In 2017, KTM competed in the premier class of the motorcycle world championship in order to play for the title in the medium term. The ambitious target for the implementation of the MotoGP project was a five-year plan. Despite some dry spells, the Innviertler are now at the end of the 2022 season about where they want to be. After a strong championship finale on Sunday in Valencia, the Red Bull KTM works team took second place in the team classification behind Ducati. So there is not much room for improvement anymore, the 2023 season starts today with the test drives in Valencia, in which there can only be one motto for KTM: Full attack on the world title.
The fact that there was a party mood in the Innviertler box at the end of the 2022 season is mainly due to one man: Brad Binder scored 188 of a total of 337 points in the garage. The 27-year-old South African turned out to be a real “Sunday driver” after the KTM-typical mediocre performances in training and was always reliably in the fast lane in the races. In Valencia, too, he plowed through the field from seventh place on the grid and finally finished second, just behind Spaniard Alex Rins.
“It wasn’t easy the way things went, but we always recovered and showed our best performances on Sunday,” said Binder, who, apart from his retirement in Portugal, was able to score points in every race. Only one win did not want to succeed this season. Binder should make up for that next year. “It’s been a few years since I went a whole year without a win. I’m ready to attack again in 2023.”
His teammate Miguel Oliveira was able to win twice in Indonesia and Thailand, but otherwise he lacks consistency. In Valencia he managed a conciliatory end in fifth place, Oliveira ended the World Championships in tenth place overall. On Sunday, the 27-year-old said goodbye to KTM after seven years. The Portuguese will drive for the RNF Aprilia team in 2023. “It’s mixed feelings. On the one hand, it’s sad that it’s coming to an end. On the other hand, I’m looking forward to a new chapter,” said Oliveira, whose place at KTM 2023 will be filled by Jack Miller. The Australian finished fifth this year on his Pramac-Ducati in the overall World Championship standings, just ahead of his new team-mate Brad Binder. Today he will set the pace on the new KTM for the first time. There has already been advance praise: “I am confident that he will do a really good job for us,” said Binder about his new team-mate.
Already in the race on Sunday, KTM unpacked a new steel frame (in anticipation of the 2023 season?). In any case, Binder got along very well with it. “It was a great job from the team. We made a step forward this weekend, which is fantastic,” said the South African.
KTM and GasGas
In 2023 Suzuki will be absent from MotoGP due to the factory withdrawal, with GasGas a new brand coming into play. The Spanish manufacturer was acquired by KTM in 2020 and has provided the Moto3 World Champion this season with the Spaniard Izan Guevara. In MotoGP, 2023 Pol Espargaro and Moto2 World Champion Augusto Fernandez (both Spa) will be riding the red GasGas. The duo in the KTM works team is made up of Brad Binder and newcomer Jack Miller.