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

MotoGP NEWS FEED

Triumph Extends Moto2 Partnership Until 2029

Triumph Motorcycles has signed a new contract to remain an Exclusive Engine Supplier for the FIM Moto2™ World Championship for another five seasons. Triumph is developing a full new race gearbox, which will debut in the 2025 season, alongside improvements for the 2024...

Ebike Maker Surron Announces First True Electric Dirt Bike

Surron’s first full-size electric dirt bike offering: the Surron Storm Bee F. (Surron/)If you stop and think too long about whether emerging EVs are bikes or motorcycles, you’re missing the fun. English EV maker Surron is a great example of blurring these lines,...

GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team Rookies Ready to Discover Imola

Dominique Aegerter and Remy Gardner are ready to return to action on 14th-16th July for the seventh round of the 2023 season at Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy. The WorldSBK paddock will be there for the first time since 2019, meaning it will be the very...

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...

Minibikes Draw Maxi-Attention at Barrett-Jackson Auction

This Honda CB175 was one of many small-displacement bikes sold at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, January 22-30, 2022. Photos by the author. The Barrett-Jackson automobile auction is an annual extravaganza with a major stop staged at Westworld in...

Longhaulpaul: Ep. 15 of the Rider Magazine Insider Podcast

Longhaulpaul (Paul Pelland) and his Yamaha Ténéré 700 on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. Our guest for Episode 15 of the Rider Magazine Insider Podcast is Longhaulpaul (Paul Pelland), a long-distance motorcyclist who is Chasing the Cure: riding one million miles to...

2023 Alpinestars Adventure Tour and Venture XT Jacket-Pant Review

Recently Alpinestars USA hosted its inaugural adventure tour in Big Bear Lake, California. The tour is an opportunity to showcase the Italian gear manufacturer’s ever expanding streetbike and off-road motorcycle gear lines. Astars pulled out the big guns for this...

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...

BMW Motorrad Days to return to the Alps

BMW Motorrad Days will return to Garmisch-Partenkirchen for 2024 after two years away. Garmisch-Partenkirchen has hosted the annual festival eighteen times before, however for the last two years the event has moved to Berlin. Back in the Alps again this year between 5...

Single and ready to mingle: Ducati’s Hypermotard 698 Mono

Introducing the latest addition to the Ducati Hypermotard family – the 698 Mono. This new model, unveiled today, boasts a single-cylinder engine known as the ‘Superquadro Mono’. The Ducati Hypermotard 698 Mono boasts class-leading supermoto performance as the first...