Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport -

KTM had a mixed week­end as they made their Mo­togp de­but at Va­len­cia with test rider and for­mer Moto2 run­nerup, Mika Kal­lio.

Com­plain­ing about a per­sis­tent lack of rear grip, Kal­lio was more than three sec­onds off the pace on Fri­day but after switch­ing to Miche­lin’s softer op­tion tyre on Satur­day, the Aus­tri­ans were able to make a marked im­prove­ment.

Not only did Kal­lio re­duce the gap to the front in qual­i­fy­ing, he also moved him­self past se­ries reg­u­lars Tito Rabat and Yonny Her­nan­danez. But the fac­tory’s de­but would be short lived as the Fin­nish rider was forced to re­tire from Sun­day’s race with a speed sen­sor is­sue.

KTM Tech­ni­cal Di­rec­tor Se­bas­tian Risse com­mented: “Our per­for­mance is one thing but then there’s the per­for­mance of our com­peti­tors! They are re­ally strong, es­pe­cially when you see a new pole record! They are push­ing and quick, but if you com­pare in terms of lap times I think we can be quite happy. We made steps for­ward, and the all round per­for­mance has also im­proved. Not be­ing last in qual­i­fy­ing was a big, big step for­ward.

“The first im­por­tant step was with the tyre. We are lack­ing some ex­pe­ri­ence in the rhythm of the race week­end with the Miche­lin tyres. On Fri­day and Satur­day we fo­cused on dif­fer­ent tyre specs. The softer spec was much more dif­fi­cult for the race dis­tance but in terms of lap times and con­fi­dence it was a big step for­ward for us. That en­abled us to start work­ing and look­ing at lap times.

“I think the bike is quite sta­ble, the en­gine is quite strong. You will not al­ways see that in top speed as there are a lot of pa­ram­e­ters, the down­force, air re­sis­tance and exit grip that play into to­tal per­for­mance, but look­ing at the en­gine we have a strong pack­age. The weak points are turn­ing and grip.”

KTM’S bike looks gor­geous but is still a work in progress

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