THIS is the first sight of KTM's new RC390 - the fully-faired offspring of the 390 Duke which is set to be launched in road-going form later this year.
KTM boss Stefan Pierer said: "We developed a pure GP racing machine for the Moto3 World Championship. In contrast, the RC 390 Cup is based on a series model project. Both of these two projects were given the highest priority because the development of lower displacement, high quality street bikes are among our core activities. The new KTM RC 390, which will be available for sale in 2014 will meet a big demand for affordable, quality sport bikes for the lower displacement class."
Powered by the Duke's 375cc single, which makes 43bhp at 9500rpm, the bike also shares its frame, brakes, swingarm and forks - with WP supplying the suspension at both ends. But low clip-ons, rearsets and a full, RC8-style fairing mean this has the potential to be a sort of spiritual successor to machines like the RGV250 and KR-1S; an entry-level sports bike that has the sort of low weight and nimble handling to give much more expensive and powerful machines a run for their money as soon as a few bends appear in the road.
OK, a four-stroke single might not have the same race-bred appeal as a two-stroke twin, but the link between this bike and KTM's Moto3 racer is sure to be pushed to help solve that problem. As it's likely to just slip into the new "A2" licence class - although, like the Duke 390, it may need a couple of bhp knocked off via a different injection map to sneak under the A2 power-to-weight limit - the KTM promises to be the sportiest machine that many new riders will be able to aspire to.
Speaking of weight, the new RC will be far lighter than its rivals. The Duke 390 is just 139kg, and the fairing isn't likely to add more than a handful of kg to that. Its 850mm seat height out to make it usable for new and shorter riders too.
Initially, the bike was even expected to be called the 'Moto3' - that was the codename it was developed under and that the project was originally called when it was announced to dealers. KTM even gained a trademark on the name, but now it seems that the RC390 tag is more likely to be used for the road-going version as well as the race bike presented here.
Given that the Duke 390, complete with ABS, will set you back 4500 pounds in the UK, there's hope that the RC390 will come in at or around 5k. That would put it directly up against the likes of Honda's CBR500R (47bhp, 180kg, 4950 pounds with ABS as standard) and Kawasaki's Ninja 300 (39bhp, 172kg,5199 pounds with ABS, 4799 pounds without).