KTM MotoGP programme 'beginning to see the light' after scoring

KTM is "starting to see the light" with its new MotoGP project, Pol Espargaro believes, after scoring its first points in the Argentinian Grand Prix

KTM MotoGP programme 'beginning to see the light' after scoring

The Austrian manufacturer acknowledged points would be hard to come by in its maiden MotoGP season, but capitalised on a crash-laden race at Termas de Rio Hondo to score with both riders as Espargaro and Bradley Smith finished 14th and 15th.

Racing at a track where it has not already tested for the first time, the KTM pair qualified 18th and 19th in the wet, and Espargaro raced with Marc VDS Honda's Tito Rabat and Avintia Ducati's Hector Barbera all the way to the line.

"What is the most important for the guys and the whole team is that this is the first time in history that KTM has taken points in MotoGP," Espargaro said.

"But on the other side, I think we had the opportunity to do a little more.

"We are missing some speed in the straight to overtake the two guys I was fighting with, Barbera and Tito.

"It was a shame because I felt faster, and we were faster.

"We could have been in front of them at the end of the race, but it was impossible to do it.

"We still have some weak points, but on the other side, I congratulate the guys, they are doing a good job.

"We are making steps, for sure we are still far away but we are starting to see the light."

Espargaro and Smith set the 19th- and 21st-fastest laps of the race, 1.318 and 1.583 seconds off the benchmark set by winning Yamaha rider Maverick Vinales.

The KTMs beat Aprilia rookie Sam Lowes home in Qatar, but ran largely on their own in the season opener, and team manager Mike Leitner says actually racing other bikes in Argentina only helps the RC16's development.

"If we do the correct things, we will have more interesting races where we can fight with the other manufacturers and riders," he said.

"This is what was super positive because for the first time Pol was directly fighting with other riders.

"He could see the strong and the weak points of the bike even better and the lap times were acceptable. This was a brand new track for us, and we have to be realistic.

"A lot of tracks we go to now will be new for us. We can only take the positives with us and try to learn, and to improve.

"Then next year when we come back to these places we will have already reached another level in our package."

shares
comments
Argentinian MotoGP clash caused by Petrucci, Dovizioso believes

Previous article

Argentinian MotoGP clash caused by Petrucci, Dovizioso believes

Next article

Marc Marquez felt more pressure in 2016 MotoGP than this year

Marc Marquez felt more pressure in 2016 MotoGP than this year
Load comments
How Ducati’s Aragon MotoGP win harks to its past and its future Plus

How Ducati’s Aragon MotoGP win harks to its past and its future

Duelling against Marc Marquez at the Aragon Grand Prix, Francesco Bagnaia came out on top to secure a long overdue MotoGP victory. As Marquez likened Bagnaia to a Ducati title contender of old, it appears the Italian rider could finally start to fight for wins on a more regular basis

MotoGP
Sep 13, 2021
Why Dovizioso is more of a temporary fix than a Yamaha gamble Plus

Why Dovizioso is more of a temporary fix than a Yamaha gamble

OPINION: The return of Andrea Dovizioso to the grid at Misano will be an interesting subplot to the remainder of the 2021 MotoGP season. But the circumstances that have led to the former Ducati rider ending his sabbatical point to his signing being one more of convenience than a long-term commitment

MotoGP
Sep 8, 2021
Why the British GP was a triumph for MotoGP Plus

Why the British GP was a triumph for MotoGP

OPINION: The 2021 British Grand Prix was a historic day for MotoGP. At the centre of it was Aleix Espargaro on the Aprilia after securing its first podium in the modern MotoGP era. It was something of a full-circle moment that highlighted just how far MotoGP has come in the last decade

MotoGP
Aug 30, 2021
Why Silverstone should be regarded as MotoGP's rightful UK home Plus

Why Silverstone should be regarded as MotoGP's rightful UK home

OPINION: Many of the UK’s MotoGP fans would prefer Donington Park to host the British GP beyond the expiry of Silverstone's current deal. But the circuit's fast, flowing circuit provides the best racing and should be regarded as its best bet for the foreseeable future

MotoGP
Aug 26, 2021
How MotoGP's record smasher is facing his toughest challenge Plus

How MotoGP's record smasher is facing his toughest challenge

The 2020 MotoGP season was an utterly enthralling affair, but few would argue with you if thought it the world championship was a poorer place without its biggest star Marc Marquez. In an exclusive interview, he explains the challenges he's faced in his comeback from injury and what he makes of the current MotoGP landscape

MotoGP
Aug 23, 2021
The other Austria 'shock' with major repercussions in MotoGP Plus

The other Austria 'shock' with major repercussions in MotoGP

The headlines after MotoGP's Austrian GP were naturally dominated by Brad Binder's heroics on slicks in the rain. But although seventh was, on the face of it, a fairly average result in the context of his season, that Fabio Quartararo was in contention for victory before the rain at Yamaha's worst venue should sound alarm bells for his rivals

MotoGP
Aug 17, 2021
Why Aprilia is a good bet for Vinales in MotoGP - but won't fix his big problem Plus

Why Aprilia is a good bet for Vinales in MotoGP - but won't fix his big problem

The prelude to Maverick Vinales' move to Aprilia has been his tortured exit from Yamaha. But the Spanish rider must put allegations of sabotage, suspensions and unwanted personnel changes aside once he embarks upon his new journey, while Aprilia must find a way to get Vinales firing on all cylinders once again

MotoGP
Aug 16, 2021
The rider dilemma facing Petronas SRT for MotoGP 2022 Plus

The rider dilemma facing Petronas SRT for MotoGP 2022

The final pieces of the 2022 rider market have yet to be finalised as Petronas SRT faces several obstacles in replacing the retiring Valentino Rossi and Yamaha factory-bound Franco Morbidelli. SRT’s preferred option has been locked into a KTM deal he doesn’t want, while it’s other target is managed by Rossi himself and wanted at his VR46 team

MotoGP
Aug 10, 2021