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KTM on Track With MotoGP Regulars for Debut Weekend in Valencia

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The long-awaited debut of the KTM RC16 MotoGP race bike in action against the rest of the MotoGP field occurred earlier today at the Valencia circuit in Spain. After sounding quite confident (perhaps cocky, even) about a competitive debut, KTM test rider Mika Kallio ran at the back of the pack in both Thursday practice sessions.

Kallio was a full three seconds behind Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha), who set a blistering pace all day. According to comments made by Kallio after practice ended for the day, his KTM is suffering with rear grip issues both on corner entry and corner exit. He seemed a bit surprised by the results, stating “The gap to the front was absolutely too big. Three seconds was a big surprise for us. We thought we could be closer to the fastest guys.”

Both Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith, currently riding for Monster Yamaha Tech3, are keeping a close eye on the KTM. Espargaro and Smith are signed to be KTM factory riders next year, and they will test the KTM next week at Valencia after the season ends with the final race this Sunday.

Keep an eye on MD for qualifying and race reports this weekend.


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19 Comments

  1. Roadrash1 says:

    I do think KTM will get it sorted out. It might take them a while, but they take racing very seriously.
    More factory teams can only make the sport better.
    Now if they’d only go back to showing it on one of the 150 cable channels I’m already paying for.
    πŸ™

  2. Norm G. says:

    re: “He seemed a bit surprised by the results, stating β€œThe gap to the front was absolutely too big. Three seconds was a big surprise for us. We thought we could be closer to the fastest guys.”

    well yeah MKay, that’s only because you allowed yourself to be SUCKERED by a “Myth Of Progress”…? in stark contrast, Forrest Gump says “progress is as progress does”. when he’s not cutting grass, that dude watches TV, he’s seen this movie.

  3. My2cents says:

    Kallio has a see saw racing portfolio but his exposure has not been with A class teams. Suggestion seems to be he is a research rider I’m unsure he will be counted on as the #1 KTM rider. The lack of both enter and exit grip leaves 3 tools to work with to regain rear friction and traction control. Happy to see KTM in top shelf racing.

  4. Tommy D says:

    I wish they would take that budget and produce a 700-800cc, 350lbs dry, ADV bike already. Good luck KTM. Brad Binder was a joy to watch this past year in Moto3. It would be great to see them find the pace in the premier class.

  5. proheli says:

    Very glad KTM is racing MotoGP, but 3 seconds is slower than a superbike. That’s about where the ‘Priller was when they started and they’ve worked their way up to the middle of the pack. Of course if you put MM on the bike it would probably only be 1.5 seconds off the pace.

  6. Gary says:

    Watch out for KTM. They will make up the gap. They know how to put together a winning race team.

  7. Dave says:

    Ducati and Aprilia are reporting rear grip difficulty as well. KTM will do well once they’re on the schedule full time.

  8. Al Banta says:

    Don’t be so negative folks! Give them awhile, look what they’ve done in other forms of racing.

  9. Provologna says:

    “This year Ben Spies wins it all!” Remember that?

  10. GoodlyRun says:

    More fun for the party!

  11. Brinskee says:

    I’m not surprised at this result and WAS surprised by the predictions Kallio was making to the press in the days leading up to this weekend. Running quickly on an empty test track does not equal race weekend performance…

  12. mickey says:

    I hope they get some screen time

  13. xLaYN says:

    KTM has a line of products that have been checking the right boxes for some time.
    It’s going to be interesting see their performance on a couple of months.

  14. Curly says:

    It does sound like a big gap but if you take Jorge’s record lap time out of the mix then he’s “only” 2.5 seconds or so off the fast guys. So the bike will improve and a rider who has been riding MotoGP all season long like Pol Espargaro would probably be able to take a half second or more off that time. So in a 27 lap race that would still only be 1:07 behind the leaders. For Mika not to be lapped in it’s first outing Sunday would be a major accomplishment and I’m thinking he could just do it.