Steve Ramon will move up to the premier Motocross GP class in 2004 having signed a new two-year contract with KTM.

The Belgian ace is currently in his second year with the Austrian manufacturer and leads the 125cc World Championship standings with four rounds to go.

"I had other offers, but I'm very happy with KTM, I spent two very good years with them, why change?" he said. "I'm looking forward to next year; it will be something different for me, new bike new class. I know that the first year it will not be easy, the top three (Everts, Pichon and Smets) are very fast, but the year after I hope to be between them! Anyhow, at the moment I don't want to think too much about that, I only want to win the 125 title!"

Ramon will form part of a two or three man MX GP factory team riding SX250cc (two-stroke) or SX450cc (four-stroke) machines, and KTM racing manager Kurt Nicoll is sure he'll adapt well to a bigger bike.

"Steve's smooth style and ability on all surfaces will mean that he is ideally suited to racing on the bigger machines - he has already split Everts and Smets a few times in Belgium Championships and I am confident that he will be the next challenger to the current MXGP top three," said the former GP racer.

"Now that Steve's future is settled with KTM we can all give 100% to winning the 125cc title this year," added team manager Toby Gustafson. "This would be the ideal way to move up to MXGP! Steve is the rider that I really wanted to have in the team for 2004 and together we can attack the established MXGP stars!"

The other riders in the 2004 KTM line-up will be announced within a few weeks. Currently, Joel Smets and Jamie Dobb ride for the factory team in the GP class.