2020 MOTOGP™ MILESTONES: RED BULL KTM’S BEST YEAR YET
Red Bull KTM can look back on an intense and busy 2020 MotoGP season with a high degree of satisfaction as the 14 Grands Prix held in 18 weeks delivered the best results, memories and promising signs yet for the manufacturer after just four years on the grid. Race and title success was also keenly felt in the Moto2™ and Moto3™ categories.
2020 MotoGP began in late July sizzling temperatures with the first ‘double-header’ at the Circuit de Jerez-Angel Nieto in Spain and where the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team of Pol Espargaro and Brad Binder as well as the Red Bull KTM Tech3 crew of Miguel Oliveira and Iker Lecuona already showed pace on their KTM RC16s to be able to challenge the front runners for grid slots and race positions.
A sensational first ever victory came at just round three as eventual Rookie of the Year Brad Binder shocked the establishment by crossing the finish line first with a five-second margin at the Automotodrom Brno in the Czech Republic. The 25-year old South African was the first athlete to have won in Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP classes with KTM machinery.
Two Grands Prix later and Oliveira picked up the first of his two triumphs with a measured but dramatic success at the Red Bull Ring (also the first MotoGP win for the Tech3 squad and becoming the second racer to do the ‘KTM clean sweep’ in all categories). The Portuguese – in only his second MotoGP term – would complete the set with a dominant performance at the Algarve International Circuit season-closer on home turf.
Ultimately it would be Espargaro with the most podium finishes (as well as two of the three Pole Positions registered by KTM) for 2020. The Spanish star – who gave KTM their maiden top three in MotoGP at the conclusion of 2018 in Valencia – walked the rostrum five times in total and reached 5th position in the final championship standings as KTM classified 4th in the Constructors contest, just four points from 2nd place. Rookie Iker Lecuona contributed 3 of KTM’s 27 top-ten results.
This year MotoGP managed to clock 14 Grands Prix from the original 20 for the premier class. A tight and unpredictable level of competition – where qualification times often saw the top twenty riders divided by a second – delivered 9 different winners and 15 different riders in podium positions.
Red Bull KTM 2020 MotoGP accomplishments from 14 rounds, 9 circuits with more than 5100km raced in 6 countries in 5 months and with 633 PCR tests (accumulated by Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team alone):
3 wins (1: Binder & 2: Oliveira)
8 podiums (1: Binder, 5: Espargaro, 2: Oliveira)
3 Pole Positions (2: Espargaro, 1: Oliveira)
4 Fastest laps (2: Binder, 1: Espargaro, 1: Oliveira)
27 top ten finishes (5: Binder, 10: Espargaro, 3: Lecuona, 9: Oliveira)
5th in Riders Championship: Espargaro (highest yet for KTM)
4th in Constructors Championship (from 6, highest yet)
3rd in Teams Championship: Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
7th in Teams Championship: Red Bull KTM Tech3
Rookie of the Year: Brad Binder, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Average points per round comparison won by KTM: 2019 = 9.26, 2020 = 26.71 (increase of 188.4%)
The KTM GP Academy spots, develops and funnels riders through the MotoGP tiers to hopefully guide athletes to a berth on the premier class grid. In 2020 the Academy had a notable year in Moto2 and Moto3.
In Moto2 the Red Bull KTM Ajo team were able to help both of their racers – Jorge Martin and Tetsuta Nakashima – either lead or fight for the FIM Moto2 World Championship. The Spaniard and Japanese posted three wins between them (two for Martin and one for Nagashima) and total of eight podium appearances. Martin also logged one Pole Position on his way to 5th in the series standings. Nagashima ended-up in 8th.
In Moto3 Albert Arenas used his KTM RC4 to become KTM’s fourth world champion since the inception of the class in 2012. His exciting final-round confirmation of the title came at the Algarve International Circuit. The Portuguese venue brought a gripping and typically fraught 15 fixtures of Moto3 to a close. The series began on a high for Arenas with his victory at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar and ended with his entry into the history books.
Four KTM riders classified in the top ten of the Moto3 standings. The same number tasted Grand Prix victory in 2020; three for the first time in their careers. Arenas shared the top of the ‘box’ with Celestino Vietti (1), Darryn Binder (1) and Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Raul Fernandez (2). KTM were able to rule 8 from the 15 rounds in 2020. KTM posted 7 Pole Positions (6 for Fernandez and 1 for Binder).
Arenas’ Qatar win was the 100th for KTM equipment on Grand Prix asphalt and all in all divisions; that number swelled to 110 by the finale of 2020.
Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsports Director: “When the tires have cooled and the tools are down we have to look back at 2020 as perhaps the most challenging season for us yet in just four years in MotoGP but what an amazing one. All the statistics speak for themselves. I cannot describe how rewarding it has been to see our riders develop, our teams, our machinery: the whole programme has taken big steps forward. The credit goes to every single person who played their part, whether that was in difficult conditions at the circuit or at home here in the factory. We punched over our weight in 2020 and we’ll keep swinging for more next season and for the years to come.”
2020 MotoGP Championship standings
1. Joan Mir (ESP), Suzuki, 171 points
2. Franco Morbidelli (ITA), Yamaha, 158
3. Alex Rins (ESP), Suzuki, 139
4. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA), Ducati, 135
5. Pol Espargaro (ESP), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 135
9. Miguel Oliveira (POR), Red Bull KTM Tech3, 125
11. Brad Binder (RSA), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 87
20. Iker Lecuona (ESP), Red Bull KTM Tech3, 27
2020 MotoGP Constructors standings
1. Ducati, 221 points
2. Yamaha, 204
3. Suzuki, 202
4. KTM, 200
5. Honda 144
2020 MotoGP Teams standings
1. Team Suzuki Ecstar, 310 points
2. Petronas Yamaha SRT, 248
3. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 222
4. Ducati Team, 213
5. Pramac Racing, 183
7. Red Bull KTM Tech3, 152