One day after Honda officially unveiled its Moto3 machine, KTM has confirmed it is return to motorcycle grand prix racing in the new class.
Moto3, which will feature 250cc four-strokes, is replacing the 125cc two-stroke World Championship from 2012.
KTM was a previous title contender in 125, and also won races in 250cc, before a factory withdraw from both classes.
And while a '100% pure, in-house Moto3 racing machine is being developed by KTM engineer Wolfgang Felber and his team. KTM has also secured an exclusive partnership with Kalex Engineering'.
KTM will supply engines to Kalex, whose chassis currently leads the Moto2 World Championship in the hands of Stefan Bradl. The Kalex headquarters is just two hours away from KTM in Upper Austria.
'Together the two companies will combine both skills and passion to develop two different, but parallel concepts, both focusing on a successful entry into the new race category,' the KTM statement added.
"We approach our entry into the Moto3 class with confidence," said KTM head of Motorsports Pit Beirer. "Our own plans are right on schedule for a racing bike completely developed in Mattighofen, while at the same time we have also found the best possible partner, who will present our engine at a very high and professional level. Kalex Engineering is well positioned for this in every way and just like KTM is highly motivated to develop a bike capable of winning in the new Moto3 category.”
“The exclusive partnership with KTM as supplier of engines is a big step forward for us," said Alex Baumgärtel, Managing Director Kalex Engineering. "As we already have a good insight into the construction of the new KTM Moto3 engine we feel certain that we have the best basis for the drive system for our own racing motorcycle. With this combination we can continue to build on the success we have enjoyed in the Moto2 class. We are very much looking forward to the development and the 2012 season."
KTM entered a factory 125GP team in 2003 and joined 250GP in 2005. The factory claimed a total of 22 victories, 46 podiums and 19 pole positions in the two-stroke championships.
Following the global financial crisis, KTM's 250cc project was closed down at the end of 2008. The factory 125cc team was shut down a year later to concentrate on the Red Bull Rookies Cup and RC8 Superbike project.
KTM won the 125cc Manufacturers' title in 2005, but never a Riders' title - finishing runner-up with Mika Kallio in the 125cc class in both 2005 and 2006. KTM's highest placed 250cc rider was also Kallio, who finished third overall in 2008.
KTM also made a short-lived entry in the MotoGP class, as an engine supplier to Team Roberts for part of the 2005 season.
Teams and riders for the KTM and Kalex-KTM Moto3 machines are yet to be finalised.