Closer look: KTM’s performance leap from a quiet pre-season

by | Apr 6, 2023 | Aprilia, Ducati, KTM, motoGP News

Closer look: KTM’s performance leap from a quiet pre-season

P6 and P8 in the Championship, a Sprint victory and consistent speed – Binder, Miller and KTM are on the up in 2023

It’s fair to say Red Bull KTM Factory Racing had a quiet pre-season. Brad Binder and new signing Jack Miller rarely threatened the top 10, as factories such as Ducati and Aprilia displayed superior pace. From the outside, it began to look slightly worrying for the Austrian factory.

However, there was no real need for anyone to worry. Miller’s magnificent Portuguese Practice 2 table-topping time set the tone for the opening two rounds. The Australian led the first-ever Sprint and eventually finished P4, while an injured Binder managed to claim P6 in the Grand Prix race – one place ahead of Miller.

Fast forward to the Argentina GP, and Binder takes everyone’s breath away – including his own – to win the Sprint from P15 on the grid. A day later, Miller comes from P16 to take P6 in his first wet race on the KTM. So, heading to Austin, the duo sit P6 and P8 in the overall standings. Not a bad start at all. But where have they found the pace and improvements since pre-season? Let’s try and decipher it below.

Electronic & engine braking changes in Portimao

When first jumping on the bike at the Valencia Test, Miller said that he could have ridden the KTM RC16 with an “on/off switch for a throttle”. Essentially, Miller couldn’t thread on the power smoothly. However, that’s been massively improved, as shown by Miller’s ability to run at the sharp end all weekend at the Portuguese GP.

The engine brake steps can’t be underestimated either. Typically, the RC16 has been an on-the-limit braking type of motorcycle, which has seen the likes of Binder having to constantly run the harder, and mostly the hardest, front tyre available during race weekends. For the Portuguese GP Sprint, Miller used the soft front and made it work. How?

“I don’t know if you can see with the KTM but the thing is like this (mimes going sideways) coming into the corner,” explained Miller in Portimao. “It was doing that the other day and I wasn’t really decelerating. But having the bike in this position takes a lot of load off the front and I’m not as much on the razor’s edge. But they’ve been able to give me the sliding performance, but with the deceleration like a bike that is dead straight. It’s not locking and slipping so it’s good.”

That’s how, and it’s a crucial breakthrough for KTM. Being able to utilise the softer compounds will undoubtedly help when it comes to low grip, colder conditions – and of course in qualifying and Sprint modes too.

Stability, rideability & rear grip

Miller also talked about the “massive step in the right direction in terms of rideability” in Portimao. “Incredible rear grip” was another statement made by the Australian, and in Argentina, both he and Binder admitted that they made their RC16s run lower – a Portimao setting – in order to get a better feeling on Termas’ low grip surface.

“We made a big step going back to basically our Portimao setting this afternoon. With the bike quite down. We went up originally because you generally always do here to try and find some grip. But it didn’t really help us,” explained Miller on Friday in Argentina.

HIGHLIGHTS: Brilliant Binder start tees up Tissot Sprint win

“After doing that, I felt immediately more comfortable again on the bike and was able to put in some better laps than I did in the morning on the same tyres and was step by step getting closer and closer and faster and faster.” You only have to look at what Binder did in the Sprint to see the potential performance of the KTM.

Miller and Crew Chief gaining experience

As we know, Miller joined KTM from Ducati. But a huge positive for Miller – and KTM – was being able to bring Crew Chief Cristhian Pupulin with him from the Italian marque. Ducati produced a world-beating motorcycle in 2022 that Miller won a race on in Japan, and there’s no denying that Miller and Pupulin will have been able to bring some expertise and secrets over with them.

