KTM Confirms MotoGP Entry For 2017

The news that KTM would be building a MotoGP machine has been public since the beginning of August. In an interview with the German website Speedweek, KTM CEO Stefan Pierer confirmed that the Austrian manufacturer would be building a V4 MotoGP machine ready for the 2017 season.

KTM's MotoGP plans were confirmed again last weekend at Misano. KTM's head of motorsport Pit Beirer told the MotoGP.com website that they would indeed be building a MotoGP bike, and that work on the machine had already started. The bike, Beirer told MotoGP.com, would be a V4, would use a steel trellis frame, just as their Moto3 machines do, and would be kitted with WP suspension. Design work on the bike was already underway, with the bike scheduled to make its debut on track "at the end of next summer," Beirer said.

There would be no prospect of an early entry, however. The bike is to be prepared for the 2017 season, with testing going on from late 2015 onwards. The bike would be designed around the Michelin tires, which will be replacing Bridgestone as the spec tire from 2016 onwards. The bike would also be designed with the spec electronics and unified software package in mind, which is also to be compulsory from the 2016 season.

The entry of KTM to MotoGP will bring the number of manufacturers in MotoGP up to six, with Suzuki and Aprilia set to join from next year. However, unlike the other manufacturers, there will be no KTM factory team, as the bike KTM are building is a pure production racer for sale only. The MotoGP machine will be much more powerful version of a track-only bike to be sold to wealthy private individuals. Where the MotoGP machine will cost around €1 million euros, the track bike will go for some €150,000-200,000.

Though the idea of selling a track version of their bike is an interesting one, only choosing to sell the bike to teams is a risky strategy. The problem KTM will face is finding customers for a machine that has not been proven in the hands of an existing rider. By 2017, the teams will not be short of competitive machinery. Next year, in addition to the sixteen Factory Option bikes (four Hondas, four Yamahas, four Ducatis, two Aprilias and two Suzukis), there will be eight Open class bikes, consisting of four Honda RC213V-RS machines in the Aspar, LCR and Cardion AB teams, two Forward Yamahas in the NGM Forward team, and two Open Ducati GP14s in the Avintia squad. In 2016, when the distinction between the two classes disappears, the factories are likely to provide year-old versions of their current bikes to the private teams at around the €1 million a year mark, though the bikes will be leased rather than sold. By then, all of the bikes sold to private teams should be fairly competitive, and be capable of mixing it with the satellite bikes on any given day.

Persuading one of the private teams to choose a KTM over a year-old Honda could be very difficult indeed. KTM will need some way of proving that the bike is competitive. The normal way of doing so is to compete as a factory team, but KTM have said explicitly they are not interested in doing so. That makes financial sense, as the cost of competing as a factory is huge, and the returns uncertain. Private teams are incredibly conservative and unwilling to take risks, as the fact that the Moto2 class is on the verge of becoming a de facto single-make series proves. Teams and riders would prefer to stick with something they know, or something ridden by others, than take a chance on something altogether new.

There will also not be any new teams coming into the class to sell the bike to. Dorna and IRTA believe the ideal size for the MotoGP grid is 22 bikes. This number is predicated in part by talent: the number of teams capable of putting a bike on the grid which can compete at the highest level, and the number of riders capable of racing competitively in the premier class. But it is also a question of money: each team on the grid receives free tires from the single tire manufacturer, a freight allowance for transporting equipment to the overseas rounds, and financial support in the form of travel allowance, to help with the logisticial cost of competing in MotoGP. The total financial support is equivalent to around €1.7 million per rider, per season. Unless Dorna can increase the revenue they generate from the sport, they cannot afford to subsidize more teams in MotoGP. So far, Dorna have been singularly unsuccessful at drastically increasing income for the series.

Whether KTM can attract customers for their MotoGP bikes or not, the fact that the bike is being tested for MotoGP will at least create the halo effect necessary for selling the track-only bikes to the wealthy clientele they are targeting. The fact that the bike has been developed for MotoGP but is not racing in the series may even be a marketing benefit. Not racing at all may be better for sales than racing around at the back. Unproven potential may be more marketable than a lack of success at the track, especially with halo products such as a track-only sports bike.

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Comments

I agree that this is going to be a serious uphill battle for KTM to break into the grid in MotoGP. But I think there will be a lot of people looking on with great interest, and if the Honda Proddy machine continues to struggle teams may look at this machne as a viable alternative. Certainly Aprilia and Suzuki won't be lighting things up right away, either, so there will be some level ground in tha regard.

They are certaily taking the right development path in my opinion by not pushing to get the bike ready for 2016. Let the new regs and new tires happen and base the project around those things as baked in features of the machine. In other words, it won't be a machine that is modified or altered to conform to new regs, the new bike is built specifically to those regs. It could end up being a big selling point. Really the only one they will have since they will not run a factory effort. I think they can do though it and I wish them well.

