going from the 1190 R to the 1090 R, the latter was everything that I had needed to modify my 1190 R to be,” Chris tells us. “It was like KTM R&D listened to my every wish! Before I’d needed to change the wheels to stronger ones because I’d damage them, and the suspension was also improved, close to how I modify mine.” “With the stock bike now, all I do is add some flatter EXC bars to suit my standing position as I’m tall, I also use a clutch lever off a KTM 200 EXC as it is a bit shorter, fit some Mitas tires and re-valve the forks to make them firmer on their initial movement. The final thing is to drop it down a tooth on the front sprocket, which makes it really easy in the tight offroad sections and helps save my license on the road as the top speed is reduced!” Chris Birch (NZL) © C. Wood 1. The engine “The first thing when you have to talk about on a 1000cc plus motorcycle is the engine! I love how much torque it has got; you can really punch it up climbs and obstacles – like a trials bike! You can also be two or three gears wrong and it will just kinda work it all out for you.” “As for the ride modes, I leave my bike in street mode all the time and never change it. ‘Sport’ is a bit too aggressive for me and as for ‘Offroad’ without trying to sound like a dick, I like having the full 125hp all the time. The offroad mode is really good and a valuable tool for most people when riding this bike offroad, but I’m greedy for the power.” “Another reason I never change the ride modes as I like my bike to feel like it does all the time. Like, that’s what it will do and what happens when I crack the throttle in this situation. So, I really know how it will react because I’m so familiar with it. If I play around with the modes too much, it’s like learning three different bikes.” 2. Epic drifts “A combination of the chassis balance, suspension and engine performance I really love how this bike sits in a corner. My favorite thing to do on this bike is slide on a gravel road from corner to corner doing big, smooth drifts.” “All the wheelies and jumps and stuff are great for making videos and pictures, but if I’m going out just to play on it for me, I’ll be just going out to make big power slides from one corner to the next.” KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R © M. Chytka 3. Adaptability “It’s not really a feature as such, but it kinda is. But the most impressed I’ve ever been with the KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R was on a trip to Japan.” “I’d finished my first batch of riding schools and then my wife, Monica, flew in. We then put the luggage on and spent five days touring around Japan. When we got to the next riding venue, they had an enduro cross track there. So, I kicked her off the back along with the luggage and started riding the track. I could jump the doubles and clear the log matrix on the same bike we’d just been touring around on in complete comfort. That really, really impressed me.” 4. The range of use “I suppose it merges a little bit into the last feature in a way, but what I mean is the fact that I can leave my house and start having fun straight away; I don’t have to mess around by loading it on a trailer it or putting it in van.” “From my place, I can connect four of my favorite riding areas all into one loop. Which is really cool. When I leave Wales later, we’ll be looking to find some interesting routes back. It’s just a bike that makes you want to explore and it does that with ease – on and offroad.” KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R © M. Chytka 5. Noise “I love the way it sounds. I don’t rip the baffle out of the KTM PowerParts Akrapovič silencer or remove the catalytic converter, like some do. My bike isn’t particularly loud as I don’t want it particularly loud, but I really just love that LC8 twin-cylinder sounds in all situations. My daughter calls my 1090 R ‘Roary’ because when we go for a ride together and I give it some gas it’s the bike that says ‘roar’. So, I like it and she does too!” Photos: A. Barbanti | C. Wood | M. Chytka
  3. Chris Birch: 5 things I love about the KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R Enduro legend, riding coach and now KTM ADVENTURE ambassador, Chris Birch’s daily steed of choice is the KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R. Riding it constantly since its 2017 launch, the New Zealand resident spent 6000 offroad km last month so we quizzed him for his five favorite features on the most enduro of travel enduros. Chris Birch (NZL) © A. Barbanti Chris Birch is arguably the man responsible for showing the world the extreme possibilities and agility of the multi-cylinder KTM ADVENTUREs. He’s ridden them all; from 950 to 1290 and everything in between (including the upcoming KTM 790 ADVENTURE R) but his favorite of all time is the KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R. Last month, Chris clocked up an astonishing 6000 offroad riding kilometers on this bike, coaching schools all over the world, attending KTM ADVENTURE RALLIES in Australia, Sardinia and the United Kingdom and shooting this incredible Coastal Adventure video in his homeland of New Zealand. [embedded content] He’s also competed on the bike in the 2017 Hellas Rally; a seven-day navigation rally in Greece in which he cruised to the M5 (adventure bike) class victory and finishing an amazing sixth overall against more than 150 racers, competing mainly on 450 Rally machines. Having just added Wales to the list of countries he’s ridden the KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R in, alongside Peru, Italy, Ecuador, Panama, Japan, New Zealand, Indonesia, Canada, USA, Australia, Uruguay, Greece, and England, we sat down with Chris at the Sweetlamb complex at the KTM UK ADVENTURE RALLY and asked him for his five favorite features on the 1050cc orange-framed machine. From 1190 to 1090 … “Going from the 1190 R to the 1090 R, the latter was everything that I had needed to modify my 1190 R to be,” Chris tells us. “It was like KTM R&D listened to my every wish! Before I’d needed to change the wheels to stronger ones because I’d damage them, and the suspension was also improved, close to how I modify mine.” “With the stock bike now, all I do is add some flatter EXC bars to suit my standing position as I’m tall, I also use a clutch lever off a KTM 200 EXC as it is a bit shorter, fit some Mitas tires and re-valve the forks to make them firmer on their initial movement. The final thing is to drop it down a tooth on the front sprocket, which makes it really easy in the tight offroad sections and helps save my license on the road as the top speed is reduced!” Chris Birch (NZL) © C. Wood 1. The engine “The first thing when you have to talk about on a 1000cc plus motorcycle is the engine! I love how much torque it has got; you can really punch it up climbs and obstacles – like a trials bike! You can also be two or three gears wrong and it will just kinda work it all out for you.” “As for the ride modes, I leave my bike in street mode all the time and never change it. ‘Sport’ is a bit too aggressive for me and as for ‘Offroad’ without trying to sound like a dick, I like having the full 125hp all the time. The offroad mode is really good and a valuable tool for most people when riding this bike offroad, but I’m greedy for the power.” “Another reason I never change the ride modes as I like my bike to feel like it does all the time. Like, that’s what it will do and what happens when I crack the throttle in this situation. So, I really know how it will react because I’m so familiar with it. If I play around with the modes too much, it’s like learning three different bikes.” 2. Epic drifts “A combination of the chassis balance, suspension and engine performance I really love how this bike sits in a corner. My favorite thing to do on this bike is slide on a gravel road from corner to corner doing big, smooth drifts.” “All the wheelies and jumps and stuff are great for making videos and pictures, but if I’m going out just to play on it for me, I’ll be just going out to make big power slides from one corner to the next.” KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R © M. Chytka 3. Adaptability “It’s not really a feature as such, but it kinda is. But the most impressed I’ve ever been with the KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R was on a trip to Japan.” “I’d finished my first batch of riding schools and then my wife, Monica, flew in. We then put the luggage on and spent five days touring around Japan. When we got to the next riding venue, they had an enduro cross track there. So, I kicked her off the back along with the luggage and started riding the track. I could jump the doubles and clear the log matrix on the same bike we’d just been touring around on in complete comfort. That really, really impressed me.” 4. The range of use “I suppose it merges a little bit into the last feature in a way, but what I mean is the fact that I can leave my house and start having fun straight away; I don’t have to mess around by loading it on a trailer it or putting it in van.” “From my place, I can connect four of my favorite riding areas all into one loop. Which is really cool. When I leave Wales later, we’ll be looking to find some interesting routes back. It’s just a bike that makes you want to explore and it does that with ease – on and offroad.” KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R © M. Chytka 5. Noise “I love the way it sounds. I don’t rip the baffle out of the KTM PowerParts Akrapovič silencer or remove the catalytic converter, like some do. My bike isn’t particularly loud as I don’t want it particularly loud, but I really just love that LC8 twin-cylinder sounds in all situations. My daughter calls my 1090 R ‘Roary’ because when we go for a ride together and I give it some gas it’s the bike that says ‘roar’. So, I like it and she does too!” Photos: A. Barbanti | C. Wood | M. Chytka
  4. ktm Drifting

    Drifting Spectacular drifts, dust, show: Motorrad Magazine racer Yasmin Poppenreiter and her KTM 450 SX-F defend the honor of the motorcycle on the dirt track against former rally world champion Andreas Aigner in a Mazda MX-5 RF. © www.kurtpinter.com Dirt track racing is booming, and not just in the USA, where the spectacular flat track races in the oval are as popular as a juicy burger with onion rings. The rest of the world is also slowly becoming aware of how exciting, action-packed and enjoyable to watch this sport is. Not only that, everyone gets to take home a free souvenir: a layer of dust on their clothes and hats: all part and parcel of getting up close and personal with the world of motorsport. The Austrian star of the flat track in recent years is more than just a pretty face: Yasmin Poppenreiter, 24, is not only taking part in her fifth season of flat track racing, she also has a number of wins to show for it. Last year she won the Austrian Motorsport Federation (AMF) trophy. As there is no official national championship, this trophy is considered the unofficial title. It’s worth mentioning Yasmin does not compete in a women’s class, but instead against men, who get just as lost in her trail of dust as the spectators. Yasmin, who has been a part of the Motorrad Magazine Racing Team since last year, has already got to the top ten in the world championships. That meant it was time for a new challenge, which Motorrad Magazine provided by organizing this head-to-head. “What do you think about competing against a car in a flat track competition?” we asked her. “Any time,” she responded, full of enthusiasm as through as though her sights were already trained on the apex of the corner. What we didn’t tell her was the name of her opponent: 33-year old Austrian Andi Aigner. If anyone knows how to drift without any unnecessary seconds off the clock, it’s him. Andi, who hails from Styria in southern Austria, gained his first rally world championship title in the near-standard class ten years ago, with race wins in Argentina, Greece and Turkey: none of which are known for their lack of dust! © www.kurtpinter.com We chose a Mazda MX-5 RF as Andi’s racing vehicle for a number of reasons, most importantly so that we could create as much of a level playing field as possible. It had to be rear-wheel drive and the MX-5 is not exactly a monster, even in its most powerful configuration with 160 HP, but its excellent balance, sporty straightforwardness and above all its low weight at just 1130 kilos combine to make an exciting package. The only concession: at the request of the rally champion we fitted winter tires for better traction on the gravel. Yasmin’s racing machine was also near-standard. Based on a KTM 450 SX-F, the chassis was shortened, and the handlebars raised. 19-inch wheels with special dirt track tires were also fitted to the bike. Oh yes, one more thing: the front brakes are removed for dirt track racing. No need for brakes when you’re thundering towards a corner on a 68 HP, 100 kilo READY TO RACE machine at 160 kilometers an hour. This is not for the faint-hearted. © www.kurtpinter.com The showdown drew closer. We found ourselves at the Speedway Arena Eggendorf, run by the ÖAMTC-Zweigverein Wiener Neustadt, an affiliated society of the Austrian car, motorcycle and touring club (ÖAMTC). The 300 meter long track regularly hosts races with training runs every Saturday! The conditions were perfect, the sky was blue, the sun was out. Excitement was shining as brightly as the sun in Yasmin’s eyes. But Andi and the Mazda MX-5 RF got to go first. They took it in turns to race, as the stones kicked up by Yasmin’s rear wheel would damage the Mazda’s pristine paintwork. Andi was allowed to do three laps, then another three (flying) laps against the clock. Even just the first few corners were breathtaking – Andi saw precisely the line he needed to take, stones flying out behind him as he hurtled round the track in the Mazda MX-5. Yasmin seemed skeptical. Then the lap times came in. There was a difference of only 40 hundredths of a second between the laps, the best time being 17.69 seconds. The former world champion summarized the experience: “The Mazda really surprised me, it drove much better than I expected, with much more traction. I had excellent drift control as the conditions were ideal for how the MX-5 handles. The precise, direct steering also helped a lot. And as for the power– it was more than sufficient, you wouldn’t be able to use more here anyway.” © www.kurtpinter.com Now it was Yasmin’s turn. The KTM single roared into life, then sank its teeth into the oval. Anyone standing too close to the track at the exit of the bend would have well-advised to put a helmet on too – that’s how far the gravel was flying as Yasmin twisted the throttle. Just watching was enough to take your breath away, especially when she slid into the bends, pushing herself and the bike to the limit. But, the only thing that mattered here was time: Yasmin also clocked fairly constant times, but her best time – 19.24 – was still a good way behind Andi in the Mazda. “The track is too dry,” claimed Yasmin, equally as drily. Second attempt. Hanson Schruf quickly dispatched the sprinkler vehicle for a turn round the course to dampen the track, that up to then bore close comparison with the Atacama Desert. © www.kurtpinter.com So, the process started over, with Andi going first again. He posted very similar times, as there was not that much room for improvement to begin with. It was a different story for Yasmin, however. She easily turned the better adhesion on the track into faster times – and ultimately clocked a phenomenal lap of 17.92 seconds. A mere 23 hundredths of a second behind Andi Aigner in the Mazda MX-5. Merely the blink of an eye. With a twinkle in his eye, Andi celebrated his win in this unusual head-to-head: “I’ve taken part in a couple of head-to-heads between cars and bikes – this is the first that I’ve won on four wheels,” the event manager and freelance ÖAMTC driving instructor grinned. “It was close,” laughed Yasmin. “We’ll take the front brakes out of the Mazda next time to make sure it’s really an even contest. Then we’ll see who’s faster!” [embedded content] Photos: www.kurtpinter.com Video: www.motorrad-magazin.at
  5. Drifting

    Drifting Spectacular drifts, dust, show: Motorrad Magazine racer Yasmin Poppenreiter and her KTM 450 SX-F defend the honor of the motorcycle on the dirt track against former rally world champion Andreas Aigner in a Mazda MX-5 RF. © www.kurtpinter.com Dirt track racing is booming, and not just in the USA, where the spectacular flat track races in the oval are as popular as a juicy burger with onion rings. The rest of the world is also slowly becoming aware of how exciting, action-packed and enjoyable to watch this sport is. Not only that, everyone gets to take home a free souvenir: a layer of dust on their clothes and hats: all part and parcel of getting up close and personal with the world of motorsport. The Austrian star of the flat track in recent years is more than just a pretty face: Yasmin Poppenreiter, 24, is not only taking part in her fifth season of flat track racing, she also has a number of wins to show for it. Last year she won the Austrian Motorsport Federation (AMF) trophy. As there is no official national championship, this trophy is considered the unofficial title. It’s worth mentioning Yasmin does not compete in a women’s class, but instead against men, who get just as lost in her trail of dust as the spectators. Yasmin, who has been a part of the Motorrad Magazine Racing Team since last year, has already got to the top ten in the world championships. That meant it was time for a new challenge, which Motorrad Magazine provided by organizing this head-to-head. “What do you think about competing against a car in a flat track competition?” we asked her. “Any time,” she responded, full of enthusiasm as through as though her sights were already trained on the apex of the corner. What we didn’t tell her was the name of her opponent: 33-year old Austrian Andi Aigner. If anyone knows how to drift without any unnecessary seconds off the clock, it’s him. Andi, who hails from Styria in southern Austria, gained his first rally world championship title in the near-standard class ten years ago, with race wins in Argentina, Greece and Turkey: none of which are known for their lack of dust! © www.kurtpinter.com We chose a Mazda MX-5 RF as Andi’s racing vehicle for a number of reasons, most importantly so that we could create as much of a level playing field as possible. It had to be rear-wheel drive and the MX-5 is not exactly a monster, even in its most powerful configuration with 160 HP, but its excellent balance, sporty straightforwardness and above all its low weight at just 1130 kilos combine to make an exciting package. The only concession: at the request of the rally champion we fitted winter tires for better traction on the gravel. Yasmin’s racing machine was also near-standard. Based on a KTM 450 SX-F, the chassis was shortened, and the handlebars raised. 19-inch wheels with special dirt track tires were also fitted to the bike. Oh yes, one more thing: the front brakes are removed for dirt track racing. No need for brakes when you’re thundering towards a corner on a 68 HP, 100 kilo READY TO RACE machine at 160 kilometers an hour. This is not for the faint-hearted. © www.kurtpinter.com The showdown drew closer. We found ourselves at the Speedway Arena Eggendorf, run by the ÖAMTC-Zweigverein Wiener Neustadt, an affiliated society of the Austrian car, motorcycle and touring club (ÖAMTC). The 300 meter long track regularly hosts races with training runs every Saturday! The conditions were perfect, the sky was blue, the sun was out. Excitement was shining as brightly as the sun in Yasmin’s eyes. But Andi and the Mazda MX-5 RF got to go first. They took it in turns to race, as the stones kicked up by Yasmin’s rear wheel would damage the Mazda’s pristine paintwork. Andi was allowed to do three laps, then another three (flying) laps against the clock. Even just the first few corners were breathtaking – Andi saw precisely the line he needed to take, stones flying out behind him as he hurtled round the track in the Mazda MX-5. Yasmin seemed skeptical. Then the lap times came in. There was a difference of only 40 hundredths of a second between the laps, the best time being 17.69 seconds. The former world champion summarized the experience: “The Mazda really surprised me, it drove much better than I expected, with much more traction. I had excellent drift control as the conditions were ideal for how the MX-5 handles. The precise, direct steering also helped a lot. And as for the power– it was more than sufficient, you wouldn’t be able to use more here anyway.” © www.kurtpinter.com Now it was Yasmin’s turn. The KTM single roared into life, then sank its teeth into the oval. Anyone standing too close to the track at the exit of the bend would have well-advised to put a helmet on too – that’s how far the gravel was flying as Yasmin twisted the throttle. Just watching was enough to take your breath away, especially when she slid into the bends, pushing herself and the bike to the limit. But, the only thing that mattered here was time: Yasmin also clocked fairly constant times, but her best time – 19.24 – was still a good way behind Andi in the Mazda. “The track is too dry,” claimed Yasmin, equally as drily. Second attempt. Hanson Schruf quickly dispatched the sprinkler vehicle for a turn round the course to dampen the track, that up to then bore close comparison with the Atacama Desert. © www.kurtpinter.com So, the process started over, with Andi going first again. He posted very similar times, as there was not that much room for improvement to begin with. It was a different story for Yasmin, however. She easily turned the better adhesion on the track into faster times – and ultimately clocked a phenomenal lap of 17.92 seconds. A mere 23 hundredths of a second behind Andi Aigner in the Mazda MX-5. Merely the blink of an eye. With a twinkle in his eye, Andi celebrated his win in this unusual head-to-head: “I’ve taken part in a couple of head-to-heads between cars and bikes – this is the first that I’ve won on four wheels,” the event manager and freelance ÖAMTC driving instructor grinned. “It was close,” laughed Yasmin. “We’ll take the front brakes out of the Mazda next time to make sure it’s really an even contest. Then we’ll see who’s faster!” [embedded content] Photos: www.kurtpinter.com Video: www.motorrad-magazin.at
  6. Model / an KTM ?

    Salut, As vrea sa cumpar un KTM, dar proprietarul nu stie ce model e sau din ce an si are o singura poza momentan (pe care o atasez). Intrebarea mea este daca isi poate da cineva seama ce model este si anul aproximativ. Poza nu este intoarsa sau modificata in vre-un fel. Toba este pe partea stanga prinsa cu banda adeziva. Lantul este pe partea dreapta si frana spate pe partea stanga. Tot ce stie proprietarul momentan este ca KTM-ul este de 250 in 2t. Nu sunt sigur daca e asa, dar este singura informatie pe care o are. Nu are motorul la indemana dar cand poate imi va trimite mai multe poze. Mie imi arata a KTM MX din 1990 sau ceva asemanator. Problema este ca MX nu gasesc decat de 125. Multumesc anticipat.
  7. ktm The adventure never ends

    The adventure never ends The KTM BLOG takes a look back at the second ever European KTM ADVENTURE RALLY when 150 hardcore KTM ADVENTURE riders descended on the island of Sardinia at the end of June. The event also featured the first qualifying event for the Ultimate Race, a preview of the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R and we discovered why the wheels for this event will always keep turning. © C. Wood The sun may have set on the second annual European KTM ADVENTURE RALLY and the island fallen quiet from the rumble of LC8 engines, but the memories and friendships made in Sardinia will last a lifetime. Journeying there from as far as Columbia and Russia, the beautiful Italian island didn’t disappoint the 150 hardcore KTM ADVENTURE riders from 24 nations who attended. Sure, there were crashes, broken bikes, injured pilots and navigational errors, but just outside the town of Olbia a new community was formed who rallied around each other, supporting its brothers and sisters with fixing tires, helping them get their bike through a technical stage or simply fetching them a beer from the bar at the end of a long day. And then pushing them into the swimming pool … Over three main days of riding, 13 groups of riders spread out in combinations of ability and discipline to explore and tackle the winding trails and breathtaking roads in the north of the island. When each rider returned and checked in at the ‘Home Base’ at the Geovillage complex, beneath the dust-covered and often sweaty faces at the end of each day were big smiles and even bigger stories to tell over a well-earned cold one. © C. Wood As well as water, beer, Red Bull and shade from the sun, the ‘Home Base’ was the central hub of information for riders and provided a place to work on bikes with support from KTM mechanics, a tire purchase and changing facility from Continental and a retail presence for KTM PowerParts and KTM PowerWear from the Alghero-based KTM dealer, Travaglini Motori. Language barriers and age gaps – riders from 20 to 60 years of age participated – didn’t prevent these individual offroad and street groups from soon forming strong bonds. Within the group instructions, timings, photos, videos were shared and sometimes locations at the event are still pinging with updates from riders taking the long route home as part of a holiday, sharing awesome riding routes or planning the next adventure. Led by KTM staff and local expert guides, the offroad routes covered on average 150 kilometers per day across the three days. With the only rain on the island reserved for the street groups (blamed on the British tour guide …), even the straightforward hot and dusty trails created a challenge. Regular stops were needed for water, breathers, photo opportunities, fixing punctures, avoiding the wildlife (tortoises, mainly) and for the incredible lunch venues. © C. Wood The street groups were treated to arguable the most incredible riding to be found in Europe. Averaging 350 kilometers per day, away from the coastal routes the roads provided a quiet playground for the street-tire shod LC8 powered machines as they took advantage of the grippy surface and breathtaking surroundings. Word soon spread about the quality of the road riding and for the final day, knobblies were swapped for street tires by some offroad riders and a third road group quickly formed. Peter Ziegler, responsible for social media and community projects at KTM, was core to the planning of the event. “We know that our KTM ADVENTURE-riding customers are a special type of rider with high demands on how they want to use their machines. But from the feedback we’ve had, we delivered on that with the trails and street rides offered here and it’s great to see the bikes being used exactly how KTM intended and at the same time seeing new friendships formed. I’m not sure how we better this next year!” ULTIMATE RACE Aside from just the chance to explore the island on different terrains, the European KTM ADVENTURE RALLY also provided the first round of Qualifying for the Ultimate Race. If you don’t know what that is, check out this video … [embedded content] But this ‘event within the event’ will happen at each of the six KTM ADVENTURE RALLIES, which take place in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada and USA. The top two from each qualifying event riding a twin cylinder KTM ADVENTURE bike will be given the opportunity to compete at Merzouga in the Ultimate Race. The scale of this prize is huge as it is fully supported with flights, accommodation, entry, bike, race service and more by KTM; the winners will not be disappointed. They will also enjoy coaching from some of the world’s finest and fastest bike athletes, with Quinn Cody and Chris Birch. For such a big prize the competition will be tough. Across four days in Sardinia, Ultimate Race hopefuls had to compete in special challenges. Riding wise, it wasn’t just about outright speed as technique on and off the bike was tested. Orientation and navigational challenges were also thrown down, mental and physical strength pushed as well as the ability to fix a bike in the field. At the end of the qualifying, Sebastian Blum, Germany, was the winner followed up by Stefano Sassaro from Italy to book their place at the Merzouga Rally in 2019. After winning, Sebastian Blum said: “I was a hard enduro rider who discovered adventure riding to be able see and travel to offroad terrain not normally accessible. I was 100% sure I wanted to attend the KTM ADVENTURE RALLY because I wanted to see the tracks in Sardinia. I had everything prepared so I was also ready to participate in the Ultimate Race and it was a lot of fun. It’s a dream for any enduro or adventure rider to try a rally and I want to see how high I can come at Merzouga.” © C. Wood ADVENTURE: A NEW PATH Fresh from the Australian KTM ADVENTURE RALLY, New Zealand’s Chris Birch was on hand as KTM’s ADVENTURE ambassador and rider coach for the KTM Ultimate Race. Another big reason for Chris to be in Sardinia was to give the 150 KTM ADVENTURE-owning attendees at the rally an exclusive first public introduction of the upcoming KTM 790 ADVENTURE R – a break from traditional as it is usually journalists who get the first look at new bikes! Despite being an all-black prototype version with some rough edges as the bike is still in its development process, the potential was clear to be seen as Birch rode it in anger on multiple days of the Rally on the enduro track and on the many trails before being formally introduced in a presentation with a question and answer session afterwards. “I felt like I was cheating on my KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R by riding the new KTM 790 ADVENTURE R!”, Chris Birch says seriously. “I can’t say too much about the bike at the moment as KTM are still in the development process, but this isn’t a bike to replace the KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R or KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE R but further boost their ADVENTURE range. It rides completely different, but the chassis is very capable and feels incredibly light.” “It’s a lot of fun and the engine is real peach. Personally, I have to ride it a different way to the KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R, but I think for a lot of people the low seat h and easy maneuverability will make this popular with riders who want to start growing their offroad ability and still have a great touring machine. I can’t wait for the finished product arriving next year.” © A. Barbanti And it seemed that feeling was echoed by many of the other riders in attendance who scrabbled to sit on the bike or take a photo of it. Stay tuned for more information in November at the EICMA event in Milan … So, not exactly a relaxing holiday, but the 2018 European KTM ADVENTURE RALLY provided incredible riding set against stunning scenery, an exclusive look at a future KTM model, the chance to improve riding and maintenance skills and the opportunity to win a fantastic, once-in-a-lifetime prize. Every time the attendees put on their official t-shirt from the event or they receive a message from a fellow member they will remember these unforgettable experiences. The memories they shared with fellow ´orange bleeders´ will raise a smile as well as thoughts on where the next adventure will take place. © A. Barbanti Photos: Chippy Wood | Alessio Barbanti Video: Eros Girotti/Filmer Force Productions
  8. The adventure never ends

    The adventure never ends The KTM BLOG takes a look back at the second ever European KTM ADVENTURE RALLY when 150 hardcore KTM ADVENTURE riders descended on the island of Sardinia at the end of June. The event also featured the first qualifying event for the Ultimate Race, a preview of the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R and we discovered why the wheels for this event will always keep turning. © C. Wood The sun may have set on the second annual European KTM ADVENTURE RALLY and the island fallen quiet from the rumble of LC8 engines, but the memories and friendships made in Sardinia will last a lifetime. Journeying there from as far as Columbia and Russia, the beautiful Italian island didn’t disappoint the 150 hardcore KTM ADVENTURE riders from 24 nations who attended. Sure, there were crashes, broken bikes, injured pilots and navigational errors, but just outside the town of Olbia a new community was formed who rallied around each other, supporting its brothers and sisters with fixing tires, helping them get their bike through a technical stage or simply fetching them a beer from the bar at the end of a long day. And then pushing them into the swimming pool … Over three main days of riding, 13 groups of riders spread out in combinations of ability and discipline to explore and tackle the winding trails and breathtaking roads in the north of the island. When each rider returned and checked in at the ‘Home Base’ at the Geovillage complex, beneath the dust-covered and often sweaty faces at the end of each day were big smiles and even bigger stories to tell over a well-earned cold one. © C. Wood As well as water, beer, Red Bull and shade from the sun, the ‘Home Base’ was the central hub of information for riders and provided a place to work on bikes with support from KTM mechanics, a tire purchase and changing facility from Continental and a retail presence for KTM PowerParts and KTM PowerWear from the Alghero-based KTM dealer, Travaglini Motori. Language barriers and age gaps – riders from 20 to 60 years of age participated – didn’t prevent these individual offroad and street groups from soon forming strong bonds. Within the group instructions, timings, photos, videos were shared and sometimes locations at the event are still pinging with updates from riders taking the long route home as part of a holiday, sharing awesome riding routes or planning the next adventure. Led by KTM staff and local expert guides, the offroad routes covered on average 150 kilometers per day across the three days. With the only rain on the island reserved for the street groups (blamed on the British tour guide …), even the straightforward hot and dusty trails created a challenge. Regular stops were needed for water, breathers, photo opportunities, fixing punctures, avoiding the wildlife (tortoises, mainly) and for the incredible lunch venues. © C. Wood The street groups were treated to arguable the most incredible riding to be found in Europe. Averaging 350 kilometers per day, away from the coastal routes the roads provided a quiet playground for the street-tire shod LC8 powered machines as they took advantage of the grippy surface and breathtaking surroundings. Word soon spread about the quality of the road riding and for the final day, knobblies were swapped for street tires by some offroad riders and a third road group quickly formed. Peter Ziegler, responsible for social media and community projects at KTM, was core to the planning of the event. “We know that our KTM ADVENTURE-riding customers are a special type of rider with high demands on how they want to use their machines. But from the feedback we’ve had, we delivered on that with the trails and street rides offered here and it’s great to see the bikes being used exactly how KTM intended and at the same time seeing new friendships formed. I’m not sure how we better this next year!” ULTIMATE RACE Aside from just the chance to explore the island on different terrains, the European KTM ADVENTURE RALLY also provided the first round of Qualifying for the Ultimate Race. If you don’t know what that is, check out this video … [embedded content] But this ‘event within the event’ will happen at each of the six KTM ADVENTURE RALLIES, which take place in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada and USA. The top two from each qualifying event riding a twin cylinder KTM ADVENTURE bike will be given the opportunity to compete at Merzouga in the Ultimate Race. The scale of this prize is huge as it is fully supported with flights, accommodation, entry, bike, race service and more by KTM; the winners will not be disappointed. They will also enjoy coaching from some of the world’s finest and fastest bike athletes, with Quinn Cody and Chris Birch. For such a big prize the competition will be tough. Across four days in Sardinia, Ultimate Race hopefuls had to compete in special challenges. Riding wise, it wasn’t just about outright speed as technique on and off the bike was tested. Orientation and navigational challenges were also thrown down, mental and physical strength pushed as well as the ability to fix a bike in the field. At the end of the qualifying, Sebastian Blum, Germany, was the winner followed up by Stefano Sassaro from Italy to book their place at the Merzouga Rally in 2019. After winning, Sebastian Blum said: “I was a hard enduro rider who discovered adventure riding to be able see and travel to offroad terrain not normally accessible. I was 100% sure I wanted to attend the KTM ADVENTURE RALLY because I wanted to see the tracks in Sardinia. I had everything prepared so I was also ready to participate in the Ultimate Race and it was a lot of fun. It’s a dream for any enduro or adventure rider to try a rally and I want to see how high I can come at Merzouga.” © C. Wood ADVENTURE: A NEW PATH Fresh from the Australian KTM ADVENTURE RALLY, New Zealand’s Chris Birch was on hand as KTM’s ADVENTURE ambassador and rider coach for the KTM Ultimate Race. Another big reason for Chris to be in Sardinia was to give the 150 KTM ADVENTURE-owning attendees at the rally an exclusive first public introduction of the upcoming KTM 790 ADVENTURE R – a break from traditional as it is usually journalists who get the first look at new bikes! Despite being an all-black prototype version with some rough edges as the bike is still in its development process, the potential was clear to be seen as Birch rode it in anger on multiple days of the Rally on the enduro track and on the many trails before being formally introduced in a presentation with a question and answer session afterwards. “I felt like I was cheating on my KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R by riding the new KTM 790 ADVENTURE R!”, Chris Birch says seriously. “I can’t say too much about the bike at the moment as KTM are still in the development process, but this isn’t a bike to replace the KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R or KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE R but further boost their ADVENTURE range. It rides completely different, but the chassis is very capable and feels incredibly light.” “It’s a lot of fun and the engine is real peach. Personally, I have to ride it a different way to the KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R, but I think for a lot of people the low seat h and easy maneuverability will make this popular with riders who want to start growing their offroad ability and still have a great touring machine. I can’t wait for the finished product arriving next year.” © A. Barbanti And it seemed that feeling was echoed by many of the other riders in attendance who scrabbled to sit on the bike or take a photo of it. Stay tuned for more information in November at the EICMA event in Milan … So, not exactly a relaxing holiday, but the 2018 European KTM ADVENTURE RALLY provided incredible riding set against stunning scenery, an exclusive look at a future KTM model, the chance to improve riding and maintenance skills and the opportunity to win a fantastic, once-in-a-lifetime prize. Every time the attendees put on their official t-shirt from the event or they receive a message from a fellow member they will remember these unforgettable experiences. The memories they shared with fellow ´orange bleeders´ will raise a smile as well as thoughts on where the next adventure will take place. © A. Barbanti Photos: Chippy Wood | Alessio Barbanti Video: Eros Girotti/Filmer Force Productions
