KTM “wants to fight” for 2024 MotoGP title but “no strategy against Ducati”

Pit Beirer: “We did not do all this effort to say now that we’ll be happy with the [title top 3]: We want to fight for the championship.”


On the back of its best yet MotoGP campaign, Pit Beirer is clear about KTM’s targets for 2024: “We want to fight for the championship”.

Although unable to add to its seven previous race wins, the Austrian factory's RC16 hit new highs last season with Brad Binder fourth in the riders’ standings and KTM second in the constructors’.

Motorsport director Beirer says it is therefore ‘realistic’ to aim for a rider in the top three this year but admits that alone wouldn’t make them happy.

“I mean, we have been 4th [with Binder]. So the realistic next target is to bring a rider on the [final world championship] podium," Beirer said ahead of KTM’s eighth premier-class season.

“But we did not do all this effort just to say now that we’ll be happy with the [title top 3]: We want to fight for the championship.”

Ducati - which filled the top three places in last year’s riders’ standings courtesy of Francesco Bagnaia, Jorge Martin and Marco Bezzecchi - is the obvious obstacle standing between KTM and MotoGP title glory.

They're doing an amazing job. That's clear. That's proven on track,” Bierer said.

“But there is no strategy against Ducati. We’ve tried to improve our project as far as we could in every single detail. That's what we’ve done since day one.

“Our team is full of great people and stronger than ever. Our riders developed in the same moment. But we were in Sepang for the race 3 months ago and then you come back for testing and have to do a 1m ‘56 lap to survive!

“So although Brad went seven tenths faster [in the test] than in qualifying, he was seventh again on the list. So you improve seven-tenths, but that's not enough. You need to bring more.

“It's a constant fight to improve and if you just look at what your competitors did last year and aim to catch up to that point. You go nowhere. One year later, you are already bottom of the list.

“It's really details. Everything. We try to leave no stone unturned. Electronics, chassis, suspension, engine. How we work on the race track.

“How we analyse data, which becomes a very big topic. Bigger and bigger every year. How quick can you make steps over the weekend from session to session? That's something we looked at very, very deeply.

“But also, how can we help the riders to prepare better. So with the Red Bull Training Centre, the APC, we work now closer than ever so that the riders really are in contact daily with the trainers.

“Riders do not just get into good physical condition now. It's also about working on the mental side. The reaction times. So every detail we looked at and the better we do, the better we can maybe go towards fighting with Ducati.”

Ducati riders filled the top four places at the recent Sepang test, with Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro best of the rest and then KTM’s Binder.

The second and final pre-season test takes place in Qatar today (Monday) and tomorrow.

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