KTM Sports Director Pit Beirer Interview
The Red Bull KTM Factory team is riding high at the moment as they lead the World MX1 and MX2 Championships, along with the AMA 450cc Championship. They also own World Rally, one of the leading brands in World Enduro and are a strong contender for the Moto3 Championship in road racing. While World domination isn’t quite there yet, the orange army are really showing a lot of companies how it should be done when it comes to competing and performing.
Check out the interview with former GP racer and KTMs sports director Pit Beirer, asking him about the 2012 season so far.
MXlarge: Pit, are you surprised that Ken Roczen isn’t winning in America yet?
Beirer: To be honest, yes, because we all talked about this German wonder kid and he was and is all we talked about, but he went against all the rules. Sometimes he was sick and he still delivered the results, didn’t matter if he liked the track or hated the track, problems at home or whatever he always delivered the results.
MXlarge: So what does he need to find that final piece of the puzzle and win in America?
Beirer: We shouldn’t forget that around Christmas he also broke his arm and had no preparation jumping into a Supercross season and from there he went straight into the Outdoors. At this World class level, be it here in Europe or in America, you can’t sit at home and get screws in your arm and come back and win easily. The competition is on a very high level over there (in America), you have these three other guys (Blake Baggett, Justin Barcia and Eli Tomac) and they are such strong fighters and for 40 minutes. It’s a hard level over there and I am sure he will find a win in a race and he needs a little bit of confidence to really come on his best level. He is not on his best level, that is for sure, but for me it’s a normal development. He needs to get used to the travelling and the time changes, and some other things, it’s not just about riding the bike. Living, missing friends and the people you love or like. He will adapt and it’s a long process.
MXlarge: Watching on the internet, he seems to be slowly getting there. Is that the case?
Beirer: He had already three heats where he lost it in the last laps, so it means he is no miles away from winning a race, it’s not like he has bad results, he has good results and first place in the overall points is just 17 points ahead, so it’s a close battle. We need to build it up on a base and it wouldn’t be normal if he went there and won everything. It’s a normal development and I am happy we have Roger (De Coster) over there with his calm input on the riders and not asking something that isn’t possible.
MXlarge: With Ken third in the 250cc Championship and Dungey first in the 450cc Championship you must be pretty close to your goals for 2012?
Beirer: You know our target this year wasn’t to win all the races, it was our target to win in America, be on the podium and that target is reached for the moment. We finished the Supercross season on the podium and now we are in the title chase in the Outdoors. You can’t imagine how happy we are, and I also know the competition isn’t as tough as normal because other guys are injured, but that isn’t interesting for me. I can see our bike is competitive, the team is competitive and we have fantastic riders, so it will only improve.
MXlarge: James Stewart was really quick early, but he did have that crash, which ruled him out. Did it surprise you Stewart was so quick so quickly on the Suzuki?
Beirer: We all know that Stewart is a fantastic and incredible fast rider, but he also needs to prove that he can bring that for a complete season and that is missing for a while now. It didn’t surprise me that he jumped on a new bike and was really fast straight away, but it can also end in disaster if you hire him and it’s over after a few races.
MXlarge: Often the problem with Stewart is that he isn’t consistent; Dungey on the other hand is the most consistent guy in America. True or false?
Beirer: He (Stewart) did a fantastic move, he moved to a new bike and was beating us up, winning four motos, but if you know Ryan Dungey you know he is consistent, and I think he has a good mix of perfect preparation and kind of safe riding and if you want to beat him, then you might have to take a risk and that might be what has happened.
MXlarge: Leading so many Championships both in America and Europe, does that make you nervous? I mean, it can’t stay like this forever?
Beirer: No, I thought about retirement next week, because right now we lead the Moto3 World Championship (now second), we won the Dakar rally, we lead the Enduro World Championship, we are leading the Rally World Championship, we won the Endurocross in America, we have the lead in the MX1 and MX2 Championship and also in the AMA 450cc Outdoors. That is why I asked my boss if I can retire now. It was a joke of course, but it’s incredible how it is going. I have no words for this. It can’t stay like this, we can’t win all the classes and it isn’t our goal anyway, I repeat myself to you maybe a couple of years, we just want to be consistent and competitive and we have the good bikes and the good riders and with this we can always be contenders to fight for titles and that makes us very happy.