KTM RC16 MotoGP Bike Has First Successful Rollout At Red Bull Ring In Austria

The bike KTM is preparing for their entry into MotoGP has made its track debut. At the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria, Alex Hofmann took the KTM RC16 for a shakedown test, to see how the bike would hold up on a circuit. The aim was to check whether the bike would hold together on an actual track, to see if they ran into any unforeseen problems with the basic design. Although both the engine and the chassis have been subjected to many hours of testing on dynos and test beds, this was the first opportunity KTM had to see how it stood up in the real world.

Though neither a press release nor official photographs were issued, there were witnesses to the roll out. One Facebook user posted some footage of the bike on Facebook, which shows the bike quite well, and allows you to hear its engine note. The video confirms what we knew: the KTM RC16 is a 90° V4, sitting in a trellis frame. The bike uses an aluminium swing arm, with underbracing, as is common practice in MotoGP. The bike is using WP suspension (a KTM-owned company) and Brembo brakes.

It also revealed a few new details. The exhausts, made by Akrapovic, are located where you would expect them to be on a V4, with one set of pipes exiting the tail, and another lower down. The exhaust layout looks more like the Honda RC213V than the Ducati Desmosedici, however. The engine note also sounds more like the Honda than the Ducati, the note betraying that they are using a "screamer" firing order (where the cylinders all fire in sequence) rather than a more closely ranged firing order, as is used in a big bang engine. 

Speaking to the German language website Speedweek, KTM boss Pit Beirer pronounced himself very pleased with the roll out. It had been an emotional moment for everyone concerned, he said, seeing a completed MotoGP bike in the garage. The main objective was to check that the bike held together, that it went in a straight line and that it felt like genuine racing machine. KTM test rider Alex Hofmann confirmed that it did, Beirer told Speedweek. He emphasized that it was very much an endurance test, rather than a performance test. It was all about getting as many kilometers under the wheels as possible, and much less about lap times. 

The bike will see another day of testing at Spielberg, with Hofmann putting more kilometers on the bike. A second test is planned, though not at the test planned for some teams at Jerez at the end of November. For the moment, KTM have built two complete bikes, one of which is spending all of its time on the dyno, the other is being tested at the track, Beirer told Speedweek. They have enough parts to test as much as they need to without problems, and start the process of development. The real process of building new parts and refining the bike to get it ready for MotoGP will start once they are satisfied that the fundamental design is sound, and can be raced.

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That is one sweet sounding bike! Welcome KTM!

I've raced a lot and ridden a lot of different bikes but that would be the icing on the cake to be the first person ever to ride a brand new race bike when there's only 2 of them in the world!

is an interesting choice, no? I thought Ducati taught us that you could not make a consistent feel from bike-to-bike from such a frame. Wasn't that one of Casey's complaints about his GP bike, that each bike felt differently? Or was that not the trellis and a function of something else? So many welds have to be done exactly the same across frames. Maybe with robotics you can get more consistency, so I wonder what KTM are doing -- or if we'll ever find out?

Haha, exactly the same thoughts I posted on asphalt and rubber. It's what I immediately wondered about as soon as I read trellis framed. But you could only assume they have those things pretty well sussed at this point.
What's most interesting is how it seems really like a Honda...XD

Raises an interesting question with KTM Moto3 riders saying their bike has good potential, but is hard to setup.

Could it be because each time they set the bike up, the old data is not relevant any more?

On one hand, you have to trust the big companies with legions of engineers, but on the other hand so many of them have been chasing things simply because of tradition and some strange version of stubborn pride.

Here's to a competitive KTM, alongside a competitive Suzuki, a sorted out Ducati and, well, the usual two suspects.

Changing set up doesn't render the old data irrelevant, it just creates more data. A bike being hard to set up refers more to it being tricky to get a desired result from the available adjustments, perhaps because a big change only gives a small result, or vice versa, or it does unexpected things, etc. The data part is them noting that with bike iteration A, with suspension B, at track C, the rider did laptime X, using chassis and suspension settings etc. etc. etc., and reported that the bike behaved in a particular way. Came in, changed things about, went back out, bike behaved a different way. The team can then go back later and look at that as a reference point.

Data usually only gets chucked out when a new bike comes that's substantially different to the old one.

That sounds fantastic, helped no doubt by the amazing setting of the circuit, nestling in the valley surrounded by mountains.

Very happy to see the first roll out of a new factory motogp prototype. Very curious to see what its performance is going to be, but we need to keep out patience.

Already looking forward to the wildcard performance. Ik hope its not going going to be same as for Suzuki, since they cancelled a lot of these wildcard performances in 2014.

I say the video footage first and it really, really reminded me of a RCV213V, sound and fairings. So I'm (just) a little bit disappointed by the radicalness of the design.

But, who cares if it as competitive as the RCV, we'll see!