2020 MotoGP began in late July sizzling temperatures with the first ‘double-header’ at the Circuit de Jerez-Angel Nieto in Spain and where the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team of Pol Espargaro and Brad Binder as well as the Red Bull KTM Tech3 crew of Miguel Oliveira and Iker Lecuona already showed pace on their KTM RC16s to be able to challenge the front runners for grid slots and race positions.
A sensational first ever victory came at just round three as eventual Rookie of the Year Brad Binder shocked the establishment by crossing the finish line first with a five-second margin at the Automotodrom Brno in the Czech Republic. The 25-year old South African was the first athlete to have won in Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP classes with KTM machinery.
Two Grands Prix later and Oliveira picked up the first of his two triumphs with a measured but dramatic success at the Red Bull Ring (also the first MotoGP win for the Tech3 squad and becoming the second racer to do the ‘KTM clean sweep’ in all categories). The Portuguese – in only his second MotoGP term – would complete the set with a dominant performance at the Algarve International Circuit season-closer on home turf.
Ultimately it would be Espargaro with the most podium finishes (as well as two of the three Pole Positions registered by KTM) for 2020. The Spanish star – who gave KTM their maiden top three in MotoGP at the conclusion of 2018 in Valencia – walked the rostrum five times in total and reached 5th position in the final championship standings as KTM classified 4th in the Constructors contest, just four points from 2nd place. Rookie Iker Lecuona contributed 3 of KTM’s 27 top-ten results.
This year MotoGP managed to clock 14 Grands Prix from the original 20 for the premier class. A tight and unpredictable level of competition – where qualification times often saw the top twenty riders divided by a second – delivered 9 different winners and 15 different riders in podium positions.
Red Bull KTM 2020 MotoGP accomplishments from 14 rounds, 9 circuits with more than 5100km raced in 6 countries in 5 months and with 633 PCR tests (accumulated by Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team alone):
3 wins (1: Binder & 2: Oliveira)
8 podiums (1: Binder, 5: Espargaro, 2: Oliveira)
3 Pole Positions (2: Espargaro, 1: Oliveira)
4 Fastest laps (2: Binder, 1: Espargaro, 1: Oliveira)
27 top ten finishes (5: Binder, 10: Espargaro, 3: Lecuona, 9: Oliveira)
5th in Riders Championship: Espargaro (highest yet for KTM)
4th in Constructors Championship (from 6, highest yet)
3rd in Teams Championship: Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
7th in Teams Championship: Red Bull KTM Tech3
Rookie of the Year: Brad Binder, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Average points per round comparison won by KTM: 2019 = 9.26, 2020 = 26.71 (increase of 188.4%)
Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsports Director: “When the tires have cooled and the tools are down we have to look back at 2020 as perhaps the most challenging season for us yet in just four years in MotoGP but what an amazing one. All the statistics speak for themselves. I cannot describe how rewarding it has been to see our riders develop, our teams, our machinery: the whole programme has taken big steps forward. The credit goes to every single person who played their part, whether that was in difficult conditions at the circuit or at home here in the factory. We punched over our weight in 2020 and we’ll keep swinging for more next season and for the years to come.”