Massive improvment for Red Bull KTM at Malaysian GP
Posted on Oct 28, 2017 by Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Scorching temperatures once more were order of the Malaysian MotoGP weekend as the towards the end of qualifying track temperatures were 55 degrees celcius, the hottest of the year, but this did nothing to quell the speed of the KTM RC16 for its qualifying debut at Sepang. One of the best laps ever from Pol Espargaro meant KTM once more leapt from Q1 to Q2 even though he suffered a high speed crash on his last run. He was back in the garage in a matter of minutes before returning to the track for one final run in Q2 but unfortunately couldn’t improve so will start from 12th. His Q1 time was good enough for a spot knocking on the door of another top 10 start. For KTM it is their tenth top 12 grid spot during their debut season in MotoGP.
Team mate Bradley Smith also improved from his pre-season time, by 0.7 seconds, and will start 16th, the Birt losing a little time at the last corner of his fastest lap but confident he can find that time in tomorrow’s race.
All MotoGP teams did a three day test here in early February but since then the RC16 has been developed with many new parts so the 1.14 second improvement in lap time today is on going proof of the commitment of the KTM Motorsport factory in Austria.
Bradley Smith (Factory Rider MotoGP):
“First and foremost I’m frustrated not to go forward to Q2 as things have gone so well over the last two weekends so to miss out on that was a little annoying as a made a slight mistake at the last corner. Today didn’t quite give me the feeling for one lap but fair play to the guys at the front as a 2m 0.1sec to go through to Q2 is no clowning around so I’m happy with what I was able to do. We’ve made steps forward in FP4 for race pace but this of all tracks is a trade off of braking and also the flowing corners too.”
Sebastian Risse (Technical Director MotoGP):
“It wasn’t an easy day but it was a good day with Pol to get through to Q2: A great achievement. This was impressive as we had some problems with set up so it wasn’t an easy weekend by any means but still the final result is great for the team. When we look back at the 2017 test in February it is a big difference and very satisfying to see how the bike has developed so we shall now see how the bike will be when we come back here in February 2018 because that’s not so far away from now. That will be a ‘different bike’ again so I’m curious to see that progress too. Meanwhile, we have the race tomorrow so I mustn’t get ahead of myself.”