KTM to quit rallies?
After the death of top rally rider Fabrizio Meoni on Tuesday, January 11, KTM has urged all of its teams to pull out of the race and said it may quit rally racing completely.
Meoni is the second top KTM rider to have died in the last four months. Former champion Richard Sainct was killed in the Pharos Rally in Egypt at the end of September.
KTM team boss Heinz Kinigadner made this statement: "With Richard Sainct and Fabrizio Meoni we have lost two of the best and most experienced rally riders on their jobs within the previous four months. It is very tragic and it hurts so much. At first we need to come to terms with these terrible blows.
"Fabrizio had personified our idea of rally racing. He won many rallies; one of them the Dakar on a single-cylinder as well as on the twin from KTM. Just before the start of this years Dakar I talked to Fabrizio in Barcelona and asked him if he wanted to manage the KTM rally teams.
"I personally believe that all KTM factory riders should go home. This is not just a question of piety, but also of safety. The riders have a lot on their minds after two such tragic blows. Nobody can forget it this easily.
"We also need to think about the people on our KTM assistance teams. Many of them are faced with a tragedy like this for the second time within a short timeframe. The Dakar is certainly no walk in the park. Therefore in my eyes it is impossible to go on because it is no longer safe.
"Further, no one will be able to enjoy further victories. However I like to stress that this is my own personal opinion. Those responsible for the teams and the sponsors are now asked to make a decision.
"I believe the entire KTM rally operation is put up for question after these two deaths. However this decision will take time."