Onboard Video: KTM RC390 Racebike Sets Lightweight Twins Lap Record at Sonoma Raceway

Wicking it up in Wine Country with our RC390 project bike!

For most of the world, Sonoma, CA, is known for one thing: wine. For motorcyclists, however, the area is equally famous for the eponymous raceway that sits at the southern end of this fertile grape-growing region.

Draped onto a hillside within sight of the San Pablo Bay, Sonoma Raceway is as technical as a string-and-ring puzzle. Corner speed, rhythm, and precision are more critical here than horsepower, which is one of the reasons the circuit is a favorite for racers on bikes like the Kawasaki Ninja 300, Yamaha R3, and KTM RC390.

That last machine is the small-bore sportbike that Senior Road Test Editor Ari Henning took on as his long-term testbike last summer, and it's been his mission to make the little RC live up to KTM's "Ready to Race" slogan. After months of development, the KTM has become a quite the track tool.

Mivv exhaust for the KTM RC390
The bulk of the RC’s development has been focused on the suspension and getting the bike to handle properly. Besides a new head gasket the engine is stock, though a Power Commander V was installed to control fueling and ignition timing and the 373cc single is exhaling through a lightweight Mivv exhaust.©Motorcyclist

In this onboard video from an American Federation of Motorcyclists race at Sonoma Raceway, Ari takes the RC390 from a fourth-row start to the front of the pack—and sets a new track record for the Ligthweight Twins class in the process.

Having a touch of déjà vu? This isn't the first time a long-term testbike has circulated a track faster than its competitors. A while back we posted a similar onboard video, only that time Henning was turning a hot lap on a Honda CBR300R at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway.

To learn more about how our long-term KTM RC390 was transformed form a daily commuter into a championship-winning racebike, check out the Doin' Time section of the website.