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MotoGP Sepang February testing

KTM adopts new testing approach to fix “not ready” 2022 MotoGP bike

MotoGP race winner Miguel Oliveira says the potential of the 2022 KTM is good, but the bike is “not ready” yet as the Austrian marque changes approach to its testing.

Miguel Oliveira, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Oliveira and team-mate Brad Binder scored a victory apiece in 2021, but found the season largely difficult as their RC16 MotoGP bike didn’t evolve as much as some of KTM’s competitors.

KTM made a low-key start to the 2022 season on the opening day of testing in Malaysia, with Tech3 rookie Raul Fernandez the marque's leading representative in 13th ahead of Binder and 16th-placed Oliveira.

Both Binder and Oliveira also had crashes on Saturday at Sepang, but the latter was generally pleased with the day even if he doesn’t think the new KTM is ready yet.

“The feeling is nice, it could have been a little bit better because the new bike has a lot of potential but it’s still not completely ready,” Oliveira said.

“And I feel we still have some speed and feeling to find. But overall, it was ok, I did a good amount of laps, good laps.

“We started the day with a few issues, but were able to sort them quickly.

“It was not the best strategy to find a good lap at the end, because of the tyre choices. But I’m looking to do good tomorrow and hoping to get out [of] Sepang with at least the same lap time reference as we left in 2020.”

PLUS: What to watch for as MotoGP pre-season testing begins

Last year was the first time KTM competed in MotoGP as a non-concession manufacturer, and therefore was unable to carry out an in-season testing programme with its race riders.

Often KTM in official tests and at race weekends would bring mountains of items to try, but Binder revealed on Saturday that the marque has now changed its approach.

Brad Binder, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Brad Binder, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“I think last year we threw a lot of very different things in and we didn’t really find something that was notably better,” the South African said.

“So, I think the guys came with a bit of a different approach to this test. We’re focusing on two or three key elements and trying to improve those.

“We don’t need a tonne of time, but we need a little bit. So, if we could find maybe 0.3s, 0.4s, it would go a long way.

“We’re focusing on trying to improve some small things that will have a big benefit at the end of the day.”

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Oliveira says KTM’s new approach was necessary after its 2022 project was held up midway through last year, due to its original prototype being the wrong “philosophy”.

“The project of the new bike got held up in about June,” Oliveira said.

“We had a new bike which was not the right philosophy. At the end of the championship it’s hard to make new parts without a direction.

“Of course we could have a whole lot of boxes with new parts in it, but it doesn’t mean they are better. We could just be trying and shooting in every direction.

“And we don’t want to do that, we want to have a similar bike to '21 because we feel with small adjustments both in parts and settings we can arrive to a better performance.

“And this is what we did. It might appear to the naked eye that the changes are not very big, but the small changes we are doing make us believe we have more potential to have a better bike this season.”

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