KTM Factory Racing won in a confrontation with the strongest Honda team in the Moto Grand Prix World Championship in the Moto3 class: the protests filed by Leopard Racing in May and June were considered at an expanded meeting of the MotoGP Stewards’ Board (“FIM courts”) in Geneva.
The final decision has been made – both Leopard’s protests have been rejected, so KTM and its satellite brands can continue working without any changes in 2022. The manager of the KTM factory division, Christian Kortner, explained why the claims of Leopard (which means Honda Racing) were not relevant from the very beginning.
Since 2022, MotoGP, in particular, in the Moto3 class, has a strict requirement for all components of prototypes – chassis, engines, and electronic systems, including wiring kits (“braid”): they must be unique for each brand, have a unique catalog number and a price ceiling determined by FIM. This is done in order to reduce the cost of participation in the junior class and the possibility of early budget planning. In fact, of course, the increase in prices for participation in Moto3 continues due to the introduction of Dorna and FIM more and more new gadgets that teams are forced to buy from a single supplier at their own expense. But in general, the spirit of balancing the price tags in the championship is maintained.
Leopard’s lead (they demanded to cancel the race results for GasGas pilots and recognize their prototype as “not unique”) was in the wiring kits, which in fact is similar to the KTM RC250RW braid for all prototypes of the series (GasGas, Husqvarna and CFMoto). Claims were made only to GasGas pilots since they lead the Moto3 championship in the general classification, and the GasGas brand is the leader of the Manufacturers’ Cup. While Leopard Racing and Honda are in 2nd place. Factory KTM loses to both – they are in 3rd place.
That is, the Leopard protest, in general, is relevant from the point of view of the fight for the championship.
But Christian Kortner explained why in fact – no:
I received an official protest from the Stewards after the German Grand Prix, we had a little less than 5 days before Assen to give an official response. We compiled it and sent it to FIM through official channels. Overall, it really took a lot of effort. We were required to give a complete, technically sound, documented answer, because in the last six months there have been some important changes in the technical regulations. We have attached to our response an extensive correspondence that we conducted with Technical Director Danny Aldridge.”
“Leopard accused us of illegally using the same prototype in Moto3 under three different brands in the 2022 Moto3 World Championship. The main reason they thought so was the use of a modified wiring kit. However, this change took place in consultation with officials, and it did not happen in 2022, but in 2021 [when the old version of the Regulations was in effect].”
A significant detail that played a role in favor of KTM: changes in the Regulations with all the nuances, in particular, a specific ceiling on the prices of parts, were sent to manufacturers only on February 15, 2022, when the prototypes were already completed for the new season. Pierre Mobility, which owns the KTM, GasGas, and Husqvarna brands, appealed to Aldridge with a corresponding statement, and he decided to allow the RC250RW and its clones as they are.
And the reason for such an easy admission is even simpler: “All this happened after consulting with the technical director, of course. Just because… we have not homologized a new motorcycle for 2022! That RC250, that FR250GP – they have not changed at all since 2020. Thus, Leopard had no chance to prove any violations, they received a logical refusal,” Kortner added.
The final decision of the FIM was made on July 13, and the appeal of Leopard Racing was rejected – it will not be possible to raise it to the level of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne since the FIM considers the issue settled.