  9. 5 mins to talk the future of KTM motocross bikes We put KTM Product Manager Offroad Joachim Sauer on the spot about where the SX range could head in the future. Electronics? Electric? Perfectionism? Confusing. At the launch of their 2019 SX range the KTM engineers and project leaders spoke about how the newest motocross machines were close to “optimum” and the performance and design of the bikes represented something of a creative peak for the R&D department. At the same time as the 2019 machinery was being warmed up and taken to the track by journalists and testers for the first time, KTM Product Manager Offroad Joachim Sauer admitted that work was fully underway for the next generation! Joachim Sauer (GER) © Sebas Romero/Marco Campelli The reviews and innovations of the 2019 SXs have been predictably outstanding. Rather than asking Sauer to wax lyrical about the edges, trims and steps-forward that KTM have made we decided to grill him about where the range can really move next. The catalog already boasts a segment-leading power-to-weight ratio, and handling on the KTM 450 SX-F in particular has never been stronger. In truth it must be a hard search for Sauer and his crew. How do you improve a selection of products that are already hitting operational hs? The portfolio might involve six bikes between 125-450cc and 2-stroke to 4-stroke so there is still scope for discovering and thought but KTM have been relentless in their search of gains with each model (a priority for the 2-strokes was even to reduce vibration further). We suggest the SXs are becoming like the latest iPhones: it is becoming trickier and trickier to find significant ways to raise the bar. Sauer raises an eyebrow but does not disagree. © Sebas Romero/Marco Campelli So, to get a deeper understanding of what the future of SX models could look like, we asked Sauer for some answers … Jochi, it feels like it must be more difficult than ever to make progress with the SXs … “This is exactly the problem. We work very closely with racing and the professional guys – we are READY TO RACE after all – and even if you ask the MXGP riders ‘what do we change next?’ they cannot really give you an answer. Instead you need to make a suggestion. If you go with a longer, shorter or lighter frame then it is hard to predict whether they will like it. I think today there is no real direction in which way we can go because I think we are really close to perfect.” So, does the future means something more radical? “We will stick to our concept. We won’t turn the cylinder around or something like that. We think our concept now is very good and I don’t see any radical changes in the near future. We are already working on the next generation and tests have been going on for a year. Such a project has to be finished far ahead of the launch. It is a lot of detail work to find out where we can go with the frame and inside the same concept. There are a lot of ideas coming in and we have a lot thanks to a close co-operation with the MotoGPTM department and their influence is coming into motocross. There is some space to improve, but today I don’t see much need to improve.” As engineers is it difficult to slow down or stand still? “Our guys never stand still and they always have ideas and things to try. There will be another generation of SX and it will be another step forward. We have enough time to do another intense development and we have a very experienced crew in combination with motorsport. You need to have a super-competitive bike for motorsport but it should also be rideable and usable for an amateur and to find this balance is always a challenge but we have experience with that.” KTM 450 SX-F © R.Schedl/KTM Does the future of motocross bikes involve more electronics? “In this field there will be more and more … but right now the FIM doesn’t allow too much electronics in competition. We are working on the next evolution of the EMS system and in general there are thoughts about ride by wire so we don’t have a throttle cable any more … but the FIM doesn’t allow it yet. If all the companies convince the FIM this is the future then I’m sure we’ll see it eventually. Also, I think electronics with suspension could be something of the future. So far everything has kept quite traditional when it comes to motocross.” What would be the benefits of ride by wire in motocross? “You can control the power delivery much better. If you open to full throttle then the bike accelerates according to traction and so on. We use maps now but we are not as free as we would be with ride by wire. You’d be able to have real traction control for instance, but I don’t know if it is necessary for motocross but it could be an option or you could put a switch that avoids any slip. There are so many options. As KTM have a wide range of bikes in many fields and we are working on that stuff and if the guys believe there would be a benefit for motocross then we hope the rules might one day change to permit that.” Is the technology and knowledge in MotoGPTM helping with this area? “Yeah, absolutely. Not just in electronics but in data recording and then getting a result out of that recording. There is no point in having heaps of data if you cannot read and interpret them. There is a lot of feedback coming from MotoGPTM.” KTM 450 SX-F © R.Schedl/KTM Overall does electronics swallow a lot of budget? Can it really be cost-effective with MX? “I don’t see ride by wire coming in five years but I’m 100% sure that within ten years there will be no throttle cable any more. In ten years there might not be any noise either. It is something we have to face. The electric department will come more into the game for motocross in the mid-term future. So far offroad is not ready yet. As soon as the car industry really moves ahead then motorcycles will follow. There will be a certain delay, but it will happen.” Photos: Sebas Romero | Marco Campelli | R.Schedl/KTM
  10. 5 mins to talk the future of KTM motocross bikes

    5 mins to talk the future of KTM motocross bikes We put KTM Product Manager Offroad Joachim Sauer on the spot about where the SX range could head in the future. Electronics? Electric? Perfectionism? Confusing. At the launch of their 2019 SX range the KTM engineers and project leaders spoke about how the newest motocross machines were close to “optimum” and the performance and design of the bikes represented something of a creative peak for the R&D department. At the same time as the 2019 machinery was being warmed up and taken to the track by journalists and testers for the first time, KTM Product Manager Offroad Joachim Sauer admitted that work was fully underway for the next generation! Joachim Sauer (GER) © Sebas Romero/Marco Campelli The reviews and innovations of the 2019 SXs have been predictably outstanding. Rather than asking Sauer to wax lyrical about the edges, trims and steps-forward that KTM have made we decided to grill him about where the range can really move next. The catalog already boasts a segment-leading power-to-weight ratio, and handling on the KTM 450 SX-F in particular has never been stronger. In truth it must be a hard search for Sauer and his crew. How do you improve a selection of products that are already hitting operational hs? The portfolio might involve six bikes between 125-450cc and 2-stroke to 4-stroke so there is still scope for discovering and thought but KTM have been relentless in their search of gains with each model (a priority for the 2-strokes was even to reduce vibration further). We suggest the SXs are becoming like the latest iPhones: it is becoming trickier and trickier to find significant ways to raise the bar. Sauer raises an eyebrow but does not disagree. © Sebas Romero/Marco Campelli So, to get a deeper understanding of what the future of SX models could look like, we asked Sauer for some answers … Jochi, it feels like it must be more difficult than ever to make progress with the SXs … “This is exactly the problem. We work very closely with racing and the professional guys – we are READY TO RACE after all – and even if you ask the MXGP riders ‘what do we change next?’ they cannot really give you an answer. Instead you need to make a suggestion. If you go with a longer, shorter or lighter frame then it is hard to predict whether they will like it. I think today there is no real direction in which way we can go because I think we are really close to perfect.” So, does the future means something more radical? “We will stick to our concept. We won’t turn the cylinder around or something like that. We think our concept now is very good and I don’t see any radical changes in the near future. We are already working on the next generation and tests have been going on for a year. Such a project has to be finished far ahead of the launch. It is a lot of detail work to find out where we can go with the frame and inside the same concept. There are a lot of ideas coming in and we have a lot thanks to a close co-operation with the MotoGPTM department and their influence is coming into motocross. There is some space to improve, but today I don’t see much need to improve.” As engineers is it difficult to slow down or stand still? “Our guys never stand still and they always have ideas and things to try. There will be another generation of SX and it will be another step forward. We have enough time to do another intense development and we have a very experienced crew in combination with motorsport. You need to have a super-competitive bike for motorsport but it should also be rideable and usable for an amateur and to find this balance is always a challenge but we have experience with that.” KTM 450 SX-F © R.Schedl/KTM Does the future of motocross bikes involve more electronics? “In this field there will be more and more … but right now the FIM doesn’t allow too much electronics in competition. We are working on the next evolution of the EMS system and in general there are thoughts about ride by wire so we don’t have a throttle cable any more … but the FIM doesn’t allow it yet. If all the companies convince the FIM this is the future then I’m sure we’ll see it eventually. Also, I think electronics with suspension could be something of the future. So far everything has kept quite traditional when it comes to motocross.” What would be the benefits of ride by wire in motocross? “You can control the power delivery much better. If you open to full throttle then the bike accelerates according to traction and so on. We use maps now but we are not as free as we would be with ride by wire. You’d be able to have real traction control for instance, but I don’t know if it is necessary for motocross but it could be an option or you could put a switch that avoids any slip. There are so many options. As KTM have a wide range of bikes in many fields and we are working on that stuff and if the guys believe there would be a benefit for motocross then we hope the rules might one day change to permit that.” Is the technology and knowledge in MotoGPTM helping with this area? “Yeah, absolutely. Not just in electronics but in data recording and then getting a result out of that recording. There is no point in having heaps of data if you cannot read and interpret them. There is a lot of feedback coming from MotoGPTM.” KTM 450 SX-F © R.Schedl/KTM Overall does electronics swallow a lot of budget? Can it really be cost-effective with MX? “I don’t see ride by wire coming in five years but I’m 100% sure that within ten years there will be no throttle cable any more. In ten years there might not be any noise either. It is something we have to face. The electric department will come more into the game for motocross in the mid-term future. So far offroad is not ready yet. As soon as the car industry really moves ahead then motorcycles will follow. There will be a certain delay, but it will happen.” Photos: Sebas Romero | Marco Campelli | R.Schedl/KTM
  11. 3D printing: the future of motorcycle construction? Posted in Bikes, Riding KTM R&D are moving even faster in their development of new motorcycles and components thanks to 3D printing. Can the technology really work for the rigorous tests and standards of road bikes in the second decade of the 21st century? Well, the answer would seem to be ‘yes’. KTM recently unveiled their 2019 SX range of bikes at a comprehensive and detailed launch in Rome, Italy. One of the key innovations with the KTM 250 SX 2-stroke in particular involved the use of a printer to advance ideas and tests with the exhaust pipe. Michael Viertlmayr (AUT) 2018 © Sebas Romero/Marco Campelli Head of Engine Offroad & Motocross R&D, Michael Viertlmayr, explained how KTM arrived at the 2019 version that was created to improve the total packaging of the head pipe and to increase the necessary ground clearance of the vehicle. As well as 3D printing KTM also called on their growing experience with MotoGPTM to install oval cross sections to achieve their performance goals. Of course, having the theory is one thing; holding the proof in their hands and testing it on the bike was another. “We have an innovation design cycle,” Viertlmayr says. “Everything starts with a basic concept or an idea and in this case, it was to make the head pipe smaller in size or slimmer. So, we knew about the oval cross sections and being able to wrap the pipe closer around the frame. With a 3D design we go into a simulation-and-calculation phase, and we are one of the very few companies in the world that are able to calculate the very complex thermodynamics of a 2-stroke engine which is much more difficult than a 4-stroke.” “If we are happy with the result of the calculation phase then we go into the first prototype,” he continues. “If we are not satisfied with the results we go into another loop with the design department. If the calculation results are promising we print the segments, weld them together and we have a full working READY TO RACE prototype head pipe.” “We can go on the testbed and track with our test riders and collect feedback and numbers. If we are happy with the design then we go to the second prototype stage, if not then we go back to calculation phase.” “In the second stage we are nearing the production phase; we have the same weld and shell layout – the shells are already made of stamped material for what you’ll see on the production bike. The pipes are still welded by hand and not by robot as on the later production pipes. We do referencing with the first prototype and durability testing for the welding and weld design. If the results are good then we can release the production tools and after a six-month lead time we have the first production pipes in our hands.” “The production pipes are referenced again and have to work in exactly the same way as the first prototype and we have to do excessive durability testing to ensure the quality.” “All-in-all it takes about eighteen months from the basic concept to the finished product, which is twice as quick and ten times more accurate than it was in the past and this has been a big improvement for us. The simulation and calculation tools in combination with rapid prototyping saves us a lot of time and effort.” Idea 3D design © KTM 3D printing has slowly been gaining credence and popularity since the early 1980s with the evolution of raw materials and the actual printing machinery, as well as the capabilities of computer aided design (CAD) to ensure the finest detail is accurately reproduced. The methodology has increased in quality and efficiency to the point where vehicles, firearms and even surgical procedures have been able to embrace and use the technique. It still seems unreal that 3D printing can be done with metals and materials at a high enough resistance to be used on a motorcycle, especially an SX model! The resource is only gaining more prominence and importance though for KTM. R&D have four 3D printers; three for plastic components and one for metal. 3D printer (plastic) © KTM “The volume of parts for R&D is growing constantly year by year,” insists Viertlmayr. “It started with just a few and using quite low-quality plastic but the materials involved have improved drastically. Not only can we print high-quality plastic now but also aluminum parts like a cylinder head for instance, which is pretty cool. We can print in different steel grades and are able to prototype ‘heavily loaded’ parts like rocker arms as well.” The advantages are obvious. “It is just a massive time-saving for us in development,” he says. “It takes less than a week to print out the segments for an exhaust prototype and that alone is a gain of two-three months. It really makes life easier for us. The printed parts are fully operational. They are not only design parts; you can go on the test bench and on the track with them and that is amazing: a huge step forward.” The countdown begins to the day a full KTM is one day squirted out of a computer and a new chapter of manufacturing dominates the halls in Mattighofen. Photos: Sebas Romero | Marco Campelli | KTM
  12. 3D printing: the future of motorcycle construction?

