Red Bull KTM Factory Racing completed a demanding week at the Circuito de Jerez with a productive test session on Monday and Tuesday directly after the Gran Premio Red Bull de España where the KTM RC16 posted its first top ten finish of the 2018 MotoGP season.
In warm and pleasant conditions in the wake of the fourth round of nineteen in Southern Spain, the test crew helmed by Mika Kallio were joined by Grand Prix riders Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith as the trio completed yet more laps around the short and narrow layout.
Both Espargaro and Smith tried the updated version of the KTM RC16 that Kallio used to claim tenth position in the 25-lap race on Sunday. The Fin continued his work on evolving the future incarnation of the MotoGP machine as well as assisting the Grand Prix squad with a view towards the Grand Prix de France at Le Mans on May 19-20.
Espargaro: “It has been a good week. Even if the result was not that great in the race we have worked hard and have kept positive. After the two day test I am quite impressed and happy by the improvements coming for the future. The best is yet to come but we are also improving with our current racebike and we tried a lot of stuff and recorded a lot of info. I’m happy with it. We keep learning about this bike; we are working like crazy and one day I am sure we’ll be in the top ten regularly.”
Smith: “We made some definite progress during the GP in a few areas and that helped towards the better result. The test was then about trying to build on that and my weaker areas. We worked through a lot of different parts like chassis and swingingarm to the new development bike for the future and to give some input on suspension and ideas to help gain an advantage. We have a good understanding of our situation after riding three bikes. We have everything very clear and that we are not missing anything – even if that means mixing some of the three. I go to Le Mans happy with our progress. It is a track with some very hard braking points and in cold conditions it is important to warm-up the tyre. We’ve been working a bit on that today. We finish our work here happy and in better shape for the French GP.”
Kallio: “We’re satisfied; both with the race weekend and the way the whole team was able to work and from our side to adjust to a more hectic timetable. Everything went well: no mistakes and my riding was on a good level. For the two-day test we wanted to look at different swingarms and despite some difficulties we were able to make enough laps to work out the direction we want to follow to create more mechanical grip. We had a couple of requests to test for the race team, so we worked through those and found a better setting than the one used at the weekend. It has been a hard five days of riding and hard work for the mechanics also. So we’ll have a short break and continue again in Barcelona. We not only have to think about the race weekend but also the future and the bike for next season.”
Sebastian Risse (Technical Director): “A lot of things piled-up – a lot of parts and ideas – that we could not go through the overseas races and even some things left over from pre-season tests. We also had some doubts and decisions to make so this test was important. We had good conditions and we’re very pleased with the results. Not only was the pace good but we made a step forward in many areas and now we need to prove that on other racetracks and in other circumstances. We discovered some answers that we didn’t find on the race weekend at Jerez, so it was already quite positive in this aspect. We are also happy regarding some longer-term ideas that we confirmed with the GP riders. Now we are looking forward to the next race.”
Credit: KTM Racing Newsletter, 9th May 2018