bollocks to thecr&p about 450's
Indeed bollocks to all the cr%p about unreliable 450's, Yamaha's , Honda's have finished the Dakar with minimal maintanance, past and present. I personally know of a Honda 450x which has done the Oriental and the Dakar and only a piston change in between and finished the Dakar in top 30 position. Only oil changes along the way.
A sleeved down 690 will be way too heavy. I know a guy here in Dubai who has been offered a chance to race a (standard) 690 for free and he declined in favour of a 530.
Finally when everyone is on 450's we will see people with a conservative approach performing extremely well when other with highly strung engines fail. Yes the richer the team the more maintance can be done, but a high performance engine can die on any part of the stage, they usually dont die in the bivouac.
KTM will have 450 specials (690 like body kit, current 450 engine with oil cooler, lower comp., new frame, etc.). guess work.
PS the question about the 700cc LC4 engine, that is an engine made for the factory teams when they ran the old 660.
PS the 450 factory bikes in 2005 were not based on a 660 frame.