And for the record, I honestly don't see why they could not put 24 bikes on the grid. Just my opinion, of course...

Total votes: 57

Will there be any customers to sell the bike to? They should target Cardion AB!
And you're right, what's wrong with 24 bikes?

Total votes: 67

The problem is paying for it. Dorna's annual turnover is believed to be around €200 million. Payments to just MotoGP teams for 22 riders would total around €30 million. Then there's the Moto2 and Moto3 teams, who also get a freight allowance. There's staff costs, equipment costs, travel costs for all of Dorna's staff (I don't know how many people travel with them, but it must be a couple of hundred to every race). They chew threw money. Adding a couple of million a season for a couple more bikes is the difference between making a profit and reporting a loss. 

Total votes: 68

A lot of people scoff at the thought of Dorna making a profit, but it's good to highlight the importance of Dorna making a profit. Firstly they have to cover the costs otherwise a championship would not exist, secondly they need to make a profit to secure investment, loans, etc that all other companies require to function.

It's not an overwhelming greed suffocating the sport that some wish to believe.

Total votes: 78

Revenue of euros 238 million in 2013 for Dorna.

And there are a lot of different ways to run a championship other than as a for-profit, investor-driven enterprise (see British Superbike).

Total votes: 80

BSB is owned by MotorSport Vision, a privately held, for profit corporation. Who also own some of the tracks the series races on.

Total votes: 67

Yeah, MSV owns almost all of the tracks that BSB races on. As a privately held company, no investors to keep happy. The tracks get the series essentially for free, thus guaranteeing a show that can be televised.

Definitely different than the Dorna model.

And the comment below is spot-on; if you threw in the amount of money that Dorna borrowed this year ... But honestly, at that level of finance, profit and loss are looked at in ways that cannot be described by normal mathematics, and can only be understood by someone like the Professor of Neomathematics at the University of Maximegalon, who, in his Special Theories of Tax Returns, proves that space-time is "not merely curved, it is, in fact, totally bent."

I guess what I mean to say is that value is judged in this context not by profit and loss, but by whether the product can be used to attract investment dollars. Making or losing a few million bob at the end of a given year is a minor concern, especially when the company has a track record of borrowing hundreds of millions to ensure it meets its debt payments.

I think that Dorna's cut-off point for grid spots and support for teams is dictated more by a simple calculation: Does paying XXX amount for bikes 23-24 on the grid increase the value of the product by more than XXX to the investment community?

Total votes: 61

Privately held companies have investors to keep happy. The owners of the company. Now, that might mean they can afford to talke a longer term view, but they are still in it to make money. Stuart Higgs once joked to me that British Superbikes was the WWF (or WWE as it is nowadays) of motorcycle racing. Hence the Showdown.

Completely agree with your assessment of the cut-off point for grid slots. Adding grid slots at that point cuts into profits, and is unlikely to generate the return needed to cover the extra cash. The difference between 16 bikes on the grid and 22 is huge. The difference between 22 and 28 is negligible.

Total votes: 58

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Total votes: 54

"earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization" (ebitda) is what is commonly referred to as being the profit of a business venture.

According to this spanish website, Dorna's ebitda was somewhere just above 75 million Euros in 2012.
http://www.infocif.es/ficha-empresa/dorna-sports-sl

It has been growing, however, as you can see.
I read somewhere else that it was just shy of 40 mio. in 2003.

However, I have no idea how many employees they have. An annual report would help. But since Dorna is no joint-stock-company, I guess they're not obliged to publish one. Dunno if that's the situation in Spain, it is in Germany anyway.

Bridgepoint Capital does publish annual reports. Maybe there's something in there?

Total votes: 57

189 employees, according to the Bridgepoint annual review (thin, but somewhat helpful):

http://www.bridgepoint.eu/media/1968173/2013_ar_online.pdf

David is right, the owners of BSB are in it to make money. But it's their money that they have invested, and they keep the money that they earn. They make decisions based on their interests, which center directly on the racing series, which supports their tracks.

That's a crazy-different model than Dorna's job, which is to attract short-term venture capital at any cost.

One of the most interesting things about the MotoAmerica project will be to see what the relationship is between the series and the tracks. I think that in the U.S., the model of tracks paying to bring racing series to the facility, staging an event and hoping to make money is badly broken.

Total votes: 59

... but in what situation is it possible for any organisation to run year after year without enough revenue (sponsorship, fees, investment, etc) to cover the costs? I don't get what you're trying to prove.

If you want to say you think Dorna could run things better, then great, but that is a wholly different topic to their finances. To argue that they shouldn't make a profit... It makes no sense to me (as a chartered accountant).

