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.
KTM is one of only a handful of manufacturers to have won a title in all classes of the Motocross World Championship since it was first staged six decades ago. Following in the footsteps of Gennady Moiseev, who claimed the first 250cc victory in 1974, Trampas Parker won the 1989 125cc title, and exactly 20 years ago, New Zealander Shayne King completed the series with his triumph in what was at the time the “premium class”: 500cc.
We ride on them, our tires stick to them and our bikes lean on them – literally. But we never stop to wonder where they came from, where they´re going, and what they´re made of.
Riding offroad is damn hard. What does it take to make it at the top level? To win races and lead rivals in an FIM World Championship like MXGP? How do the pros rank with other sportsmen? We asked around in the Grand Prix paddock and cornered Wilvo Virus Performance KTM double British Champion and GP winner Shaun Simpson for some insight …
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 …
They’d been waiting for this Austrian Grand Prix, their home race, so very eagerly. Fritz Dorn and his 130-man troop are a special kind of MotoGP fans. Hard-drinking? You bet. But creative too. A visit to the campground at the Red Bull Ring.