From 125cc Grand Prix racer to World Championship-winning crew chief, Mike Leitner has a career in the MotoGP paddock that has lasted over four decades. After retiring at the end of 2014, he was tempted back to the premier class by KTM’s ambitious RC16 project to become Vice President Onroad for the Motorsport department.
Jeffrey Herlings’ path to a third MX2 FIM Motocross World Championship in just seven years in the class, in Red Bull KTM colors and just before his twenty-second birthday has been as fraught as it has been exciting and startling.
The Motorcycle Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring was the perfect stage for KTM to officially present its MotoGP project. Starting in 2017, riders Pol Espargaró and Bradley Smith will represent KTM on the track in the premier class of motorcycle racing.
There was clear emotion in KTM CEO Stefan Pierer’s voice last week with the presentation of the company’s MotoGP ‘weaponry’ at Spielberg for the Austrian stop on the Grand Prix trail. But with Mr Pierer, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta and KTM Motorsport Director Pit Beirer all talking about an important chapter in KTM’s story it was a decent opportunity to grab five minutes with the Austrian to ask about his own biking background …
Freelance writer Llewellyn Pavey is no stranger to Enduro events. Llel knows his stuff about offroad bikes. The 24-year-old Aussie-come-Welshman tested out the all-new KTM Enduro range at the international launch in Spain and gave the KTM BLOG his low-down.
He might be 52, but whenever the opportunity to leap onto a racing bike presents itself, Jeremy McWilliams does not need to be asked twice. The one-time Grand Prix rider has maintained a close relationship with KTM for many years, and so he was not going to pass up the chance to join other ex-motorsport riders for the KTM 690 DUKE Battle in Assen.
The Austrian Drift Challenge has been a booming competition for years, with the Mazda MX-5 standing as the undisputed champion. High time that the latest model is challenged to a face-off with a motorcycle then. Picking up the gauntlet for two-wheels is Hanson Schruf, a master drifter with his KTM 450 SX-F – and already sitting in fourth spot in the world rankings for the flat track world championship.
Spectacular racing success and popular production machines: there is often a whole team of engineers behind successful designs, but things were different right up to the 1970s. Just as the name Kiska now represents the distinctive design of KTM models, many motorcycles were previously closely associated with their designer’s name. Precisely six decades ago, Hans Trunkenpolz, the head of KTM, succeeded in bringing the famous designer Ludwig Apfelbeck to Mattighofen.