Double point finish for Red Bull KTM MotoGP at German GP
Posted on Jul 02, 2017 by Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
The German MotoGP weekend gave an huge lift to Red Bull KTM Factory Racing and all three of the Austrian led Grand Prix racing projects with podiums, points and strong runs from teams and riders.
However, the main race of the day was MotoGP in which KTM had three entries with test rider Mika Kallio backing up team regulars Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro who fought tooth and nail in the race to be rewarded with strong points again. KTM 125cc and 250cc winner Mika Kallio returned to GP racing, seeing the flag a tantalising 0.08 seconds off a point scoring finish. The MotoGP team now heads to Aragon in Spain this week where all of the riders will test together on Thursday and Friday as KTM develops the RC16.
After wet and dry conditions all weekend, all three riders had something to smile about after the Sachsenring race with pace, data gathered and a great qualifying result from Saturday when Pol Espargaro was 7th, gaining KTM's best grid position to date. The No.44 KTM RC16 fought hard in the race being up to 12th with just a few laps to go to ultimately cross the line in 13th. Encouragingly, the gap in time to the winner of the race equated to a touch over a second a lap in difference after the thirty laps showing progress considering the bikes had never seen the Sachsenring circuit before. Bradley Smith was four seconds back of his team mate while Mika Kallio who was so strong in the morning warm up was just pipped to the last point. Positively the Finn had a fastest race lap time that showed his ultimate pace. Were in not for a loss of front grip at third distance he would have been much higher.
Bradley Smith (Factory Rider MotoGP):
"After a disappointing Assen we've come back to something that we knew, tried and tested with a setting this morning that I felt happier with. In the race I struggled a little bit in the opening ten laps and that's an area where I personally need to work on plus getting the bike to my kind of feeling, but then after that was when I really started to find my form. I'm pleased with the outcome as it was a proper race with eventually the third KTM only a short gap behind the points. In general, a great weekend for us and the whole KTM project as we've learnt an awful lot by having three riders out on track but the great thing is we're going to go to Aragon now for a two day test with all of us there to continue the progress and keep the ball rolling. Overall I'm pleased with the outcome, putting right last week with a solid performance and finish before we head into part two of the season."
Mike Leitner (Team Manager MotoGP):
"The weekend was amazing for the project, for KTM, for all three riders. We always had some highlights through all of the sessions for one of the three riders and in the end in the race, points for Pol after having a full on battle that was very important for him. He nearly got 12th back at the line after being in 12th with a few laps remaining. With Bradley he was fighting with Miller and came 14th. We know this isn't an easy place (MotoGP) but the guys here in the garage and at our HQ in Austria are working so hard behind the scenes. They are pushing all the time and it's so motivating to have this team behind this project 100%. This was the closest result for the lead KTM in terms of time since we started in Qatar as we were just over a second a lap back of the winner. This not only positive but what the riders are looking at because it looks like we can come a little closer. We know we have to work hard but we must always be reminded we are in our rookie season and the long term target is obviously higher than 'just points' so this is a very good sign. Mika was super this weekend as he did a great job. Unfortunately in the race he had an issue with the front tyre but after not racing for a while he did very well in the group he was in. What we saw from him in the dry warm up was quick stuff. He was always fast proving he is a good test rider for us so...he's still a racer and this is superb to see."
Next Race: August 6, 2017 – Brno (CZE)