    3D printing: the future of motorcycle construction? Posted in Bikes, Riding KTM R&D are moving even faster in their development of new motorcycles and components thanks to 3D printing. Can the technology really work for the rigorous tests and standards of road bikes in the second decade of the 21st century? Well, the answer would seem to be ‘yes’. KTM recently unveiled their 2019 SX range of bikes at a comprehensive and detailed launch in Rome, Italy. One of the key innovations with the KTM 250 SX 2-stroke in particular involved the use of a printer to advance ideas and tests with the exhaust pipe. Michael Viertlmayr (AUT) 2018 © Sebas Romero/Marco Campelli Head of Engine Offroad & Motocross R&D, Michael Viertlmayr, explained how KTM arrived at the 2019 version that was created to improve the total packaging of the head pipe and to increase the necessary ground clearance of the vehicle. As well as 3D printing KTM also called on their growing experience with MotoGPTM to install oval cross sections to achieve their performance goals. Of course, having the theory is one thing; holding the proof in their hands and testing it on the bike was another. “We have an innovation design cycle,” Viertlmayr says. “Everything starts with a basic concept or an idea and in this case, it was to make the head pipe smaller in size or slimmer. So, we knew about the oval cross sections and being able to wrap the pipe closer around the frame. With a 3D design we go into a simulation-and-calculation phase, and we are one of the very few companies in the world that are able to calculate the very complex thermodynamics of a 2-stroke engine which is much more difficult than a 4-stroke.” “If we are happy with the result of the calculation phase then we go into the first prototype,” he continues. “If we are not satisfied with the results we go into another loop with the design department. If the calculation results are promising we print the segments, weld them together and we have a full working READY TO RACE prototype head pipe.” “We can go on the testbed and track with our test riders and collect feedback and numbers. If we are happy with the design then we go to the second prototype stage, if not then we go back to calculation phase.” “In the second stage we are nearing the production phase; we have the same weld and shell layout – the shells are already made of stamped material for what you’ll see on the production bike. The pipes are still welded by hand and not by robot as on the later production pipes. We do referencing with the first prototype and durability testing for the welding and weld design. If the results are good then we can release the production tools and after a six-month lead time we have the first production pipes in our hands.” “The production pipes are referenced again and have to work in exactly the same way as the first prototype and we have to do excessive durability testing to ensure the quality.” “All-in-all it takes about eighteen months from the basic concept to the finished product, which is twice as quick and ten times more accurate than it was in the past and this has been a big improvement for us. The simulation and calculation tools in combination with rapid prototyping saves us a lot of time and effort.” Idea 3D design © KTM 3D printing has slowly been gaining credence and popularity since the early 1980s with the evolution of raw materials and the actual printing machinery, as well as the capabilities of computer aided design (CAD) to ensure the finest detail is accurately reproduced. The methodology has increased in quality and efficiency to the point where vehicles, firearms and even surgical procedures have been able to embrace and use the technique. It still seems unreal that 3D printing can be done with metals and materials at a high enough resistance to be used on a motorcycle, especially an SX model! The resource is only gaining more prominence and importance though for KTM. R&D have four 3D printers; three for plastic components and one for metal. 3D printer (plastic) © KTM “The volume of parts for R&D is growing constantly year by year,” insists Viertlmayr. “It started with just a few and using quite low-quality plastic but the materials involved have improved drastically. Not only can we print high-quality plastic now but also aluminum parts like a cylinder head for instance, which is pretty cool. We can print in different steel grades and are able to prototype ‘heavily loaded’ parts like rocker arms as well.” The advantages are obvious. “It is just a massive time-saving for us in development,” he says. “It takes less than a week to print out the segments for an exhaust prototype and that alone is a gain of two-three months. It really makes life easier for us. The printed parts are fully operational. They are not only design parts; you can go on the test bench and on the track with them and that is amazing: a huge step forward.” The countdown begins to the day a full KTM is one day squirted out of a computer and a new chapter of manufacturing dominates the halls in Mattighofen. Photos: Sebas Romero | Marco Campelli | KTM
  13. Interview of the Month: Rene Hofer – History on the horizon? A significant orange story in the making Meet sixteen-year-old Rene Hofer: a burgeoning talent in the motorcycle racing world and a special rider who could reach a very special milestone … In 2017 quite a few bike racing fans almost witnessed the dream. When Andrea Dovizioso led and fought for the MotoGPTM crown the sport almost had the sight of an Italian rider victorious on an Italian machine. It is an endearing narrative that has escaped the FIM Motocross World Championship for decades; no Japanese, Swedish or Italian athlete has come close with a respective brand. In fact, a ‘home hero achievement’ is something that KTM have been patiently waiting for in the principle class since Heinz Kinigadner in 1984 and 1985 (recent Dakar winner Matthias Walkner owned the now-defunct MX3 category in 2012). Rene Hofer (AUT) Saint Jean d’Angely (FRA) 2018 © Ray Archer Although there are a number of elements that go into construction of a championship campaign – excellence, form, confidence, equipment and luck – Rene Hofer is promisingly poised to start that journey. The sixteen-year-old Austrian (and KTM Junior Team rider) has been the standout racer in the EMX125 European Championship this year. The series is the first of two rungs on the ladder to Grand Prix (EMX250 comes next) and the teenager is stamping his mark all over the competition in just his second campaign. “When I started with Rene two and a half years ago he was a little kid on an 85 but already at that time I found out he is very strong in his head,” evaluates KTM Junior Team Manager and former racer Didi Lacher. “He doesn’t care if it is muddy, hot, cold: he delivers. That’s good for a kid his age because normally youngsters make a lot of mistakes. He is ‘there’ all the time.” Hofer is no late bloomer. He was already on the outskirts of KTM’s radar as a youth and in 2016 scooped three titles with 85cc World and European Championship wins as well as the German ADAC Junior Cup. Now he is the clear leader of EMX125 – a eight-round contest run at MXGP Grands Prix – and celebrated his first overall victories this year. Although the path is fraught and motocross is typically unpredictable and harsh on even the purest ambitions there is a vibe of great hope around #11. “I think he has a really bright future,” says Lacher. “I only hope he stays healthy and goes step by step.” Rene Hofer (#11, AUT) KTM 125 SX Valkenswaard (NED) 2018 © Ray Archer We asked for a rundown on Rene from the starlet himself … Like many kids I have my Dad to blame! “My father was racing motocross and quads and bought me a bike when I was three and a half years old. I started doing some little races when I was five and I basically grew up with the sport, moved through different bikes and now we are here. I was doing other things, like playing football … but motocross takes a lot of time to travel to races so it had to go. In my free time in the winter I do some skiing. That’s my hobby. I’m not doing any races on the snow but I have a pretty good level. As an Austrian you learn that quite early; almost everyone does it! My Dad and Didi give tips. My Dad stays quite calm and tries not to be over the top. I can imagine that is difficult as a father but he is very helpful and gives good motivation.” Didi Lacher (GER) & Rene Hofer (AUT) Pietramurata (ITA) 2018 © Ray Archer Motocross is not the biggest sport in my country … but I don’t mind. “I’m from Upper Austria, Alberndof, near Linz. We don’t have many tracks around. The official KTM test track is an option but we don’t have any sand tracks so that means a lot of kilometers to find one! Austria is a beautiful country in my opinion and I’m proud to be from there. I don’t think it helps me that KTM is an Austrian company; it is a big international firm, and in the end it always comes down to making good results. If you ride well then you’ll have the chance.” KTM found me … now I want to find all I can in KTM. “In 2016 I got those three titles and was already coming under the KTM umbrella. When you know you have that support then it helps with the pressure because you know you’ll get the chance and the equipment to really do your best. It means you can start to think of the world championship in the future. I’m lucky that I was involved with KTM from a very young age. The help is first class. Didi is not only responsible for my riding but also the other things around. He has a lot of knowledge of the sport and that helps to keep improving.” Pressure? “I like that! It motivates me. Also, things like having a contract with Red Bull Austria. I can handle the attention.” Rene Hofer (AUT) KTM 125 SX Teutschenthal (GER) 2018 © Ray Archer I’m learning … but I’m also still in school. “And that means I really have to plan my days. It is still very difficult to have the time to go to the gym. Now I have a physical trainer and we try to do the best as we can around the school timetable. Sometimes I do the full school week but they support me very well and I get some free time. Of course, the grades have to be good to do that! But my marks are high and that means I can balance it all. In Austria we have to go to school until we are eighteen, so it will be challenging in the next few years. I’ll try to finish the studies but it will have to see how the racing progresses.” EMX125 is pretty fierce competition … there are a lot of riders just trying to qualify. “The level is really high. The whole of Europe is looking at EMX125 and it is the way to move up in the sport. It is not like domestic series’ where the French race in France, Italians in Italy; this is everybody and the best in Europe. It’s good for the young riders to be at MXGP. They can see – even touch – the future with the tracks and how rough they get; that is challenging for a young rider, especially the first season or so, but then they grow up with it.” I’m already racing a KTM 250 SX-F as well … “I first rode it last autumn, I’ve won an ADAC German Championship race and I’ve done some Austrian races so I’m getting used to it. We still have some issues to fix but I’m making progress with it. Next year I will be ready, maybe for EMX250. To be a GP rider is very exciting but it feels far away. Going further with KTM is exciting but I don’t have that much influence! That’s down to Didi and the plan the management have. I just have to do my best on the track and see how that plays out. It would be really challenging to jump into MX2. If we had a good winter it might be possible … but it is very far away.” Rene Hofer (AUT) KTM 125 SX Kegums (LAT) 2018 © Ray Archer You cannot beat having confidence on your side. “To win at a Grand Prix is ‘another feeling’. It is hard to describe how much it motivates for you for the next race. It is the total opposite to maybe having a bad weekend when it becomes hard to go to bed and you cannot wait for the next weekend to put it right. You start a new race on a different track. When you win it’s a new challenge, the same when you lose.” The final word should perhaps come from the man that sees Hofer on a constant basis and is the principal guiding light. Didi Lacher may know Rene’s weaknesses well (“he still needs some consistency with his starts … although I have to say these are better on the 4-stroke compared to the 2-stroke”) but he also knows the ‘commodity’ that KTM, Red Bull and even Austria have on their hands. “Rene’s strengths are his condition, his mentality and his family – nice, quiet and down-to-earth people – along with the support of KTM Motorsport. I think Austria will have a really good GP rider again. I think he has the potential to be at the front of the world championship. If he improves like he has in the last two years then that will be soon.” Rene Hofer (AUT) Pietramurata (ITA) 2018 © Ray Archer Photos: Ray Archer
  14. Interview of the Month: Rene Hofer – History on the horizon? A significant orange story in the making Meet sixteen-year-old Rene Hofer: a burgeoning talent in the motorcycle racing world and a special rider who could reach a very special milestone … In 2017 quite a few bike racing fans almost witnessed the dream. When Andrea Dovizioso led and fought for the MotoGPTM crown the sport almost had the sight of an Italian rider victorious on an Italian machine. It is an endearing narrative that has escaped the FIM Motocross World Championship for decades; no Japanese, Swedish or Italian athlete has come close with a respective brand. In fact, a ‘home hero achievement’ is something that KTM have been patiently waiting for in the principle class since Heinz Kinigadner in 1984 and 1985 (recent Dakar winner Matthias Walkner owned the now-defunct MX3 category in 2012). Rene Hofer (AUT) Saint Jean d’Angely (FRA) 2018 © Ray Archer Although there are a number of elements that go into construction of a championship campaign – excellence, form, confidence, equipment and luck – Rene Hofer is promisingly poised to start that journey. The sixteen-year-old Austrian (and KTM Junior Team rider) has been the standout racer in the EMX125 European Championship this year. The series is the first of two rungs on the ladder to Grand Prix (EMX250 comes next) and the teenager is stamping his mark all over the competition in just his second campaign. “When I started with Rene two and a half years ago he was a little kid on an 85 but already at that time I found out he is very strong in his head,” evaluates KTM Junior Team Manager and former racer Didi Lacher. “He doesn’t care if it is muddy, hot, cold: he delivers. That’s good for a kid his age because normally youngsters make a lot of mistakes. He is ‘there’ all the time.” Hofer is no late bloomer. He was already on the outskirts of KTM’s radar as a youth and in 2016 scooped three titles with 85cc World and European Championship wins as well as the German ADAC Junior Cup. Now he is the clear leader of EMX125 – a eight-round contest run at MXGP Grands Prix – and celebrated his first overall victories this year. Although the path is fraught and motocross is typically unpredictable and harsh on even the purest ambitions there is a vibe of great hope around #11. “I think he has a really bright future,” says Lacher. “I only hope he stays healthy and goes step by step.” Rene Hofer (#11, AUT) KTM 125 SX Valkenswaard (NED) 2018 © Ray Archer We asked for a rundown on Rene from the starlet himself … Like many kids I have my Dad to blame! “My father was racing motocross and quads and bought me a bike when I was three and a half years old. I started doing some little races when I was five and I basically grew up with the sport, moved through different bikes and now we are here. I was doing other things, like playing football … but motocross takes a lot of time to travel to races so it had to go. In my free time in the winter I do some skiing. That’s my hobby. I’m not doing any races on the snow but I have a pretty good level. As an Austrian you learn that quite early; almost everyone does it! My Dad and Didi give tips. My Dad stays quite calm and tries not to be over the top. I can imagine that is difficult as a father but he is very helpful and gives good motivation.” Didi Lacher (GER) & Rene Hofer (AUT) Pietramurata (ITA) 2018 © Ray Archer Motocross is not the biggest sport in my country … but I don’t mind. “I’m from Upper Austria, Alberndof, near Linz. We don’t have many tracks around. The official KTM test track is an option but we don’t have any sand tracks so that means a lot of kilometers to find one! Austria is a beautiful country in my opinion and I’m proud to be from there. I don’t think it helps me that KTM is an Austrian company; it is a big international firm, and in the end it always comes down to making good results. If you ride well then you’ll have the chance.” KTM found me … now I want to find all I can in KTM. “In 2016 I got those three titles and was already coming under the KTM umbrella. When you know you have that support then it helps with the pressure because you know you’ll get the chance and the equipment to really do your best. It means you can start to think of the world championship in the future. I’m lucky that I was involved with KTM from a very young age. The help is first class. Didi is not only responsible for my riding but also the other things around. He has a lot of knowledge of the sport and that helps to keep improving.” Pressure? “I like that! It motivates me. Also, things like having a contract with Red Bull Austria. I can handle the attention.” Rene Hofer (AUT) KTM 125 SX Teutschenthal (GER) 2018 © Ray Archer I’m learning … but I’m also still in school. “And that means I really have to plan my days. It is still very difficult to have the time to go to the gym. Now I have a physical trainer and we try to do the best as we can around the school timetable. Sometimes I do the full school week but they support me very well and I get some free time. Of course, the grades have to be good to do that! But my marks are high and that means I can balance it all. In Austria we have to go to school until we are eighteen, so it will be challenging in the next few years. I’ll try to finish the studies but it will have to see how the racing progresses.” EMX125 is pretty fierce competition … there are a lot of riders just trying to qualify. “The level is really high. The whole of Europe is looking at EMX125 and it is the way to move up in the sport. It is not like domestic series’ where the French race in France, Italians in Italy; this is everybody and the best in Europe. It’s good for the young riders to be at MXGP. They can see – even touch – the future with the tracks and how rough they get; that is challenging for a young rider, especially the first season or so, but then they grow up with it.” I’m already racing a KTM 250 SX-F as well … “I first rode it last autumn, I’ve won an ADAC German Championship race and I’ve done some Austrian races so I’m getting used to it. We still have some issues to fix but I’m making progress with it. Next year I will be ready, maybe for EMX250. To be a GP rider is very exciting but it feels far away. Going further with KTM is exciting but I don’t have that much influence! That’s down to Didi and the plan the management have. I just have to do my best on the track and see how that plays out. It would be really challenging to jump into MX2. If we had a good winter it might be possible … but it is very far away.” Rene Hofer (AUT) KTM 125 SX Kegums (LAT) 2018 © Ray Archer You cannot beat having confidence on your side. “To win at a Grand Prix is ‘another feeling’. It is hard to describe how much it motivates for you for the next race. It is the total opposite to maybe having a bad weekend when it becomes hard to go to bed and you cannot wait for the next weekend to put it right. You start a new race on a different track. When you win it’s a new challenge, the same when you lose.” The final word should perhaps come from the man that sees Hofer on a constant basis and is the principal guiding light. Didi Lacher may know Rene’s weaknesses well (“he still needs some consistency with his starts … although I have to say these are better on the 4-stroke compared to the 2-stroke”) but he also knows the ‘commodity’ that KTM, Red Bull and even Austria have on their hands. “Rene’s strengths are his condition, his mentality and his family – nice, quiet and down-to-earth people – along with the support of KTM Motorsport. I think Austria will have a really good GP rider again. I think he has the potential to be at the front of the world championship. If he improves like he has in the last two years then that will be soon.” Rene Hofer (AUT) Pietramurata (ITA) 2018 © Ray Archer Photos: Ray Archer
