Austrian motorcycle manufacturer, KTM-Sportmotorcycle AG is officially entering the top class of MotoGP with their new KTM RC 16 for the 2017 season. Back in 2014, KTM announced their intention of joining the top class of MotoGP and has followed through with their plans after two years.
KTM first revealed the RC 16 race bike during the MotoGP Austrian Grand Pix at the Red Bull Ring. The manufacturer said that their newest on road race bike is a result of years of research and development. With this bike, it will be the first time KTM will be competing in the top class of MotoGP. It is not KTM's first entry in motorcycle grand prix racing however as the Austrian motorcycle manufacturer run in the lower-tier Motor3 class and bagged the manufacturer's cup in 2014. KTM also supplies spec motorcycles for the Red Bull MotoGP Rookie's Cup.
“Almost two and a half years ago we made the decision that when we become number one in Europe we would be forced to take the last step (to join MotoGP). Meanwhile, we're now selling more than 60% of our 200,000 bikes on the road and to get accepted at the highest level of the sport you must take part in MotoGP, the F1 of motorcycle racing. Racing is our philosophy, our motivation and if we enter the segment, for sure we will have a learning curve but we will reach to podium - and my life's dream is to be the world champion in MotoGP," said Stefan Pierer, CEO of KTM Group.
Prior to the official unveiling of the RC 16, the KTM Factory Racing Team had done nine test sessions for their MotoGP racer. These tests were carried out during a period of nine month plus four more tests before the year ends. KTM Factory Racing has also released their rider lineup for the 2017 MotoGP season. Mika Kallio will serve as the team's test rider while former Yamaha riders Bradley Smith and Pol Espagaro will set foot on the grid for the next season.