KTM has long-term roadracing plans, apparently! Team Orange is staying in MotoGP through the end of 2026, after re-signing its contact with the series organizer this week.
It signifies the current changes at KTM, a company long-known for offroad racing success, but not so much for action on roadracing tracks. KTM’s built many high-performance street bikes over the years, between its Duke and supermoto models, but none of these motorcycles were aimed at traditional sportbike racing series (although, sometimes you’ll see a Super Duke sneak into a regional series, and spank the competition …).
So, it was surprising when KTM announced it was entering MotoGP’s premier class, with its first season of racing in 2017 (KTM previously had teams in Moto2 and Moto3 for several years). KTM’s hinted at plans for a superbike over the years, but hasn’t officially shown off any prototypes. In fact, company bigwigs have even suggested KTM might never build a sportbike for public roads, as some insiders feel it’s impractical or maybe even unsafe to build a race-styled motorcycle for the street. Don’t expect them in World Superbike anytime soon, then.
But, KTM’s MotoGP program proved successful, and it’s sticking around now, for another six years. KTM currently has a factory team in MotoGP, as well as a deal with the Tech3 satellite squad. KTM’s first podium in MotoGP came in 2018, and in 2020, two KTM riders won races (Brad Binder with a single win, Miguel Oliveira with two wins).
KTM’s press release doesn’t have any hints about why the manufacturer was keen on a five-year extension, though. There’s no talk of marketing, no talk of upcoming models, just a mention that KTM is the only OEM with teams at every level of the MotoGP system, from the Northern Talent Cup all the way through the premier class. That’s impressive, for a company that doesn’t even build a proper superbike … yet. Maybe this MotoGP announcement is a hint that a full-sized KTM sportbike is eventually coming?