KTM quit 250GP class

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Austrian manufacturer KTM has confirmed it will withdraw from the 250GP world championship at the end of the 2008 campaign.

In a statement released on the eve of this weekend’s Malaysia GP in Sepang, KTM said it would focus its entire Grand Prix effort into the 125GP series.

The Red Bull KTM Team, under the technical leadership of constructor Harald Bartol, will be a newly formed factory squad. Next to the Spanish youngster Marc Marquez, American Cameron Beaubier, the successful protégé of the KTM MotoGP Academy, will be officially appointed to compete for the factory.

"We have decided for the GP 125cc class because contrary to the 250cc class, its existence is secured in the medium to long term", said Winfried Kerschhaggl, head of KTM Racing.

A major factor in KTM’s decision is believed to centre on its frustration with controversial plans to axe the two-stroke 250GP class from 2011 onwards. The series will instead run four-stroke 600cc machines with largely production engines.

KTM has run a 250 since 2005 while its best success has come in the 125 class with Finnish rider Mika Kallio twice a runner-up twice in 2006 and 2007.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt