The KTM Factory Team first MotoGP performance messed up by a sensor
This weekend marked the end of 2016 MotoGP championship. The expected KTM Factory Team had their debut in the premier class competition. From 3 seconds off the race pace, the orange team managed a decent 20th place in the starting grip.
Out of pace
With Mika Kallio behind the handlebars, the weekend started pretty bad. The Finn rider couldn't get in the pace. More upsetting for KTM was that Kallio was unable tho reach the lap times he set in testing at Valencia. The time gap was a big surprise for them. Accusing problems with the rear wheel grip the first day was a bit messy for the team.
Kallio managed to get the rhythm in the last qualifying round. After a good performance on Saturday, he lined up in the 20th position. With a grid of 22 riders, the Sunday race seemed promising. The KTM RC16 machine is eight-tenths of a second behind the Lap record pulled by Jorge Lorenzo in 2015.
The Sunday race was a big step for the Orange team. A first experience in the MotoGP rhythm for them is a big achievement. The KTM rider managed to keep his position until the 19th lap when he had to retire. The rear wheel speed sensor caused an electronics failure and forced the Finn to head to the pits.
Mike Leitner, the KTM team manager, says the sensor failure that puts an early stop to its MotoGP debut is a ''Big warning''. This problem was never encountered during their previous testing at Valencia, ”We did some race distances in our testing and we never had this," he said.
Kallio is very confident with the progress and stated: ”we demonstrated that we are not miles away from the other bikes, we could be in the group in the first laps when the bike was still OK in the race.
The Austrian team is confident in their future season performance. For 2017 the Yamaha Tech3 riders Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith will ride on the KTM. The winter testing is close, and they trust they will become competitive for Qatar.
Interview source: Autosport.com