A short time after the official presentation of the KTM RC16 Project at the Austrian brand’s Home GP at the Red Bull Ring, KTM’s MotoGP Factory Racing Team returned to the Misano circuit in Italy for another round of tests. The latest is the tenth on the company’s development program since the official roll out of the project at the end of October 2015. The KTM RC16 is set to join the premiere class of road racing in 2017.
The team was last at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli at the beginning of May when the weather was for the first time ideal in 2016 after previous tests at the beginning of the year were hampered by bad weather. This time the circuit on the Adriatic coast near Rimini showed again its sunny side for all three test-days from Monday to Wednesday. Alongside the assembled competition at the circuit, test riders Karel Abraham and Alex Hofmann joined Mika Kallio and the development team to continue working on the KTM RC16 MotoGP bike under near perfect track conditions.
Mike Leitner (Vice President Onroad): “The test was again very helpful, also when we experienced not only positive things. This is what continues to bring us forward. The public is expecting already a lot from us after the latest developments, but we mustn’t forget that it’s still less than a year since the official roll out last October. We must continue to do our homework as best we can, because only this will bring us to a level were we can be on the start in Doha in 2017. That is where this project’s journey really is going to start and we continue to have very intensive work between now and then. But everyone on the team, right up to the factory engineers, remains realistic and knows what has to be done. Later have been at all of the tests collecting extremely valuable input to continually providing further development steps.”
Sebastian Risse (Technical Director Onroad): “Compared to previous tests, this time we went deep into the hardware again. We had enough time to prepare many things that experience has shown us we have wanted to try for quite a while now. When it came to the bike, almost everything was new here, starting with the frame and the complete fairing, including the aerodynamics, right up to the ergonomics and the vehicle packaging. At the end of the three days all of the biggest components had showed their potential, and of course we’re very happy about this. Now we have to put it altogether and check it also at another circuit. The basis will again be a lot better when we can confirm this on the very different track layout next week in Aragon. Then it will all come down to making maximum preparations for the final bike for the wild card entry in Valencia before our two factory riders take their place on the RC16 for 2017.”
Mika Kallio (Test Rider MotoGP): “We had an extremely good start to the test doing our for race simulation, but after my high speed crash in the middle of the second day unfortunately one or other small problem held us up. Nevertheless that is part of all this, and once again everyone learns a lot from it. Whenever we have to test I will naturally bring the bike to its limit because that’s the only way we can continue to improve. Looking at the lap times we were able to confirm the performance from Spielberg on a totally different circuit and compared to when we were here before, we even improved by about two seconds. When it comes to the speed I even think we are a bit closer than our last comparison with the competition. The completely new fairing with the new tank and rear frame didn’t make such a big difference for me here, but I think we will get more clues when we go to the next test in Aragon, where there are longer straights. When we are there, we’ll also try to test and confirm many things from here.”
Karel Abraham (Test Rider MotoGP): “Tom (Luethi) wasn’t able to be here so naturally I didn’t find out about my luck to be here until quite late. I only arrived in Italy on Monday night. Things got moving quickly on Tuesday morning and we tried many things on each day, different setups and various things regarding the electronics. The test was more exhausting for me than my last one in Brno, but that is probably because we’re in the summer break for the Superbike World Championship and I haven’t been on a racing bike for a while. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed it, and I think we made another step forward because I did my best lap in the final exit, which is remarkable given the intensive program.”
Alex Hofmann (Test Rider MotoGP): “That was my first real test day with the RC16. We were able to ride the whole day long and put in 92 laps in perfect conditions even though I had the feeling not a lot was happening, which is a good sign. Naturally I first had to really get into the rhythm but the bike helps you a lot with this and you want to attack hard immediately. It seems very good after all the changes and I continue to be enormously impressed at the amount of work by the whole troop. We’re now at a level where we can confidently say that the wild card comes at just the right time. Mika is more and more into it, and we mustn’t forget that after this test, there are still another three before Valencia. From the motorcycle technical side, this was certainly my top day in 2016.”
The intensive development work for the KTM MotoGP Factory Racing Team immediately continues next week when there will be another three-day test, this time at Motorland Aragón near Alcañiz in Spain.