Total votes: 57

I could easily see myself investing short-term in a property that was losing money yet borrowing heavily to pay off short-term notes. Hell, I've actually got money in investments that I don't anticipate will turn a profit ever. And they're providing nice dividends. The trick, as you know, is to get out before the house of cards collapses - and even if you don't, my accountant points out that certain losses can offset tax liabilities.

I'm not saying Dorna shouldn't make a "profit." I am saying that as an investment tool in the Bridgepoint portfolio, regular annual "profits" are only one way of attracting investment capital - which is what Dorna actually exists to do. Profit and loss on the business alone is only a part of what makes Dorna an attractive investment or not.

Total votes: 69

The scenario you pictured featuring factories providing used bikes for private teams brings us full circle to the original problem Dorna faced in MotoGP. Non-factory teams that couldn't afford ex-factory eqiupment. I am skeptical about factories selling bikes at affordable prices and imagine that by 2017 we will be facing dwindling grids as the factories price independent teams out of the market. At that time KTM could be a real angel(halo and all) to non-factory teams still trying to make a go of it. What has just happened to Gresini I feel is an outlier of this coming storm. The question is will KTM still be in MotoGP by then. The same question could be asked of Suzuki, Aprilla and a host of smaller teams competing today.

Total votes: 63

Look at leveling those electronics and quick this has come around. Suzuki, then Aprilia, now KTM. Only BMW and Kawasaki as big players left.

they should have done this when they went back to the 1000's but I already know, MSMA.

Total votes: 72

"Persuading one of the private teams to choose a KTM over a year-old Honda could be very difficult indeed. KTM will need some way of proving that the bike is competitive. The normal way of doing so is to compete as a factory team, but KTM have said explicitly they are not interested in doing so."

Okay, so KTM will not field a factory team. I agree that if they did so with world-class riders then they could lure private teams to buy their bike. But what about testing? I know that the riders and teams sometime sandbag, but if KTM demonstrates during testing that they have performance that meets (and hopefully beats) the best the factory teams, that could be a delicious carrot. (Get yourself some of the best WSBK riders to do the work). It would still be a risk because being fast during testing does not always equal to being fast during testing . . . . but look at the post-race test days we have seen this year; the riders are running not just at race pace but even qualifying pace.

I think my idea would work, except for a big hole. Can KTM demonstrate this performance before the teams need to commit to Dorna that they will race that type of bike and before they can convince sponsors to sign up? To me that is a bigger risk than the not having a factory team.

Total votes: 63

I am skeptical about the long term participation of any new factories. I even have doubts about Ducati. The only reasons that racing can be financially justified to a board of directors is public relations, advertising and name recognition. Some will argue that it can be used for engineer training and that may be true, but it sure is an expensive why to do it. Any of those reasons can only be justified if you are winning or at least extremely competitive. If you are losing then racing it is a huge, expensive, negative factor. Most companies won’t continue expensive activities that make them look bad for very long.

On top of that the sportbike market is shrinking rapidly, so the connection between racing and sales is much weaker than in the past. So, even winning doesn’t have a good return on investment.

IMO the chances of Aprilia, Suzuki and KTM quickly winning or even being consistently competitive is extremely remote. I suspect the MotoGP programs will be shut-down after only a couple of years.

Honda and Yamaha are special cases, they each seem to be in MotoGP because the other is. Due to their decades of GP racing they have a huge knowledge base to work from and their bikes are so highly evolved that nobody will be able to quickly challenge them. Ducati had a chance, but seems to have squandered it. It is only a matter of time before Marlboro tires of the zero visibility “advertising” and pulls the plug. Ducati’s MotoGP program will effectively end then, it might limp on ineffectively for a while, but it have to end before it bankrupts the company.

In fact, I am pessimistic about the whole future of MotoGP. With the lack of sportbike sales to provide impetus it’s hard to see any manufacturer continuing for very long.

Again IMO, if MotoGP is to continue beyond the next 10(?) years it will have to evolve into a MUCH less expensive endeavor. I don’t know what the solution would be. Probably simpler, less expensive bikes. Possibly much less travel, maybe several regional series with a short “World Cup” series every couple of years.

I love MotoGP, but like I said I’m skeptical and pessimistic about the future.

Total votes: 65

I don't think the open bikes will cost 1M by 2017. Honda's production racer for 2015 is already more than that. And if by 2017 "open" bikes will be leased one year old factory bikes, then that's just what satellite bike have always been and satellite bikes have not been cheap for a very long time.
Also, the CRTs proved that owning the bike is a good thing, you can always sell it to recuperate some of your investment. Something you can't do with the openYamahas and I'm still very doubtful you'll be able to do once the leasing period runs of in the open Hondas (which they are said to be sold but in reality for the first two years are leased).

Total votes: 60

I don't think sportsbike sales have any effect on the interest in MotoGp, I think that is more than likely the problem which is killing WSBK. Grand Prix racing was always popular long before sportsbikes were ever spawned from F1 replicas, road bike engines in purpose built race chassis.

