Kalex Rolls Out First Triumph-Engined Moto2 Prototype At Valencia

At the private Valencia Moto2 test held on Monday and Tuesday, Kalex rolled out the first version of its chassis to be used with the Triumph 765 engine in Moto2 in 2019. Swiss rider Jesko Raffin is currently working as test rider for Kalex. The German engineering firm issued the following press release after the test:


Kalex Moto2 bike with a Triumph engine at Valencia, with the Kalex engineering firm

The German chassis manufacturer started its on-track preparations for 2019, which saw an all-new KALEX prototype equipped with a Triumph engine on this week’s Monday at the Spanish circuit in Valencia.

As of the 2019 season, the English brand Triumph has been announced as the single engine supplier for the highly competitive Moto2™ category. Of course, this 765cc three-cylinder engine requires a re-design of the chassis that needs to be built around it. KALEX Engineering has already progressed so far with its development to be able to schedule a first rollout with the all-new intermediate class machine this week. As a test rider for this project, Jesko Raffin has been hired. Crew-chief of the newly-formed test squad is Michael Ferger who was working more or less all the years with Raffin since the Swiss rider started his career. For KALEX, the very first on-track appearance was definitely a success even though the test came to a prematurely conclusion after just one day.

KALEX’s initially plans saw a three-day testing at the Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana but a change weather wise overnight from Monday to Tuesday forced KALEX executives Alexander Baumgärtel and Klaus Hirsekorn to rethink their plans. Due to heavy continuous rain and much too low temperatures, it made no sense to continue their tasks on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Alexander BAUMGÄRTEL (CEO / Chief-Designer):

"Overall, we are very happy how things went during our first rollout with the 2019 bike. It was, so to speak, a «zero problem» rollout. In addition, we were lucky with the weather on Monday when the conditions were very good for most of the day. Unfortunately, the two remaining days fell proverbially into the water. Apart from that, Jesko Raffin did a great job. He made no mistakes and he also convinced with enormously valuable statements. After he came back from the winter break a bit stiff, we started our program with the current bike which is equipped with an «end-of-life» engine, which has significantly less power. The purpose of this exercise with two reference runs was, to give Jesko the feeling for a racing bike after his four months break. Of course, he did his training program during the winter months, but he never was riding an on-road bike. But from the third run on, we focused exclusively on working with the Triumph bike. Jesko was immediately enthusiastic about it. After just five laps, his comment was: «The bike feels like a KALEX». That was a huge relief for us. That was what we have been working for and this always has been our goal, at least about the confidence and feeling for the front. For this test, we were using just standard parts as far as the engine, electronics and the clutch are concerned, but at the end we were able to set a 1'36.6 with Jesko. This is certainly a nice reference time for us. Therefore, we are very satisfied with our first rollout. The first impressions of the rider are mainly positive and there occurred absolutely no problems. Of course, it would have been enormously helpful to accumulate more laps and kilometres, but for the beginning, it was a very enjoyable start to our test program with this bike. We already have reached a level, we would have expected only for the second or third rollout with standard components. The rider’s feeling with the chassis was good straight away. This is why it makes no sense to think about a next test at the moment. In this regard, we have to wait until we get the ECU for this engine."

Photo credit: © [2018] KALEX Engineering GmbH

Jesko Raffin on the Kalex Triumph Moto2 bike at Valencia

Jesko Raffin testing the Kalex Triumph Moto2 bike at Valencia

The first prototype of Kalex' Moto2 bike with the Triumph 765 engine, pit lane, Valencia, sunset

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A street version of that would be great!

Let's face it, the current crop of 1000cc superbikes are nuts as street bikes. But a 3 cylinder version, say a 750 or maybe a 765?

Take that '19 moto2 bike and equip it with lower cost parts plus regulation lights.

Anyone listening? (apparently not Triumph since they seem to have discontinued the 675 Daytona)

I hear a few folks have already gotten the 765 motor into their 675R. A Superstock basic pump gas streetable and reliable build of that has been on my mind a lot. My Triumph is fantastic (really!) until nearing the top of the Rev range where it sags. Triumph has been able to continue selling some non-compliant 675R's but this is coming to an end soon right? Perhaps it is a good move to kep selling the noncompliant bike as long as they are able in the transition. Sure hope they have something coming. The whole middleweight/Supersport dwindle while liter bikes become 200hp gizmotrons is just...odd. And sad. I understand the emissions compliance. And the retro trend. But shite, these have ALWAYS been so essential in my mind at least. I bet Suzuki sells a lot of GSXR750's. Cinderella sweet spot! Pertinent now and not present unfortunately yet is a rider to share with us their experience going from the Honda 4 to Triumph triple. I went from a 2007 600rr to a new 675R and LOVE the motor. But the overall kit and handling differences of the two bikes makes my reflections of limited value. This thing should get rave reviews from riders .

