Shadow or light ?
If for the moment only one European manufacturer is racing in the Superbike World Championship (Ducati), they should be four within a year or two. Or as much as the Japanese factories, which does not displease the European citizens that we are.
The future of SBK is on its way … And if for the moment only one European manufacturer is present in the world championship (Ducati), there should be four in a year or two. Or as much as the Japanese factories – which, let’s face it, does not displease the European citizens that we are. Even if we would of course have dreamed that a French brand could one day join the farandole … But let’s move on !
There would therefore be four European brands present in Superbike in the medium term: Ducati, of course, but also BMW with its S 1000 RR (read) and Aprilia with its V4 (read) from 2009. These three would eventually be joined by KTM. (we suppose in 2010) with his famous RC8 (read), which is already evolving in full light in the European Superstock Championship.
Once again, the "young" Austrian brand stands out. Because unlike BMW and Aprilia who develop their motorcycles in the shadow of R&D departments and secret circuit meetings, KTM develops its motorcycle in the race, in full view of everyone. !
Obviously, this exposure – even this media coverage – is a double-edged sword: leaving the Nurburgring after five meetings in the European Superstock Championship, the KTM RC8 had still not recorded any points on its scoreboard….
Normal, we explain in substance at KTM: we start from zero and we use this championship to develop our bike. With oranges, we even agree to say that some engines have broken, but basically, "we are here for that".
Only given the results, the rumor of abandonment of the SBK program by KTM swells … And the French colony of the SBK, always quick to – nice – mockery, even baptized the titular KTM pilot Rene Maehr "I’m fed up ", in reference to the multiple withdrawals suffered by the Austrian pilot…
At KTM, we keep a smile applied and we do not disarm by announcing very officially that there is absolutely no question of abandoning the SBK program under the pretext of some development concerns..
It is certain that at the same time, given the secrecy which surrounds the Aprilia and BMW projects, it is difficult to get a precise idea of the concerns encountered by the engineers of each brand … And it is a safe bet that BMW like Aprilia, they too got engines in the quiche !
In short, should we congratulate KTM for publicly developing the brand’s first hyper sports car, at the risk of lasting damage to its image? Courage … or marketing recklessness ?
In the meantime, with the blow that the Dorna (the Spanish company that organizes the motorcycle Grands Prix) has just made to KTM, by announcing the anticipation of the arrival of the GP2 (600 cc 4-cylinder engine stock in a prototype chassis) instead of the GP250 from 2010, the Austrians – who do not have a 600 – seem to be turning more and more to the SBK … And the financial efforts made in the GP 250 could well be transferred very quickly to the program RC8 !
Hence the possibility of seeing KTM unloading in SBK from 2009, at the same time as BMW and Aprilia … To be continued !
A. LAFFUT – Photos F. PORROZZI and DR
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