23 minutes ago
Apart from stalwart Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), 2023 brings fresh faces, new challenges and a slap of beautiful red paint to the KTM family.
GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 are set for their debut campaign in the class with reigning Moto2™ World Champion Augusto Fernandez and former KTM and Tech3 rider Pol Espargaro. That line-up is a fantastic mix of youth and experience, but when talking about aiming for race wins and the title, it’s the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing duo that will try and claim the limelight.
There’s been a lot of riders switching manufacturers or teams for 2023, but Jack Miller making the jump from Ducati to KTM is right up there with the most intriguing. The Australian links back up with KTM for the first time since their successful Moto3™ days, and in doing so brings a wealth of experience.
The four-time premier class race winner has stood on the top step of the podium on three occasions in the last two seasons. 2022 saw Miller become an outside title threat, so KTM have bagged themselves a rider they know is capable of regular podiums – and if everything clicks, a title charge. The #43 will also bring valuable information across from current Triple Crown holders Ducati.
In Binder, they have a rider who is more than ready to win a MotoGP™ title. The South African finished sixth in the overall standings last season having claimed three P2s in Qatar, Japan and Valencia respectively. KTM didn’t have the machine completely dialled in last season to allow Binder to regularly be a podium challenger, so expectations were high coming into 2023 pre-season that this was the year where they could be a podium threat all season long.
The first four days of testing were underwhelming for KTM. Both Binder and Miller were busy putting numerous new items through their paces to try and define a direction, with Team Manager Francesco Guidotti confirming that nothing new was going to be brought to Portimao. Those final two days were about Binder, Miller, Espargaro and Fernandez moulding the bike to their needs.
It wasn’t until the final day that Binder popped up into the top 10. The #33 said a reset was had on Saturday night and on Sunday, the final day of testing, a good step forward was made. There’s a step to be made still, but Binder – who finished the test in P9 – being more comfortable and being able to push more was a welcome sight for KTM.
Miller was also upbeat about his adaptation despite his P17 finish. He was under half a second away from his teammate and knows that with a bit more time, the pace will be there. After “hitting a wall” with his set-up direction in Sepang, the vibes were much more positive for Miller at the end of the Portimao Test.
So what does 2023 have in store for KTM? They’ve got all the makings of being a title-winning team and factory in MotoGP™, now it’s time to piece the jigsaw together and make it happen. That will be their primary goal this season – and so it should be. A huge year awaits for the Austrian marque.
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