I was watching old races today in which a Suzuki 250 2 strike was up against Foggy's Honda 400. The Honda had the legs but the Suzuki the handling. Memories of more mish-mash racing classes bounce around my head. There is theory of what should work. Weird explanations for why things are done how they are. Dreams of pet formulations (2 stroke fans especially). I have dreams of a Supersport class with a broader mix - 900 twins, 750 triples and 600 4's for instance. And go ahead and run your 250GP bikes with us, what the heck. Just a-dreaming, while the class of bikes is basically dying. 

At least MotoGP is fantastic and getting better!

It's a shame alright, but the middleweight class is dying because the machine architecture and performance has stagnated since the mid-2000's.  CBR/R6/GSXR/675 have had only minor updates over recent years or a new set of clothes over an aging carcass, and certainly nothing revolutionary has been applied.  A 2006 R6 is still lineball with a current model, where a 2006 R1 is 40hp and light years behind an R1-M. The MV was instantly sexy/refreshing but we all know MV's attitude to bike design, in a ride by a current model F4 RR is virtually indistinguishable from an original F4 750 of nearly 20 years ago.

Of course the manufacturers could change all that with the stroke of a budgeting pen, but the emphaisis has moved on to the tiddler's which are produced for pennies to sell in the ginormous Asian markets.  The effort for return is a no brainer.  Not to mention the intimidation factor of the flagship sportsbikes has gone, 200hp is no longer the net-free trapeze act of olde, as NASA-spec safety/performance systems right the most ham fisted of wrongs.

Your last paragraph is why I often prefer grass roots club racing vs WSB or MotoGP.  The last of the home built "Formula" classes (fewer these days) just tickle my mechanical fancy.  We think Ducati and co have a handle on evolution rather than revolution when it comes to bike design?  They've got nothing on a old guy who has owned an old race bike for 20 years, who has virtually nothing but but a head full of ideas.  

MotoGP "fantastic"?  I'm not sure if that's the right word.  It's certainly close, which is obviously a great thing, but the spec electronics still hold too much sway.  BSB spec 'tronics would give the bikes a bit of attitude, rather than the slot bike phenomenon currently prevailing, and allow a hard charging rider to make a difference.  Just my 2 cents, ideally I'd like to see errors and effort visible on track rather than only via the lap time.      


Right? Well said.

For me, subjectivity, MotoGP is fantastic of late. Subjectivity is an interesting and undervalued thing perhaps. My litre bike forays should have been more fun than they were but just weren't. No sweetness. 

Before I stopped racing I was actively seeking a cheap 250GP bike w a bad engine. I had plans to swap a built Ninja 650 parallel twin in it and enjoy the huge power band and low maintenance with a class leading formula for Middleweight Superbike. In that class? Ducati 888, Buell XB9, Suzuki SV650, the old 400 4's, and a few other mish-mash machines. It didnt happen, but what I was after was a bike that felt best for me - plenty of torque and great handling. 

The 2nd generation Daytona 675R is much better than the first one, which is tons better than the 600 4cyl it replaced. The new R6 looks much improved to me over the one from 12 yrs ago, while horsepower and weight stats remain fairly unchanged there is much refined. Again , subjectivity, sure that you would favor the new one for a track day. And objectivity that your lap times would be better on it. 

A weird thing happened - 2007 the global economy collapsed, no one was buying fancy luxury items. But economical wee bikes and scooters, they did GREAT. The whole world became in line w SE Asia from 2008-2012. We saw new litre bikes emerge, but no middleweights. EU emission standards was a blow to performance and weight. Litre bikes entered the electronics race, BMW first. Sport bikes fell out of fashion and the popularity contest veered decidedly retro. If I see one more retro scrambler custom I will sequester myself on asphalt until the trend dies.

Good for Yamaha taking the manta ray and electronics R1 concept to their R6. Thank you so much Triumph for our gorgeous Daytona R. 300SS is a tad of a fun idea, albeit for kart tracks and kids. 600 - 750 4's are a lovely thing for the purist eschewing lots of electronics and a bitter beast of a 1000cc that spits hot sauce in your eyes on the gas then feels chunky changing direction.

 Kawasaki is no longer the bike to have in WSS, and here comes a 765cc Triple to full display in Moto2. Maybe the R6 will not get lots of company from other manu's and fresh 600's? What then? The large number of 300cc sorta-sportbikes are going to remain. The litre bikes are established. The huge void between them can't remain empty forever. I think this is conceivably a briefer pause-gap. The economy plopped, trend of the times went retro, EU emissions. When the Supersport returns it is likely to have electronic packages. And may come in with a new formula besides inline 4 and 600cc.