KTM Building Moto3 Machine
When the rules for the Moto3 class, due to replace the 125cc two-stroke class from 2012 onwards, were announced, the entry of existing motocross and supermoto manufacturers seemed only a question of time. The new class is to feature 250cc, single cylinder four-stroke engines, with a maximum bore of 81mm and rev limited to 14,000 rpm, and all of the current companies building motocross bikes have an engine which - with a little modification - would fit that bill.
The biggest - by reputation, at least - of the MX bike builders is surely KTM, and when Moto3 was announced, the gaze of the press immediately turned on Mattighofen, KTM's Austrian base. Rumors emerged as early as October that KTM was considering an entry, and now GPOne.com is reporting that the decision has been made, and that KTM's Moto3 project is already underway. According to GPOne.com, the technical details of the Moto3 engine are yet to be finalized, but given that the rules were only published in full at Valencia, with the details of the spec ECU issued just a couple of days ago, it is hardly surprising that KTM wanted to wait before starting work.
The KTM will be the fourth Moto3 machine to be introduced officially. At Valencia, former Aprilia Racing boss Giampiero Sacchi debuted his IODA Racing Moto3 machine, and since then, Dutch frame builder Bakker have also announced they will be building a bike around a 250cc Suzuki RMZ MX engine. Honda, meanwhile, continues to leak images of its NRS250 Moto3 machine, though the Moriwaki MD250H points in the direction that the Honda is likely to take. Paddock rumor also suggest that Suzuki is taking a very close look at Moto3, and the step for Yamaha would not be too great either.
Prior to the announcement of the maximum price, at least two small British engine builders were also looking very closely at building an engine for Moto3. But the maximum purchase price of 12,000 euros was felt to be too low for the class to be a viable economic proposition for the smaller engineering firms, who cannot risk the investment on such minimal margins. Since then, it has mainly been major manufacturers - or companies close to major manufacturers - who have shown an interest in the class.
One mitigating factor for smaller manufacturers is the large potential market for the engines. The Italian CIV championship announced that they will be allowing the Moto3 bikes to run alongside the 125s in 2011, and Dorna is also pushing hard for the Spanish CEV championship to run Moto3 machines next season as well. Meanwhile, the German IDM championship is also likely to allow Moto3 machines to race from 2012, and possible a year earlier. Elsewhere, the Moriwaki MD250 Cup is being run in several countries around the world, including the US under the auspices of the USGPRU, in Holland, in Switzerland and in Japan. If Moto2 has been slow to gain a foothold outside of Spain and the World Championship, Moto3 looks ready to conquer the world, right from the outset.