Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 178: 2020 MotoGP Factory Review - KTM And Aprilia

With the holiday season almost upon us, the Paddock Pass Podcast wraps up its manufacturer review of the 2020 MotoGP season. Neil Morrison and Adam Wheeler finish up their look back at this strange year in MotoGP with an analysis of how KTM and Aprilia have fared.

They start with KTM. It has truly been a revolutionary year for the Austrian factory, the season they went from fighting for top ten positions to regularly winning races and finishing on the podium. They discuss the remarkable progress of rookie Brad Binder, the hard work done by Pol Espargaro, and the test team. They draw parallels between KTM's previous experience in the offroad sector to the MotoGP project, and talk in depth about how Dani Pedrosa and the test team helped KTM make that huge leap forward. And they evaluate all of KTM's riders, including the exceptional Miguel Oliveira and the raw talent of Iker Lecuona.

They then move to Aprilia, and ponder the Italian factory's progress through the year. They discuss the RS-GP MotoGP machine, Aleix Espargaro's performance through the year, and how Andrea Iannone's doping case cast a long shadow over their season. They talk about what it meant for Bradley Smith, who went from test rider to full-time rider without much time to prepare mentally. And they look at what it means for the future.

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Luccinelli, love it! In an era of (quite rightly) a Barry Sheene obsessed U.K. race fan, I always loved Mad Dog Marco, he out-Bazzered Bazza in so many ways, or maybe just got caught more often! I still want a replica helmet of his simple but iconic 5-point starred AGV! Met him at Borgo Panigale in 1991 when he was WSBK manager for Ducati, soon after he was, err, out of circulation for allegedly transporting more than bikes and parts around the world, still one heck of a character!

Thanks for the podcast, circle nicely completed; I was in the grandstand Jerez 2005 when Shakey Byrne parked the smoking KTM beside the fence as their troubles continued and they faded away into the KR bike . Pit Bierer (I think..) admitted the huge financial commitment caught them out but wanted to be back with the right budget. Fast forward a decade and there were quite a few doubters, me and quite a few wise chaps on here weren't amongst them and, working in the bike trade most of my life, just KNEW that KTM, if the funding was there, would compete. They are an aggressive, clever and resourceful company that can do things their way and not rely on everybody else. When I heard the rumours of a €250 million five year plan the scene was set and brilliant people began to gravitate towards Mattighofen, to some it's no surprise and wherever in the world Honda line up on the grid, KTM need no further motivation-their long standing banner is 'Ready to Race'. Exactly. 
Aprilia on the other hand appear to have had talent draining out of the place. I really like Aprilia, at their heart is a very talented core and a proud racing spirit. D'you know what, the contrasts in these two European companies are to me almost exclusively down to budgets and resources; Piaggio may be massive and it's credit to them they've committed to the five year plan Dorna demands but they quite simply, at present, do not possess the voracious appetite to succeed that KTM does: I for one sincerely hope that they recover their fabulous racing heritage, though as I write, I cannot see how. I hope I'm proved wrong..


Well said. I like that Luccinelli replica too. (Is it just me shocked by the literally disgusting "2020?" Ewwwe! Mr Mir, so sorry).

I did not have belief in KTM in MotoGP. The in house STEEL TRELLIS frame and WP Suspension, it just had flounder written all over it for me. It hasn't been done that oddly for several eras. Aprilia on the other hand has a conventional design. Neither has to develop their own electronics, the bane of smaller budget MotoGP projects, there was some hope. But no way will KTM compete with that model, at least any time soon. 

SOOO happy to be wrong! Incredible Orange steps the last couple of years. Wow. 

We used to have the Japanese, meaning Honda and Yamaha, and also Ducati trying something differently. What a small underwhelming and frustrating lockstep of a checkers game that now appears. Still getting used to the new brighter and bigger reality. Muttering to myself during a race, "Austria? KTM. Steel pipes and their own suspension?! Austrians. Wait, BINDER won a dry race? S African? Are other people seeing this?" 

Then the flip side of that coin, looking over at the 2020 Honda and Yamaha. Wait, what?



Just enjoyed the commentary on the Joan Mir Interview year end episode. Couple things - Neil I remember listening a yr ago when you said "Mir may well be a surprise in 2020," and my scoff at your error. You are the one I nearly ALWAYS agree with. Oops.

Does Mir know he has won it? Yes. Fairly quickly. Sensible straightforward person. Fun mention of Jorge hamming himself up on Joan's day...I don't like Mir, I love him. I don't like Jorge, I mostly respect him as a rider. Mir is on a rise, Suzuki too, including belief/faith. He will run #36. If he wins 2021? Maybe then run #1. Will he win 2021? Not betting on ANYTHING re our 2021 winner, but there are some likely contenders. But not knowing? Fantastic!

Marc will not come back fast straight away after a year off. No. It will take 5-8 laps. Second session, with a tire choice and set up looking at "seeing what he can do" and he will be up front. He will do prefer the bike to what he last rode. He won't push 120%, just 110%. And that will be something to contend with. Concern remains about his fitness. He may well miss the first rounds. Other riders have made steps forward.

2021 looks good from here!



Day In The Life of BSB Racers, Taylor Mackenzie and Co. Enjoying this kid! Interested in Kyle Ryde as well. 15 mins video. Did you all catch the 1.5 hrs BSB 2020 Review posted on a prev article? You should eh?

p.s. ready to call Gresini Suzuki done and dusted. No one else following those breadcrumbs joining in excitement? Or disagreeing? Brian thinks VR46 is going Ducati, and I say no - I also say I was wrong that Vale was going to grab Suzukis (wrong couple of breadcrumbs)...he is staying Yamaha because it is the simplest straightforward move. And, their bike is about to get out of the gutter (albeit still without more than barely sufficient engine). Anyone have thoughts? 


What to think anymore...I can't even keep up with all the permutations. As long as there are 2 more Suzukis on the grid I'll be happy. Would be a good landing spot for AD04 - hey, Dovi, it TURNSrightnow. He could win the WC in '22 if he's on the Hamamatsu Hammer. I can't hardly wait for this season. Of course I say that every year but this time I really mean it. Cheers!

Really? How many years did Dovi have A#1 kit and not get it done? By his own admission last year, he has to have a machine edge to win. This year, by his own admission, couldn't adapt.

Suzuki = machine edge. Btw, Rins will be WC this year.

Fausto G just hospitalized w Covid 19 

Let's all take a moment and send our warmest to Mr Gresini. Recover swiftly! Glad you are in good care, super sorry to hear the news, peace and health to you and yours.