Total votes: 57

There has always been something special about GP racing. It is simply the show, the pinnacle of Moto sport, a spectacle that transcends the whole "race on Sunday, sell on Monday" mind set. It is the very best riders on some of the most exotic machines on the planet. It still captures the imagination. People are passionate about MotoGP. The manufacturers share this passion as well. If it was simply about money the sport would have gone by the wayside a long time ago.

It will not be easy, but I think GP racing will survive. In what form is to be determined, of course, but GP racing will survive. Am I confident in the current leadership to make the best decisions? Meh. But I don't believe that DORNA nor the MSMA is the Devil either. They do at some point though have to put their own self interests aside and at east find some common ground so that they can do what is best for the sport. MotoGP will not die, but it can be killed. This what I fear.

Total votes: 63

As I said, that was just my opinion. However, it is my perception that there has been a massive reduction of interest in motorsports amoung the younger generation in comparison to previous times. The past does not necessarily predict the future.

I just don't see the long term williness of the manfacturers' board of directors to continue to approve spending at the levels currently required for MotoGP. Certainly not for those who aren't winning.

Total votes: 64

I'm don't think there's any real direct connection between sports bikes and motogp, but for sure there's a connection between bikes per se and racing. Look at F1. There really isn't the slightest, tiniest relationship between those cars and a souped up citreon saxo but the fan base is enormous. Paradoxically the fan base for BTCC is so small you see races where there is evidently hardly anyone there to watch, even though those cars create the illusion of being related to your average family saloon.

Back in the day I'd watch Sheene on sunday and lie flat on the tank of my moped for the next couple of weeks, kidding myself that 87mph or whatever an FS1E did was fast and furious. (In fact it was just dangerous, but that's another story). I didn't dream of owning some monstrous suzuki, even this boy-racer knew that was never going to happen, but I did aspire to a CBR250, then something bigger, and so on.

The point being that as long as people are mad keen on motorcycles, there will remain an appetite to follow racing, and out of that, a few will want to race properly, followed by a desire or need for a pinnacle series. Whether a series is popular enough to be on the tv screens is, in my view, almost entirely down to promotion. In that respect Dorna have adopted a strange strategy. So MotoGP as we currently know it might well disappear in time - in fact it's bound to, nothing lasts forever - and sooner than we'd like if Dorna have got this badly wrong. But if that does happen, I bet it won't be too long before it's replaced by something comparable. Maybe WSB will bounce back.

Total votes: 57

I know WP is owned by KTM, but with all of the challenges Gresini face(d) being the sole Showa/Nissin team in an otherwise homogeneous Öhlins/Brembo field, this seems like a decision that will further handicap KTM's chances of actually getting one of their bikes on the grid. I know Pierer is touting the fact that the bike is wholly constructed by KTM without relying on outside suppliers as a point of pride, but it's asking a lot of prospective teams to gamble on another unknown when the overall performance of the bike is unproven as it is.

After considering David's analysis, I'm fairly convinced that actually seeing a KTM fielded in the championship is a low priority and that mostly KTM is after the "Developed for MotoGP™" tagline for marketing their millionaire track toy.

Total votes: 63

Its funny that this topic has come to life once again. David is right in saying that the strategy being adopted by KTM is a risky one because of the possibility that no one will opt for a bike that has no proven credentials. Having said that, I believe a lot will also depend on costs. It is an expensive affair to lease Honda racers especially now with the new approach of Honda with RC213V-RS and Yamaha only leasing the engine leaving teams to spend time on developing their own chassis. Yamaha followed this strategy with great success in the 1990s when ROC and Harris made chassis. But the engines then were relatively inexpensive two strokes and Yamaha gave them old screamer engines instead of the big bang engines. I doubt if that model can be duplicated with the new four stroke engines that are linked to all kinds of electronics etc.

If KTM can produce a racer that is inexpensive but has the ability to at least circulate within a couple of seconds of the leaders, it may just turn out to be an attractive proposition. After all most teams like Avintia, Forward, etc. are not exactly in the market to be winners. If they get a decent enough package they could just get interested in the KTM. Mahindra's experiment in the Moto3 starting next year, where they will not run their own team but sell motorcycles to teams could provide an insight into how realistic a model it will be, despite the fact that Moto3 and MotoGP are vastly different categories.

Total votes: 56

That's what it is what you discribed avsatishchandra back in the 90's, the only reason why racing has become so expensive is the use of four strokes, no team can do any longer the maintenance themselves to the engine.
Also the elctronic package has become so difficult to work with that only very well funded teams are able to make full use off it.
These are in my humble opinion the main reasons why racing is killing itself.

