A new racing season is underway in 2023, and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Flat Track team has been hard at work preparing for the upcoming American Flat Track (AFT) Championship. Reigning AFT Singles Champion, Kody Kopp, will proudly display the No. 1 plate aboard his KTM 450 SX-F in 2023 as he returns to defend his first title in the class, alongside fierce championship contender and teammate Max Whale.
With Kopp leading the charge in 2022, the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing duo amassed eight race-wins and 10 podium finishes in AFT Singles competition, delivering two top-five finishes in the overall championship standings. For the now 18-year-old Kopp, championship management was in full effect through the latter half of the year, and he did what he needed to do to clinch his first career title in his first year with the team. Showcasing impressive speed and skill across all tracks and racing conditions, Kopp has his sights set on upping the ante in 2023.
Kopp said, “The 2023 season is here and so are the new KTM 450 SX-Fs! I am really liking the new bike, and I am confident we are going to pick up right where we left off in 2022, with winning the AFT Singles Championship. It’s the first time in my career that I will get to run the No. 1 plate, and I don’t have plans on letting go of it anytime soon.”
Heading into his third year with the team, Whale looks to build upon his strong showing in the first two seasons aboard the KTM 450 SX-F. The Aussie came out swinging in 2022, finishing on the podium in four of the first five races, before a mid-season knee injury kept him off the grid for two rounds. Clawing his way back to the center of the podium with a significant win at the Peoria TT, Whale finished the season strong with a top-five overall.
Whale said, “The 2023 season: What’s there not to be excited for? The team is on the all-new and improved 2023 KTM 450 SX-F. We have the same team as last year, so I’m super excited. Kody and I had a great year last year; we were both inside the top five with Kody winning the championship. Missing a few rounds definitely hurt my overall points, but needless to say, our team was the most dominant singles team there was. To say I’m more than excited for next year is an understatement. I’m definitely working as hard as I can, and I just want to be on top in 2023. I have one goal for next year and that’s to win the championship.”
Chris Fillmore added, “Our plan remains the same for 2023 — to win races and take the championship. We had a very successful 2022 season in terms of race results, which is something for our entire team to be proud of. We expect that the other teams will be working even harder, so it will not come easily for us, but we will take what was learned from the past season and push forward. Kody will now be starting his sophomore season on the team with the confidence and expectation to lead the pack. Max, without the mid-season injury, would have finished second overall in 2022, and I know his focus is set on the top spot. We’re moving to a newest generation KTM 450 SX-F for 2023, and from early tests, the riders feel that this bike is better in every way for Flat Track. So, only time will tell, but we will work hard over the winter break and anxiously await the start of the season in Daytona.”
For more information on the American Flat Track Championship, visit www.americanflattrack.com.