KTM-Quality Austrian sports motorcycle technology-Big impact on int. racing circuits

2008-06-27 00:24
In terms of the recognized giants of motorcycle production, KTM, the world leader in sports motorcycles may be the David among the Goliaths but when it comes to impact on the international racing circuits, the company takes its place as an equal.

Half way through the 2008 racing season, KTM, its factory riders and its machines have made impressive inroads into the premier classes of both road racing and offroad international competition. The figures speak for themselves.

Road Racing World Championship 250 cc
After eight of 17 races in the 2008 season, Red Bull KTM factory rider Mika Kallio leads the 205 cc world championship standings and has ridden to three victories so far. That KTM is making such an impression on the 250 cc class is even more impressive given the fact that the company, with Technical Director Harald Bartol, is only in its third year of development in the 250 cc class. Kallio's superb racing skills have been matched with a machine that lets him go out and make points he is capable of and in doing so, sending a real signal to the other dominant brands.Meanwhile, in the 125 cc class, where KTM in 2008 is omnipresent with a factory rider, for this first time is also supporting a range of other teams. The new lineup of KTM machines on the 125cc grid has created new challenges and at the half way mark of the season all indications are that the orange machines in this class are on the road to future success.

MX2 World Championship
After seven of fifteen rounds totaling 14 individual races, the MX2 World Championship has developed into a three-man race for the title with Red Bull KTM factory riders Tommy Searle and Tyla Rattray the top two contenders. Tommy presently owns the red number plate but only has a four-point lead over Tyla and the two teammates are now busy putting a distance between them and third placed title holder Antonio Cairoli.

In the MX1 class, Red Bull KTM's Max Nagl of Germany is riding in his first year as a factory rider and is already seventh in the standings. Max won a race in Italy and was on the podium in one race in the season's opener in the Netherlands. Here, too KTM is supporting additional teams and Jonathan Barragan, riding for the KTM-supported Team Silver Action is lying sixth in the standings and has already been on the podium six times this season.

Second place and gaining in MX3
KTM's Belgian rider Sven Breugelmans is also a title contender in the MX3 World Championship. He trails leader Christian Beggi by just 21 points in what is already a two rider dash for the title and there is still another 400 points up for grabs.

Continuation of rally dominance
Organisers may have been forced to cancel the Dakar 2008 after terrorist threats but KTM put that disappointment quickly behind them and wend out and scored a victory with rider David Casteu in the Central European Rally, the first of the new "Dakar Series". KTM riders also go into the Dakar 2009, being run for the first time in South American as absolute favourites.

Across the board dominance in Enduro World Championship
Meanwhile the KTM Enduro Factory Team has been making a real impression on all three classes in the Enduro World Championship. After eight of 16 rounds, Samuli Aro and Marko Tarkkala are occupying the first two places in the big bike E3 standings. Aro is having a glorious season and has been on the top of the podium in five of the eight races so far. Factory teammates Ivan Cervantes (E1) and Juha Salminen (E2) are both in second place in their classes. With only a 10 and 19 points between them and their respective leaders, they are more than capable of overtaking for title glory.

KTM leads S1 class in Supermoto
Cool and calculating Bernd Hiemer, KTMs factory rider in the S1Supermoto World Championship is also leading the standings. The German rider has been on the podium in all six races so far and is brimming with confidence about his future title prospects. In S2 KTM's Supermoto veteran Attilio Pignotti of Italy is lying third after six races and has already been on the podium twice, making him one of the top riders in his class.

Steffi Laier challenging leaders in Women's MX2 World Championship
KTM-supported rider Steffi Laier may have missed the opening MX2 Women's World championship races in Bulgaria but she is fast gaining ground. The women have raced six times and the young German rider has totally dominated to win the last four races. She is just 20 points behind the leader with 100 more up for grabs.

Pit Beirer looking forward to more titles for KTM
"It is now very clear that KTM is a force to be reckoned with in all classes of on- and off-road racing. The success we have with our machines and riders in the first half of the 2008 season is clear evidence that our company can hold its own with any of the bigger manufacturers," said KTM's Offroad Racing Director Pit Beirer. "The first half of the season has been an all round success story and we expect it to continue for the rest of the year. KTM is a title contender in top level of both on- and offroad competition and we can be proud of that."

Source: KTM-Sportmotorcycle AG

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