Total votes: 56

KTM have a significant presence in the paddock at Moto3 level, but that is very different from the premier class. Tyre changes and the spec electronics may make their job easier, for a while, but Honda responded strongly this year in Moto 3 to show that their capability covers every component on the bike.
Chassis' are important, and Moto 2 has shown that the teams do not have patience for R&D. They just go to what seems the best. If their plan is to sell not run, that may have been more of an issue in their Moto 2 decision than running an I-4 Honda engine.
If they get beyond testing, there will have to be a de-facto factory effort in my view. Aprilia have shown that being a 'supplier' and not doing well can be pretty bad, and you cannot have your name on an engine, let alone a complete bike, and not be the face of the team.
The trellis frame will be interesting. If it works a few people at Ducati are going to be wincing. The brakes will be Brembo, but the suspension is going to have a credibility gap to bridge if it's anything other than big O. How many hills do you want to climb at once? Would any team take all that on? Possibly, if the funding was good.
Ducati can sell bikes on the back of being in MGP, even if in reality those bikes are no more than superficially 'race-bred'. I don't see how KTM will enhance their brand by almost being in MGP. $100-200k for an 'almost' bike? A $60-80k Ducati would do for me!
Still, this should provide some nice work for Jazza, and perhaps some good videos. If it does work out it will be great to see.

Total votes: 58

All the money is in high volume segment. The millionaire toys never sell enough to have any sort of a real impact on the bottom line. Specially when you consider the extremely high development cost. Some companies claim that they LOSE money on each one they sell.

KTM sells a ridiculous number of 125/200/390 Dukes that are cheaply made in India and come with huge profit margins. With the launch of RC series last year and the inevitable launch of the Adventure series on the same 125/200/390 platform, stefan Pierer recently said that he was looking at exporting 100k bikes on the 125/200/390 platform from India by 2016. Even if you consider a 1000$ profit on each bike sold(the real number will be greater), that's 100 million profit right there.

Total votes: 48

Who knows what they will do, or what they will sell ? No one, but how can another manufacturer in the premier class be bad for the sport ? Maybe they are going to bring Stoner in to test it ? Honda sold proddy bikes loosely based on a Stoner test lap , could KTM not do something similar ? What if Rossi buys one and runs it privately ? What if they give one to Michael Dunlop and he wipes the field with it at the Senior TT ? Surely they should be given the benefit of the doubt, and the chance to succeed. I say the more the merrier !

Total votes: 67

There is obviously a rich history between the two companies. Red Bull has also stated that they would only sponsor a full team if it was their team. Considering that KTM will not be a full factory outfit, is it beyond the realm of possibility to see Red Bull step up and buy two grid slots and run the team?

Total votes: 59

Red Bull committed to full team sponsorship for Repsol Honda (currently they sponsor Marc and Dani individually) beginning next year. That doesn't necessarily eliminate the possibility of a stand alone Red Bull team running KTMs in 2017, but it would seem to make it fairly unlikely and it definitely contradicts their old "we'll only sponsor our own team" position.

http://motomatters.com/news/2014/07/30/red_bull_to_back_repsol_honda_tea...

Total votes: 51

I have to admit to not being a lover of old two-strokes as they work or sound (a bit smokey/smelly and a noise that doesn't sound as good as a 4 stroke IMO). I do love the smell of Castrol R though.....
The prototype 2 strokes have a lot going for them, and may yet return.... less peaky and probably with clean exhausts too.
However, a 2 stroke today would have just as much electronic 'stuff' because half of it is to do with the chassis, not the engine, and the current engine would be smothered in the stuff just like a 4-stroke.
Nails are used far less today and, like most things, they have evolved into much more sophisticated bits of kit than the cut brads or simple wire devices. I use self-cutting screws direct into timber that would have been nailed or drilled and screwed a few years ago.Hammers have evolved a bit too - the gas-fired and similar nailers are much more powerful, productive, and unrecognisable from the old hammer (useful and quaint though they are). I haven't hit my thumb in ages. The current 'hammer' is about 10 times the price of a good old-style one though, and I would probably struggle to fix it if it broke.
Until someone gets brave enough to impose a power limit and simpler technology for the sake of racing and not R&D, the costs will continue to escalate.

Total votes: 60

You almost could hear me laugh about your comment I gues, it was funny to read.
I do know that most of the electronics are used not only for the engine, it depends on what way you are looking at it, traction control for an exeample, you could say it regulates engine power but you can also say it is a device that supports the chassis to keep the wheels in line are to get the chassis smooth trough and out of the corner. One thing is very very clear and that is that a two stroke engine is much cheaper to be held in shape compared to a four stroke engine and I'm not talking about the latest NSR500 or YZR500. My point is that how is going nowadays the sport becomes simply to expensive, you want to reduce costs?? You will have to reduce the unlimited use of special electronics and even very expensive materials like carbon fiber brakes, whats wrong with steel disc rotors if everyone is using it??

Total votes: 49

that article. Good to know. I am a little surprised Repsol is willing to share real estate on the bike. Thanks Athorn!

