KTM's engine is MotoGP bike's strongest attribute, says Mika Kallio

KTM test rider Mika Kallio believes the Austrian manufacturer's engine is the strongest part of the package it is developing to enter MotoGP in 2017

KTM's engine is MotoGP bike's strongest attribute, says Mika Kallio

The former Ducati MotoGP rider and Moto2 race winner has been KTM's primary test rider since its RC16 prototype turned its first laps late last year.

He will also represent KTM in the Valencia season finale when he races as a wildcard, before Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro join the factory outfit next year.

KTM was buoyed that Kallio was within two seconds of the pace in July's Red Bull Ring MotoGP test, and the Finn believes its V4 engine is its strong suit.

"I think the best point we have been discussing many times is the engine," Kallio said.

"It's really powerful, nice to ride, the power delivery is really good. That's on a good level.

"The first time when I tested the bike immediately the base was there, and the base is good and the laptime was getting better.

"Of course there were a lot of things we needed to improve during testing and step by step we made a better bike.

"Finally a few weeks ago we demonstrated that we are on a good way and on a good level."

KTM launches its 2017 MotoGP livery

The engine is all new, but its chief designer Kurt Trieb says it has taken learnings to "avoid any mistakes we made back in 2005", when KTM was involved with Kenny Roberts' team with a 990cc powerplant for the first half of the campaign.

It will be paired with a tubular steel frame, a KTM characteristic but last seen in MotoGP with Ducati in 2008, with manufacturers favouring aluminium chassis since.

KTM has four more tests planned with a new-specification bike before appearing at Valencia, and Kallio says that incremental improvements rather than solving major weaknesses is the focus.

"Everywhere is where we need to improve," he said.

"We don't have any really weak points, but all of the things we need to improve everywhere.

"We need to improve a little bit the feeling of riding in the corners and maybe we are missing something on the exit side.

"This is normal, still the project is really new. Step by step, everything is getting closer to the package it will be."

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