KTM to turn focus to 125cc class in 2009

Thursday, 16 October 2008

KTM will withdraw from the 250cc class at the end of the year, and will bring in Red Bull MotoGP Academy rider Cameron Beaubier for a two-rider 125cc factory team.

An executive decision from KTM will leave the Austrian factory scaling down their lower cylinder category involvement in 2009, with a reduction in bikes on the 125cc grid and –more significantly- a total withdrawal from the 250cc class.

KTM have challenged for the 250cc World Championship with Mika Kallio this season, and have also earned wins with current rider Hiroshi Aoyama, although the decision to leave the class comes from a reluctance to invest in the soon-to-be-replaced quarter-litre category.

`We´ve decided to concentrate on the 125cc category, with two riders for 2009. 125cc has a long-term future, and the company has decided not to spend money on something that is dying,´ explains KTM head Harald Bartol, who has lined up two young talents for next season, onboard an updated 125 FRR.

`At the moment our two factory riders will be Marc Marquez and Cameron Beaubier, coming out of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup. Our target was to bring someone from that project into the World Championship; he rode last year in the Red Bull MotoGP Academy and we will see what happens with him next year.´

Marquez currently rides for the Repsol KTM team in the World Championship, whilst American rider Beaubier will be making his debut on the largest stage. They will be the only competitors on KTM machinery in 2009, in stark contrast to this year´s external leasing policy that has supplied the likes of the aforementioned Repsol-backed squad, the Onde 2000 outfit and ISPA KTM Aran in 125cc.

`We will do things properly from the factory side, with no other bikes apart from the two we have planned,´ says Bartol. `Maybe the following year we will have more, but for the moment we will do things this way.´

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