Taming a beast is the task of KTM’s MotoGP riders.
Most in the paddock agree that the creature of the Austrian manufacturer is the most beautiful and aggressive-looking bike on the MotoGP grid. However at the moment is not as fast as it is beautiful. Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith finished at +33.6 and +39.7 seconds behind Qatar MotoGP winner Maverick Vinales.
Despite the result, the atmosphere in the KTM garage was positive and confident after the race. Everybody in the team knows that it is probably only a question of time. KTM has won on all the disciplines they have taken part in. MotoGP is much more difficult, but this means that they will do an extra effort.
But what are the main issues of the KTM MotoGP machine? We asked the former Moto2 world champion and current KTM factory rider Pol Espargaro. He joined KTM after having gained experience in the Yamaha Tech3 Team , so he could make a comparison with the M1 he rode until November 2016.”
“It’s much easier to ride a KTM than a Yamaha. The only problem is that we are slow”, said the Spaniard frankly.
“With the KTM, the more you push, the faster you go. On the contrary, the smoother you are with the M1 the faster you go. What motivates me a lot is that with KTM the rider can make the difference, while riding a Yamaha is like going on a rail.”
He continues: “I’m not worried because it’s a young project and we are here to develop the bike, but of course we look at the standing. The KTM is unique, starting from the chassis, then there is the engine, that is also so different. It looks like our bike is working more in high revs, while Yamaha works more in low rpm, so they can take profit of the grip in the corner entry because they stress less the tyres. It is almost impossible to do the same line every lap; you need to adapt to the bike and follow its game, so in this way it is mentally demanding.”