KTM Debuts Their 2017 MotoGP Bike, the RC16

KTM is coming to MotoGP in 2017 and today they gave the first glimpse (publicly at least) of their entry into the premier class of motorcycle racing, the KTM RC16. These pictures are courtesy of Heinz Kinigadner, KTM’s sporting director who posted them on his Facebook page.

There are two things of note about the bike – both relating to Honda. First is the appearance which in many respects resembles Honda’s current MotoGP entrant, the RC213V. Of course, there’s not a great deal of differentiation one can have with sportsbikes but the front air intake and the swingarm are eerily similar.

The other interesting thing to note is the prominence of Red Bull sponsorship. Of course, Red Bull is involved in just about any sport with even a hint of risk, but what is interesting is that this season, Red Bull’s sponsorship of the factory Repsol Honda team has become more and more prominent. Perhaps come 2017, we’ll have a KTM backed Red Bull MotoGP team to sit alongside their Formula 1 efforts.

The KTM RC16 will use a V4 engine and is designed around a steel trellis frame. KTM plans to release consumer versions of the RC16 for track use only come 2017 as well.

 

Will Honda Build The Honda RC213V-S And Does Anyone Actually Care?

Much of the world motorcycle press was gushing at the sight of the Honda RC213V-S. It’s a street legal MotoGP bike that’s long been rumored to be in the works by the Japanese giant. We’re a bit more cynical here and think that much of the press has been having a bit too much Honda Kool-Aid. Will Honda Build the RC213V-S? That’s a big maybe, and in our cynical view there would be no point to it except for some PR wankery.

Of course, if you’re really keen on owning a MotoGP bike from Honda right now, the only thing that’s stopping you is your bank balance. Anyone with $1.2 million can buy a Honda RC213V for use in MotoGP, or at any track for that matter if you’re so inclined. You just can’t take it for a spin down to the shops for some milk. So how can Honda release a MotoGP spec bike for road use that would actually be affordable?

Well the answer is they obviously can’t. While being able to produce a couple of thousand bikes will help amortize the cost of the RC213V-S, the sticker price is still likely to be around $250,000. Obviously only a small fraction of people on the planet could afford such a machine and even fewer would actually ride it in anger.

The closest any manufacturer has previously gotten to releasing a MotoGP spec bike was Ducati who made the Desmosedici RR back in 2006. Although now eight years ago, it cost $72,000 back then and yet in testing done by MCN, was almost 1 second slower in a quarter mile run in comparison to the actual Ducati MotoGP bike.

So why now? Why after so many years of rumors has Honda finally decided to (maybe) produce a bike such as this? The answer is simple. Take a look at what the competition has been doing this year. We’ve got the Kawasaki Ninja H2 and H2R, the Yamaha R1, the new BMW S1000 R and the Ducati 1299 Panigale. Honda’s new releases have almost been as exciting as Suzuki’s. Honda’s hand has been forced and they’ve quickly scrambled to do something to gain back some press exposure.

For the most part it has worked. The press lapped it up. But in our jaded opinion, this is a pointless machine. While not exactly cheap, both the Yamaha R1 and Ducati 1299 Panigale bring new technology and performance to the market that mere mortals can afford and use in a practical sense. All Honda has done is slap some indicators and a number plate holder on a race bike that nobody will be able to afford. There’s nothing new or innovative here. So while Honda fans wait (and wait) for an update to the CBR1000R, you can rest happy that Honda is no doubt already thinking of an RC213V-S Special Edition that will feature Marq Marquez’s number 93 emblazoned on the bike.