The KTM Factory Racing Team this week wrapped up its final tests with the KTM RC16 MotoGP bike at the Valencia Circuit in Spain ahead of its wild card entry into the final round the 2016 World Championship. Regular test rider Mika Kallio (FIN) and Randy De Puniet (FRA) rode the bike for the 12th development test this year. The upcoming race in Valencia will be the team’s first opportunity to be on the circuit and to compete under real race conditions.
The team started three days of tests on Wednesday with bright sunshine and 20 degrees Celsius. The session was slightly held up when light rain fell during the afternoon and Randy de Puniet had a harmless crash. Conditions changed constantly on the second day and the team had to contend with both a wet and dry track, and rather cooler temperatures. The sun came out again on Friday to allow them to wrap up a productive final test with what was the KTM RC16’s 35th test day on a racing circuit.
Mike Leitner (Vice President Onroad): “In the one year we have noticeably developed and I believe this was only possible because of the enormous amount of energy and the maximum effort by all the team. We have to see the wildcard start in the last Grand Prix as another test. It will be yet another new situation where we can improve our times under different conditions. It would be ideal if we can finish the race without problems and get the best possible performance. However it will be the first Grand Prix for the KTM RC16 project where the other teams have already had racing experience all season long.”
Sebastian Risse (Technical Director Onroad): “When you look back one year it’s good to see how we’ve been able to keep developing since we tested here for the first time. I think our three days here have shown that the package works well. As regards to speed, for that we have to get to know competition even better. From a technical perspective we will have a shared focus for the four weeks between now and the race. This is because immediately after we have our first tests with our MotoGP riders for next season, and for this we need a lot of parts. On the other hand, we naturally want to build the best possible bike for Mika by drawing on the experience we have, and to make sure we’re able to provide the necessary spare parts so we can go to Valencia with a clear conscience.”
Mika Kallio (Test Rider MotoGP): “Everyone in the team can really be proud about the work this year but in motorsport we never really reach the finish. Luckily we can see that there are still many possibilities for improvements. I would say our level is good. With Ducati here we had a good reference again but the race will show us where we really are. Naturally I’ll be pushing even more with the fans at the circuit and riding with all our competition but our goal must be to see the finish line. Perhaps we could even pick up one or other point, and when everything goes perfectly maybe even a bit more is possible. Our own demands are extremely high and so are the expectations from outside but we have to be realistic, and we have to continue to concentrate on our work.”
Randy de Puniet (Test Rider MotoGP): “It was a good year for me even if I wasn’t able to be on the bike at all twelve tests. There were noticeable improvements every time I rode it, also here in the final test. I think we’ve been able to again prepare for Mika’s race, find new things and also sort out a lot of others, but now its time to race. It’ll be exciting to see what is possible after only a year of development work. I’ll be there and have my fingers crossed and naturally I wish the whole team all the best, and above all, success.”
On Sunday November 13, 2016, just one year from the rollout, the KTM Factory Racing Team will compete in Valencia with Mika Kallio on KTM RC16 against the competition and in race conditions. Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro, the two factory riders for 2017 will put in their first laps on the KTM MotoGP bike in the IRTA Test that immediately follows. There will then be three days of tests at Jerez the week after.