  15. KTM 790 DUKE: A mountain to climb After setting the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb outright motorcycle record in 2017 with the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R, KTM and Chris Fillmore return on June 24 with the new KTM 790 DUKE. Their goal – the Middleweight Division win and lap record. Ahead of this mountainous challenge, Chris talked to KTM BLOG. Chris Fillmore (USA) KTM 790 DUKE © Brapp Snapps Media There are a lot of challenging events that a motorcycle can be pointed at, but the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb has got to be up there with the most insane. The ‘Race to the Clouds’ is an annual invitational automobile and motorcycle hill climb to the summit of Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain in Colorado, USA. Celebrating its 102-year birthday in 2018, the PPHC is 12.42-miles and 156 corners of high-altitude, high-intensity challenge of man and machine. There’s little room for error to make it to the 14,115 feet finish line. And that’s a stark reality of this event. Last year, KTM stormed to the outright course record along with the Heavyweight class and overall motorcycle win when former AMA Superbike racer, Chris Fillmore, piloted his KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R to a time of 9:49.625. If you haven’t already seen it, watch this video … [embedded content] As the READY TO RACE company, KTM thrives on new challenges – often coupled with a motivated racer like Fillmore. The idea to return to the mountain with the new KTM 790 DUKE to try and clinch the Middleweight Division win and course record soon had hearts within the company pumping orange blood with excitement. The Middleweight class is open to 2- or 4-stroke bikes of 1 to 4 cylinders with a displacement of 501-850cc. The KTM 790 DUKE’s LC8c parallel twin engine comes in at 799cc, punching out 105hp and 87 ft-lb of torque. But with the huge rise in elevation over the course – beginning with a start line at 9000 feet – means there’s about a 3% reduction in performance for every 1,000 feet of altitude. Let alone the physical stress on the rider. The Middleweight record was set in 2017 by Codie Vahsholtz, clocking 10:34.967 on a Husqvarna Supermoto. More impressive is that also last year, Davey Durelle was less than half a second behind with the Lightweight class record and he’s stepping up to the Middleweight division in 2018. “Well, we could have gone back with the 1290 and tried to go even faster, but with the new KTM 790 DUKE arriving in North America later this year, we thought we’d give that a go and try and make more history,” Michigan-born Chris Fillmore tells us in his understated, laidback tone. Chris Fillmore (USA) KTM 790 DUKE © Brapp Snapps Media We caught up with 31-year old Chris on his way to work at KTM North America in California after returning from the Pikes Peak official ‘tire test’. Seat time has been limited for the #11 after getting the bike later than planned, so this important test was his final chance to get the setup perfect ahead of the event, beginning June 18 with the race held on June 24. “There’s definitely a lot of competition this year in all classes and Davey is already going well,” Chris explains. “I think course records will be broken this year – well, hopefully not my outright record – but I’m hoping to win the Middleweight class with a new record and try to put it on the box in the motorcycle overall class. I guess we shall see!” KTM didn’t design the KTM 790 DUKE to be a track weapon, but as the sportmotorcycle manufacturer that creates every bike in the READY TO RACE style, it didn’t take much to make ‘The Scalpel’ even sharper. “The stock bike is already on a high level, I know, because I tested it on track in Spain with Jeremy McWilliams against competitor bikes which was very encouraging,” Chris says almost surprised. “We took the stock machine and raided the KTM PowerParts catalog, adding some Wave brake discs, rearsets, a single seat and some other bling. Along with those, we removed the lights, threw in some different spring rates for the suspension, different tires, a special full Akrapovič system and the Brembo master cylinder from the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R. After one day of testing at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, I was only two seconds off my fastest time on the 1290!” KTM 790 DUKE © Bryan Mills Testing on short circuits was one thing, but after the tire test at Pikes Peak – held over two days with the course split in half – Chris quickly discovered that a smaller bike required a much different riding style. In fact, a much more committed one. “That was the big thing I was surprised about testing,” Chris explains. “This new bike is awesome; so agile and so easy flipping it from side to side. But I guess I could be a bit lazier on the 1290 and use all that power and torque and then just brake hard. With the KTM 790 DUKE I can carry much more corner speed and I’m going to need that if I want to get the class record and challenge for the outright podium.” Chris points out that the middle section of the course – a lot of first to third gear switchbacks – is where he notices the power deficit between the 1290 and 790 more, requiring further commitment to make up the time. He’s got 20mph less top speed than the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R, so with less power the risks are almost increased as Fillmore will need to ask more from the front tire. Not ideal, with sheer drops surrounding parts of the course … “All the heat is on the sides of tire after riding, none in the center. Which says a lot,” says Chris. “I need to be smoother. Less aggressive with the bike. I have to be a bit more methodical, think about things and concentrate on corner speed but I’m limited on grip, so don’t want to push the front.” “Last year, my testing times weren’t the fastest, but why I think I did good in the race was that I was consistent across the whole distance and course. With a whole year under my belt, I know the course a bit better – especially the bottom part which is a lot of fourth and fifth gear corners. The 790 will be well at home there.” Chris Fillmore (USA) KTM 790 DUKE © Brapp Snapps Media With the bike arriving in the US later this year, Chris is fortunate to be ahead of his countrymen in spending a lot of time with the KTM 790 DUKE. So, what does he like the most? “I like the handling. It’s strong point and it feels like a small bike; compact and maneuverable. Even pulling it off the stand and moving it around the garage is easy. I like the way it looks, too. At first, I wasn’t a fan of how it looks going from concept to production, but now I like it more than the 1290.” Photos: Brapp Snapps Media | Bryan Mills Video: KTM
  16. KTM 790 DUKE: A mountain to climb

    KTM 790 DUKE: A mountain to climb After setting the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb outright motorcycle record in 2017 with the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R, KTM and Chris Fillmore return on June 24 with the new KTM 790 DUKE. Their goal – the Middleweight Division win and lap record. Ahead of this mountainous challenge, Chris talked to KTM BLOG. Chris Fillmore (USA) KTM 790 DUKE © Brapp Snapps Media There are a lot of challenging events that a motorcycle can be pointed at, but the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb has got to be up there with the most insane. The ‘Race to the Clouds’ is an annual invitational automobile and motorcycle hill climb to the summit of Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain in Colorado, USA. Celebrating its 102-year birthday in 2018, the PPHC is 12.42-miles and 156 corners of high-altitude, high-intensity challenge of man and machine. There’s little room for error to make it to the 14,115 feet finish line. And that’s a stark reality of this event. Last year, KTM stormed to the outright course record along with the Heavyweight class and overall motorcycle win when former AMA Superbike racer, Chris Fillmore, piloted his KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R to a time of 9:49.625. If you haven’t already seen it, watch this video … [embedded content] As the READY TO RACE company, KTM thrives on new challenges – often coupled with a motivated racer like Fillmore. The idea to return to the mountain with the new KTM 790 DUKE to try and clinch the Middleweight Division win and course record soon had hearts within the company pumping orange blood with excitement. The Middleweight class is open to 2- or 4-stroke bikes of 1 to 4 cylinders with a displacement of 501-850cc. The KTM 790 DUKE’s LC8c parallel twin engine comes in at 799cc, punching out 105hp and 87 ft-lb of torque. But with the huge rise in elevation over the course – beginning with a start line at 9000 feet – means there’s about a 3% reduction in performance for every 1,000 feet of altitude. Let alone the physical stress on the rider. The Middleweight record was set in 2017 by Codie Vahsholtz, clocking 10:34.967 on a Husqvarna Supermoto. More impressive is that also last year, Davey Durelle was less than half a second behind with the Lightweight class record and he’s stepping up to the Middleweight division in 2018. “Well, we could have gone back with the 1290 and tried to go even faster, but with the new KTM 790 DUKE arriving in North America later this year, we thought we’d give that a go and try and make more history,” Michigan-born Chris Fillmore tells us in his understated, laidback tone. Chris Fillmore (USA) KTM 790 DUKE © Brapp Snapps Media We caught up with 31-year old Chris on his way to work at KTM North America in California after returning from the Pikes Peak official ‘tire test’. Seat time has been limited for the #11 after getting the bike later than planned, so this important test was his final chance to get the setup perfect ahead of the event, beginning June 18 with the race held on June 24. “There’s definitely a lot of competition this year in all classes and Davey is already going well,” Chris explains. “I think course records will be broken this year – well, hopefully not my outright record – but I’m hoping to win the Middleweight class with a new record and try to put it on the box in the motorcycle overall class. I guess we shall see!” KTM didn’t design the KTM 790 DUKE to be a track weapon, but as the sportmotorcycle manufacturer that creates every bike in the READY TO RACE style, it didn’t take much to make ‘The Scalpel’ even sharper. “The stock bike is already on a high level, I know, because I tested it on track in Spain with Jeremy McWilliams against competitor bikes which was very encouraging,” Chris says almost surprised. “We took the stock machine and raided the KTM PowerParts catalog, adding some Wave brake discs, rearsets, a single seat and some other bling. Along with those, we removed the lights, threw in some different spring rates for the suspension, different tires, a special full Akrapovič system and the Brembo master cylinder from the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R. After one day of testing at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, I was only two seconds off my fastest time on the 1290!” KTM 790 DUKE © Bryan Mills Testing on short circuits was one thing, but after the tire test at Pikes Peak – held over two days with the course split in half – Chris quickly discovered that a smaller bike required a much different riding style. In fact, a much more committed one. “That was the big thing I was surprised about testing,” Chris explains. “This new bike is awesome; so agile and so easy flipping it from side to side. But I guess I could be a bit lazier on the 1290 and use all that power and torque and then just brake hard. With the KTM 790 DUKE I can carry much more corner speed and I’m going to need that if I want to get the class record and challenge for the outright podium.” Chris points out that the middle section of the course – a lot of first to third gear switchbacks – is where he notices the power deficit between the 1290 and 790 more, requiring further commitment to make up the time. He’s got 20mph less top speed than the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R, so with less power the risks are almost increased as Fillmore will need to ask more from the front tire. Not ideal, with sheer drops surrounding parts of the course … “All the heat is on the sides of tire after riding, none in the center. Which says a lot,” says Chris. “I need to be smoother. Less aggressive with the bike. I have to be a bit more methodical, think about things and concentrate on corner speed but I’m limited on grip, so don’t want to push the front.” “Last year, my testing times weren’t the fastest, but why I think I did good in the race was that I was consistent across the whole distance and course. With a whole year under my belt, I know the course a bit better – especially the bottom part which is a lot of fourth and fifth gear corners. The 790 will be well at home there.” Chris Fillmore (USA) KTM 790 DUKE © Brapp Snapps Media With the bike arriving in the US later this year, Chris is fortunate to be ahead of his countrymen in spending a lot of time with the KTM 790 DUKE. So, what does he like the most? “I like the handling. It’s strong point and it feels like a small bike; compact and maneuverable. Even pulling it off the stand and moving it around the garage is easy. I like the way it looks, too. At first, I wasn’t a fan of how it looks going from concept to production, but now I like it more than the 1290.” Photos: Brapp Snapps Media | Bryan Mills Video: KTM
  17. Malagrotta: The house of Cairoli Take a trip to the ‘source’ of nine FIM Motocross World Championships and where Tony Cairoli was able to become an MXGP legend. “I first rode this track at the end of 2003 and since then a lot of laps every year; I never counted … but it must be so many thousands …” Tony Cairoli takes a wistful look out and towards the peak of the small hill where the bulk of the Malagrotta hard-pack is sprawled. Malagrotta (ITA) © Marco Campelli/Sebas Romero The 32-year-old MXGP star has opened the gates to his test track and a facility he co-runs with Red Bull KTM Team Manager Claudio De Carli for the 2019 KTM SX launch. The circuit is located west of the center of Rome “just five minutes away” he optimistically says, forgetting about the Italian capital’s traffic. Malagrotta welcomes not only two large groups of journalists and testers but also AMA ace Ryan Dungey, who enthusiastically takes to the course on several of the new SX-Fs (450, 350 & 250) and SXs (250, 150 & 125). The hard ground at the top that houses various turns and jumps (an ‘orange-painted’ bar sits next to the start straight that has been taken over by KTM’s technical and hospitality setup for the event) before a dramatic slope plunges downhill and into a rough sandy section. The split means that Cairoli and his Italian team effectively have two tracks in one. Ryan Dungey (USA) © Marco Campelli/Sebas Romero Although temporary residence in Belgium at the start of his career was necessary for training and to master the characteristics of sandy terrain, Malagrotta has been a home base for virtually all of his Grand Prix career; fifteen years, 223 Grands Prix, over 80 wins and 101 podiums. “It hasn’t changed too much over the years to be honest and a special part of the track was always that sand at the bottom which means the ground varies and you get different kinds of bumps. It’s really nice for testing and training.” “The place is big so it needs quite a bit of maintenance,” he adds. “The track is hard on the top section and you need to work a lot to make it loose and more towards a GP-style with ruts and bumps. It is a lot of work to keep the moisture inside. Some of the track is pretty rocky and then requires more work to keep it loose. It’s cool that it’s a good mix.” Malagrotta might have some diversity but there is little doubt that #222 knows every knuckle and bump. “For sure it is boring sometimes because I’ve done so many laps here but it is important for me to be able to come, train and then leave,” he says. “I’m also a co-owner here so I like to make sure the track is in good condition for people that want to turn up, ride and train. We’ve made some investment over the years and keeping the track maintained is probably the biggest. We don’t have too many amateurs in this area of Italy, especially compared with the north and places like Ottobiano and Dorno that also attracts foreign riders from France, Germany and Austria. But there is a lot of potential with this track and when I stop racing then I will work to bring more people here from around Europe because it is close to Rome and just over five minutes to the city and twenty from the airport. It’s in a good location and the weather is good normally. It is never frozen in the winter.” Tony Cairoli (ITA) © Ray Archer Cairoli is not slowing with his usage of Malagrotta. In fact, the stiff challenge from Red Bull KTM teammate Jeffrey Herlings in this year’s MXGP title fight means he has to keep focused and keep looking for improvements to somehow dent the Dutchman’s form. The track is also the platform for winter tests and where De Carli and his crew honed the KTM 450 SX-F last season to enable Tony to grasp another world crown. “I have been riding here more than ever because I am in Belgium less these days,” Cairoli reveals. “We always decide our setup for the year when we test here. We know the dirt very well so this is ideal for comparison tests and the mixture of bumps means we have an important variety.” Considering his familiarity with Malagrotta (something that De Carli’s latest protégé Jorge Prado is learning; the MX2 GP winner was also circulating with his KTM 250 SX-F) Cairoli was quick to provide his evaluation. “The hardest part is the bottom section; the sand and the ruts combined with the downhill and the bumps. It is also my favorite!” What about a ‘neutral’ view? Cairoli might have a love-sometimes-hate relationship with Malagrotta but how does a debutant see it? “I thought the track was awesome,” grins tester and former British Championship racer Dave Willet. “Inclines are always a winner, cambers, sand … the only criticism is that some of the down ramps need to be made bigger. It needs to be the minimum of a length of a bike and they weren’t! But I’d take that track all day, it was a lot of fun and nice to put a lot of laps in.” [embedded content] Photos: Marco Campelli | Sebas Romero | Ray Archer Video: Luca Piffaretti
