Three weeks after tests at Spain’s Aragon circuit the KTM MotoGP Factory Racing Team continued their preparation for 2017 at the Automotodrom Brno. It was the third time this year that the KTM RC16 test team went to the Czech circuit where they completed a successful eleventh round of testing with regular test rider Mika Kallio (FIN) and local rider Karel Abraham (CZE).
The Grand Prix Czech circuit, while not as cold as at the first test earlier this year, still presented autumn-like conditions and overnight rain especially on Tuesday, delayed Wednesday’s start. Luckily the weather cleared during the day, and late summer temperatures produced appropriate track temperatures and conditions likely to be much the same during the next three trips to Valencia.
Mike Leitner (Vice President Onroad): “A very positive aspect of the last three tests is that we’ve had very different conditions each time in which we’ve been able to complete the full race distance on each of these circuits. At the beginning of the year, we were very pleased to have the circuit to ourselves and to carry out our work undisturbed. But since the test in Spielberg we’ve increasingly wished for more and more competition on the track, like we had also at Misano right after, for example. At the last test in Aragon and also here in Brno, where there was a question mark about the conditions and grip, having competition can be very positive and deliver more points of reference. Luckily the next tests will be together with other MotoGP teams before our wild card entry with Mika Kallio, a test in real race conditions.”
Sebastian Risse (Technical Director Onroad): “We’ve developed and tested many things this year, and there’s no shortage of ideas coming from the team and the factory. Meanwhile, when we race with or against others, it is easier to notice what we still have to do and in which areas we see the biggest potential. Now we’re waiting for tests on some final parts, and which – in inverted commas – are now ready for serial production. Also, the bike is being made user-friendlier for the rider and the mechanics, especially in the area of the electronics and sensors fitted for test purposes. But these are things that won’t reflect much on the lap times. Externally the bike won’t change very much between now and Valencia. We expect the next changes to come after Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith are allowed to ride the bike for the first time at the IRTA test immediately after the end of the season.”
Mika Kallio (Test Rider MotoGP): “At the moment it’s quite difficult to gauge our level. Now we need some other riders around us to be able to compare where we stand. We tried a lot of things here, and we’ve decided to mainly concentrate on the bike set-up for the next test in Valencia. That will be interesting because it will show us how we can improve on that way. Recently we haven’t had any significant technical problems, which is very positive for three race simulations. I feel we’ll continue to improve step by step. We still have a long way to go, and it will need one or other big step. But there is very good cooperation and motivation in the team, and we have a lot of ideas that will hopefully help us in the development process.”
Karel Abraham (Test Rider MotoGP): “I live almost next to the circuit, but the conditions were difficult to predict because I’m not regularly on a MotoGP bike here, but for sure they definitely weren’t ideal. We were able to work on a lot of things on the first day, although we lost some time this morning after a harmless crash when the conditions would have been at their best. In my last run, I rode until the tank was empty, but there was a technical reason for that. I hope I contributed to the development of the RC16 in my three tests. I enjoyed my time on the bike and in the team very much. Again a big thank you to KTM and the entire troupe for offering me the possibility, and for the good cooperation during our time on the circuit.”
There is another three-day test in Valencia in three week’s time for the KTM Factory Racing Team before the wild card entry in the final MotoGP race of the season in mid-November. The IRTA test immediately follows the last round.