“Sometimes a millimetre is doing nothing. But sometimes it’s really the key” - Kalex’s secret to success

Alex Baumgaertel, founder of Kalex, offers his views on nine consecutive Manufacturers’ Championship victories in the Moto2 class, keeping an open mind and working for the future.

The news went slightly unnoticed at Silverstone back in August. But Remy Gardner’s fourth win of the year was enough to secure the Moto2 Manufacturers’ title for Kalex for an ninth consecutive season. That’s some achievement for a company consisting of just seven people, with only three currently attending races due to paddock restrictions.

Perhaps it is the regularity with which the German company wins that meant this particular crown was all but a given from the first race. A Kalex-backed rider has won every Moto2 outing this year. And last year, for that matter. In fact, of the 90 podium positions up for grabs over the past two seasons, riders using a Kalex frame has taken 83 of them. That’s total domination.

The grid is currently awash with the German manufactured frames, with 22 Kalex-backed riders in a grid of 30 – and that’s set to increase in 2022. With only four Boscoscuros and a pair of NTS and MV Agusta frames, Kalex certainly has strength in numbers.

Veni, Vidi, Vici

And while Moto2 currently lacks the mechanical variety of a few years back, when KTM’s frame was competing for podiums, race wins and championships, and certainly the early years of the class (six chassis manufacturers won at least one race in 2010, the first year of the Moto2 class), the story of how Kalex came to dominate is deeply impressive.

From achieving early success with Stefan Bradl in 2011, more and more teams requested their frame. As Alex Baumgaertel, the mastermind behind the chassis design and, along with Klaus Hirsekorn, the founder of Kalex, acknowledges that competition is so tight, a proven package with an impressive track record is invaluable. “Now the competition is so close so the teams are very, very conservative when it comes to trying new things in a weekend.

“In the beginning – the first five, six years – this was much more. But that reduced because the competition became so close so the base set-ups are known. And no one touches anything. So, it’s much more difficult to explore new areas. This class is very, very tight. Sometimes a millimetre is doing nothing. But sometimes it’s really the key.”

To read the remaining 1416 words of this article, you need to sign up to become a MotoMatters.com site supporter by taking out a subscription. You can find out more about subscribing to MotoMatters.com here. If you are already a subscriber, log in to read the full text.


This is part of a regular series of unique insights into the world of motorcycle racing, exclusive for MotoMatters.com site supporters. The series includes interviews, background information, in-depth analysis, and opinion, and is available to everyone supporting the site by taking out a subscription.

If you would like to read more of our exclusive content you can join the growing band of site supporters, by taking out a subscription here. If you prefer, you can also support us on our Patreon page and get access to the same exclusive material there.

Tweet Button: 

Back to top

Comments

Thanks Neil. Excellent article about a subject that hasn't been touched on. Very informative! 

Kalex also should be commended for their ability to fabricate massive number of parts to keep up with demand. Of course people have to want what you build but if you can't make it they will go elsewhere. 

This is as much a secret of their succes where competitors like Suter failed. When Suter married themselves to Marquez and declared manufacturing shortages as reasons why other teams could not get the latest parts made available exclusivly for Marquez, all the other top teams saw the writing on the wall and bounced over to Kalex. 

Kalex won over teams, large and small, by being Engineering Fabricators. Their focus on building a product with wide operating range and making many of them.   

By contrast Suter positioned themselves as an Engineering Service Company. Their focus on selling themselves to highest bidder and making a short wheelbased bike that needed to be setup on a knife edge, requiring their services to get the most out of it.

Nothing against Suter, I'd love to have them back and making more than slipper clutches in a heartbeat, but Kalex has done a great job for the championship and seldom gets the credit they have earned and deserve. That they did it in David v. Goliath fashion is a gem of an untold story. 

Thanks for highlighting them here.