A breakthrough season for KTM in MotoGP

KTM MotoGP 2020


The 2020 MotoGP season was a great one for Red Bull KTM, marking the most successful season yet, both in the premier MotoGP class, but also in the Moto2 and Moto3 categories.

Pol Espargaro

The delayed 2020 MotoGP season began in late July to sizzling temperatures with the first ‘double-header’ at the Circuit de Jerez-Angel Nieto in Spain and where the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team of Pol Espargaro and Brad Binder and the Red Bull KTM Tech3 crew of Miguel Oliveira and Iker Lecuona showed pace on their KTM RC16s to challenge the front runners for grid slots and race positions.

Brno MotoGP podium
1 Brad Binder – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – KTM – 41:38.764
2 Franco Morbidelli – Petronas Yamaha SRT – Yamaha – +5.266
3 Johann Zarco – Esponsorama Racing – Ducati – +6.470

A sensational first ever victory came at just round three as eventual Rookie of the Year Brad Binder shocked the establishment by crossing the finish line first with a five-second margin at the Automotodrom Brno in the Czech Republic. The 25-year old South African was the first athlete to have won in Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP classes with KTM machinery.

Brad Binder won the first MotoGP race for himself, South Africa, and Ixon
Brad Binder won the first MotoGP race for himself, South Africa, and Ixon

Two Grands Prix later and Oliveira picked up the first of his two triumphs with a measured but dramatic success at the Red Bull Ring (also the first MotoGP win for the Tech3 squad and becoming the second racer to do the ‘KTM clean sweep’ in all categories). The Portuguese – in only his second MotoGP term – would complete the set with a dominant performance at the Algarve International Circuit season-closer on home turf.

Pol Espargaro

Ultimately it would be Espargaro with the most podium finishes (as well as two of the three Pole Positions registered by KTM) for 2020. The Spanish star – who gave KTM their maiden top three in MotoGP at the conclusion of 2018 in Valencia – walked the rostrum five times in total and reached fifth position in the final championship standings as KTM clinched fourth in the Constructors contest, but was only four-points from second place. Rookie Iker Lecuona contributed three of KTM’s 27 top-ten results.

Brad Binder

This year MotoGP managed to clock up 14 Grands Prix from the original 20 on the calendar for the premier class. A tight and unpredictable level of competition – where qualification times often saw the top twenty riders divided by a second – delivered nine different winners and 15 different riders in podium positions.

Pit Beirer – KTM Motorsports Director

“When the tyres have cooled and the tools are down we have to look back at 2020 as perhaps the most challenging season for us yet in just four years in MotoGP but what an amazing one. All the statistics speak for themselves. I cannot describe how rewarding it has been to see our riders develop, our teams, our machinery: the whole programme has taken big steps forward. The credit goes to every single person who played their part, whether that was in difficult conditions at the circuit or at home here in the factory. We punched over our weight in 2020 and we’ll keep swinging for more next season and for the years to come.”

2020 Portimao MotoGP podium
1 Miguel Oliveira – Red Bull KTM Tech 3 – KTM 41:48.163
2 Jack Miller -Pramac Racing – Ducati +3.193
3 Franco Morbidelli – Petronas Yamaha SRT – Yamaha +3.298

Here’s a look at Red Bull KTM’s 2020 MotoGP accomplishments from 14 rounds, nine circuits with more than 5100 km raced in six countries and with 633 PCR tests (accumulated by Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team alone):

  • 3 wins (1: Binder & 2: Oliveira)
  • 8 podiums (1: Binder, 5: Espargaro, 2: Oliveira)
  • 3 Pole Positions (2: Espargaro, 1: Oliveira)
  • 4 Fastest laps (2: Binder, 1: Espargaro, 1: Oliveira)
  • 27 top ten finishes (5: Binder, 10: Espargaro, 3: Lecuona, 9: Oliveira)
  • 5th in Riders Championship: Espargaro (highest yet for KTM)
  • 4th in Constructors Championship (from 6, highest yet)
  • 3rd in Teams Championship: Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
  • 7th in Teams Championship: Red Bull KTM Tech3
  • Rookie of the Year: Brad Binder, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
  • Average points per round comparison won by KTM: 2019 = 9.26, 2020 = 26.71 (increase of 188.4%)

2020 MotoGP World Championship Standings

Pos Rider Points
1 Joan MIR 171
2 Franco MORBIDELLI 158
3 Alex RINS 139
4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO 135
5 Pol ESPARGARO 135
6 Maverick VIÑALES 132
7 Jack MILLER 132
8 Fabio QUARTARARO 127
9 Miguel OLIVEIRA 125
10 Takaaki NAKAGAMI 116
11 Brad BINDER 87
12 Danilo PETRUCCI 78
13 Johann ZARCO 77
14 Alex MARQUEZ 74
15 Valentino ROSSI 66
16 Francesco BAGNAIA 47
17 Aleix ESPARGARO 42
18 Cal CRUTCHLOW 32
19 Stefan BRADL 27
20 Iker LECUONA 27
21 Bradley SMITH 12
22 Tito RABAT 10
23 Michele PIRRO 4

2020 MotoGP Constructors Championship

Pos Constructor Points
1 DUCATI 221
2 YAMAHA 204
3 SUZUKI 202
4 KTM 200
5 HONDA 144
6 APRILIA 51

2020 MotoGP Team Championship

Pos Team Points
1 TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR 310
2 PETRONAS YAMAHA SRT 248
3 RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING 222
4 DUCATI TEAM 213
5 PRAMAC RACING 183
6 MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP 178
7 RED BULL KTM TECH 3 152
8 LCR HONDA 148
9 REPSOL HONDA TEAM 101
10 ESPONSORAMA RACING 87
11 APRILIA RACING TEAM GRESINI 54

Moto2 & Moto3

The KTM GP Academy spots, develops and funnels riders through the MotoGP tiers to hopefully guide athletes to a berth on the premier class grid, with 2020 proving a notable year for the Academy in Moto2 and Moto3.

Jorge Martin

In Moto2 the Red Bull KTM Ajo team were able to help both of their racers – Jorge Martin and Tetsuta Nakashima – either lead or fight for the FIM Moto2 World Championship. The Spaniard and Japanese posted three wins between them (two for Martin and one for Nagashima) and total of eight podium appearances. Martin also logged one Pole Position on his way to fifth in the series standings. Nagashima ended-up in eighth.

In Moto3 Albert Arenas used his KTM RC4 to become KTM’s fourth world champion since the inception of the class in 2012. His exciting final-round confirmation of the title came at the Algarve International Circuit. The Portuguese venue brought a gripping and typically fraught 15 fixtures of Moto3 to a close. The series began on a high for Arenas with his victory at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar and ended with his entry into the history books.

Albert Arenas

Four KTM riders classified in the top ten of the Moto3 standings. The same number tasted Grand Prix victory in 2020; three for the first time in their careers. Arenas shared the top of the ‘box’ with Celestino Vietti (1), Darryn Binder (1) and Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Raul Fernandez (2). KTM were able to rule eight from the 15 rounds in 2020. KTM posted seven Pole Positions (six for Fernandez and one for Binder).

Arenas’ Qatar win was the 100th for KTM equipment on Grand Prix asphalt and all in all divisions; that number swelled to 110 by the finale of 2020.

Source: MCNews.com.au

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