Austrian manufacturer completes its line-up for next season.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing has signed 17-year-old Rene Hofer for the 2020 MX2 World Championship, as dual world champion Jorge Prado graduates to the premier class.
The Austrian, who will race alongside Tom Vialle next year, impressed with three wildcard MX2 appearances in 2019 in what was his first full year of competition aboard the KTM 250 SX-F, while he was ranked fourth in his maiden EMX250 campaign.
“I’m super excited,” Hofer stated. “We’ve really worked for this over the last couple of years and my dreams are coming true right now. We were not sure if it would happen for 2020 but I showed some good speed in the second half of the season and also that I could compete in good positions in MX2.
“I felt confident in the class from the very first time, even if the weekend routine is pretty different from EMX. I’m so grateful to be able to have the chance to ride for the most successful team in the GP paddock and to have the best racing people around me as well as being able to learn from Tom.
“I’ve trained with him a few times now and he’s a really nice guy. He had an unbelievable rookie season and I think we can put in some solid preparation work over the winter to be ready for 2020. I turn 18 next year and I know I am ready for this step. For sure the result in Imola was very good but I will be hungry for more and I will bring in the very best effort from my side.
“I cannot forget to thank all the people who have helped me reach this stage of my career and who have helped shape me as a rider and as a human. I cannot wait to start work for 2020 but first I need to focus on this weekend!”
KTM’s vice president of off-road Robert Jonas added: “Rene has quickly moved up through the levels of the sport and he made sure that it was hard to ignore his progress in 2019 and his first with the 250 SX-F. After two seasons in the 125s and just one in EMX250 he was already pushing for a grand prix opportunity and showed us what he can do.
“We really like the mentality and the determination of this kid and we’re proud to be able to bring another rookie into our factory team for 2020. He’s Austrian and some might think this would be an advantage but it also comes with pressure, and we wanted to make sure that Rene would be able to handle this chance.
“I can remember this situation from my own experience and we have no doubts about Rene. 2020 will be a learning year but, together with Tom, it means we have exciting and youthful talent behind an amazing strong MXGP line-up.”
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing will field Prado alongside multi-time world champions Antonio Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings in MXGP next year.