After less than a week’s pause since the KTM MotoGP Factory Racing Team conducted tests in Brno, the team moved straight to the south of Spain to continue their development work. In contrast to the earlier unlucky conditions during three days of tests in Jerez in February, it was almost tropical weather that awaited the two main test riders Mika Kallio (FIN) and Randy de Puniet (FRA). This was the sixth test with Kallio, with de Puniet joining him this time on the second KTM RC16.
On Thursday and Friday the air and track temperatures were a constant 30 and 50 degrees Celsius and with a clear blue sky. This allowed the team to confirm last week’s development steps on a different circuit and with an additional rider, but it also permitted the testing of material under extreme conditions for durability and performance.
Mike Leitner (Vice President Onroad): “The team and riders came directly from Brno and were also very motivated here. It has been a while since Randy (de Puniet) sat on the motorcycle, but it was very important for us that he also noticed a clear improvement. That showed us that with Mika Kallio we have an extremely good test rider. In practical terms, because of the very hot conditions, we have saved ourselves a test in Malaysia, and this is positive for our development progress.”
Sebastian Risse (Technical Director Onroad): “Our focus here was mainly on being able to confirm the development steps we made in Brno. However, the conditions, especially on day one allowed us to shed light on how our material would work under extreme conditions, and we had no big problems. We also had tires from Michelin for the first time, which are very similar to those used in the Grand Prix on this circuit. Because of this we were able to work on the setup in different ways, and we saw a significant improvement in laps times compared to those from the earlier tests in spring.”
Mika Kallio (Test Rider MotoGP): “The test days last week in Brno and now here in Jerez were very productive for the team. As rider I am very happy about the advancements that we’ve worked on together. The bike behaves on the track more and more as I would like it to do. It wasn’t so easy for us to take big steps in the past couple of months and that makes it all the more important that the lap times are now coming. This is also good for the team’s motivation. I think we have made the decisive further development just at the right time, before we shortly test ourselves against the competition.”
Randy de Puniet (Test Rider MotoGP): “It’s been some time since I put in laps on the bike at the first test in Brno at the end of April. The team has done excellent work and the motorcycle is very much improved – the engine, chassis, electronics – these have all been more developed. We were also able to make further improvements here, and put in good lap times. For me it was the best test so far. I enjoyed both days on the bike and I’m ready for Aragon, where I will probably ride next.”
The KTM MotoGP Factory Racing Team is now carrying out intensive development on the KTM RC16 in the new motorsport building in Munderfing (Austria) before tests continue in Italy in two week’s time on a new circuit and with another new test rider.