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RACE READY

Prepping and priming a KTM 1290 Super Duke R for life on track could be the cure for all ills!

Just when we thought that the subtle styling changes, plumping of power, evolution of electronics and setting up of the suspension was all the new KTM 1290 Super Duke R needed to rule the naked world in 2017, the Austrian firm treated us to a session on a race-kitted bike around the Losail circuit in Qatar during last month’s launch of the road bike.

In the process KTM opened Pandora’s box, showing us the true potential of the Beast – but Pandora didn’t seem to mind this invasion of her privacy at all. Initially, I loved the Austro-naked-nutters for allowing us the opportunity to sample this, but then after my savage sampling of the bike on track I hated them for giving us only a fleeting experience of the machine…

Unleashing a Beast

Ready To Race is KTM’s motto, but there’s not much in the way of easy avenues to explore this option when you’re trying to muscle a 1,301cc v-twin naked bike on to a grid. Ever the innovators, the firm found a series in Italy that would fit the bill – the French-based Protwin race challenge that had an event on in Mugello in November – you know, the exquisite Italian track with the longest straight in the calendar. Exposed to the elements and up against a grid full of faired Panigales, KTM had a few tricks up its sleeves – namely Jeremy McWilliams, Chris Fillmore, Hannes Maier and three 2017 race-prepped 1290 Super Duke Rs. McWilliams needs no introduction, Fillmore a little nudge to fire the synapses – he’s an AMA racer of some renown.

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