KTM making progress with electronic settings and engine mapping at Qatar MotoGP Test

Following the tropical conditions at the Malaysian circuit of Sepang and the MotoGP IRTA tests at the scenic Australian circuit at Phillip Island, Team Red Bull KTM last weekend encountered the desert conditions in Qatar for the final official three-dayMotoGP  test.

The first day offered typical conditions for this circuit with air and track temperatures around 30 degrees Celsius, but riders had to deal with a strong wind and very difficult grip conditions with dust from the desert on the surface. As a result, Pol Espargaro had two harmless crashes after the first test day began at around 1600 and shortly before the finish at 2200 that night.

Pol Espargaro
Pol Espargaro

Day two was overcast, and even a few raindrops tended to put the brakes on the program for riders and teams, and this resulted in Bradley Smith also having a small crash. All three riders we able to consistently improve their lap times on Sunday, the final test day, and also register their best lap times of the three-day session.

In addition to testing various engine and chassis configurations, the team concentrated on the further development of various electronics strategies, and on setting up the bike for the first race. Espargaro also put in a successful complete race distance on the KTM RC16 at the end of the test.

Bradley Smith
Bradley Smith

Mike Leitner (Team Manager KTM MotoGP)

“In general, the tests were good for us. Otherwise, it would have been difficult to come to this very special track with a new bike. Now we have to learn what we can improve. We had a full test program because there were many things we wanted to try before the start of the season. This doesn’t always look good on the time sheets but it was very necessary for us to go through the process with all the riders, and we’re quite happy. The riders and the team worked hard, and everyone gave the maximum, and that’s the most important thing. We know we have to improve certain things on the bike but now let’s start racing.”

Pol Espargaro
Pol Espargaro

Bradley Smith

“We were just clarifying the parts and chassis that we’re going to race with, and I’m pleased with the improvements again today. I think we were able to improve another 2.5 seconds over the three days and the track conditions were a bit better today. I found my performance on the medium tyre was better, and I think that might be a race option for us. In general, we were working with the mapping and the electronics, and we made some good progress, especially in the electronics. We now have something that is a lot more consistent and good over the race distance with all tires, so everybody did a really good job. Looking at the lap times, we have to find another half a second. We’re close to the two guys in front but then there’s a gap to the next group, and that’s where we want to be if we want to fight for points.”

Bradley Smith
Bradley Smith

Pol Espargaro

“We were testing a lot of new parts, and I think this is probably the most difficult circuit for us. I believe here we are a bit further away from where we want to be, but we just focused on making long runs with used tyres, and to analyse what was happening with the bike. We have good ideas but for sure the lap times could be better. Right now we want to focus more on the race. We’re still missing some acceleration and compared with the other factory bikes still something in the corners. We’re okay with the brakes, but we lose some time with the traction and the electronics.”

Pol Espargaro
Pol Espargaro

Mika Kallio

We had a lot of things on our plan, and we had to concentrate on setting up the bike for the first race. Basically, my job was to try to help the others. Maybe this was not the best track for our bike at the moment, but that’s why we had so many things on the schedule. We also had an unlucky tire situation not being able use the specs what all the other riders on track got. I concentrated more on the chassis, and the team worked on getting better handing in the corners and a less aggressive engine, and this was positive for the race team.”

Mika Kallio
Mika Kallio

Sebastian Risse (Technical Director MotoGP)

“This was another new track for us, and one I think didn’t suit us as well as the previous two (Sepang and Phillip Island). On the one hand, we had all the final preparations before the first race, and on the other, we just had to adapt to the track and the variable conditions here. We didn’t have an easy time here, but there were still a lot of positives. We learned a lot. We could see clear progress so we can take some more steps and approach the first race weekend successfully.”

Bradley Smith
Bradley Smith

The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team and riders now return home, but all material and motorcycles remain in Qatar ready for the first race of the season, the night race on March 26. Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira will also be competing on the new KTM Moto2 race bike in the middle category and Bo Bendsneyder and Niccolo Antonelli race in the Moto3 class for Red Bull Ajo KTM. Binder won the Moto3 world title on the KTM RC250 GP for Red Bull KTM Ajo last season, and Bendsneyder and Antonelli will be out to repeat that success.

Pol Espargaro
Pol Espargaro

MotoGP 2017 Official Qatar Test – Combined Standings Day 1-2-3

  1. MAVERICK VIÑALES SPA MOVISTAR YAMAHA MOTOGP 1’54.330
  2. ANDREA DOVIZIOSO ITA DUCATI TEAM 1’54.401
  3. DANI PEDROSA SPA REPSOL HONDA TEAM 1’54.469
  4. JORGE LORENZO SPA DUCATI TEAM 1’54.519
  5. ALVARO BAUTISTA SPA PULL & BEAR ASPAR TEAM 1’54.714
  6. VALENTINO ROSSI ITA MOVISTAR YAMAHA MOTOGP 1’54.732
  7. SCOTT REDDING GBR OCTO PRAMAC YAKHNICH 1’54.750
  8. JONAS FOLGER GER MONSTER YAMAHA TECH3 1’54.807
  9. CAL CRUTCHLOW GBR LCR HONDA 1’54.821
  10. JOHANN ZARCO FRA MONSTER YAMAHA TECH3 1’54.900
  11. MARC MARQUEZ SPA REPSOL HONDA TEAM 1’54.990
  12. ALEIX ESPARGARÒ SPA APRILIA RACING TEAM GRESINI 1’55.121
  13. ANDREA IANNONE ITA TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR 1’55.284
  14. KAREL ABRAHAM CZE PULL & BEAR ASPAR TEAM 1’55.333
  15. ALEX RINS SPA TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR 1’55.362
  16. JACK MILLER AUS TEAM EG 0,0 MARC VDS 1’55.455
  17. LORIS BAZ FRA AVINTIA RACING 1’55.539
  18. DANILO PETRUCCI ITA OCTO PRAMAC YAKHNICH 1’55.556
  19. SAM LOWES GBR APRILIA RACING TEAM GRESINI 1’56.167
  20. TITO RABAT SPA TEAM EG 0,0 MARC VDS 1’56.214
  21. BRADLEY SMITH GBR RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING 1’56.351
  22. POL ESPARGARÒ SPA RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING 1’56.471
  23. MIKA KALLIO FIN RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING 1’56.891