KTM: Marquez's salary better spent on bike development

KTM CEO Stefan Pierer believes the money it would take to sign five-time MotoGP champion Marc Marquez is better spent developing its RC16 premier-class bike.

KTM: Marquez's salary better spent on bike development

Honda rider Marquez has been long linked with a potential future KTM switch due to his close ties with the Austrian team's title sponsor Red Bull.

But the Spaniard, whose current Honda deal runs through 2020, has repeatedly played down his interest in exploring MotoGP options away from his current employer.

Speaking at his team's 2019 launch, Pierer – who previously criticised Ducati for over-spending on Jorge Lorenzo's salary – suggested a bid for Marquez's services would not be the right move for KTM at this stage.

“Marc Marquez is an exceptional rider,” Pierer said. “He would certainly be able to win with our material. Thank God the rider is still very important in motorcycle racing.

“It's always difficult in the early stages of a project. If he wins, it's because of the rider. If he doesn't win, it's the bike's fault. You can only lose.

“I'm not even talking about the rider's salary, even if Red Bull would pay it. I'd rather put the saved money into the bike. But that takes a deep breath and patience."

Read Also:

KTM, which has expanded to four RC16 entries after the addition of Tech 3 as a satellite team has Pol Espargaro and Johann Zarco contracted as its works riders.

Espargaro scored its maiden MotoGP podium in a wet race in Valencia last year, while Zarco arrives as a statement signing, having opted to join KTM despite attracting interest from Honda.

Pierer revealed that KTM's MotoGP programme, which employs 180 people, is operating on a budget of 40 million Euros in 2019.

“We are in our third year and are still beginners, but we are on the right way,” Pierer said. “Racing also means patience.

“It took us seven years to win the Dakar Rally. Since then we've won 18 times in a row.

“MotoGP is a five-year programme and we are now in our third year. In the first year we started surprisingly well and in the second year we lost out due to injuries [to Espargaro and test rider Mika Kallio], but in the end we caught up again.

“For this year I expect to be in the top 10. If we get one podium, it would certainly be a great thing. Consistent single-digit finishes should be possible with our riders. In the fifth year we want to [reliably] fight for the podium.”

Zarco and Espargaro finished the pre-season test in Sepang 17th and 18th overall respectively, although Espargaro claimed afterwards that the RC16 had made huge gains in race trim.

“We're less than a second behind [the leaders],” Pierer estimated. “Between 0.5 and 0.7 seconds.

“We're in the lucky situation of being able to try a lot of things during the year [due to manufacturer concessions].”

Stefan Pierer, KTM

Stefan Pierer, KTM

Photo by: Gold and Goose / LAT Images

shares
comments
Quartararo adamant he's not too young for MotoGP

Previous article

Quartararo adamant he's not too young for MotoGP

Next article

Indonesia signs three-year deal for MotoGP street race

Indonesia signs three-year deal for MotoGP street race
Load comments

About this article

Series MotoGP
Drivers Marc Marquez
Teams Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Author Valentin Khorounzhiy
How Jerez underlined MotoGP's speed problem Prime

How Jerez underlined MotoGP's speed problem

The brutal nature of a series of crashes at Jerez has reopened the debate about whether current MotoGP speeds are beyond the safety limits of the tracks. But even if riders are supportive of the move, getting the manufacturers to find a consensus on how speed reductions should be achieved may be altogether harder

MotoGP
May 4, 2021
How a Crutchlow helped Miller to Jerez MotoGP redemption Prime

How a Crutchlow helped Miller to Jerez MotoGP redemption

Jack Miller’s tough start to life as a factory Ducati MotoGP rider left him mentally battered and bruised, but a pep talk and positive reinforcement from a surprising source aided the Australian to show his full potential with victory at the Spanish Grand Prix

MotoGP
May 3, 2021
What does Marc Marquez have to do to get back to his best? Prime

What does Marc Marquez have to do to get back to his best?

Following his resounding MotoGP return with a seventh place finish in Portugal, Marc Marquez now must work to rediscover his best form before turning his attention towards results-based targets

MotoGP
Apr 20, 2021
How Yamaha's rookie-spec MotoGP star is taking charge Prime

How Yamaha's rookie-spec MotoGP star is taking charge

Fabio Quartararo is on a roll in 2021 after storming to victory at a venue five months earlier served up one of his worst races. Contrasting Portuguese GPs for Yamaha's factory duo make it hard to understand just how good its 2021 MotoGP bike is, but the Portimao weekend did at least expose one key improvement compared to 2020

MotoGP
Apr 19, 2021
The hurdles Marquez faces next in his Portugal MotoGP return Prime

The hurdles Marquez faces next in his Portugal MotoGP return

Even by Marc Marquez’s own high standards, his MotoGP comeback on Friday at the Portuguese Grand Prix will be considered a success even if he didn’t top the times. But having shown competitive pace on his first day back, both Marquez and his rivals know plenty more challenges are to come...

MotoGP
Apr 16, 2021
Where does Espargaro sit ahead of Marquez's return? Prime

Where does Espargaro sit ahead of Marquez's return?

Pol Espargaro’s first results as a Honda MotoGP rider may not appear special. But dig a little deeper and a clearer picture of his performance emerges. And, as Lewis Duncan writes, it’s cause for celebration at Honda with the return of Marc Marquez set to provide Espargaro with the reference he has been missing so far this year

MotoGP
Apr 12, 2021
The "pit bull" MotoGP rookie already drawing legendary comparisons Prime

The "pit bull" MotoGP rookie already drawing legendary comparisons

MotoGP’s 2021 rookie crop is one of the strongest in recent years, but one is already standing out. Jorge Martin’s Doha GP heroics have courted many to compare him to numerous MotoGP legends. Autosport spoke to Pramac boss Francesco Guidotti to find out why MotoGP’s latest Spanish star is already making such an impact

MotoGP
Apr 9, 2021
Why MotoGP's stewards must revisit Miller and Mir's Losail clash Prime

Why MotoGP's stewards must revisit Miller and Mir's Losail clash

Despite Suzuki’s decision not to appeal against Race Direction’s refusal to penalise Jack Miller following the incident with Joan Mir in Losail, something must be done to avoid a repeat of such an incident, which could have easily ended in tragedy

MotoGP
Apr 6, 2021