The Red Bull KTM team line-up for the 2006 FIM Motocross World Championships has been bolstered by the addition of former double World Champion Mickael Pichon who put pen to paper on a one-year deal this week to race the MX1 class for next season's campaign.

Current Honda rider Pichon will compete alongside another ex-World Champ Sebastien Tortelli; forming a 'dream team'. KTM's factory MX1 entry will also boast the young talents of Spain's Jonathan Barragan and Holland's Marc de Reuver.

"I'm happy with this new deal because the last four or five months have been quite hard," said Pichon, the 2004 MX1 runner-up. "I did not know what to do with my career and I said that I would be prepared to go another year if I could find something serious.

"With KTM I believe I have what I want and need. It is a factory team and many people think like I think and want to give their best. They treat their riders like they should, and they have a lot of power and resources for developing the bike.

"I am happy also to work with Pit because in the past he was a great rival but always a nice guy," the 29-year-old continued. "I have a good feeling about the whole situation and for sure I will find that motivation I need for 2006. Both KTM and I badly want to win the Championship; we all want to beat Stefan!

"Having me and Sebastien in the same team is quite special," added the former Suzuki GP rider, concerning his countryman. "It is good he is coming back to the GPs. We both have two titles and it is a top set of riders for KTM just after they have lost Ben Townley. Sebastien and I get along well and we were team-mates before in the United States. I think we will do good things for KTM."

"Mickael deciding to join KTM is exactly what we needed," said Beirer, one of KTM's Sport managers. "Our team and structure for next year was ready but we were missing the two big riders needed for the MX1 class; this is the title that is still not part of KTM history.

"With Sebastien and Mickael we have the strongest team possible. We now have to organise the distribution of our six factory riders for MX1 and MX2.

"It is not that we want to give less importance to Marc and Jonathan but we want them to develop within our framework and in one or two years be ready to step up into that hot seat. We can only hope that they progress and get some good results next season," added the former GP star.



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