Misano MotoGP Test Analysis Part 2 - KTM's Radically Revised RC16 Rear

The two factories which saw the biggest changes at the Misano test were KTM and Honda. Honda were at a disadvantage here: they had Marc Marquez back, which obviously brought with it a lot of attention; they had a widely publicized and visually conspicuous new aluminum swingarm from Kalex; and Marc Marquez was trying new aero. It was hard for HRC to hide what they were doing. Or some of it, at least.

KTM were flying under the radar a little, but they were also bringing some major updates. The bike Dani Pedrosa was testing had some major changes to it, though you had to look carefully to see them exactly. The fact that their riders spoke mostly about the work for this year, and avoided talking about the 2023 bike meant we really did learn very little about the bike.


But let's start with KTM. Brad Binder offered a good explanation of KTM's method of working compared with last year. "I think we needed to start at a point at the beginning of the season, so we locked in the chassis, we locked in the aero, we locked in a whole lot of things, and said, OK, that's our base, now, how do we make this better?"

This was a reversal of the approach of previous years, after riders and crew chiefs complained they simply had too much to test on race weekends, and no time to work on race setup. "Last year we were changing everything every week, and we didn't actually know sometimes if we'd made a step forward or a step back," Binder said.

The new approach is to only bring things which the factory were convinced are a step forward, part of the validation work done by Dani Pedrosa. "Now it's very clear to me that everything that they bring is to touch one of our issues. They're here for a purpose, not like shooting in the dark," Binder explained. "So it's clear that when you put things on the bike, often things aren't positive, but it gives you a clear direction of, OK, this is better, that's better, that can be better when you put them together, and we check them like that."

On Tuesday, Binder had worked on issues for the remaining six races of 2022. "We had specific things we wanted to work on, one being stopping the bike on corner entry," the South African explained "We've always had an issue, especially lately, we've been struggling with the rear pushing the front tire. So we managed to improve that slightly today. And for tomorrow we have a bigger step."

It was mainly a lot of small changes, Binder explained. "Other than that, we tried some front forks, didn't really work too well. We tried a few things. Played especially with the clutch and the engine brake, to be honest, to try and help us with corner entry. We managed to find something that helped us to turn in a little bit better as well, so the combination gave us a small step. That's about it. To be honest, we tried no really huge things, but the small things that we did try made a difference. So tomorrow is the day where we can maybe see some different things out there."

Standard KTM RC16 seat unit and tail

To read the remaining 791 words of this article, you need to sign up to become a MotoMatters.com site supporter by taking out a subscription. You can find out more about subscribing to MotoMatters.com here. If you are already a subscriber, log in to read the full text.

This is part of a regular series of unique insights into the world of motorcycle racing, exclusive for MotoMatters.com site supporters. The series includes interviews, background information, in-depth analysis, and opinion, and is available to everyone supporting the site by taking out a subscription.

If you would like to read more of our exclusive content you can join the growing band of site supporters, by taking out a subscription here. If you prefer, you can also support us on our Patreon page and get access to the same exclusive material there.


Back to top


I just spotted KTM (unknown) and Ducati (DID) don't appear to be using a lightweight chain that Honda (DID) and Yamaha (DID) are using.

Can't confirm what style chain Aprilia (Regina) are using.

is now considered non-PC :-).  Very unclear to me why a white body will disperse more heat, true that a white body over a sufficiently short period of time may absorb less heat but I'm pretty confident that it won't be anywhere near as efficient at radiating the heat as a black wheel would be.  So maybe they have figured over the length of the average race if they use a white body the amount of heat absorbed (from the tyre, air and track) will be less than a black rim.  Guessing of course.

I just always thought white rims make a bike appear lighter in weight. But everything looks so dirty quickly! Black and white bore me, the VR46 last Round looked fantastic! Others thought it horrid. Hmm.

I have one black bike and one white one. May be spraying some black here in a bit, new to doing that w/o rattle cans. 

I'm guessing the white and chrome wheels are to reject heat from the brake discs,  which seem to be covered up more as the season progresses..

White to reflect the radiation from the hot carbon rotors.

Carbon rotors run over 1000C while steel rotors are under half that, I think?

I'm wondering why any manufacture does not try to put more air into the wheel. If the temperature in the wheel is a problem,  why they did not put more air wheels. We had such design in 80's or 90's, putting more airs into wheel spokes. The more air capacity, the less temperature you gain into the wheel. 

I mentioned this a few months ago. Have the tire and hollow spokes and/or hubs share air. Not convinced we could wave our arms and think we know what is going on via intuition. The only way to know the final effect of this would be to build it and instrument it. 

Back when we were seeing things like Comstar wheels on Hondas it was more about reducing weight while maintaining strength, heat management was probably far less of a thing. No onboard sensors on racebikes back then.

Now that they can measure and predict with ridiculous accuracy how hot the wheels and brakes are getting (and the impact to tyre pressure), it's likely that they've realised the limits of wheel design in managing heat. Unless you completely remove the tyres, there's little way of increasing airflow into the space contained within the rims.

AFAIK, as mentioned above, these will radiate heat less effectively, so would appear to be keeping the rim warmer. However, they will reflect incoming radiation (AKA sunshine etc.) much better. My guess is that they are trying to maintain a more consistent temperature (think little white buildings on a Greek landscape).

Agreed. Maybe not consistency but some attempt to isolate the tyre from as many sources of heat or 'noise' as possible. The discs get hot, they must in order to operate. They are mounted on skeletonized carriers to a hub which is connected to the rim via hollow spokes etc...all of which is spinning through the air at stupid speeds. Conduction not a big issue. However, a huge 355 disc, at operating temperature, radiating heat and due to the size being closer to the rim than before ? Maybe all disc sizes. I think in comparison to the heat generated by a pliable tyre being worked hard lap after lap it must be small but if they are trying to get an accurate understanding of the tyre temps/pressures etc, maybe kicking out the heat radiated by the disc, as much as possible, is helpful. Or maybe the big discs are just too big a heating element to ignore. I don't think the white wheel has anything to do with shedding heat, it is just to reflect radiation.