KTM Press Release: KTM MotoGP Team Complete Test With Smith, Espargaro, Reiterberger

The KTM MotoGP team issued the following press release at the end of a two-day private test at the Motorland Aragon circuit:

Important MotoGP Private Test at Aragon overlooking season final and 2018 bike

KTM MotoGP Private Test 2017 – MotorLand Aragon 2 (ESP)

Red Bull KTM MotoGP Factory Racing team completed a two day test yesterday at the Aragon Grand Prix track as the squads prepare not only for the remaining 2017 races but the development of the 2018 KTM RC16 MotoGP motorcycle. Pol Espargaro, Bradley Smith, the team’s test rider Mike Kallio and German Superbike rider Markus Reiterberger were the riders.

The weather was fair to give 25 degree air and 30 degree track temperature with no rain, so no track time was lost with this nor crashes. The main focus of the test was to further develop the MotoGP machine with chassis and suspension parts plus some aerodynamic updates. Indeed, the entire KTM Grand Prix effort was present at Aragon with the Moto2 and Moto3 test teams on track too during the two days as they also look forward to 2018.

Sebastian Risse (Technical Director MotoGP): “In total we had a really positive test here. Two long days with many laps trying many configurations on the one hand to finish the season in a good way, and on the other to prepare for next year for which we need to take some important decisions and this was the test at which to do that. We’re happy about that and we’ve found some steps that we can already use over these remaining four Grands Prix this year as well as to prove these settings on other tracks as although the conditions were good here, every track is different so we will see how it transfers. At the moment we are happy and very positive with this test: now we move on to the overseas races.”

Pol Espargaro (Factory Rider MotoGP): “Both days were full days for us but I’m so happy with the improvements we have done. On the first day we tried some more new things on the bike and I think everything went in a good way. We have improved from last Sunday and that is without any ‘moments’ out there on track but these improvements are so important for Japan and especially Phillip Island where I go well. Thank you to all the team because they have done such an amazing job, working hard to make this all possible working day and night here and at the factory as we are receiving parts all the time that help with the speed. Let’s keep this up and keep working hard for the next races.”

Bradley Smith (Factory Rider MotoGP): “Here at Aragon we had a very busy test with many things to get through for the remaining races and the future of the bike into 2018. We focussed on turning and to get the best from a new tyre and with that we've made some positive steps. Two days doing more laps was hugely valuable and I feel that we’ve made a step in the right direction here so let’s see what we can do when we go to these last four races where we know three of the circuits.”

Markus Reiterberger (German Superbike Rider): “I first want to say to KTM a big thank you for making this happen and for my team to let me test. It’s amazing for me to come here and test the MotoGP bike. The feeling is amazing for the first few laps over a day where I did about seven runs and improved a little bit for the feeling and for the lap time, so in the end I was happy. Of course there is a little bit of time to make up but after half a day I’m really happy to test this MotoGP bike, so we will see what the future brings. Regarding the difference between a Superbike and a prototype bike, the riding style is completely different and it’s a little bit difficult to understand how to ride the bike but you need to ride much smoothly; it's different from a Superbike where you have to brake as hard a possible, turn it and open the gas as you really have to ride this one smoothy. That's where the time will come if I get the possibility to try a MotoGP bike again. Thank you again to KTM. A day to remember."

The MotoGP Championship now moves forward to the Asian trio of races before concluding the season in Valencia on November 12.

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Reiterberger - not sure about the value/plan of putting him on the bike. He can't be providing much helpful feedback, being a Superbike rider. Yes he is biding his time in IDM after leaving BMW in WSBK and so free to ride it without complications from his contracts. Does anyone think Reiterberger has Astronaut qualities? He looked good in Endurance on a Superbike. 23 yrs old.

Kallio would be much better for development work. And there are two handfuls of riders that should be getting staged for the seat before Reiterberger. KTM already has two riders I REALLY want to see get a go on this thing. I can see not upsetting one's title chasing season focus or risking injury, but then again...

Aside from that Pol's comments indicate a program that is marching forward. The speed of growth is very promising, even if for the tenths more easily gained than those closer to the front.

Both Aprilia and KTM are impressing this year. The more you look at the formula with which KTM is building a MotoGP machine the more impressive it looks. Particularly in house independent suspension. If there is a David to the Honda/Yamaha Goliath this is what it looks like.

We may as well give due recognition to Aleix and Pol for their performances - looking great!

Bringing in riders with no experience on the bike is beneifical because it gauges the the bike's rideability or how friendly it is to riders.  Can help acheive a better base setting which gets the bike tuned during a weekend just that much quicker.  More data is always more helpful. 

They're not looking to suddenly hire Marcus because he's a great development rider or something.

Any testing times released? I would love to know how Reiterberger's times compared to the regular riders.

Sadly, teams tend to keep times from private testing a secret. Or they release times which are just slightly off, to serve a particular agenda. So no, no times.

Rumour has it that Reitenberger was second slower than Kallio, measured with a stopwatch so completely unofficial.