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Pedrosa’s Test Rider Role at KTM Reflects Push for Podium Finishes by Austrian Brand

Dani Pedrosa has spent his entire GP career aboard Honda machinery

The report in several motor sport publications, such as this one, that Dani Pedrosa has signed an agreement to serve as a test rider for the KTM MotoGP effort beginning next year indicates the depth of KTM’s effort to begin gaining podium finishes, and even wins, from 2019. Pedrosa will serve as test rider with the currently injured Mika Kallio, but will reportedly forego wildcard race entries … focusing solely on testing.

KTM has already upped its game by signing Johann Zarco away from Yamaha hoping the fresh MotoGP talent can move their bike to the front group next year. Pedrosa’s vast experience in GP racing, all aboard Hondas, includes three World titles, and could prove invaluable to KTM … although his diminutive size and weight(Pedrosa is 5’2″ tall and weighs 110 pounds) sometimes prevent his preferred bike settings from working for larger riders.

Suffice it to say KTM is tired of mid-pack, and worse, finishes in the MotoGP class, and can be expected to make a great effort to change those results next year. With rider talent including Zarco and Pol Espargaro, an improved bike is the key.


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25 Comments

  1. PatrickD says:

    Dani has looked all at sea this season, and struggles with set-up and problem solving during the practice and qualifying sessions.
    Who thought he’d be any good at this job for KTM?

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I think the only possible answer to that question is that the people that make these calls have come to the conclusion that there is no setting on the current Honda that will work for Pedrosa, but they believe they can find something on the KTM.

  2. bmidd says:

    Great for KTM, he’ll help set the bike up to finish behind Marquez. 🙂

  3. Barry says:

    KTM should save their 40 million per year and stay focused on dirt and adventure bikes. Help keep the dealer network strong happy. Sport bike sales are done anyway so why play that game.

    • TwinDog says:

      Good call. KTM has a good foothold on dirt and adventure bikes now. Unless they have money to burn, I’d leave the saturated sportbike market alone. Just do what you do best better.

      • Bob K says:

        Yes, leave it alone, especially since they don’t offer a sportbike other than the RC390. Anything they discover in MotoGP is probably of little use to their adv line and Dukes.

    • Stuki says:

      In the markets that matter, in Asia, MotoGP is still bigtime. Just as in America back when it was still industrialized, the people entering the middle class, signifying newfound ability to buy bikes, tend to be swayed and impressed by obvious technical mastery; such as beating the other guys in heads-up, objective, verifiable competition.

      KTMs current positioning in street bikes: “The Fastest Bike in every category where being the fastest doesn’t matter,” while being stomped in categories where it does, isn’t going to cut it for long among such buyers. If they want to be the “Ready to Race” company on the street as well as in dirt, they have to beat, or at least keep up with, the others in RACING classes. Selling “The Fastest 2 wheeled SUV a 65 year old can buy” just doesn’t carry the world of weight, outside of declining-market old-folks-home waiting room spec sheet racing series.

      • Pacer says:

        First I should say that I own a KTM, and am a total fanboy.😎

        Take a look at KTM’s line up. They are focusing on popular segments in the industry, and are always on the performance side of the class. There are buyers that want the most performance they can get out of the class of bike they are buying.

        On the other hand, Honda rules MotoGP and builds some of the most Vanilla bikes out there. Including the CBR1000RR (compared to others in it’s class), the Africa twin, the CB1000R, CB650, CB500, CB300, etc. Why does Honda race?

        • Stuki Moi says:

          Honda races to stay at top of technology. And to demonstrate that it does, to potential buyers. Who knows Honda CAN build the fastest touring and commuter bikes, and camping mattress, if it wants to; but chooses instead to apply it’s vast resources to improve on qualities that are more important to the usefulness of a camping mattress than speed. Like comfort, reliability, ease of use etc. While still building the fastest where it matters; race bikes.

