It’s no secret that KTM Austria has been posting ad for jobs, ostensibly, for their MotoGP team, with on-line recruiters and placements sites for at least the last month. What these postings mean for the people already working on the KTM MotoGP team is unknown. Are KTM planning to replace their MotoGP engineers and staff with new blood? Or are they just building a thick file of resumes?
Last year KTM came into the MotoGP class shouting bombastically about the ass they were going to kick once they found their way in the top level class. KTM have enjoyed good success in the Moto3 and Moto2 classes so maybe that style, the shouting from the beer-hall table (paddock in this case) was warranted.
Only Moto3 and Moto2 are clearly not a direct engineering stepping-stone to MotoGP.
Look at the brutal face on the bar-floor drubbing Aprilia has endured in 500 GP and MotoGP over the last 20 years; through the giant-killer RSv400 (fail), the Cube (bonfire-level fail) and all of the current RSV bikes. Aprilia, owned by one of the most prolific motorbike manufacturers in the world–Piaggio–is still trying to tear a finger-hold into the cliff face of MotoGP, instead of falling in the raging sea below. It’s not as easy as Honda makes it look, obviously.
Think about this, just this: the billet engine pieces that make up the cases and crankshaft of a Yamaha M1 engine are built with 40 years of experience in metallurgy. They start that process with a world class and room-sized piece of billet steel. It’s not just about having the ability to draw up cool-ass engines and having some billet to do it with. Okay consider this too, while you’re at it: BMW came WSBK racing a number of years ago. Their smug ‘above all this bike stuff’ attitude was easy to read on their faces. They had some success, at $15 million dollars budget per season, but they never even won the WSBK title. Not once.
If KTM is holding open additions for MotoGP team crew members, then it’s safe to assume that the bar-floor scrub their face (and ego) has taken this season will force them to consider what is glaringly obvious: their riders are worn out, burned out and crashed out; and there’s still sixteen races left on the 2018 MotoGP schedule after CoTA. The stock of Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaró nose-dived the moment that they left Tech 3 implying that flavor of M1 is an exercise in piano-dragging only to have Mr. Zarco jump on the piano-dragger and start beating factory bikes of many different flavors.
KTM wants to be or defeat Honda? Other than praying for rain, maybe then they need to consider doing what Honda would do in this situation: Pay your current riders to go home, and then try and find someone fast and unemployed. Or slide in a test rider in place of one of your MotoGP finds.