KTM didn’t light up the time sheets at the Sepang or Phillip Island preseason tests, as Pol Espargaro was 17th quickest overall in Australia as the Austrian manufacturer enters the premier class.
That lack of performance was not surprising for any manufacturer new to the premier class.
But KTM still made a splash during the preseason when its CEO, Stefan Pierer, talked some serious trash Monday during the team’s unveiling at its home base in Mattighofen, Austria.
Pierer said he relished the chance at competing against “my most hated competitor” Honda, against which KTM battled in Moto3.
Reporters pressed Pierer on the origin of his animosity toward Honda. He pinpointed the 2017 Dakar Rally, during which Honda riders were given a one-hour penalty for refueling in a prohibited area.
Pierer than accused Honda of even more cheating in Moto 3, alleging Honda exceeded the class’ maximum rev limits in 2015, when Honda rider Danny Kent edged KTM rider Miguel Oliveira to the World Championship by six points.
“Honda is the big challenge, and secondly Honda is always trying to cheat around the regulation,” Pierer said at the team launch. “Look at Dakar, what happened two months ago.
“It’s always the same – also in Moto3. I don’t know why they don’t need to do that. That’s the reason we like to beat Honda.”