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Casey Stoner and KTM Test Riders on Track With MotoGP Regulars in Austria

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Mika Callio testing the KTM prototype at Red Bull Ring earlier today

MotoGP riders were in Austria the last two days testing at the new Red Bull Ring, which will host a round of the MotoGP championship on August 14. Only Repsol Honda and Tech3 were missing, but test riders for the new KTM effort, as well as Ducati test rider Casey Stoner, were on track both days.

Ducati completely dominated the testing on the new track with its tight corners and long straights. The top four times were posted by Ducati riders with Casey Stoner slotting into the third spot behind the two factory Ducati teammates, Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso.

Interestingly, the KTM prototype was on track with other MotoGP racers for the first time, and doesn’t appear to be too far off the pace. Although KTM test riders Mika Kallio and Thomas Luthi were the two slowest riders at the end of the test, Kallio was less than 2 seconds off the fastest lap posted by Iannone and, perhaps more importantly, just one second off the fastest lap posted by a non-Ducati (Valentino Rossi’s Yamaha posted the fifth fastest lap time). Assuming next year’s factory KTM riders are quicker than the test riders, the KTM may be ready to compete at least mid-pack from the get-go in 2017. KTM has signed the talented young riders Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith to join them next year.

KTM also confirmed that Mika Kallio will debut their new bike at the final MotoGP round this year at Valencia.


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11 Comments

  1. paquo says:

    wtg ktm , It’s only too bad they won’t release a street version of that bike, it sounds so much nicer than the ktm twins

  2. So much negativity, I am looking forward to increased grid size and more competition. Sure Honda and Yamaha dominate now, but it wasn’t that long ago that a small Italian company took the championship. Maybe it’s time for a small (compared to Honda & Yamaha) from Austria shake things up.

  3. Provologna says:

    “…Assuming next year’s factory KTM riders are quicker than the test riders, the KTM may be ready to compete at least mid-pack from the get-go in 2017…”

    Yes, true. Or “may be not.” Going way out on a limb, no?

    What are we talking about here? An estimated $100M so far spent for KTM’s MotoGP “program.” For mid pack, “may be,” in 2017? Sheesh. Wish we could all have 1/1000th this much funny money.

    What is KTM’s real motivation for their MotoGP “program?” Did the KTM CEO challenge his friend/another billionaire, “Who can flush more money down the sewer quicker?” IOW, MINE’s bigger than YOURS…

    My friend did a costly “Crafstman” rebuild of the mansion belonging to his rich brother in law, a PG&E executive. In specifying the screen size for the front projection home theater, his brother in law said simply, “I never want to see a bigger screen when visiting a friend’s house.”

    An old co-worker owned a beer distributorship. When he sold it, two acquaintances, both extremely wealthy and owners of pre-existing beer business, got in to a bidding war. My friend stopped the bidding when the amount was already well over $1M greater than the street value.

    Two rich guys in a pissing contest, both willing to toss over a million dollars down the sewer to make their point.

    I’m sure the KTM CEO has more money than all the above guys combined.

    This blather reminds me of the Spies reports, a guy who does not even ride anymore.

  4. guu says:

    Lüthi and Kallio are no slouches, both are multi-time winners in the smaller classes. Lüthi is a 125 world champ and Kallio has been runner-up twice in the 125s and once (2014) in Moto2. I doubt KTMs race riders will be significantly faster.

  5. Vrooom says:

    “Kallio was less than 2 seconds off the fastest lap posted by Iannone and, perhaps more importantly, just one second off the fastest lap posted by a non-KTM” If Iannone was on a “non-KTM”, how does this make sense? Do you mean “non-Ducati”?

  6. Will Parker says:

    C’mon dude, you know when race time rolls round next month Ducati will be relegated to at least third, with Marquez leading and Yamaha followed close behind..

  7. Skybullet says:

    I just bought a KTM Super Duke GT. Based on the performance of this bike, KTM has some very talented engineers on board.

  8. viktor92 says:

    I want to see Stoner racing the DesmoSedici…

  9. DucDynasty says:

    Interesting….race conditions change everything. We shall see.

  10. notarollingroadblock says:

    Another way to look at it is that KTM likely has tons of experience on the track and therefore should be relatively faster than those just learning the track and working towards a good setup. I suspect that once the regulars get more time on the track they’ll gap these KTM times some more.