          As for the bikes you mention, the new CBR is at least as good as any in the class, for street riding. And even track riding, for 90-99% of buyers. The Africa Twin ditto for soft-to-off-road adventure TOURING. The new CB1000 looks (and sound like it is) amazing, the 650 the most sportbikey in the sport-commuter class, the 500 about as good as it gets for everyday two wheeled transport, the new 300 just plain awesome in it’s lightness, looks, ergos for both shorter and taller riders etc… While their GP bike, which is where speed matters, is the fastest.

          • Pacer says:

            You’ve described vanilla parfait. Yeah, Honda makes good reliable bikes, that when compared to the competition are boring. Hondas are the kind of bike that your mom would buy.

      • Guu says:

        In which class doesn’t “fastest” matter? If you have ever ridden an Indian commuter bike you (if you can afford a KTM) will want the fastest.

        • Stuki Moi says:

          In classes where even the slowest are plenty fast enough, hence other qualities are overwhelmingly more important. Like farm tractors and liter+ Adventure bikes.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Red Bull logos on the works KTM are freakin’ massive.. Non-savvy fans probably think Red Bull is making bikes now, so that’s a large chunk of the cost right there.

      Once they prove the bike can podium, they’ll probably steal some of the satelite teams away from Honda and Ducati. They already snagged Zarco from Yamaha, right?

      The market may be slow, but Super-Dukes and KTM/Husky dual sports are selling for insane prices.

    • Pacer says:

      It is about image. Ever go to a motorcycle race? All sorts of bikes in the parking lot. Racing is about showing what you are capable of then promising your customers that the bikes they buy have the same DNA. Mercedes races F1 then offers an AMG, a great street car. KTM offers the Super Duke, a great street bike. Then the Super Adventure shares the Super Dukes DNA, etc.

  4. Pacer says:

    I think Zarco and Pedrosa have similar riding styles. Im sure WP has different spring rates.

  5. Pacer says:

    I think Pedrosa is a good fit. He is all about smooth high speed corners, as is Zarco. The weight isn’t an issue, the riding style is. Just tell WP to change the springs.

    • Motoman says:

      There may be a couple more things to change besides springs.

      If you’re just being sarcastic then never mind.

      • Bob K says:

        Weight can be added for testing but not to the bike. That doesn’t do other riders any good. Divers weight belts would do the trick. But it’s also his height that’s a problem for testing fairings and ergos for taller riders. Platform shoes aren’t feasible to get around that.

      • Pacer says:

        I was being simplistic, but do believe their riding styles are more important than the weight difference. I also believe those concerns will be addressed by Kallio during the initial tests.

  6. Bart says:

    This should be simple. Just put a divers belt on DP with a few weights, go tune up the bike and suspension. Lead don’t make no sparks when you drag it on the tarmac.

    Or Mamola with a 2-up seat. I’d volunteer for that gig!

  7. Jeremy in TX says:

    I wonder how much a test rider’s personal settings really impact that rider’s ability to suggest changes to make a bike faster.

    KTM knows good and well how tall and heavy Pedrosa is. They also know he can’t come to terms with the extreme stop and go nature of the Honda on the Michelin tires. So I think KTM is shooting for something more neutral, like the Ducati, and that they are of the opinion that that Pedrosa’s personal settings are of no consequence to development.

  8. bmbktmracer says:

    Maybe they can get him a really heavy set of leathers and tape some wooden blocks to his shoes.

  9. VLJ says:

    “… although his diminutive size and weight(Pedrosa is 5’2″ tall and weighs 110 pounds) sometimes prevent his preferred bike settings from working for larger riders.”

    Exactly. Signing Dani to be your test rider is similar to signing #93 as a test rider, but for different reasons. What these guys can make work for themselves doesn’t really translate to normal riders. Dani is too small for his preferred setup to be relevant for larger riders, and Marc is too much of a ride-around-the-issue, edge-of-insanity, hard-charging freak of nature for his input to be of any great use to lesser mortals.