The KTM Factory team has officially presented its latest Red Bull livery, during a digital launch for the 2021 MotoGP season.
Brad Binder, who made history for KTM with their first ever victory at Brno last year, stays for a second season and is joined by fellow race winner Miguel Oliveira, who switches across from Tech3 to take over the seat left by Pol Espargaro.
“It is quite a relaxing factor to know that the bike is capable of winning but at the same time you cannot take anything for granted and when it comes to repeating success it becomes harder, so I don’t see it as a static job,” Oliveira said.
“I think every year you need to bring something ‘up’ on your side to keep a very good level in this championship. I feel I am able to work more on details in a factory team and to at least be more consistent. I think these are the tools that the factory team is going to give me. I have full conviction in my work.”
Binder added: “2020 in general was a season where I feel we achieved a lot, a few good results and obviously with the first victory – or KTM’s first victory – being the main thing. But there were also many days when we had the potential to do so much more.
“For sure now the margin is a little bit smaller to try and improve but I think as the season went on last year, even though we had a little bit of a slump in the middle, things got better and better. I felt like I was improving not only for the results but in the way approaching the weekends and going session-by-session.
“At the moment I feel that we have a really, really strong package. We are in a good direction and I am super-excited to get back on the bike this year.”
Last season saw KTM become the first new manufacturer to win a MotoGP race since Ducati in 2003.
The Austrian factory celebrated three wins in total last year, Oliveira adding to Binder’s triumph with victories for Tech3 at the Red Bull Ring and Portimao.
Those wins, combined with eight podiums, meant that KTM – the only bike on the grid with a stell trellis frame and WP suspension – lost access to technical concessions.
However – unlike Suzuki, Yamaha, Ducati and Honda – KTM is allowed to change its engine design for the start of 2021, as the final stage in its transition to a non-concession manufacturer.
Already team-mates in the smaller classes, there is sure to be a healthy rivalry between Oliveira and Binder. But although both stood on the top step of the podium last year, they finished 2020 in very different form.
Oliveira bid farewell to Tech3 with a perfect pole position, fastest lap and race victory at his home Portimao round, one of seven top-six finishes in the last 10 rounds. Meanwhile, Binder only appeared in the top six once over those same 10 events, after his earlier Brno glory and a fourth place in Austria.
Both riders will have a new crew chief this season, Binder re-joining his Moto2 crew mechanic Andres Madrid while Oliveira works with Pol Espargaro’s former crew chief Paul Trevathan.