The following is a press release from KTM Racing...
Senior KTM officials Pit Beirer and Heinz Kinigadner have announced at KTM in Mattighofen Austria that Marc Coma and Cyril Despres remain loyal to the world leader in the manufacture of sports motorcycles and will continue to ride Orange in the world's most demanding rallies the future.
Despres and Coma, both multiple Dakar winners and eternal rivals for the top spot in any world class rally will each have their own individual team structure, chosen by themselves, including the nomination of a second co-rider, Pit Beirer, KTM's Head of Motorsport said. Both Beirer and Kinigadner, the company's special consultant in rally and offroad sports, said they were delighted that the Coma and Despres will continue to compete on the pure bred KTM racing machines.
"By signing Marc and Cyril, KTM again preserves the company's racing DNA," Beirer told KTM Racing News. "Heinz and I are clearly very happy to have the two real rally heroes onboard again." Beirer confirmed that KTM is in the final stages of preparation of the new 450 Rally bike for the two champions and work is also well advanced on the KTM 450 Rally Replica machine, which will be available as part of KTM's cutting edge offroad range.
Kinigadner joined Beirer in expressing satisfaction at the signing of the two riders who have completely dominated the Dakar and other major rally events in recent years. "We are both extremely happy that Marc and Cyril, as the world's two most outstanding and competitive rally riders have again put their trust in KTM," Kinigadner said. "There has been, and will continue to be a lot of testing to perfect the new bikes, which have been developed with input from these guys. They are already happy and confident with the bikes and we will continue to work hard together to prepare for the major events."
KTM riders have won every Dakar Rally held since 2001 (the race was cancelled in 2008) and either Despres or Coma have topped the podium in the last five rallies. The Dakar, formerly called the Paris-Dakar was moved in 2009 to South America after it had to be cancelled in 2008 because of last minute security threats in Mauritania. It traditionally launches the international motor sports calendar each year, starting in Buenos Aires at the beginning of January.