Matthias Walkner said he was very thankful and proud to continue with the team through to 2020. “As an Austrian there is nothing nicer than being able to ride an Austrian motorcycle for the best partner, and to be able to do what you like most.”
Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsports Director said he was delighted to sign Walkner up to 2020. “Matthias has shown great promise as a rally raid competitor and as a member of the KTM factory team. His second place in the 2017 was outstanding and we are sure that he can deliver many excellent results in the future. For us it is important to nurture the next generation, and he has show that he can deliver a top result amongst the world’s best. We look forward to working with Matthias in the years to come.”
Walkner, FIM Cross Country Rallies World Champion 2015, in January finished second to factory teammate Sam Sunderland in the 2017 Dakar Rally. It was his third start on the KTM 450 RALLY bike in the premiere rally raid of the racing season and like Sunderland, also his first finish. In 2016 he suffered a broken leg in the Dakar Rally but he worked hard to recover full fitness and went on to deliver a great result for the factory team in January 2017.
Walker has had a long association with the Austrian brand. He started as a test rider for KTM in 2004 and went on to be the MX3 World Champion in 2012. Then, in 2013 KTM Motorsports Manager Heinz Kinigadner, himself twice 250cc Motocross World Champion (1984 and 1985), and former Dakar Rally competitor asked Walkner to consider rally raid. He contested and won his first rally in Greece in 2014 and had his first Dakar Rally start in 2015.