Husqvarna or GasGas into MotoGP?
Owner KTM might be about to put more bikes on the MotoGP gridby Harry Fisher, on
KTM has a lot of brands it needs to push into the public eye. Not only is there Husqvarna and GasGas but also CFMoto, its Chinese partner, which is keen to make in-roads into the European market. Could the Austrian manufacturer be about to follow Ducati’s example and put more bikes on the MotoGP grid?
Husqvarna or GasGas to MotoGP?
KTM is nothing if not ambitious. Having enjoyed huge success in 125/Moto3 and 250/Moto2 classes, the Austrian company made the jump up to MotGP in 2017. It took three years to find its feet before it first tasted success in 2020, with five wins in the ’20 and ’21 seasons.
With four bikes already on the grid - the pair of factory bikes and the satellite Tech3 team - KTM matches Yamaha and Honda bike for bike. Ducati has four bikes at the moment but in 2022 will be way ahead: there will be no fewer than eight Ducatis on the grid, including two with the newly-formed VR46 MotoGP team.
However, in a recent interview, KTM Motorsport Director Pit Beirer suggested that KTM could consider forming a new team to take the number of KTMs on the grid to six.
There are a couple of reasons for this. KTM has a large contingent of new talent rising up through the ranks of the lower formulae, but not enough seats to accommodate them in MotoGP. A new team would provide another rung on the ladder.
Secondly, KTM has already brought the Husqvarna and GasGas brands into Moto3 so why not give them even more exposure by taking one of them into MotoGP? Of course, they would be badge-engineered KTM MotoGP bikes. Another benefit of running six bikes is even more rider feedback speeding up bike development.
There could be another name heading for the grid, however: Chinese manufacturer CFMoto. KTM has a stake in the Chinese company and CFMoto builds bikes for KTM in China while using KTM running gear for bikes it sells in Europe. A CFMoto-branded KTM entry could be on the cards.
CFMoto has already announced a presence in Moto3, using KTM machinery and what racing series wouldn’t like to tap into the huge Chinese market? This is certainly a move Dorna, the rights holders of MotoGP, would love to see happen.
There might be problems in terms of the number of bikes allowed in a race. Dorna is keen to have 24 bikes at least on the grid. With an extra KTM team and two new Ducati-mounted teams, that takes the current 22 bikes/riders to the maximum of 28 on the grid.
However, it is known that Suzuki and Aprilia are keen to have satellite teams on the grid, although there is no telling whether they could be a reality, given the lack of privateer teams with which to partner on such a venture.
Whichever way the cake is sliced, it looks as if MotoGP will be in a very healthy position heading into the post-Valentino Rossi era.