Welcome to The Weekly Dirt, the place to go each Wednesday to catch up on the latest happenings in the realm of off-road motorcycling. This week, a little daydreaming about motocross and KTM.
Already the top dog in the realm of off-road racing, KTM wants nothing more than to dominate American motocross in the same manner. The Austrian firm took a step in the right direction when they hired Roger DeCoster away from Suzuki, and “The Man” has done a good job of getting the 350 SX-F up to speed, despite giving away 100cc (Mike Alessi has had several holeshots on the 350, which is incredible considering the level of competition at that level).
Obviously, the new fuel-injected 350 is an excellent off-road machine, however, it has struggled somewhat against the 450s on the U.S. Supercross and Pro Motocross circuit. And while DeCoster maintains they’re not giving up any horsepower to the competition despite the smaller displacement, he does admit a shortage of torque is keeping them from holding ground with the bigger engines. “The very top guys can use full power on a 450 and all the torque, so there are some places on the track where we are a little bit handicapped,” says DeCoster. “But there are places on braking where we have an advantage because the bike has less inertia and it’s really stable in the whoops, so there are some pluses and some minuses.” At the Unadilla round of the AMA Pro Motocross Series, DeCoster hinted that there will be a fuel-injected 450 for 2012 and that they are working with it now. When asked if someone would be riding it in the 2012 Supercross series, he said, “It depends on if they can get it into production in time for the start of the season.”On the subject of Dungey, DeCoster said, “Obviously, we want him, we just have to see if we can come together.”