With the 2020 MotoGP racing season almost upon us, with the first race of the year taking place at Losail, Qatar on March 8, Austrian motorcycle maker KTM has unveiled its KTM GP16 racing machine. Also shown alongside the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team were the bikes being campaigned by the satellite team Red Bull KTM Tech3.
The racing livery for the factory team looks much the same as the previous year but the Tech3 team has a colour scheme very different from last season. In the factory team, Brad Binder, age 24 of South Africa, and Spaniard Pol Espargaro, age 28, will be leading the charge for KTM.
Binder comes to Red Bull KTM for his first season in MotoGP having finished second in the Moto2 World Championship in 2019 with Tech3 while Espargaro now moves into his fourth season with KTM. The KTM factory team had a somewhat controversial season last year, with rider Johann Zarco leaving the team mid-season, citing difficulties in getting the KTM GP16 to perform.
Meanwhile, in the Tech3 satellite team managed by Herve Poncheral, the two KTM GP16 seats are filled by Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira, age 25 and Spaniard Iker Lecuona, age 20. Oliveira’s career highlight was coming in second in the Moto2 championship in 2018 with Finnish team Red Bull Ajo Moto2.
As for Lecuona, he made his Moto2 debut in 2016 with the CarXpert Interwetten team riding a Kalex before moving to the Swiss Innovative Investors team on a KTM. He then did the 2019 Moto2 season with American Racing KTM before stepping up to KTM’s satellite team.
Four years in development, the KTM RC16 has a V-four, 1,000 cc mill that produces over 265 hp and revs up to 18,500 rpm. Weighing 157 kg, the RC16 is capable of speeds in excess of 340 km/h.