KTM’s Offroad Director Pit Beirer talks about the 2008 MX season
What are your expectations for the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team in 2008?
It is our goal to bring the entire team through the season in good health and to see a couple of our guys on the podium every Sunday. Together with Stefan Everts we have prepared a three-year plan and now we go together into the second season. We want to present our fans with a strong KTM performance through good team spirit and targeted preparation.
Strong contenders for the MX2 title with both Tyla Rattray and Tommy Searle?
I am certain that Tyla and Tommy have what is necessary to fight for the world championship title in MX2. Who ends up being the world champion at the end of the season is often a matter of luck. What we aspire to do is to be prepared in such a way so that our guys will be fighting it out for the title right up to the last GP.
What do you expect from Max Nagl this season?
For Max this season is definitely all about finally establishing himself among the world’s top riders. He is still very young for the MX1 class and we are giving him time to further develop. I am very sure that Max can muster his power and finish on the podium at any time and a place in the top eight in the world championship should be possible.
What are your general expectations for the five new KTM supported teams in the 2008 MX season?
Our aim is simply to have a broader based- and bigger overall presence in the sport. It’s our dream for the future to have our own factory riders come from our youth program. It’s a lot of fun to work with these young guys and through our cooperation with Stefan Everts and his father Harry we have the possibility to offer the best training program on offer in the entire world of Motocross.
A few words about the strategy of supporting these teams?
The strategy is clearly defined. The spearhead is made up of the factory team with its four factory riders. Then there are the five satellite teams that we have created in close cooperation with our subsidiary companies in the various countries. Included in this is a further structure where we are already trying to bind talented young guys to us in the European championships.
Is it about nurturing young talent? Increasing KTM presence in the paddock?
It is not so much about increasing KTM’s presence in the paddock; it’s much more about training young athletes and preparing them for the big leap into the factory team. In the meantime it’s become very expensive to get into the sport and there are not many who are able to afford to compete in the world championships. With our program we want to show that it’s possible to get to the top through good results and a start in the world championship is not just about having plenty of money.
I hear you worked closely with the KTM motor sports representatives in the individual countries to choose riders for the five supported teams. Is that correct and what qualities were you looking for in the riders?
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our managing directors from our country subsidiaries. We would not be able to find these great talents without their help and their skill at having the right eye to pick them out. The qualities we look for are simple. We want guys who really have the passion for the sport, that have a big heart and the will to work towards the big target.
Looking at the very young riders – for example in the GP Juniors Team Champ (Jeremy van Horebeek and Joel Roelants): how were these guys selected and what makes them stand out as being ready to race at this level?
These two are a wonderful mix from our junior structures. Joel was discovered by Jacky Martens and he already took care of him for us in the European Championship. Jeremy was discovered by Kees van de Ven and he rode to podium places in his first year. It is only because of these structures that we have these young guys in our line of vision, otherwise maybe we would not have seen them until it was too late.
What would you expect from them in the first year?
If they could ride regularly in the top ten of the world, we would be very happy.
Some of the teams are new and it will be a chance for young riders to gain a footing in top class racing. But Jonathan Barragan will be riding in MX1 for Team Silver Action and so will Marcus Schiffer (Team Sarholz). So here we have two riders who can challenge the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Rider Max Nagl. Will any of these three riders be title contenders in MX1?
I am really sure that Jonathan and Max will be regular guests on the world championship podium but it would be presumptuous to talk about the world championship title at this stage. I think we should use this year to perfectly position the team for the future and in 2009 a young rider from our own juniors program will then fight for the MX1 title!!
By: KTM PR