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MOTOREX Magazine 2018 111 EN

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POWERSPORTS © KTM Racing A third racer, the experienced KTM test rider Mika Kallio (FIN) #36 (middle) will join Pol Espargaro (ESP) #44 and Bradley Smith (GBR) #38 to compete in the 2018 MotoGP season. Mika displayed considerable skill as a wild-card rider in three races in 2017. KTM MOTOGP RACING FORWARD DRIVE The times when KTM was a name you only heard in connection with off-road racing are gone for good, as the company’s successful debut in the MotoGP class in 2017 proves. But it’s particularly difficult to get a footing in the top tier. Anyone hoping to see a KTM racer on the winners’ podium in the first season will have been disappointed. But if they’ve seen KTM Racing’s professional approach, they’ll know nothing is going to stop the Mattighofen team’s relentless forward drive. 10

There’s music and power in the two-in-one tailpipes that carry off each cylinder pair's exhaust gases. Together with rider feedback, precision data collection is the foundation for a perfectly tuned bike. At KTM, perfect teamwork is the key to shared success. Rider introductions ahead of the 2017 season: factory riders Pol Espargaro (l) and Bradley Smith. The surprises in KTM’s MotoGP racing season began with the choice of the two factory riders for the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team. Before joining KTM, Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro (2012 Moto2 world champion) competed successfully for three years in the Tech 3 Yamaha satellite team. “Ideal circumstances for this familiarity and mutual respect to help advance the RC16 project through some extremely challenging times,” declared KTM team manager Mike Leitner at the team introduction ahead of the 2017 season. LEADING WITH DATA In comparison with the old, established factory teams (Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Ducati, etc.) with their decades of experience on all the world’s racetracks, KTM entered its first season under exceptionally difficult circumstances. Team engineers and technicians need a wide range of figures (chassis, engine, brakes, tires) and lap parameters to fine-tune bikes for a given GP track – data that can only be collected during tests and races. So the Japanese GP in Motegi was a first for KTM in every way: apart from four brief free training runs, the qualifying run and warm-up, the team had never had an opportunity to conduct test runs at the track. The more data is available, the better a bike can be tuned before the race. KTM had conducted engine tests back in 2015. These were followed by rolling chassis tests, and in 2016 Mika Kallio and MOTOREX MAGAZINE 111 I JANUARY 2018 11



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