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Kove Moto: “The journey to Dakar will not cease, and the footsteps of WorldSBK will continue”

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Credit: Horacio Cabilla/ASO

Although Zhang Xue has stepped down as CEO of Kove Moto, the company will press on with his blueprint of competing in the Dakar Rally and Supersport 300 World Championship.

Zhang founded Kove in 2017 but submitted his resignation last Friday due to differences in vision with other company executives, and intends to start another motorcycle business. Nonetheless, he is still an owner in Kove.

“It is with regret that we inform you of Mr. Zhang Xue’s resignation from the position of General Manager, officially departing from Kove as of February 28th,” begins a letter from owner Tibet New Summit Motorcycle Co.

“In 2017, the Kove project was officially launched. Together with a team of six entrepreneurial individuals, including Mr. Zhang Xue, we faced challenges and made strides forward. Over these 2,500 days and nights, we collectively achieved the success that defines Kove today.

“Mr. Zhang Xue has decided to temporarily step away from the Kove management team to pursue his dreams. However, he remains a member of the Kove shareholder team, and we will continue to support Mr. Zhang’s decisions.

“In the future, Kove will continue to uphold the philosophy of ‘Focus on Performance’ in vehicle manufacturing. The products and distribution system of Kove will remain unchanged, and we will consistently pursue technological innovation and breakthroughs. We aim to transform racing technology into mass production, bringing forth more and better products and service for our consumers.

“The journey to Dakar will not cease, and the footsteps of WorldSBK will continue.”

In 2023, Kove entered the Dakar Rally with three bikes, all of whom completed the race. It was a successful début in the first phase of Zhang’s five-year plan, which he hoped to follow with a top twenty in 2024, a top ten in 2025, a podium in 2026, and victory in 2027. While the 2024 stage did not go as hoped as the highest finishing Kove was thirty-fifth in Rally2, the company hopes to maintain the blueprint for future editions.

On the pavement racing side, Kove raced in the Supersport 300 World Championship, the production counterpart to the Superbike World Championship, for the first time in 2023. Marc García scored a best finish of eighth twice, including in his maiden start with the marque at Imola. García and Julio Garcia González will represent Kove for the 2024 season.

As a former motocross and enduro racer, Zhang invested much of Kove’s racing endeavours into the World Rally-Raid Championship programme. At the 2024 Dakar Rally, Kove joined the W2RC’s premier RallyGP category with Mason Klein in the new Kove 450 Rally EX. The championship’s Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, which began just days before Zhang’s resignation, saw a pair of independent Kove bikes take part headlined by Abdulla Lanjawi, who finished fifth in Rally2.

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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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