KTM To Pull Out Of 125 Class?

When KTM announced they would be withdrawing from the 250cc class at the end of last year, it was generally put down to the bitterness felt by the Austrian factory over the way the Moto2 class was forced through. That announcement was followed shortly by both the onset of the global financial crisis, and a string of very poor financial results by KTM. Since then, KTM has been gradually screwing back its involvement in two-stroke road racing, including withdrawing support from the US Red Bull Rookies series, causing that class to collapse before the start of the season. Earlier this month, when the 2010 Red Bull Rookies Cup was announced, the press release made no mention of KTM, and the Red Bull Rookies web site states that the bike the rookies will be using next season is the Metrakit Pre GP 125.

And now the final nail in KTM's two-stroke road racing program is about to be struck. According to the ever informative GPOne.com, KTM is to announce at Estoril that they will be pulling out of the 125cc class at the end of this season. The decision has been forced by continuing poor financial results by the Austrian company, and will allow KTM to concentrate its resources on its RC8 racing program in various national Superbike and Superstock series. KTM's aim has long been to get the RC8R competitive enough to enter into the World Superbike series, a goal which they have yet to achieve. They are hoping that the added funds from the 125 program will help them make that final step.

KTM's withdrawal leaves Marc Marquez and Cameron Beaubier without a ride for next season. Marquez is being extensively courted by Derbi, and indeed his decision to join the Spanish-badged Aprilia team may well have precipitated KTM's final announcement. Beaubier is in a much more difficult position. The former Red Bull Rookie has had a very tough year, injury preventing him from performing as well as he is undoubtedly capable of. Without extensive backing, Beaubier could be out of a ride next season.

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So in two years I bet we'll see Moto3. I wonder if the FIM ban on their efforts to innovate with their capacitor based KERS was a first sign that they just weren't wanted. Sad, sad, sad.

KTM certainly know that 125s will be soon dead. I'm glad to see they won't be wasting their limited resources trying to help keep the 125s afloat; especially since the governing body will not make any allowances to keep KTM or Aprilia around.

Sad, but makes perfect sense for KTM. Two stroke world class road racing is as good as dead.

If they take the plunge in WSBK, I'm sure they'll pull out just when it looks like their bike can win. Yawn...