News Racing

KTM Finds Winning Stride in 2021

January 4, 2022

By Keaton Maisano

KTM Factory Racing was hard to miss in 2021 as its riders frequently visited podiums and hoisted numerous trophies.

Highlighted by the team’s AMA 450 Supercross title, a pair of MotoGP wins and success within the enduro discipline, KTM’s season was ripe with success. Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsports Director, said the impactful season is thanks to all KTM members and the vast roles they serve within the team.

“To take this company to the track around the world means a big movement of so many pieces and the big key to the success comes from the people involved,” Beirer said. “From the brilliant riders — at the beginning, middle and end of their careers — to the guys at the factory, those in the pitlanes and the paddocks and the trucks, the whole operation needs a special focus to make it all work. When we can see the results of our job then this makes me very proud.”

The KTM team wasted no time finding success, with Sam Sunderland taking his KTM 450 RALLY to third place at the 43rd Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia in January 2021.

Sunderland’s momentum was later built upon by Cooper Webb, who captured the 2021 AMA 450 Supercross title aboard his KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION. The championship marked the company’s fifth title in seven years.

Cooper Webb celebrating his 2021 AMA 450SX Supercross title
Cooper Webb celebrating his 2021 AMA 450SX Supercross title | Courtesy of KTM

KTM’s impact stateside was further felt when it made a high-profile return to the AMA American Flat Track series.

Across the pond, KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings captured KTM’s third FIM MXGP title in the last half decade while riding the KTM 450 SX-F. Red Bull KTM finished the season as the only Grand Prix team to have all six of its riders stand atop the podium during the year.

Red Bull KTM’s Josep Garcia added to the season’s accolades by claiming his second E2 championship. Garcia also took second in the EnduroGP and secured the outright win at the International Six Days Enduro.

Matthias Walkner also contributed to the winning pattern by earning the title of FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Champion.

2021 marked the fifth year with KTM on the MotoGP grid and the company’s third season with a full four-rider lineup. The season would see KTM riders capture a pair of wins, five podium visits and a joint top-speed record.

With rookie Pedro Acosta leading the charge, the KTM GP Academy claimed the fifth Moto3 World Championship since 2012. Remy Gardner also excelled to become the first Australian Moto2 World Championship.

The Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup was won by David Alonso aboard a KTM RC 250 R. Continuing the KTM theme, the Northern Talent Cup and Austrian Junior Cup both used RC4R motorcycles in 2021, creating a situation where more than 70 KTM race bikes circulated Grand Prix tracks in a single weekend during select rounds of the 2021 MotoGP season.

While it was a year filled with great optimism and results, the KTM team mourned the losses of Jason Dupasquier and Rene Hofer.

“We’ve celebrated this season but we’ve also had cause for tears and, at times, it has been very emotional,” Beirer said. “I just want to take this moment to thank everyone who has played their part and, as ever, we will look forward and give our best to be right at the front again when another racing year starts.”

Jeffrey Herlings in midair at the 2021 FIM MXGP Motocross World Championship
Jeffrey Herlings in midair at the 2021 FIM MXGP Motocross World Championship | Courtesy of KTM