KTM are now the power house motocross company in the world.
After they swept both classes at Daytona in one of the most prestigious supercross races of the season, with Marvin Musquin and Ryan Dungey extending respective their points leads, it looks like KTM are finally where they want to be in the USA – on top.
Since the early 2000s KTM have been making progress, with Kelly Smith winning a race in 2000 and Grant Langston winning a 125 US outdoor title in 2003. But supercross is really where KTM wanted to succeed.
They had the motocross stuff covered in the GPs in MX2 and once they signed Cairoli in MXGP they won the most prestigious outdoor title there was to win.
But the American market was still conquered and the main selling point there is supercross. So, when they couldn’t hire the main man Ryan VIllopoto, they hired the next best guy – Ryan Dungey.
KTM also brought two GP champions over in Ken Roczen and Marvin Musquin to try and succeed in the 250 supercross and bring both riders to 450 title contention.
It started out well when Dungey won the outdoor title in his first season on KTM (2012) Roczen won the 250 West supercross title in 2013 and then won the 450 Motocross title in his first year in the class last season – with Dungey the runner up! They also went 2-3 in the supercross series. KTM were only denied a clean sweep by Ryan VIllopoto. In fact Villopoto was the kryptonite to their supercross title aspirations every year.
But then, out of the blue, Villopoto moved to MXGP (ironically in a bid by Kawasaki to stop KTM’s dominance there), leaving the door open for KTM to get their first ever supercross title. However, KTM were shocked when their star rider Ken Roczen left them for Suzuki – he was the guy they were banking on for the future and now he was gone.
And in the first three rounds it looked like Roczen was the man to beat for the 2015 supercross title but since he cased the triple at round four, Roczen has been in freefall.
The man to take advantage was Ryan Dungey, the American is loving the new KTM the Austrian manufacturer has provided him and is now the man to beat through his ruthless consistency and still underrated speed. Dungey now has a huge lead in the supercross title and barring a big injury looks likely to take KTM first ever 450 supercross title. As an added bonus Marvin Musquin has shaken off the injury cloud for once and is controlling the 250 East coast class too.
At Daytona both were unbeatable and it underlined the progress the previously much derided KTM machine has made in the last few years. The missing piece of the puzzle appears to have been found and it looks like 2015 could be the year KTM’s American (supercross) dream is realized.
Now they just need to make sure Villopoto and co. don’t spoil their MXGP celebrations! If KTM can win the supercross title in the USA and the MXGP title this season their ultimate goal of winning the two most prestigious titles in the world in the one year will have been realized – it would be one heck of an accomplishment.
Article: Jonathan McCready
Pic: KTM Images