KTM's MotoGP 2017 developments impress newcomer Bradley Smith

KTM's rate of development and success with new items has impressed MotoGP recruit Bradley Smith

KTM's MotoGP 2017 developments impress newcomer Bradley Smith

The Austrian manufacturer will start its first full MotoGP campaign in Qatar next month, with Smith and former Tech3 Yamaha team-mate Pol Espargaro.

After a testing programme led by Mika Kallio in 2016, and a wildcard race start for the Finnish rider in the Valencia finale, Smith and Espargaro started testing KTM's RC16 last November.

Smith completed two tests and resumed work at Sepang this week, including trying two new steel chassis aimed at improving rear grip.

Happy with what was the designated 2017 chassis and set to stick with it for the next test at Phillip Island, Smith said KTM's development push was proving successful.

"We had different parts to throw at it today, let's say we tried 10 parts and nine of them were better," he said on Wednesday.

"We don't always have those, and there will be times when it doesn't make a difference, or they don't make the improvements that we were looking for.

"But so far, clearly, the information that Pol and I are giving and the way the guys are interpreting that is working hand-in-hand and making us faster. Long may that continue.

"I felt that we made some clear improvements with the bike and myself and Pol worked in a similar direction today.

"With the same bike we're doing a similar lap time, which obviously helps with development.

"There are things we need to improve, but there are other things I've seen compared to other riders and other manufacturers that we're actually really strong at.

"I think we can take a lot of positives from the work that we've done, to only be 1.9 seconds off the fastest guy here, at Sepang - one of the longest tracks and our first test of 2017 - I think KTM's done a great job."

Smith and Espargaro finished the three days at Sepang 21st and 22nd in the order, with identical times of 2m01.338s set on the last and first days respectively.

The Briton said a straightline deficit at Sepang was an area KTM is already addressing.

"The long straights here are hindering us a little bit, so from an engine point of view, it's something that we need to continue to work on," he said.

"Being out there doing laps is critical, so we can turn up the speed when we need to. And it is free lap time.

"At the moment, working on straightline speed is not as important as working on the chassis, and with the chassis so far I'm really impressed with what we've done.

"I know we've got some stuff in our back pocket - when the right time and everything is clear to do so, we'll introduce it."

shares
comments
Jorge Lorenzo happier after initial Ducati MotoGP test pace 'shock'
Previous article

Jorge Lorenzo happier after initial Ducati MotoGP test pace 'shock'

Next article

Yamaha MotoGP recruit Vinales looks stronger than Rossi - Marquez

Yamaha MotoGP recruit Vinales looks stronger than Rossi - Marquez
The signs Quartararo’s 2022 MotoGP title is slipping away from him Plus

The signs Quartararo’s 2022 MotoGP title is slipping away from him

Prior to the summer break, the 2022 MotoGP title looked like it was Fabio Quartararo’s to lose. But a crash at Assen and the consequential penalty he had to serve last weekend at Silverstone stopped him from capitalising on a main rival’s injury woes, while a resurgence from another, plus the rise of a former team-mate, look set to conspire against the Yamaha rider

MotoGP
Aug 8, 2022
Why Marquez’s toughest MotoGP foe is stopping at the right time Plus

Why Marquez’s toughest MotoGP foe is stopping at the right time

On the eve of the British Grand Prix, Andrea Dovizioso announced that he will be retiring from MotoGP after September’s San Marino GP. The timing of his departure raised eyebrows, but his reasoning remains sensible and what has happened this year should not diminish a hard-built legacy

MotoGP
Aug 6, 2022
Why a Suzuki refugee feels he deserves MotoGP's toughest challenge Plus

Why a Suzuki refugee feels he deserves MotoGP's toughest challenge

Alex Rins’ MotoGP future was plunged into sudden doubt when Suzuki elected to quit the series at the end of 2022. Securing a deal with Honda to join LCR, he will now tread a path that many have fallen off from. But it was a move he felt his status deserved, and it’s a challenge – he tells Autosport - he faces with his eyes wide open…

MotoGP
Jul 27, 2022
How Formula 1 has driven MotoGP's changing nature Plus

How Formula 1 has driven MotoGP's changing nature

The hiring of technicians from Formula 1 has clearly contributed to a recent change in the MotoGP landscape, with the role of engineers gaining greater significance relative to the riders. Here's how this shift has come about

MotoGP
Jul 19, 2022
The revolution behind Aprilia's rise from MotoGP tail-ender to pack-leader Plus

The revolution behind Aprilia's rise from MotoGP tail-ender to pack-leader

Coinciding with the arrival of Massimo Rivola as head of its MotoGP division, Aprilia has undergone an internal revolution that has spurred it from occupying last place in the team standings to leading the table in the space of just two years. Those entrenched in the project reveal how the ex-Ferrari F1 chief has achieved the dramatic turnaround

MotoGP
Jul 15, 2022
The battle Yamaha's wayward son is fighting to be fast again in MotoGP Plus

The battle Yamaha's wayward son is fighting to be fast again in MotoGP

Franco Morbidelli was long overdue a promotion to factory machinery when it finally came late last year, having finished runner-up in the 2020 standings on an old Yamaha package. But since then the Italian has been a shadow of his former self as he toils to adapt to the 2022 M1, and recognises that he needs to change his style to be quick on it

MotoGP
Jul 13, 2022
Why Honda and Yamaha have been left behind in MotoGP's new era Plus

Why Honda and Yamaha have been left behind in MotoGP's new era

The once all-conquering Japanese manufacturers are going through a difficult period in MotoGP this season. With Suzuki quitting, Honda struggling to get near the podium and Yamaha only enjoying success courtesy of Fabio Quartararo, Japanese manufacturers have been left in the dust by their European counterparts. Key paddock figures explain why.

MotoGP
Jun 28, 2022
Who is Valentino Rossi’s newest MotoGP star? Plus

Who is Valentino Rossi’s newest MotoGP star?

Valentino Rossi’s protégés stole the show at Assen as Francesco Bagnaia stormed to victory to arrest a recent barren run. But it was the rider in second, on Bagnaia’s old bike, who had all eyes on him. Securing his and the VR46 team’s first MotoGP podium, Marco Bezzecchi has all the characteristics that made his mentor special

MotoGP
Jun 27, 2022