Red Bull KTM MotoGP Factory Racing Team Making Progress In Sepang

Press Release
by Press Release

The world of motorcycle Grand Prix racing is a crazy one. The Red Bull KTM MotoGP Factory Racing Team is entering its sophomore season in the premier class and is continually making progress. KTM has had a lot of success in other disciplines of motorcycle racing, especially off-road, and the Austrian manufacturer hopes to extend that success onto the tarmac. Pre-season testing in Sepang puts KTM riders in 17th, 18th and 19th in timing, however the gap between 17th and first is only 1.432 seconds… That’s not too shabby for the new kid on the block. KTM will look to improve upon cutting down that margin in the tests to come before the season opener on March 18 at Losail in Qatar.

Begin Press Release:

January 30,2018 –

Mike Leitner (Team Manager MotoGP): “This was a good test and there are a lot of positives. It was a shame that Pol crashed because it was a small mistake that had a big impact on our week. Anyway we have been able to do some basic work and it looks as though it is easy to set a fast laptime and to be able to keep a constant rhythm. The potential of the bike leaves us positive because we have been able to set some fast times but we know that there is still work to be done to be competitive at the start of the season. Our target is to be ready for Round 1.”

Pol Espargaro, Sepang MotoGP tests, January 2018

Pol Espargaro: “I feel lucky because I had a big crash on Day 2 and I hit the wall at more than 250 kmp/h. I’m happy not feeling too bad physically but I’m in pain from rolling through the gravel. I had some x-rays and nothing is broken but I have pain when I move so if I am still in pain when I get home I will have some further checks. Even though I couldn’t ride on the final day it was still good to be with the team and able to work with them in the background. It’s a shame to miss Day 3 and not to be able to test what we planned but Mika was able to ride my bike. It’s good because I trust his feedback 100% and it means we were still be able to get a lot of work done here in Sepang.”

Bradley Smith
: “Obviously it’s a busy test schedule here in Sepang and after Pol’s crash it has meant that myself and Mika have had to work through a lot. It’s been a chance for us to evaluate a lot of different things and to give us a direction on what to do. On Day 3 the grip was a little less and that means that it’s good conditions for us to test in. Usually when the track gets grippy and hot we struggle a little bit so it’s been good to have these conditions. I’m generally quite pleased with what we’ve tested because I think that we’ve got a good base to work with at the Thailand tests in a few days time.”

Mika Kallio: “The biggest job for me was to compare the 2017 and 2018 bikes. We have both here so I was able to back to back both bikes. I was working mostly on the electronics and new WP front forks this week. Conditions were quite good this week and even at the two day private test just before I was able to get a lot of work completed. In the official test I crashed twice so it was more difficult for me. I crashed in the heavy braking zone twice and that’s unusual for me so we need to analyse the data and see why I have a slightly different feeling on the new bike compared to the previous model. We will go through the data to understand carefully what is the next step for the development of this bike because Pol and Bradley had similar comments about the feeling from the front.”

Sebastian Risse (Technical Director MotoGP): “Our target for this test was to compare the baseline specification 2018 bike to what we finished last season using. The new bike has some areas that work quite well and we were able to get more comfortable with the bike. The conditions in Sepang are always a little difficult because you have to adapt to the weather and change your test programme each day accordingly. It was a good test and we found some positive direction that we can work further on. This test is almost seen as a double header for us with the Thailand test and it will be very useful to be able to compare the feedback from Sepang and Thailand. To have two different tracks to compare the data on is always good.”

The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team will be back at track with both factory riders middle of February for another three-day IRTA test on Chang International Circuit in Thailand, which is new in this years MotoGP calender.

Combined Results MotoGP IRTA Test Sepang International Circuit 2018
1. Jorge Lorenzo (ESP), Ducati, 1:58.830 min, 109/130 laps (Day 3)
2. Dani Pedrosa (ESP), Honda, +0.179 sec, 121/170 (Day 3)
3. Cal Crutchlow (GBR), Honda, +0.222, 94/141 (Day 3)
4. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA), Ducati, +0.339, 83/118 (Day 3)
5. Jack Miller (AUS), Ducati, +0.516, 98/123 (Day 3)
17. Pol Espargaro (ESP), KTM, +1.432, 46/61 (Day 2)
18. Mika Kallio (FIN), KTM, +1.634, 112/122 (Day 3)
19. Bradley Smith (GBR), KTM, +1.690, 82/158 (Day 2)

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