From left: The 2012 KTM Moto3 racebike and the single-cylinder four-stroke 250cc 'M32' engine that will be fitted to this machine. And, yes, Moto3-based streetbike to follow next year!
The two-stroke 125cc class will cease to exist in motorcycle grand prix racing after the end of the 2011 season. But life still goes on – next year, single-cylinder four-stroke ‘Moto3’ 250s will take over from where 125s are signing off. There already seems to be a fair amount of interest in the new class and among others, KTM will also be joining the fray.
The Austrian company recently announced that it has started testing its all-new single-cylinder 250cc four-stroke ‘M32’ engine, which will power its Moto3 racebikes in 2012. ‘This pure bred KTM engine draws on the experience of KTM’s proven research and development expertise and the extensive experience of the KTM racing department,’ says a press release from KTM.
Development work on the company’s Moto3 engine has been headed by KTM’s engineer Wolfgang Felber and his team, in partnership with German firm, Kalex Engineering. Kurt Trieb, the man responsible for the construction of KTM’s MotoGP V4 engine, will also be responsible for the construction of KTM’s new Moto3 engine.
We also believe KTM will, sooner or later, also build a 250cc sportsbike for the street, which will be fitted with a 250cc engine based on the Moto3 M32 unit. Indian motorcycle manufacturer, Bajaj Auto, which has a near 40% stake in KTM, is keen on building such a bike, which it believes will have great potential in India and some other Asian markets.
KTM and Bajaj have already co-developed various iterations of the Duke, a 200cc version of which is expected to be launched in India by the end of this year. However, we believe KTM will also do a full-blown sports 250 in the near future and this bike will be pitched as a competitor to the likes of the Kawasaki Ninja 250R, Hyosung GT250R and Honda CBR250R. A Moto3-inspired KTM sports 250 for the street? Bike-mad teenagers should be salivating at the prospect already... :-D