Total votes: 63

Dorna have to make MGP work if they are to survive. The VC's may impose a business structure that allows them to bleed-off cash in various ways. Having sold out to their vampires they have little choice between carry on, or give up.
Circuits are also in business to make money - but like race teams and Dorna they have to have a passion for their chosen business, because the margins are pretty tight and easily blown away.
Circuits providing the facilities and paying for the privilege are what leads to £17 parking fees and £8 burgers, T shirts that cost $2 and sell for $15 or 20 etc. They have to make their money from somewhere and tickets are not enough. The problem is that the concession boys have stitched the market up good and proper. Their margin has fattened to the point of obscene pricing for poor quality goods and service. Tat was OK when it was cheap.
If I thought the money was going into racing rather than someone's 7-figure salary for selling me crap I wouldn't mind. I would rather pay good money for a good product and service though.
TV coverage is the same problem. People are paying huge amounts for the privilege of providing coverage and the cost per hour of entertainment is extremely high (although a lot cheaper than being there).
Accessibility goes a lot deeper than the cost of bikes, and the sport is not planning and collaborating for a healthy future. F1 has finally realised its prices are stupid-high and it's blocking growth.
Like my laptop and Apple they have to evolve to survive and give me more entertainment for my buck, not less. It's the modern way. Bernie's way is dying IMO.

Total votes: 51

I believe the bottom two teams in Moto GP lose their tire and travel allowance, no? You could add many teams to that equation. Make it the bottom 4 or 6, then you could add 2 or 4 teams with no additional cost to Dorna.

Total votes: 65

Thanks Morbidelli.
It was meant to be light-hearted obviously, but it did seem relevant. The only point I was making really is that in my opinion the past is past and today is better (for all its faults). I'm not suggesting you are saying we literally need to turn the clock back. I am not someone who likes old bikes, although some I can appreciate, I am much more interested in today and tomorrow's tech.
The need to reduce cost/complexity is a problem that desperately needs a solution. In some ways KTM may be judging things correctly. David's other article above this about the electronics is potentially good news, because the slight differences between chassis' etc. may no longer be so important (I hope). I like trellis frames because they are basically cheap and simple that more or less anyone could make. I suspect that the materials and assembly technology involved in an HRC frame is hugely complex by comparison.
It would be great if the KTM package was competitive (and Aprilia, Suzuki etc.) because the technological frontiers had been made easier and affordable for everyone.
The bikes will still be exotic in comparison to road machines, so its not exactly dumbing down, but making smarter use of what can and needs to be done, plus making the rider a greater component in controlling the bike.
I particularly agree with your points about brakes etc. Just say they have to use the same ones in the wet or dry. That wont stop development - if Brembo can come up with ceramic set up that works it might help road bikes too.

Total votes: 58

Well, not only was it funny, but it could not have been more spot-on. Happy to hear about the thumb thing getting better.

Going backward, tech-wise, will kill the sport as the people with money (manufacturers) leave and the fans of technology also bail.

I think there's a subtle difference between reducing cost/complexity overall and reducing cost/complexity in certain areas of competition. Let the manufacturers compete in the areas where they want to experiment; ban cost/complexity in the areas where they don't care. There's no reason that a modern racing car can't have eight wheels; but no manufacturer wants to investigate that route, so it's banned.

Total votes: 58

Just to make sure that you're not dealing with a person not interested in tech, I work everyday with four strokes and some solutions they have found in MGP to make a four stroke behave like a two stroke are very clever things.
On the other hand I start then asking myself why make a engine work like the one you already had and don't start about the envirement now because if that was the case they better quit racing on the spot because it is always that it requires fuel and defenitly does not contribute to the envirement issues, although I dare to say this whole envirement discusion is b.........it. Also the capabilities off the current electronic package I find it amazing and try to imagine the lot of hard work and thinking went in it before it reached its current state, a true masterpiece. but isn't racing not all about who makes the best engine/chassis without all the electronics to smoothen things out and to support the rider and wasn't that back in the 500 days the difference between a good driver and a very good driver to control the bike with their wrist. The latest 500 bikes had also reached 210 BHP and the tyres were not as good as they are today, still the best drivers were capable of producing very good laptimes. And this is my main point I want to see racing, a rider who makes a mistake, who needs a good feeling with his clutch and throttle to produce a blisstering start, who uses his clutch to shift up or down the gearbox and I want to hear engines that do not pass my house everyday, if I want to hear or see that I will watch SBK, this is also a beautiful class by the way. I hope I made clear what MGP is missing, again in my humble opinion.

