On Thursday KTM produced a press release stating "renowned coach Aldon Baker will now work on intensifying and expanding his program with the KTM GROUP factory riders."
We called Aldon to get more info on what this means. Baker's program is built around having four full-time riders, but right now he's only working with three (Ryan Dungey, Jason Anderson, Marvin Musquin). Based on this new agreement with KTM, whenever he chooses a fourth rider, it will be a KTM or Husqvarna rider.
Baker's previous fourth man was Kawasaki's Adam Cianciarulo, who parted ways with Baker earlier this year. Baker did indicate to us that the fourth position would probably best be filled by a 250 rider, as he joked with that "Four 450 riders would be too much. There are only three positions on the podium in the 450 class!" He doesn't have any particular riders in mind for the spot at the moment, though.
It's also likely he'll open his Baker's Factory compound in Florida up as a sort of de facto Florida testing facility ground for all the factory KTM and Husqvarna teams, if needed.
“With Dungey, Musquin and Anderson we rode to no less than five championships in the past three years," said Pit Beirer, KTM's Motorsports Director, in the KTM statement. "Along with the teams in the USA and in Austria, Aldon Baker was an important part of this success and we want to further consolidate this leading position in the future. The factory riders of the KTM Group and riders in our Junior program in the future will exclusively use the possibilities that Aldon Baker offers with his first class ranch and training center in Florida.”
Baker adds: “I am excited and honored to be involved with the KTM and Husqvarna teams. A dream comes true to work with such a high caliber racing organization like the KTM Group. I am eager to continue my work by providing the best possible training and racing facility in the industry. It is my hope that Baker’s Factory and personal training will help the riders and team to reach their goals of winning more podiums and ultimately championships.”
You never know how things will turn out. A few years back Baker was working with a slew of Kawasaki riders, such as Ryan Villopoto, Tyla Rattray, Jake Weimer and Cianciarulo. Now he's locked into the KTM Group (which includes Husqvarna) program. Now we'll have to see who becomes lucky Baker's Factory client number four!