  18. Malagrotta: The house of Cairoli

    Malagrotta: The house of Cairoli Take a trip to the ‘source’ of nine FIM Motocross World Championships and where Tony Cairoli was able to become an MXGP legend. “I first rode this track at the end of 2003 and since then a lot of laps every year; I never counted … but it must be so many thousands …” Tony Cairoli takes a wistful look out and towards the peak of the small hill where the bulk of the Malagrotta hard-pack is sprawled. Malagrotta (ITA) © Marco Campelli/Sebas Romero The 32-year-old MXGP star has opened the gates to his test track and a facility he co-runs with Red Bull KTM Team Manager Claudio De Carli for the 2019 KTM SX launch. The circuit is located west of the center of Rome “just five minutes away” he optimistically says, forgetting about the Italian capital’s traffic. Malagrotta welcomes not only two large groups of journalists and testers but also AMA ace Ryan Dungey, who enthusiastically takes to the course on several of the new SX-Fs (450, 350 & 250) and SXs (250, 150 & 125). The hard ground at the top that houses various turns and jumps (an ‘orange-painted’ bar sits next to the start straight that has been taken over by KTM’s technical and hospitality setup for the event) before a dramatic slope plunges downhill and into a rough sandy section. The split means that Cairoli and his Italian team effectively have two tracks in one. Ryan Dungey (USA) © Marco Campelli/Sebas Romero Although temporary residence in Belgium at the start of his career was necessary for training and to master the characteristics of sandy terrain, Malagrotta has been a home base for virtually all of his Grand Prix career; fifteen years, 223 Grands Prix, over 80 wins and 101 podiums. “It hasn’t changed too much over the years to be honest and a special part of the track was always that sand at the bottom which means the ground varies and you get different kinds of bumps. It’s really nice for testing and training.” “The place is big so it needs quite a bit of maintenance,” he adds. “The track is hard on the top section and you need to work a lot to make it loose and more towards a GP-style with ruts and bumps. It is a lot of work to keep the moisture inside. Some of the track is pretty rocky and then requires more work to keep it loose. It’s cool that it’s a good mix.” Malagrotta might have some diversity but there is little doubt that #222 knows every knuckle and bump. “For sure it is boring sometimes because I’ve done so many laps here but it is important for me to be able to come, train and then leave,” he says. “I’m also a co-owner here so I like to make sure the track is in good condition for people that want to turn up, ride and train. We’ve made some investment over the years and keeping the track maintained is probably the biggest. We don’t have too many amateurs in this area of Italy, especially compared with the north and places like Ottobiano and Dorno that also attracts foreign riders from France, Germany and Austria. But there is a lot of potential with this track and when I stop racing then I will work to bring more people here from around Europe because it is close to Rome and just over five minutes to the city and twenty from the airport. It’s in a good location and the weather is good normally. It is never frozen in the winter.” Tony Cairoli (ITA) © Ray Archer Cairoli is not slowing with his usage of Malagrotta. In fact, the stiff challenge from Red Bull KTM teammate Jeffrey Herlings in this year’s MXGP title fight means he has to keep focused and keep looking for improvements to somehow dent the Dutchman’s form. The track is also the platform for winter tests and where De Carli and his crew honed the KTM 450 SX-F last season to enable Tony to grasp another world crown. “I have been riding here more than ever because I am in Belgium less these days,” Cairoli reveals. “We always decide our setup for the year when we test here. We know the dirt very well so this is ideal for comparison tests and the mixture of bumps means we have an important variety.” Considering his familiarity with Malagrotta (something that De Carli’s latest protégé Jorge Prado is learning; the MX2 GP winner was also circulating with his KTM 250 SX-F) Cairoli was quick to provide his evaluation. “The hardest part is the bottom section; the sand and the ruts combined with the downhill and the bumps. It is also my favorite!” What about a ‘neutral’ view? Cairoli might have a love-sometimes-hate relationship with Malagrotta but how does a debutant see it? “I thought the track was awesome,” grins tester and former British Championship racer Dave Willet. “Inclines are always a winner, cambers, sand … the only criticism is that some of the down ramps need to be made bigger. It needs to be the minimum of a length of a bike and they weren’t! But I’d take that track all day, it was a lot of fun and nice to put a lot of laps in.” [embedded content] Photos: Marco Campelli | Sebas Romero | Ray Archer Video: Luca Piffaretti
  19. Ultimate Race: The KTM ADVENTURE RALLY challenge awaits Stony ridges, sandy landscapes and challenging dunes; that’s what competitors of the recently announced Ultimate Race will relish in at next year’s Merzouga Rally. A concept that gives the fastest amateurs from the KTM ADVENTURE RALLIES around the globe the chance to compete in a world-renowned event in a dedicated class, with full support from KTM and aboard the brand new, hotly anticipated KTM 790 ADVENTURE R, the Ultimate Race is certainly a special opportunity. KTM 790 ADVENTURE R Prototype © Marcin Kin The Merzouga Rally, which is part of the Dakar series, is a five-day event plus a prolog that races through the desert of Morocco and is a great challenge for both professional and amateur riders. Navigation is key, as is the ability to adapt to the changing terrain and racing environment. Not for the faint hearted, but riders will be greeted with incredible landscapes and the READY TO RACE feeling in his or her soul. Each of the six KTM ADVENTURE RALLIES, which take place around the world this year, will host a qualifying stage and the top two from each qualifier aboard a twin cylinder KTM ADVENTURE bike will be given the opportunity to compete Merzouga in the Ultimate Race. Fully supported with flights, accommodation, entry, bike, race service and more by KTM, the winners will not be disappointed. They will also enjoy coaching from some of the world’s finest and fastest bike athletes, with Quinn Cody and Chris Birch already announced, to assist in their quest to race the terrain of Merzouga. A nice step up from the organized tours of the KTM ADVENTURE RALLIES, where riders enjoy epic dirt roads and more with like-minded riders. In addition, the winner of the Ultimate Race will be awarded with an incredible prize. There’s a lot to play for. Ahead of the big announcement we got to take the prototype KTM 790 ADVENTURE R out to the Merzouga Rally this year, to check-out some of the incredible terrain, and we certainly weren’t disappointed. More details about the Ultimate Race in its official launch video … [embedded content] And of course, check out these cool images. KTM 790 ADVENTURE R Prototype © Marcin Kin Photos: Marcin Kin Video: Eros Girotti/Filmer Force Productions
  20. Ultimate Race: The KTM ADVENTURE RALLY challenge awaits

    Ultimate Race: The KTM ADVENTURE RALLY challenge awaits Stony ridges, sandy landscapes and challenging dunes; that’s what competitors of the recently announced Ultimate Race will relish in at next year’s Merzouga Rally. A concept that gives the fastest amateurs from the KTM ADVENTURE RALLIES around the globe the chance to compete in a world-renowned event in a dedicated class, with full support from KTM and aboard the brand new, hotly anticipated KTM 790 ADVENTURE R, the Ultimate Race is certainly a special opportunity. KTM 790 ADVENTURE R Prototype © Marcin Kin The Merzouga Rally, which is part of the Dakar series, is a five-day event plus a prolog that races through the desert of Morocco and is a great challenge for both professional and amateur riders. Navigation is key, as is the ability to adapt to the changing terrain and racing environment. Not for the faint hearted, but riders will be greeted with incredible landscapes and the READY TO RACE feeling in his or her soul. Each of the six KTM ADVENTURE RALLIES, which take place around the world this year, will host a qualifying stage and the top two from each qualifier aboard a twin cylinder KTM ADVENTURE bike will be given the opportunity to compete Merzouga in the Ultimate Race. Fully supported with flights, accommodation, entry, bike, race service and more by KTM, the winners will not be disappointed. They will also enjoy coaching from some of the world’s finest and fastest bike athletes, with Quinn Cody and Chris Birch already announced, to assist in their quest to race the terrain of Merzouga. A nice step up from the organized tours of the KTM ADVENTURE RALLIES, where riders enjoy epic dirt roads and more with like-minded riders. In addition, the winner of the Ultimate Race will be awarded with an incredible prize. There’s a lot to play for. Ahead of the big announcement we got to take the prototype KTM 790 ADVENTURE R out to the Merzouga Rally this year, to check-out some of the incredible terrain, and we certainly weren’t disappointed. More details about the Ultimate Race in its official launch video … [embedded content] And of course, check out these cool images. KTM 790 ADVENTURE R Prototype © Marcin Kin Photos: Marcin Kin Video: Eros Girotti/Filmer Force Productions
  21. 3 things you have to know about the 2019 KTM SX motocross bikes Somehow those orange motocrossers have taken another step in performance for 2019 so we asked the wizards in R&D what is in store for riders eying a new dirtbike. KTM SX MY2019 range © Sebas Romero Technicians and engineers are always pursuing ‘something better’. This is certainly the case within KTM’s relentless R&D Department. It would take a large slice of creativity and effort to improve the 2018 SX motocross range; don’t forget that the flagship KTM 450 SX-F grabbed titles in Supercross and finished 1-2 in MXGP last year (the KTM 250 SX-F also winning the MX2 World Championship) so the technical package was proven at the highest level of sport and KTM’s ‘mantra’ of READY TO RACE means it wouldn’t be any other way. In fact, Head of Engine Offroad & Motocross R&D, Michael Viertlmayr, says: “Without the approval of our racing athletes we do not make any major changes to our bikes. That is a clear statement from KTM.” So, if Ryan Dungey (still very active with KTM and also in the saddle), Tony Cairoli, Jeffrey Herlings, Glenn Coldenhoff, Pauls Jonass have provided some suggestions and tweaks then you can be sure they have been implemented on this new spectrum of SX machines. The line-up actually involves three 4-stroke SX-F models – 450, 350 and 250 – and three SX 2-strokes: 250, 150, 125. Practically every style, taste and preference is catered for. But what else have KTM discovered? A dirtbike is not a simple or cheap investment so the 2019 offerings have to warrant the cost and effort to produce as well as entice riders that the latest gains on the dyno and through copious test runs are worth it. KTM Product Manager Offroad Joachim Sauer hints at the general direction of the SXs: “When it comes to performance then our goal was not to drastically improve it but rather aim for more rideability and more efficiency.” How was that done …? KTM 125 SX MY2019 © Sebas Romero 1) Whack on the gas and wipe that tear away: Rideability At the heart of KTM’s objective to make the SX models more rideable – almost more friendly with that fierce market-leading power-to-weight ratio – is a series of modifications, but perhaps the most significant is the new frame. Made from chromium molybdenum steel sections with a longer aluminum subframe and cast aluminum swingarm (with a longer chain adjustment slot) extra stiffness is the goal. “The frame has been drastically improved to get the agility on one side but still keep the straight-line stability and the combination of the longer swingarm means the riders can now shorten or lengthen the wheelbase to make the bike turn easier or make it more stable on the straight,” Sauer says. Does it work? British test rider and former racer Dave Willet was one of the first to take the SX and SX-Fs for a spin at the recent launch in Rome. “KTM talked about stiffening the frame so that it doesn’t twist and that’s the key,” he says. “Perhaps the flex in the last frame just took away some of that capability for the rider to be pinpoint-accurate in maneuvering the bike. Where they have made that strengthening and eradicated that twist means that it now glides across the track. And this is something that can be said for all the 4-strokes but even more so on the 450.” “With the KTM 450 SX-F being one of the fastest bikes on the market it was hard to move it in the past … but not any more: the frame, swingarm, linkage, suspension all compliments the engine force.” KTM 450 SX-F frame © KTM Add revised WP Suspension, items like a newly-formed stiffer triple clamp, a lighter clutch with steel components and Pankl engineering and it’s clear that these SXs will work and feel easier than ever before. This is essential for a motorcycle with the performance potential of the KTM 450 SX-F. Willet: “KTM have concentrated on letting the 450 move around the track with ease and it takes less physical strength to do that; you don’t have to manhandle it as much. It means the market for this motorcycle has now increased massively.” KTM 450 SX-F MY2019 © Sebas Romero 2) Boy, you´re (not) gonna carry that weight: Power KTM have starved their SXs. More weight has been shed, and in the interests of rideability careful attention to engine internals and power delivery has been made to help the ‘loss’. “We worked on every single model in terms of improving power delivery in combination with cylinders and cylinder heads on the 4-strokes and exhaust systems, airbox and EMS and electronics,” Sauer says. “It is one entire package to make the efficiency of the engine better. It doesn’t make sense to improve the peak performance of a 450; we have 63 horses, so the secret is about bringing the power down to the ground and there we made a major step forward.” “Overall 550g was lost on the KTM 350 SX-F and 300g on the KTM 250 SX-F,” Viertlmayr says of the powerplants. “Weight dropped by 200g on the KTM 450 SX-F cylinder head alone.” KTM 450 SX-F engine © KTM DS clutches and clever use of steel components and the fantastic time-saving advantages of using 3D printing technology means that KTM have reacted quickly to ideas. “The clutch components are made of steel and we have a weight drop; this is the old story of smart engineering and it is the same with the steel chassis because steel can be lighter than aluminum if you do it right,” advocates Viertlmayr. Re-arrangement of elements such as the radiators, and engine position (higher crankshaft on the KTM 125/150 SX) helps towards more centralization. New exhaust silencers and headers across the range have assisted in the weight-performance battle. KTM 250 SX MY2019 © Sebas Romero 3) Something in the way she moves: Ergonomics “We did not want to make something completely new because the previous bike was already pretty close to optimum,” Sauer claims of the freshly-sculpted SXs. “We got a lot of feedback from our factory riders about the edges where we could get better and we did not turn the bike upside-down.” The SXs have not been turned upside down but they have been greatly honed. Designers at KISKA have focused on the contact points between rider and motorcycle and Dave Willet was able to rubber-stamp their work. “Rider ‘friction’ sounds like another sales pitch but you really can feel it,” he offers. “There is less contact in certain areas and the way you now have to grip the bike and with the sub-frame being slimmer allows you to transfer your body weight more easily. When you come into a turn standing up then you can easily shift your weight forwards or backwards. It is key across the range but it is more apparent on the 450 because of the size of the bike and how fast it is.” Other examples of how KTM have thought of the rider include the new KTM 250 SX pipe. Vastly reduced in size (Viertlmayr: “Our test riders always used to complain that they had to change the pipes five times a year.”) but with oval cross sections in the bends means that performance has been maintained and even boosted. The SXs also have a new seat that is softer and more resistant: a feat that was achieved by careful analysis of every other option on the market and also comments by the pros athletes that are logging more bike time than most. KTM 450 SX-F MY2019 © Marco Campelli For more information about the 2019 SX range and for details about particular models visit www.ktm.com. Photos: Sebas Romero | Marco Campelli | KTM