Total votes: 56

Yam2strokes...."I dare to say this whole envirement (sic) thing is b......it"
Sorry but as a self-employed independent scientist who works in environmental management and climate change adaptation I must call out this nonsense.
You could dare to say the earth is flat too, with equal credibility.
I love smelly oil burning strokers too and I lament their demise in gp racing, but this does not alter the fact of anthropogenic climate change.
Comments such as yours only serve to further marginalise motorcycling and those who do it.
I want racing to continue. I also want a habitable planet.
Denying environmental damage we are causing does nothing to strengthen the argument for racing motorcycles.
I realise that it was a "throw away line" you used about the environment, but it cannot stand unchallenged in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary.
Enjoy your two-strokes.

Total votes: 61

It took me a while to stop laughing about all the comments that were posted after my comment about the envirement and YES Avi (I just shortened your name, otherwise I can't remember it ;-)) I would love to smell like an old two stroke engine, but when I have driven my NSR250 and I'm back home my kids say, dad what's that smell you have?? Just asking because I'm very curious SP, give me one well funded reason why the climate is changing because we are using engine's that are using fuel and a bit of oil?? All of the scientist do NOT agree on this point with you. I'm only reffering at climate gate. Have you ever thougt about all the problems the engines have with all these rediculous Euro5,6,7,8,9 and 10 regulations?? I gues not, for myself I see these problems everyday in my workshop, have you ever thougt about the extra factories that need to be build and all the extra energy it takes to manufacture all kinds off special fluids to clean your engine to stop it from producing to much emmisions?Again I gues not, but if you feel good about driving an electric car or motorcycle, be my guest, but do not tell me lies and say to me to do this also because of the sake of some scientist who believe we can change the climate, just my opinion, enjoy your electric car/motorcycle. Just to make sure I DO respect your opinion.

Total votes: 66

Yes, that is what it should be about. I'm 100% with you on how it should be working with the rider as the priority (and it will be cheaper too). I also agree on WSB.
I'm not anti-2-stroke. I am all for clean air and not giving people cancer with particulates. Modern 2 strokes are said to be perfectly capable of meeting emissions requirements and I would like to see a bike in racing to demonstrate the technology.
The lightness of 2 strokes in comparison to 4's makes them ideal for bikes, but also good for cars where they are chasing weight reduction, so it has a good basis for all road type applications, not just a race or bike tool.
The environment, well that's another discussion altogether!

Total votes: 61

Fetishists, all of you 2 strokers!
;)
They are light, powerful, simple yes. But I don't like riding them at ALL. And I have 2 track only 2 strokes in the garage!

Torque and grunt feel GOOOD. Fiddling w gears until the wasp gets mad and stings me? Not so good.

I have been ready to let the past rest on this one for a GOOD while. Opening up the rulebook to allow for anyone to race anything that competes on the otherhand? ALLL for it.

Oh, and they stink and sound horrible. The bikes, not you three oil mixing nostalgists.
Hah!

Total votes: 67

Dear Mr. Motomann, Morbidelli17 and Motoshrink,

I actually need not post this reply since most of the time you seemed to have targetted by Yamaha2Strokes (I infer that due to you repeated reference to the hammer and the nail) and I think he did a pretty good job of defending himself. I have now been dragged into this conversation by Mr. Motoshrink who added me to the list of nostalgists. I have nowhere said that two strokes are better than four strokes. If you read my original post it was in response to David Emmett's question whether anyone will be the KTM motogp machine when the factory itself does not enter a team. I said Honda's production racers which are now almost factory machines will be hard to lease and that Yamaha's replication of its old model during the 1990s of leading engines only also could possibility not be rip roaring success not due to the number of strokes but due to the time lag in between the 1990s and today. I am sure will agree with me that two strokes of then were much cheaper than the four strokes of now. I did not talk about return to two stroke racing.

I then talked about the business model that could work for KTM if they kept the costs down where teams like Avintia, Forward, Ioda etc may end up considering the KTMs since they are not there on the grid to win at any cost. That was what I attempted as an answer to Mr. Emmett's question about the validity of the model that KTM wanted to follow. There was nothing more to it.

Now let me talk about what I did not say. I love two strokes, they give me a high when I ride them. I like their sound, their feel, their power delivery and everything. I also agree with Yamaha2Strokes who believes that the environment thing is load of cods wallop and will tell SP_Won that anthropogenic climate change cannot be stopped by racing a few 2 stroke motorcycles in different places of the world. If it was just that then we should now be breathing great quality air. I am a fetishist, Mr. Motoshrink, and kind of proud. Hell I wouldn't mind if you said I was the one stinking and not my two stroke motorcycle (I don't have one anymore because it is no longer road legal):)).

Total votes: 54

Avsatishchandra, my first post was intended to make clear that I do not like the older 2 strokes, but that I could see that the newer prototypes have great potential.
I also wasn't 'targeting' 2 strokes, just responding to his comment with a light-hearted reply. It's easy to get misunderstood I guess!

