Red Bull KTM will be fielding pre-production 2016 250, 350 and 450SX-F machinery in the MX2 and MXGP classes of the 2015 FIM Motocross World Championship and KTM Sport Director Pit Beirer claims that the bikes seen on GP tracks next year will carry distinction from the motorcycles that have won titles in both categories since 2010.
While the off-road MX/SX range has not been majorly overhauled the 2016 platform is still a significant leap in engineering for the brand in the last 10 years, as the German explains. “We could not reinvent the wheel, so it is a motocross bike and we didn’t have a bad one [before]. Since we started to improve the line from 2007 and when Stefan [Everts] came on board I would say this is the third radical change in this period,” he says. “We have the luxury of having good racing equipment and being able to step even more out of the loop and think a year ahead.”
The crunch for KTM seems to be in the feeling of the flagship SX-Fs and this was achieved with one important priority. “We have not left one bolt or washer unturned and the key words for the project was ‘weight-saving’ because these bikes do not need to be any stronger or great leaps cannot be made with handling,” Beirer reveals. “You can still save weight however to help with every corner, jump or start and that flows directly into the standard bike because the factory technology is only ever as good as the production models that you start with.”
“So it will be lighter and this will have repercussions on handling,” he adds. “The engines are smaller and lighter with less turning mass so it will restart better. There are many details that accumulate to make a better bike. I’m sure about it [the potential] but of course we need to prove it on the track and the customer needs to have the final say.”
The MXGP trio of Tony Cairoli, Tommy Searle and Ken De Dycker have been running laps on all three bikes with MX2 rookie Pauls Jonass also getting to know his new saddle and former double world champion Jeffrey Herlings expecting to ride any time now after recovering from his broken femur and subsequent problems since the end of the GP term.
The factory team’s work in the 18 round FIM campaign is likely to mean even tighter connections with the prolific R&D department at Mattighofen (that has now swelled to 300 technicians, requiring construction of another storey on the R&D building across from the factory assembly line) “we like that because maybe the next ideas will come from the race team and the guys in the workshop can look to make them a reality,” Beirer concludes. “I think you’ll see them a lot at the race tracks in the future.”