Since making their debut in the MotoGP class in 2016, KTM have come on in leaps and bounds, but can they go all the way and achieve a world championship?
Last year was the Austrian manufacturer’s strongest campaign in the premier-class, with a total of three victories across both KTM’s factory squad and the Tech3 KTM outfit.
KTM also achieved eight podiums in the 2020 campaign (including the three victories). These solid results were enough to finish fourth in the Constructors’ Standings, with the KTM Factory Racing Team ending the year a very impressive third in the Teams’ Standings.
These results no doubt prove the KTM bike is ready to win races and challenge for podiums, but this now needs to be on a consistent basis if Pit Beirer’s team are to go on and win championships in the coming years.
I don’t think there is any doubt that they have a line-up that is ready to fight for the championship, both this year and in the future. With Miguel Oliveira in the team for 2021, the Portuguese rider in my opinion is ready for a championship fight.
On the other side of the garage is Brad Binder, who stunned the MotoGP paddock last year when he took his maiden victory in the premier-class in only his third race. Whilst I think 2021 will be a quiet year for the South African, it would be unwise to suggest he won’t be fighting towards the front end of the grid in the races to come.
The first two races of the 2021 season have not gone too well for the Austrian squad, with both KTM teams only scoring 11 points in total from the two rounds in Doha.
But it is a well-known fact that the RC16 does not bode too well with the nature of the Losail International Circuit, meaning the performances we saw a couple of weeks ago don’t represent where the manufacturer really is on the grid.
The next race, this weekend in fact, is held at Portimao, a place where Oliveira took a dominant victory in the race last year aboard his Tech3 KTM machine. So with the factory bike beneath him, I expect we will see the RC16 at its best from now on.
If KTM develop the bike well, and if results go their way, we could see them in the championship fight in 2021. However, realistically it's likely 2022 will be the year we see KTM ready to take the battle to their rivals.
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