On the environmental front - people can believe what they wish, but climate change is a pretty undisputable fact, as is the cause being largely man-made. Personally I find it very believable and if people wait for the truth to be indisputable they might just find themselves dying of thirst/hunger/drowning, or in a war caused by displaced populations trying to survive. It's like crash protection - you don't wear it because you expect to have an accident, you buy it and wear it because you know it's a significant risk and if you get caught without it - you are likely dead or very uncomfortable and perhaps with life-changing injury. Personally doing something about both is a no-brainer. You want to ride without a real or metaphoric helmet, leathers, back-protector etc.? Carry on. Don't say you haven't been warned/presented with the facts about that or the planet.
Regarding Euro engines - the change in air quality since leaded petrol was banned and engines cleaned up has been huge - if you drive or ride behind an old car or bike it's like being poisoned at every breath. I wonder how we ever did it. The fact it takes a lot of tech to clean up engines is just a necessity. Sure, simple would be cheaper and perhaps nicer, but if you want your kinds to live in a breathable world and for their kids to survive, then you need to think a bit more deeply about the implications, not just the convenience or cost. Like tobacco, asbestos and other substances you can believe what you like, but the science is unerringly pointing to the risk and if you wait for the planet to die before you say 'Oh yeah....' on climate change you will realise that the light at the end of the tunnel is indeed a tight-fitting train and there is no escape. Don't worry about whether the science is right - think about what if it is. When authoritative scientists start asking God (or religions) for help over climate change you know something is up!

Apologies to those who wonder what this has to do with bike racing - there is a link there.

Total votes: 57

This whole discussion has a little to nothing related to motorcycle racing, the only thing I'm saying is that the climate is changing, but is it because of mankind?? I believe it isn't, 1000 years ago we had an iceage here perhaps we are now moving to higher temps, anyone who knows it for sure please explain it to me. As far as your comparison about the smell the older cars/motorcycles produce compared to the newer ones, I should say take a seat and sit for about 1 minute behind the newest gasoline/diesel engines, then we will talk again and if it is a petrol engine the old leaded fuels and their emissions were more friendly to us humans compared to the newer fuels with the led replacements in it, throw some fuel over your skin and watch. Though in many ways I do not want to go back to the old days when we were burning used oil in open skies are even worse people simply dropped it somewhere.

Total votes: 54

I try to keep politics off the site, as it can spoil the atmosphere and lead to a lot of divisive posts. Personally, I believe that anthropogenic climate change is real, and that the vast majority of scientific evidence points that way. Others disagree, and there are good arguments to be made on the action of specific gases on global climate. 

However, this is not the website to be discussing that. In the interest of sanity, I will delete all further discussions on climate change. Not because it is not a debate worth having, but because this is not the website to discuss it on.

The discussion over two strokes vs four strokes is interesting, especially in the light of marine engines going over to two strokes rather than four strokes. But if we can keep it to the pollution aspects, rather than the climate change aspects, I'd be grateful.

Total votes: 64

Thanks David, discussion involvement appreciated.

What is the saying? "With friends you want to keep don't discuss politics, religion or money" or something like that. Does 'fan boy fanatic personal attacks' fit in there somewhere? Glad you intervene when you do, great "pruning" of the discussions.

We seem to do a pretty good job as a community pushing into difficult testy areas respectfully and effectively. Thankful we don't have threads of 'flame wars' going on and on re tangential topics that need to be picked through or ignored with the 'not this again!'

Carry on!

Total votes: 57

Won't do it again David, sorry

Total votes: 50

I should have followed my wait a day rule before wading in.
And just to be sure that there is no confusion...I really love two strokes.
Especially Yamahas. I grew up on them. Just the smell makes me feel good.

Total votes: 55

I am really sorry that in my reply instead of ending after making a case for KTM entering MotoGP (I suppose I cannot call it making a case, but I can't find better words at this point) I went to declare my love for two strokes and my petulant attitude to the environment. Thanks for once again bringing me and the rest of us down to earth again and reminding us of what we can discuss and what we cannot given the nature of website and the forums. Apologies once again and thank you.

Total votes: 58

Thank you all for staying on topic and keeping the standard of debate so very high. I really appreciate it, and I am always so impressed by the quality of the comments people leave. 

Total votes: 57

I really like this site because of all the things people say and can say in a nice way without being attacked or worse ..... Thanks folks!!!!

Total votes: 56

I was just thinking 'Yes he's right. I knew I shouldn't have posted that bit..' and keeping my head down. But Yam2Stroke is right and I feel like I have to formally apologise to everyone and promise to keep on subject in future, as well as confirm the fantastic quality of debate on this site. When I look at others, it makes me cringe.
The more I think about the KTM and its Moto 3 effort I think there is more to this plan than I first thought. The big question, for me, is over the trellis frame. However, the fact that they are competitive in the small class means there is a decent chance of it working in MGP. It would be nice to see.

Total votes: 54