  22. 3 things you have to know about the 2019 KTM SX motocross bikes Somehow those orange motocrossers have taken another step in performance for 2019 so we asked the wizards in R&D what is in store for riders eying a new dirtbike. KTM SX MY2019 range © Sebas Romero Technicians and engineers are always pursuing ‘something better’. This is certainly the case within KTM’s relentless R&D Department. It would take a large slice of creativity and effort to improve the 2018 SX motocross range; don’t forget that the flagship KTM 450 SX-F grabbed titles in Supercross and finished 1-2 in MXGP last year (the KTM 250 SX-F also winning the MX2 World Championship) so the technical package was proven at the highest level of sport and KTM’s ‘mantra’ of READY TO RACE means it wouldn’t be any other way. In fact, Head of Engine Offroad & Motocross R&D, Michael Viertlmayr, says: “Without the approval of our racing athletes we do not make any major changes to our bikes. That is a clear statement from KTM.” So, if Ryan Dungey (still very active with KTM and also in the saddle), Tony Cairoli, Jeffrey Herlings, Glenn Coldenhoff, Pauls Jonass have provided some suggestions and tweaks then you can be sure they have been implemented on this new spectrum of SX machines. The line-up actually involves three 4-stroke SX-F models – 450, 350 and 250 – and three SX 2-strokes: 250, 150, 125. Practically every style, taste and preference is catered for. But what else have KTM discovered? A dirtbike is not a simple or cheap investment so the 2019 offerings have to warrant the cost and effort to produce as well as entice riders that the latest gains on the dyno and through copious test runs are worth it. KTM Product Manager Offroad Joachim Sauer hints at the general direction of the SXs: “When it comes to performance then our goal was not to drastically improve it but rather aim for more rideability and more efficiency.” How was that done …? KTM 125 SX MY2019 © Sebas Romero 1) Whack on the gas and wipe that tear away: Rideability At the heart of KTM’s objective to make the SX models more rideable – almost more friendly with that fierce market-leading power-to-weight ratio – is a series of modifications, but perhaps the most significant is the new frame. Made from chromium molybdenum steel sections with a longer aluminum subframe and cast aluminum swingarm (with a longer chain adjustment slot) extra stiffness is the goal. “The frame has been drastically improved to get the agility on one side but still keep the straight-line stability and the combination of the longer swingarm means the riders can now shorten or lengthen the wheelbase to make the bike turn easier or make it more stable on the straight,” Sauer says. Does it work? British test rider and former racer Dave Willet was one of the first to take the SX and SX-Fs for a spin at the recent launch in Rome. “KTM talked about stiffening the frame so that it doesn’t twist and that’s the key,” he says. “Perhaps the flex in the last frame just took away some of that capability for the rider to be pinpoint-accurate in maneuvering the bike. Where they have made that strengthening and eradicated that twist means that it now glides across the track. And this is something that can be said for all the 4-strokes but even more so on the 450.” “With the KTM 450 SX-F being one of the fastest bikes on the market it was hard to move it in the past … but not any more: the frame, swingarm, linkage, suspension all compliments the engine force.” KTM 450 SX-F frame © KTM Add revised WP Suspension, items like a newly-formed stiffer triple clamp, a lighter clutch with steel components and Pankl engineering and it’s clear that these SXs will work and feel easier than ever before. This is essential for a motorcycle with the performance potential of the KTM 450 SX-F. Willet: “KTM have concentrated on letting the 450 move around the track with ease and it takes less physical strength to do that; you don’t have to manhandle it as much. It means the market for this motorcycle has now increased massively.” KTM 450 SX-F MY2019 © Sebas Romero 2) Boy, you´re (not) gonna carry that weight: Power KTM have starved their SXs. More weight has been shed, and in the interests of rideability careful attention to engine internals and power delivery has been made to help the ‘loss’. “We worked on every single model in terms of improving power delivery in combination with cylinders and cylinder heads on the 4-strokes and exhaust systems, airbox and EMS and electronics,” Sauer says. “It is one entire package to make the efficiency of the engine better. It doesn’t make sense to improve the peak performance of a 450; we have 63 horses, so the secret is about bringing the power down to the ground and there we made a major step forward.” “Overall 550g was lost on the KTM 350 SX-F and 300g on the KTM 250 SX-F,” Viertlmayr says of the powerplants. “Weight dropped by 200g on the KTM 450 SX-F cylinder head alone.” KTM 450 SX-F engine © KTM DS clutches and clever use of steel components and the fantastic time-saving advantages of using 3D printing technology means that KTM have reacted quickly to ideas. “The clutch components are made of steel and we have a weight drop; this is the old story of smart engineering and it is the same with the steel chassis because steel can be lighter than aluminum if you do it right,” advocates Viertlmayr. Re-arrangement of elements such as the radiators, and engine position (higher crankshaft on the KTM 125/150 SX) helps towards more centralization. New exhaust silencers and headers across the range have assisted in the weight-performance battle. KTM 250 SX MY2019 © Sebas Romero 3) Something in the way she moves: Ergonomics “We did not want to make something completely new because the previous bike was already pretty close to optimum,” Sauer claims of the freshly-sculpted SXs. “We got a lot of feedback from our factory riders about the edges where we could get better and we did not turn the bike upside-down.” The SXs have not been turned upside down but they have been greatly honed. Designers at KISKA have focused on the contact points between rider and motorcycle and Dave Willet was able to rubber-stamp their work. “Rider ‘friction’ sounds like another sales pitch but you really can feel it,” he offers. “There is less contact in certain areas and the way you now have to grip the bike and with the sub-frame being slimmer allows you to transfer your body weight more easily. When you come into a turn standing up then you can easily shift your weight forwards or backwards. It is key across the range but it is more apparent on the 450 because of the size of the bike and how fast it is.” Other examples of how KTM have thought of the rider include the new KTM 250 SX pipe. Vastly reduced in size (Viertlmayr: “Our test riders always used to complain that they had to change the pipes five times a year.”) but with oval cross sections in the bends means that performance has been maintained and even boosted. The SXs also have a new seat that is softer and more resistant: a feat that was achieved by careful analysis of every other option on the market and also comments by the pros athletes that are logging more bike time than most. KTM 450 SX-F MY2019 © Marco Campelli For more information about the 2019 SX range and for details about particular models visit www.ktm.com. Photos: Sebas Romero | Marco Campelli | KTM
  23. The perfect weekend for Luca Grünwald KTM has quickly become a common sight at the forefront of the extremely exciting World Supersport 300 championship, and among others Luca Grünwald has been one of the guys piloting the fast KTM RC 390 R. We shadowed the rider of Freudenberg KTM WorldSSP Team around the Assen circuit for the second round of the World Championship. Luca Grünwald (GER) KTM RC 390 R Assen (NED) 2018 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Wednesday, 8.41 pm In the Fiat Ducato he borrowed from his dad, 23-year-old Luca Grünwald arrives at the Dutch TT Circuit in Assen, he parks the van neatly between the motorhomes. After nine long hours on the road the German World Supersport 300 rider arrives at his destination where he’s set to compete in only his second race in the championship. “Last year I was on a Superbike in the IDM Championship, but it was unclear whether or not there would even be a German championship to race in this season. When the offer of joining the World Supersport 300 came up, I was in doubt for a while, but in the end I took the chance. This class is so competitive and if you can show what you’re worth here, you might just get a shot at taking a step up into the higher classes in the WorldSBK paddock.” Grünwald has seen quite a few race paddocks over the years. Even though he’s only 23 years old, he’s been involved in the racing world for some time now. He started to make a name in 2007 when he won the ADAC Junior Cup. He then strung together success after success, because in 2010 and 2012 he respectively won the German 125cc and Moto3 championship. Internationally he burst onto the scene in 2011 when he got a shot at the 125cc World Championship. “It’s kind of funny, but we’re seven years down the road and this weekend I’m pretty much back to where it all started for me with my first Grand Prix. I debuted on this Assen track on Freudenberg Racing Team’s KTM 125 GP machine.” Thursday, 3.32 pm So far it’s been a quiet affair for the three time German champ. It’s only until later on the Thursday afternoon the World Supersport 300 riders are called to action, for a scrutineering, mind you. Freudenberg Racing Team’s mechanics roll in the KTM RC 390 R, but it’s Grünwald’s own responsibility to deliver his gear up for scrutiny. He quickly grabs his race leathers and crash helmet from the team truck and gets in line. To kill time he chats with someone he knows from back when he used to race for Kiefer Racing. Dutchman Peter Bom was Grünwalds chief mechanic when he raced fulltime in the Grand Prix’. “Obviously it was a dream true for me, but unfortunately it was only short-lived. The bike wasn’t the easiest to get your head around, and it was very difficult to sort out the front-end feel. We never really made it out of there and in the GPs that means things can move very quickly. You only get one shot to show what you’re worth and that pressure adds up. It’s a shame when one year later you’re sidelined, but I can’t say I’m not glad I raced in the Grand Prix’, even if it was just the one season. You learn so much.” Luca Grünwald (GER) Assen (NED) 2018 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Just as the Waldkraiburg man passes inspection, the track is opened for track walks. Together with teammate Max Kappler he does a few laps on the Assen TT Circuit on a bicycle to get the right mindset for the coming days. “I believe things could get very exciting who comes out on top here, because Assen’s layout makes it very difficult to gap other riders. It’s going to be a close call, and I hope to be right there at the front,” Grünwald says. Luca Grünwald (GER) Assen (NED) 2018 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Friday, 11.35 am Twenty minutes left on the clock before Luca Grünwald gets his first outing on the Assen circuit aboard the KTM RC 390 R for the first thirty minute long free practice. He’s just donned his leathers and picks up a sheet with the track layout. “I close my eyes and imagine the track in front of me. I can then work on sections of track that I need to improve at. We don’t get much time to train on track in World Supersport 300, so it’s important to be in it from the word go. If you don’t manage to secure a good starting position, you’ll have your work cut out for you in the race,” the German claims. Because of the scarcity of track time for riders in the class, problems can spell serious trouble. “Say you run into a problem in FP2, that needs setup attention, you’re going to have to wait until Saturday to try it out. And on Saturday you only have a fifteen-minute Superpole session to make it work. And Superpole is such a crucial session in a racing weekend, making adjustments involves some serious risk.” Getting to know new tracks is also hampered by the limited track time they get. “Three of the eight tracks we go to I’ve never raced at, meaning Donington Park, Magny-Cours, and Portimão. I’m going to have to spend a lot of time figuring out the right lines. If you were to crash or get a technical problem, you’re in a world of pain for the rest of the weekend.” Grünwald is hardly content after the first free practice, posting the nineteenth fastest time. With 1´54.767 he’s a whopping 2.695 seconds slower than fastest man Koen Meuffels, who wrote history at Aragon two weeks before, granting KTM their first World Supersport 300 victory. Luca Grünwald (GER) KTM RC 390 R Assen (NED) 2018 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Friday, 6.07 pm Second practice sees some serious improvement for Grünwald with eleventh place, but the results he’s aiming for don’t come easy. To make it into Superpole 2 directly he’s going to have to get into the top ten. So the German rider is going to have to put in some effort tomorrow in order to get that starting position at the front. Right before dinner – a full team affair at the Freudenberg KTM WorldSSP Team tent – the 23-year-old is very open about his future. “You hope you get to race again every single year, but you can never take it for granted. There have been dozens of really fast riders who had to quit the sport, simply because they weren’t able to get the budget to go racing together. If you don’t have the right sponsor who will stick with you, it could all be over in the blink of an eye. I don’t have sponsors like that right now, so a few less than perfect seasons and I’m done for.” Only the lucky few bring home the bacon just from racing, so Luca Grünwald always keeps in mind there is a world outside the racing paddock. He was in school to become a car mechanic, but then he came across an interesting opportunity. “After finishing school last year, I was out looking for a job, when a friend of mine told me KTM’s R&D Department was looking for a development rider. That’s how I came to work for KTM.” Having him racing a KTM right now as well was purely coincidental. “When I first started working for KTM I was still racing a Suzuki. They didn’t mind, and I’m glad they didn’t. They felt my work for them shouldn’t affect my racing efforts.” Luca Grünwald (GER) KTM RC 390 R Assen (NED) 2018 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Saturday, 10.12 am The second day of racing dawns at the Assen track, but for the World Supersport 300 rider all is pretty easy going. If you make it through Superpole 1 – in which only to fastest two pass on through to Superpole 2 – and then partake in the second session along with ten fastest guys on track, you’re still out on track for a total of thirty minutes tops. And that’s only the two fastest riders, the other 37 only have a fifteen minute session to run on Saturday before they’re done for the day. “I would rather have had a third free practice; all we’re doing now is waiting. And we don’t really have time to try things out either, because there’s no way you are going try new thing in Superpole.” With about an hour before Grünwald suits up, he always goes for a run. “To keep my body up to temperature, that’s all that’s for. Get my heartrate up and warm up the muscles a bit. Focus comes automatically then, because when you just sit around your mind wanders off and you lose focus.” Luca Grünwald (GER) Assen (NED) 2018 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Apart from getting a workout in, the Freudenberg KTM WorldSSP Team rider also uses the Saturday to analyze data and to look back footage from previous sessions, learning from that as he does. “We don’t carry a lot of sensors on the bike but I get plenty of information from the ones we do have. That way we can figure out where there’s progress to be made.” Grünwald manages to make it through Superpole 1 in the end, setting the second fastest time of the session. With 1´51.681 he’s allowed into qualifying with the ten fastest riders in the class, but he doesn’t improve on the time set in Superpole 1, leaving him in P9. That means he’s on the third row for the race; his second in World Supersport 300. Luca Grünwald (GER) Assen (NED) 2018 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Sunday, 1.56 pm “Tension rises fast on Sunday, and it starts to build early, too. Our warm up session starts at 8.50 am,” Grünwald explains. “I try to focus as much as I can, channeling all I’ve got into getting off the line well. In this class those first few laps are outright war. Contacts a plenty and you’ll find another rider on every possible line through every single corner. After that things ease up a bit and you can start working on a plan,” explains Grünwald. At Assen round ‘making a plan’ didn’t quite worked out for anyone. Right after the start a large and very wild leading pack forms. Setting a strategy and following it has no use whatsoever. Because a lot of riders received grid penalties, Grünwald was allowed to take off from sixth place, allowing him to slot in with the leading pack. He manages to stay with the leading bunch right until the final lap, striking in the final chicane – the Geert Timmer-bocht. With a small sprint to the line, Grünwald manages to outdrive fellow competitors Glenn van Straalen and Scott Deroue to the line, taking his first World Championship race victory! Luca Grünwald (#43, GER) KTM RC 390 R Assen (NED) 2018 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions A long lap of honor and few sips of champagne on the podium are to follow, after which the German gets dressed in absolute calm. The well-earnt cup is proudly displayed in the Freudenberg KTM WorldSSP Team awning. “What an insane race that was. It was complete chaos again out there,” a smiling Grünwald says. “I knew I’d fit in well in the class, but I did not expect to be taking victory at only my second race in the championship. It does feel really good to be back on the rostrum again. If feels like forever since I last managed that, with my last victory in 2016.” Podium Supersport 300 Assen (NED) 2018 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Sunday, 7.03 pm There isn’t a great deal of time to celebrate his victory, because the Fiat Ducato is already set to leave the track again. Luca Grünwald has quite a trip ahead of him back home to Waldkraiburg. “Tomorrow is my day off, so I’m going to make the most of that now. I have completely lost track of how many people congratulated me in the paddock. I haven’t even had time to watch the race back myself, apart from that final lap. Everyone in the team kept showing me that on their phones.” The weekend after Assen Grünwald isn’t racing so he’s made plans to enjoy the weekend with a few friends. “I’m going to be celebrating with them!” Winning the Assen round has moved Grünwald up to second place in the championship, boding well for a good season for the German KTM rider. “I believe I should be able to get on the rostrum on a regular basis this season, and if I can manage that I’ll automatically be in with a shot at the championship. I’m certainly not going to tell you, right here, right now, I’m taking home that trophy at the end of the season, because so much can happen. We all have a long way to go yet, but I want to assure myself I have fun racing. And believe me when I say I’m having fun right now.” Luca Grünwald (GER) Assen (NED) 2018 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Luca Grünwald – still second in the championship – will be racing at Brno this weekend (from June 8 to June 10). With no German round on the calendar in World Supersport 300, the German KTM rider will go into the Czech round as his home race. Feel like following him? Check out his own Facebook page or that of the team. Photos: Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions
  24. The perfect weekend for Luca Grünwald

    The perfect weekend for Luca Grünwald KTM has quickly become a common sight at the forefront of the extremely exciting World Supersport 300 championship, and among others Luca Grünwald has been one of the guys piloting the fast KTM RC 390 R. We shadowed the rider of Freudenberg KTM WorldSSP Team around the Assen circuit for the second round of the World Championship. Luca Grünwald (GER) KTM RC 390 R Assen (NED) 2018 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Wednesday, 8.41 pm In the Fiat Ducato he borrowed from his dad, 23-year-old Luca Grünwald arrives at the Dutch TT Circuit in Assen, he parks the van neatly between the motorhomes. After nine long hours on the road the German World Supersport 300 rider arrives at his destination where he’s set to compete in only his second race in the championship. “Last year I was on a Superbike in the IDM Championship, but it was unclear whether or not there would even be a German championship to race in this season. When the offer of joining the World Supersport 300 came up, I was in doubt for a while, but in the end I took the chance. This class is so competitive and if you can show what you’re worth here, you might just get a shot at taking a step up into the higher classes in the WorldSBK paddock.” Grünwald has seen quite a few race paddocks over the years. Even though he’s only 23 years old, he’s been involved in the racing world for some time now. He started to make a name in 2007 when he won the ADAC Junior Cup. He then strung together success after success, because in 2010 and 2012 he respectively won the German 125cc and Moto3 championship. Internationally he burst onto the scene in 2011 when he got a shot at the 125cc World Championship. “It’s kind of funny, but we’re seven years down the road and this weekend I’m pretty much back to where it all started for me with my first Grand Prix. I debuted on this Assen track on Freudenberg Racing Team’s KTM 125 GP machine.” Thursday, 3.32 pm So far it’s been a quiet affair for the three time German champ. It’s only until later on the Thursday afternoon the World Supersport 300 riders are called to action, for a scrutineering, mind you. Freudenberg Racing Team’s mechanics roll in the KTM RC 390 R, but it’s Grünwald’s own responsibility to deliver his gear up for scrutiny. He quickly grabs his race leathers and crash helmet from the team truck and gets in line. To kill time he chats with someone he knows from back when he used to race for Kiefer Racing. Dutchman Peter Bom was Grünwalds chief mechanic when he raced fulltime in the Grand Prix’. “Obviously it was a dream true for me, but unfortunately it was only short-lived. The bike wasn’t the easiest to get your head around, and it was very difficult to sort out the front-end feel. We never really made it out of there and in the GPs that means things can move very quickly. You only get one shot to show what you’re worth and that pressure adds up. It’s a shame when one year later you’re sidelined, but I can’t say I’m not glad I raced in the Grand Prix’, even if it was just the one season. You learn so much.” Luca Grünwald (GER) Assen (NED) 2018 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Just as the Waldkraiburg man passes inspection, the track is opened for track walks. Together with teammate Max Kappler he does a few laps on the Assen TT Circuit on a bicycle to get the right mindset for the coming days. “I believe things could get very exciting who comes out on top here, because Assen’s layout makes it very difficult to gap other riders. It’s going to be a close call, and I hope to be right there at the front,” Grünwald says. Luca Grünwald (GER) Assen (NED) 2018 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Friday, 11.35 am Twenty minutes left on the clock before Luca Grünwald gets his first outing on the Assen circuit aboard the KTM RC 390 R for the first thirty minute long free practice. He’s just donned his leathers and picks up a sheet with the track layout. “I close my eyes and imagine the track in front of me. I can then work on sections of track that I need to improve at. We don’t get much time to train on track in World Supersport 300, so it’s important to be in it from the word go. If you don’t manage to secure a good starting position, you’ll have your work cut out for you in the race,” the German claims. Because of the scarcity of track time for riders in the class, problems can spell serious trouble. “Say you run into a problem in FP2, that needs setup attention, you’re going to have to wait until Saturday to try it out. And on Saturday you only have a fifteen-minute Superpole session to make it work. And Superpole is such a crucial session in a racing weekend, making adjustments involves some serious risk.” Getting to know new tracks is also hampered by the limited track time they get. “Three of the eight tracks we go to I’ve never raced at, meaning Donington Park, Magny-Cours, and Portimão. I’m going to have to spend a lot of time figuring out the right lines. If you were to crash or get a technical problem, you’re in a world of pain for the rest of the weekend.” Grünwald is hardly content after the first free practice, posting the nineteenth fastest time. With 1´54.767 he’s a whopping 2.695 seconds slower than fastest man Koen Meuffels, who wrote history at Aragon two weeks before, granting KTM their first World Supersport 300 victory. Luca Grünwald (GER) KTM RC 390 R Assen (NED) 2018 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Friday, 6.07 pm Second practice sees some serious improvement for Grünwald with eleventh place, but the results he’s aiming for don’t come easy. To make it into Superpole 2 directly he’s going to have to get into the top ten. So the German rider is going to have to put in some effort tomorrow in order to get that starting position at the front. Right before dinner – a full team affair at the Freudenberg KTM WorldSSP Team tent – the 23-year-old is very open about his future. “You hope you get to race again every single year, but you can never take it for granted. There have been dozens of really fast riders who had to quit the sport, simply because they weren’t able to get the budget to go racing together. If you don’t have the right sponsor who will stick with you, it could all be over in the blink of an eye. I don’t have sponsors like that right now, so a few less than perfect seasons and I’m done for.” Only the lucky few bring home the bacon just from racing, so Luca Grünwald always keeps in mind there is a world outside the racing paddock. He was in school to become a car mechanic, but then he came across an interesting opportunity. “After finishing school last year, I was out looking for a job, when a friend of mine told me KTM’s R&D Department was looking for a development rider. That’s how I came to work for KTM.” Having him racing a KTM right now as well was purely coincidental. “When I first started working for KTM I was still racing a Suzuki. They didn’t mind, and I’m glad they didn’t. They felt my work for them shouldn’t affect my racing efforts.” Luca Grünwald (GER) KTM RC 390 R Assen (NED) 2018 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Saturday, 10.12 am The second day of racing dawns at the Assen track, but for the World Supersport 300 rider all is pretty easy going. If you make it through Superpole 1 – in which only to fastest two pass on through to Superpole 2 – and then partake in the second session along with ten fastest guys on track, you’re still out on track for a total of thirty minutes tops. And that’s only the two fastest riders, the other 37 only have a fifteen minute session to run on Saturday before they’re done for the day. “I would rather have had a third free practice; all we’re doing now is waiting. And we don’t really have time to try things out either, because there’s no way you are going try new thing in Superpole.” With about an hour before Grünwald suits up, he always goes for a run. “To keep my body up to temperature, that’s all that’s for. Get my heartrate up and warm up the muscles a bit. Focus comes automatically then, because when you just sit around your mind wanders off and you lose focus.” Luca Grünwald (GER) Assen (NED) 2018 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Apart from getting a workout in, the Freudenberg KTM WorldSSP Team rider also uses the Saturday to analyze data and to look back footage from previous sessions, learning from that as he does. “We don’t carry a lot of sensors on the bike but I get plenty of information from the ones we do have. That way we can figure out where there’s progress to be made.” Grünwald manages to make it through Superpole 1 in the end, setting the second fastest time of the session. With 1´51.681 he’s allowed into qualifying with the ten fastest riders in the class, but he doesn’t improve on the time set in Superpole 1, leaving him in P9. That means he’s on the third row for the race; his second in World Supersport 300. Luca Grünwald (GER) Assen (NED) 2018 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Sunday, 1.56 pm “Tension rises fast on Sunday, and it starts to build early, too. Our warm up session starts at 8.50 am,” Grünwald explains. “I try to focus as much as I can, channeling all I’ve got into getting off the line well. In this class those first few laps are outright war. Contacts a plenty and you’ll find another rider on every possible line through every single corner. After that things ease up a bit and you can start working on a plan,” explains Grünwald. At Assen round ‘making a plan’ didn’t quite worked out for anyone. Right after the start a large and very wild leading pack forms. Setting a strategy and following it has no use whatsoever. Because a lot of riders received grid penalties, Grünwald was allowed to take off from sixth place, allowing him to slot in with the leading pack. He manages to stay with the leading bunch right until the final lap, striking in the final chicane – the Geert Timmer-bocht. With a small sprint to the line, Grünwald manages to outdrive fellow competitors Glenn van Straalen and Scott Deroue to the line, taking his first World Championship race victory! Luca Grünwald (#43, GER) KTM RC 390 R Assen (NED) 2018 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions A long lap of honor and few sips of champagne on the podium are to follow, after which the German gets dressed in absolute calm. The well-earnt cup is proudly displayed in the Freudenberg KTM WorldSSP Team awning. “What an insane race that was. It was complete chaos again out there,” a smiling Grünwald says. “I knew I’d fit in well in the class, but I did not expect to be taking victory at only my second race in the championship. It does feel really good to be back on the rostrum again. If feels like forever since I last managed that, with my last victory in 2016.” Podium Supersport 300 Assen (NED) 2018 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Sunday, 7.03 pm There isn’t a great deal of time to celebrate his victory, because the Fiat Ducato is already set to leave the track again. Luca Grünwald has quite a trip ahead of him back home to Waldkraiburg. “Tomorrow is my day off, so I’m going to make the most of that now. I have completely lost track of how many people congratulated me in the paddock. I haven’t even had time to watch the race back myself, apart from that final lap. Everyone in the team kept showing me that on their phones.” The weekend after Assen Grünwald isn’t racing so he’s made plans to enjoy the weekend with a few friends. “I’m going to be celebrating with them!” Winning the Assen round has moved Grünwald up to second place in the championship, boding well for a good season for the German KTM rider. “I believe I should be able to get on the rostrum on a regular basis this season, and if I can manage that I’ll automatically be in with a shot at the championship. I’m certainly not going to tell you, right here, right now, I’m taking home that trophy at the end of the season, because so much can happen. We all have a long way to go yet, but I want to assure myself I have fun racing. And believe me when I say I’m having fun right now.” Luca Grünwald (GER) Assen (NED) 2018 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Luca Grünwald – still second in the championship – will be racing at Brno this weekend (from June 8 to June 10). With no German round on the calendar in World Supersport 300, the German KTM rider will go into the Czech round as his home race. Feel like following him? Check out his own Facebook page or that of the team. Photos: Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions
  25. Cairoli to find new limits with forthcoming F1 test Posted in People, Riding “Difficult and nervous …”, the MXGP World Champion talks exclusively about another special motorsport outing thanks to a Red Bull Racing Formula One test on June 6. Tony Cairoli interrupted his post-wedding plans at the end of 2017 to circulate with the factory Red Bull KTM MotoGPTM machine at Valencia. Now, the Grand Prix winning Sicilian is anticipating his first laps in a Formula One car at the Red Bull Ring this week. #222 will join the Red Bull Racing test team to take a two-year old RB12 for some flying laps in Austria. “I’ve pushed Red Bull quite a bit for this as I know it’s nice for me but also some good visibility for our sport because not many motocrossers get this opportunity,” Cairoli admitted. “It’s exciting to have done MotoGPTM and now Formula One.” Throwback: Tony Cairoli (ITA) 2010 © Ray Archer Speaking exclusively about the event, the nine-times number one also revealed that a degree of preparation has already gone into his F1 ‘debut’. He recently travelled to the team’s HQ in England to have his seat individually molded and to also make an obligatory session with the crew’s simulator. “It’s like a PlayStation but you feel the movements of the car and the throttle control and clutch is very sensitive,” he revealed. “It was difficult in the beginning but then they were very surprised by my laps. My times were actually very close to the drivers’ and not far from Verstappen’s! I cannot wait to test a real one.” The 32-year-old is already an accomplished Rally car driver; a passion that he indulges once the MXGP season is complete. The F1 opportunity was a little more complicated in terms of scheduling for Tony to be able to try other methods of prep. “It would have been better to have done some karting but I haven’t had much time,” he says. “We’re fighting for the championship and that means we have to look to the day job first. This is just going to be for fun.” Cairoli has already been able to think about the technicalities of the ‘spin’ thanks to his observations and experience with the simulator. “What is crucial with those cars are the braking points. I was braking late in the simulator because nothing can happen … but of course with a real car it is different! The steering wheel was pretty complicated but the hardest thing for me was getting in the car and making the seat; it is a strange feeling to be almost lying down. The cockpit is also really tight and the knuckles of your fingers almost touch the sides when they are on the wheel. There is almost no room at all and it is very compact.” Throwback: Tony Cairoli (ITA) 2010 © Ray Archer The Red Bull KTM rider competes in arguably the most liberal motorsport for individual expression. One of the reasons that motocross is so tough is because of the demand and punishment on all major muscle groups as the rider fights to manhandle the bike through the terrain and the air. F1 is the complete opposite, and perhaps one of the most constrained performance environments for the athlete. It is a marked contrast for TC222. “Yes, and especially because I have asthma and I felt the claustrophobia when I had to sit there for 30 minutes with the helmet making the seat,” he half-jokes. “There is also another part with the seatbelts and top unit of the car pushing you down hard before you’ve even started the engine: this was the most difficult and nervous part of the whole process for me!” The days of racing legends like John Surtees and Mike Hailwood interchanging world championship wheels and disciplines have long gone but Cairoli aims to prove that a racer’s instinct might still be the most valuable asset when it comes to making speed. Aside from the pride, there is also the bill to consider if perhaps it does go wrong and the gravel trap gets a bit too close: “I hope they have insurance but I don’t want to think about it!” Throwback: Tony Cairoli (ITA) 2010 © Ray Archer Photos: Ray Archer
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