Courtesy of Red Bull Newsroom
Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro reveal KTM’s Red Bull MotoGP 2017 livery.
The 2017 KTM RC16 has been revealed on Monday in Austria as Red Bull KTM Factory racing unveiled their MotoGP World Championship projects for the coming season.
After debuting in the 2016 Valencian GP with Mika Kallio as a wildcard, the team prepares to line up full time on the MotoGP grid and just came back from the first tests of 2017 at Sepang and Phillip Island.
Spaniard Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith from the UK were on hand to present their machines, with the new Moto2 and Moto3 projects also revealed during the launch.
“KTM is really new to MotoGP compared to other brands and we’re making huge steps,” said Espargaro, who made his MotoGP debut in 2014.
In Moto2, Red Bull KTM Ajo are headed by reigning Moto3 World Champion Brad Binder and 2015 Moto3 runner up Miguel Oliveira, with a new KTM chassis in the class proving a new challenge for the riders and for Team Manager Aki Ajo.
Moto3 has a line up change for Red Bull KTM Ajo, as Brad Binder graduates to Moto2. Bo Bendsneyder remains with the squad after his first podium finish as a rookie, but lightweight class race winner Niccolo Antonelli joins the squad on the other side of the garage.
Pol Espargaro: “Right now the bull is a little bit wild, but it feels really good. KTM is really new to MotoGP compared to other brands and we’re making huge steps. Every time we jump on the bike we get closer and it’s beautiful to see the evolution. I want to thank KTM for trusting me, and for this project.”
Bradley Smith: “There’s a lot of pressure. It’s something that you’ve always wished for and worked for throughout your career but when you finally get that opportunity there’s the pressure that comes with it. But I embrace the opportunity that I have and both me and Pol – and the team – will be working extremely hard. We’ve been busy so far already in the winter tests and the work won’t stop. It’s just the beginning and I’m excited to see what 2017 brings.”
Mike Leitner, MotoGP Team Manager: “First of all I want to see I’m super happy. The whole company has been working like crazy in the past year to get to this moment with the project. After the Valencia race we had some issues and the designers have all worked very hard. I think we went in the right direction. The most important thing is that we keep these guys motivated and can deliver what they feel in the laptime and what they need on track. That’s what everyone here is working for.”
Miguel Oliveira: “I’m very happy to be part of the project and after working with KTM in 2015 it’s nice to come back and embrace a new challenge. I’m looking forward to it. It’s been really positive and so far so good. We still have a lot of things to improve but for sure we will.”
Brad Binder: “Stepping up from Moto3 to Moto2 will always be tough but I haven’t set a goal to be honest, I just want to get on the bike and improve every time I do. Just keep working as hard as possible and see where we end up.”
Aki Ajo: “First of all we are all so proud to be part of this project. It’s difficult after good seasons because expectation is really high but we need to keep our feet on the ground. Every season is different, especially with this new project in Moto2 – it’s like starting from zero and we can’t expect to win straight away but that’s our aim. And in Moto3 we’ve fought for the title and this year we’ll try and do the same. Our targets are high.”