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Bartol confirms Byrne for KTM

Bartol confirms Byrne for KTM

Bartol confirms Byrne for KTM

Harald Bartol has confirmed that KTM are close to sealing a deal which will see Shane Byrne contest the 2005 MotoGP World Championship in a one-man team with the Austrian factory and Team KR.

Bartol, Technical Director for KTM's Grand Prix effort, revealed that ‘Shakey' Byrne is undergoing a medical in England on the wrist injury sustained in a practice crash at Brno last August but should sign a deal within the next few days.

"The rider will be Shakey Byrne," said Bartol. "Kurt Nicholl (KTM Motorsport manager) is in England with him right now undergoing the medical but there shouldn't be any complications. To be honest I don't know much about him as a rider. We were expecting to take Jeremy McWilliams, which I was very happy with for development purposes, but that situation changed for reasons out of our control. Now we're looking forward to getting to know Shane."

Whilst an agreement between KTM and Kenny Roberts' British-based team has yet to be finalised, Bartol is hopeful of returning to the track at the end of this month with a developed version of the hybrid machine tested by McWilliams at Jerez in November.

"There are a few things to be ironed out with Team KR but we are working on it and we plan to run one rider," he said. "We've got some new engine parts ordered and we're constantly running tests on the dyno to define things like the electronics. We're making progress.

"We haven't scheduled a track test yet but there's a session at Barcelona at the end of February and we could be there."

KTM's busy preseason also includes preparations for their first assault on the 250cc World Championship with Australian rider Anthony West. Bartol admits development of the new machine is not running as smoothly as he had hoped but is confident of having the bike on track in time for the official tests in March.

"To be honest the 250 project is going quite slowly at the moment. We've been dedicating a lot of time to the 125 machines because that has been our priority. The 250 engine hasn't even been run yet but that should happen within the next couple of weeks and we should have it ready for the official tests."

MotoGP, 2005

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