Whatever the behind-the-scenes hustle and bustle are at KTM, it’s working. Their 2023 ball is well and truly rolling as we get set for the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas – a track Miller has two MotoGP™ podium finishes at. After a weekend off, Binder’s neck injury will hopefully be a thing of the past so he can attack the Grand Prix pain-free from the get-go. It’s exciting times for KTM, now they need to continue to build on a promising start to the campaign.

Check out the MotoGP™ Tech Facebook group!

Follow the entire 2023 Season LIVE & VOD with VideoPass!

Source link


Changes to how MotoGP™ riders enter Q2 approved

Changes to how MotoGP™ riders enter Q2 approved

Changes to how MotoGP™ riders enter Q2 approved The Grand Prix Commission agrees to change the sessions timed for entry into Q2 The Grand Prix Commission, composed of Messrs. Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna, Chairman), Paul Duparc (FIM), Hervé Poncharal (IRTA) and Biense...

2021 Royal Enfield Meteor 350

2021 Royal Enfield Meteor 350 (Fireball trim) (Royal Enfield/)UpsThe beginner cruiser market gains one more competitorImpressive, well-balanced handlingEngine power may not be jaw-dropping, but its mild-mannered delivery and lack of vibration provides a very relaxed...

2021 Kawasaki Z900RS/Café

2021 Kawasaki Z900RS. (Kawasaki/)UpsClassic replica styling of the original Z1Modern chassis, suspension, brakes, wheelsDownsUnder 100 hp fromSuspension a bit softVerdictRetro classic fever caught on big with the motorcycle industry in the latter half of the past...

2021 Ducati SuperSport 950/S

2021 Ducati SuperSport 950 S (Ducati Red) (Ducati/)UpsUpdated electronics with Bosch six-axis IMU at the controlsNew windshield and seat enhance comfortA versatile and practical everyday machine with fantastic composure on the trackDownsLost a few horsepower due to...

The Speedshop roars into action for a series of adventures on BBC Two

Photo: Mark Riccioni Following a successful pilot, The Speedshop returns for 6×60 episodes with former Special Forces operator Titch Cormack designing and building bespoke motorbikes and cars from his “souped-up man-cave” on Poole’s picturesque waterfront. This series...

PATENTS: HONDA’s designs for ‘traffic monitoring’ cameras

The Japanese factory has just filed patents for a new camera system, which collects and deciphers information about the traffic ahead. Honda may not have released any bikes with radar technology just yet, but that doesn’t mean its not serious about technology that’ll...

2021 Suzuki SV650/X/ABS

2021 Suzuki SV650. (Suzuki/)UpsLow sticker priceFriendly yet peppy engineGood solid chassisDownsDesign is showing its ageA little heavyFront brake’s wooden response, numb feelVerdictAlthough it’s been usurped by newer competition, the SV650 is still a solid choice for...

2022 BMW F 900 XR Adventure Sport Review

We go for another ride aboard BMW’s easy-riding F 900 XR. (Joseph Agustin/)The 2022 F 900 XR is a plus-size middleweight adventure sport from BMW Motorrad. When BMW introduced this model for the 2020 model year, we were there for the official press introduction; see...

2021 Yamaha YZF-R3

2021 Yamaha YZF-R3. (Yamaha/)UpsSmall size, amiable manners for new ridersRevvy engine, good handling for expertsDownsNeeds slightly bigger engine to compete with rivals$300 price increaseVerdictThe R3′s debut six years ago changed the entry-level motorcycle...

2021 Honda Gold Wing Tour DCT MC Commute Review

Honda’s Gold Wing is the zenith of motorcycle touring. Whether you’re running to the local convenience store for a Slurpee, or traveling across the American Southwest for a getaway weekend, few streetbikes are as capable as the Gold Wing Tour DCT ($29,300 as...

Dutch TT – 90 years of motorsport history

Dutch TT - 90 years of motorsport history The Cathedral of Speed celebrates nine decades of hosting elite-level racing The 90th Dutch TT will be a memorable one. Delayed by a year due to Covid-19, this anniversary will not be the big party that was planned, but the...