KTM have made no secret of their distaste for the new 600cc four-stroke class which is to replace the current 250cc class. Indeed, so upset were they at the new rules that they ended their 250 program a year earlier than planned, stating that they saw no point in pouring money into a class which was doomed anyway.
Some inside the paddock saw an ulterior motive for that withdrawal. They claimed that the real reason behind KTM's pull-out was to concentrate their resources on developing a bike to actually compete in the new 600 class. But now, in an interview with Motorcycle News, KTM's racing chief Harald Bartol has dismissed in no uncertain terms any notion that KTM would be interested in the new 600cc formula.
In the interview, Bartol calls the proposed regulations "complete and utter nonsense," and reiterates that KTM's decision to pull out of 250s was down to an economic decision. The new rules also go completely against KTM's racing ethos: "Why should we spend money and develop a new engine when the rules mean you can buy a better one in the shops?" Bartol told MCN.
The Austrian race chief also clearly alluded to who he thought was behind the move to the new 600cc four-stroke formula: "Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Ducati, Aprilia and KTM is not interested in this class, so we know who is and who pushed," he said.