KTM has officially confirmed it will join the Moto2 World Championship in 2017. As in Moto3, Aki Ajo will run the factory team, consisting of Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira.
The new chassis - which has 'already enjoyed positive tests over the past year' including some impressive unofficial lap times - was initially labelled as a joint project with WP, best known for its racing suspension.
Like KTM, WP belongs to Cross Industries AG. The WP motorsports department is now 'fully integrated into KTM' with the new Moto2 bike designed and built 'completely in-house'.
“We've now enjoyed five years of successful collaboration with Aki Ajo in Moto3. We are very happy that he and our main sponsor Red Bull are offering us the perfect structure to move into Moto2 so we can have a presence in all classes of Grand Prix Racing in 2017," said KTM Motorsport Director Pit Beirer.
"We see the intermediate class mainly as a platform for keeping riders in the KTM Family, which begins with the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup and will run right through to MotoGP.
"The WP motorsports department has been fully integrated into KTM, and just as it is in Moto3 and MotoGP, the new Moto2 bike is being developed and built completely in-house.
"Brad Binder has had a very successful season this year and hopefully he will wrap up the championship. Now we're happy that he can step up into the new Moto2 team. Also, we're very pleased to welcome Miguel Oliveira back into the Orange Family after one year in Moto2.”
Kalex currently dominates the Moto2 class, filling all but five of the grid places and winning every race this season. Ajo are the reigning Moto2 champions with Johann Zarco, running a Kalex-WP suspension combination.
Zarco is locked in a close title fight with Alex Rins to defend his Moto2 crown, while Binder holds a massive 106-point lead in the Moto3 World Championship for the Red Bull KTM Ajo team.
Unconfirmed rumours suggest that the South African's Moto2 deal includes the possibility of stepping up to the KTM MotoGP team in 2019.
"First of all I want to say I am very grateful for this new opportunity given to me by the team in Moto2," Binder said. "I want to thank Aki Ajo and all the people and partners who have been helping so I could take this step up. After how this year has been, there is nothing that could excite me more than staying at Red Bull KTM Ajo and competing in Moto2.
"I really like this team; I like the respect between all the members and I know that the decisions they make are always the best to keep the team and riders on top. I know it will be very difficult, but I'm very motivated for this and I am already looking forward to it. It will be nice to start in a new class, with everything new and a lot to learn.
"My goal is to go out each day and give 110% to learn as quickly as possible. I am very happy to be back sharing a garage with Miguel (Oliveira), I learned a lot from him in 2015 and sure we will push each other; we will have fun. Everyone knows that if Red Bull KTM Ajo make a motorcycle, it will be good."
Oliveira finished a close runner-up in the 2015 Moto3 world championship for Red Bull KTM, before joining Moto2 with Leopard this season.
"I'm very happy to be returning to the Red Bull KTM Ajo family, and to a very professional team that brought me a lot of success. In fact, my most successful season to date came with them," said the Portuguese. "I'm very happy and grateful to Aki [Ajo] and KTM for choosing me and for
"trusting in me to start this ambitious project with the KTM Moto2. I believe a lot in this new project, that I will have a very strong team alongside me, and that we will be able to get the best results possible. I will give my all in this new venture.
"I will be back sharing a garage with Brad [Binder], a very good person and rider, and I am sure that we will work very well together to gather the best data possible and take the KTM to the top."
Binder and Oliveira will make their KTM Moto2 debut during the start of winter testing on November 16.
Unlike in Moto3 where open engine competition is allowed, all Moto2 machines use identical 600cc Honda engines.