MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.
What KTM’s RC16 needs to run at the front of MotoGP again
KTM was the hero of the 2020 MotoGP season, then struggled in 2021. Team engineers tell us they need to improve qualifying speed and corner-exit performance to get back to the front in 2022
KTM goes into the 2022 MotoGP world championship following two seasons of weirdly contrasting fortunes.
In 2020, following KTM’s first complete redesign of the RC16 since the bike’s debut, the Austrian factory had a breakthrough year, claiming its first victories and missing a podium place in the constructors championship by just two points.
KTM had arrived.
But not for long. The RC16 disappeared without a trace at the start of last season, until mid-season when the bike started winning again, only to disappear once again.
So, what explains the RC16’s strangely up-and-down 2021 and how are KTM engineers fixing the bike for 2022?
Many of KTM’s problems can be attributed to one factor: the RC16 works in a narrow window of opportunity, like Yamaha’s 2020 YZR-M1, so its performance is determined by the racetrack and the conditions.
“We need to bring a wider base to the track, a wider window, because if the temperature isn’t right, or the rider isn’t riding perfect, we miss the window,” says KTM motorsport director Pit Beirer.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.