Smith: KTM at 80% of its potential ahead of 2017 MotoGP season

Bradley Smith believes KTM's MotoGP package is at 80% of its ultimate potential, ahead of the start of the 2017 season

Smith: KTM at 80% of its potential ahead of 2017 MotoGP season

The Austrian manufacturer joins the championship full-time this year following a test programme in 2016 led by Mika Kallio, who also raced in the Valencia finale.

Smith and Pol Espargaro have joined KTM from Tech3 Yamaha, completing four and three tests with its RC16 since November respectively.

Espargaro finished 1.308 seconds off the pace in testing at Phillip Island last month.

"By the time we got to touch the bike, there was already a lot of hard work gone into it," Smith told Autosport.

"Let's say it was already at 70%. Right now, during the time we've been on the bike, we've taken it to maybe 80%.

"And we still have 20% to go. I'm really pleased with where we're at, given the short space of time that we've had on these motorcycles.

"We've got 35 guys in the race team, all pushing to get this bike as soon as possible to the front, because that's our ambition.

"They understand that we're 15 years of experience behind all of the other manufacturers, but that doesn't scare anybody.

"It's like, 'OK, that just means we have to work harder and do more'."

KTM has ventured to new circuits so far this year with the Sepang and Phillip Island tests, and that continues with the final three days of running in Qatar from March 10, ahead of the circuit's season opener.

Having also ridden the package at Valencia and Jerez last year, Smith admits it's "difficult to say" which circuits on the calendar should suit KTM.

"We're developing the bike at such a fast rate at the moment that I can't say that one track is suiting the others," he said.

"We probably still don't know from this bike where its strengths and weaknesses are.

"If I had to say one thing that it's awesome at, is high-speed corners. That's something that's good.

"Somewhere like Mugello, with the downhill Casanova/Savelli [section], the two Arrabbiatas, I think that's somewhere that potentially we could be really strong.

"But we don't know until we get there.

"Honestly, right now, I don't want to make too many preconceived ideas.

"I just want to turn up, do my best and see where we are at the end of the weekend."

shares
comments
Jack Miller has MotoGP options beyond Honda for 2018
Previous article

Jack Miller has MotoGP options beyond Honda for 2018

Next article

Yamaha's new MotoGP signing Vinales wants to tone down aggression

Yamaha's new MotoGP signing Vinales wants to tone down aggression
The Ducati rider who is much more than just the brother of a MotoGP legend Plus

The Ducati rider who is much more than just the brother of a MotoGP legend

Surname pressure is something many have had to deal with in their motorsport careers. And while Luca Marini doesn’t have that, his familial relation and the team he rides for in MotoGP have cast a brighter spotlight on his progress. But, as he has shown in 2022 – and as he reveals to Autosport – Marini is so much more than just the brother of a legend

Ranking the top 10 riders of MotoGP 2022 Plus

Ranking the top 10 riders of MotoGP 2022

The 2022 MotoGP season was another hotly contested championship, with Francesco Bagnaia emerging as the title winner after the campaign went to the wire. Autosport picks out the 10 best performers of the season

MotoGP
Nov 29, 2022
Was the MotoGP 2022 title won by Bagnaia or lost by Quartararo? Plus

Was the MotoGP 2022 title won by Bagnaia or lost by Quartararo?

Reigning MotoGP world champion Fabio Quartararo had a 91-point lead over rival Francesco Bagnaia after the German Grand Prix, a seemingly impregnable gap to overcome in the remaining 10 races. But as the Frenchman struggled for pace with his Yamaha, Bagnaia stormed back into contention and swept to Ducati's first riders' title since 2007

MotoGP
Nov 25, 2022
Why there's more to Honda's 2023 MotoGP bike than the Valencia test suggests Plus

Why there's more to Honda's 2023 MotoGP bike than the Valencia test suggests

After a run on Honda's 2023 prototype MotoGP bike, six-time champion Marc Marquez made his pessimism clear with his initial reaction. But the Japanese marque has made leadership changes behind closed doors - and a more representative bike promised for the Malaysia test in February could placate Marquez

MotoGP
Nov 23, 2022
Why the new MotoGP world champion has a stronger character than it seems Plus

Why the new MotoGP world champion has a stronger character than it seems

While new MotoGP champion Francesco Bagnaia might not be the loudest rider on the grid, his calm exterior belies a steely backbone. His part in turning around Ducati's fortunes at the start of the year, when displeased with a new engine concept, shows the strength of his character

MotoGP
Nov 16, 2022
Why Bagnaia's MotoGP triumph is as worthy as Stoner's Ducati breakthrough Plus

Why Bagnaia's MotoGP triumph is as worthy as Stoner's Ducati breakthrough

OPINION: Despite the superiority exhibited by the Ducati in 2022, the context in which Francesco Bagnaia became MotoGP world champion means that both the rider and the Italian marque merit the same recognition that the brand and Casey Stoner received after their 2007 title

MotoGP
Nov 9, 2022
Why the 2022 MotoGP season had a bittersweet ending Plus

Why the 2022 MotoGP season had a bittersweet ending

OPINION: MotoGP’s fifth last round showdown of the modern era delivered a tense finale despite the predictable outcome, as Francesco Bagnaia ended 15 years of pain for Ducati. But as emotions ran high for the Italian marque, a final victory for a departing Japanese rival tinged the campaign’s conclusion with sadness

MotoGP
Nov 7, 2022
Why the 2023 MotoGP title battle has already begun Plus

Why the 2023 MotoGP title battle has already begun

Since Ducati announced the arrival of Enea Bastianini to its factory team for 2023, the staging of the four-time race winner has strained the atmosphere within the Italian manufacturer, which has raised its guard in anticipation of what may happen between him and championship favourite Francesco Bagnaia

MotoGP
Nov 1, 2022