KTM takes new testing approach to fix ‘not ready’ 2022 MotoGP bike

Oliveira and teammate Brad Binder have each taken a win in 2021, but have found the season largely difficult as their RC16 MotoGP bike hasn’t evolved as much as some KTM competitors.

KTM made a low-key start to the 2022 season on the opening day of testing in Malaysia, with Tech3 rookie Raul Fernandez the brand’s main representative in 13th ahead of Binder and Oliveira in 16th.

Binder and Oliveira also crashed on Saturday at Sepang, but the latter was generally happy with the day even though he doesn’t think the new KTM is ready yet.

“The feeling is nice, it could have been a bit better because the new bike has a lot of potential but it’s not completely ready yet,” Oliveira said.

“And I feel we still have speed and feeling to find. But overall it was okay, I did a lot of laps, good laps.

“We started the day with a few issues, but we were able to sort them out quickly.

“It wasn’t the best strategy to find a good lap at the end, because of the tire choices. But I’m looking to do good tomorrow and hopefully get out of it. [of] Sepang with at least the same lap time benchmark as we left in 2020.”

MORE: What to expect as MotoGP pre-season testing begins

Last year was KTM’s first time competing in MotoGP as a non-dealer manufacturer, so were unable to complete an in-season testing program with their race riders. .

Often KTM at official testing and race weekends will bring mountains of items to try, but Binder revealed on Saturday that the brand has now changed its approach.

Brad Binder, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose/Motorsport Images

“I think last year we added a lot of very different things and we didn’t really find anything better,” said the South African.

“So I think the guys came up with a bit of a different approach to this test. We focus on two or three key elements and try to improve them.

“We don’t need a ton of time, but we do need a little. So if we could find maybe 0.3s, 0.4s, that would go a long way.

“We are focusing on improving some small things that will have a big benefit in the end.”

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Oliveira says KTM’s new approach was needed after its 2022 project was stalled mid-last year because its original prototype was the wrong “philosophy”.

“The new bike project was put on hold around June,” Oliveira said.

“We had a new bike which was not the right philosophy. At the end of the championship it’s hard to make new parts without direction.

“Of course, we could have a lot of boxes with new parts, but that doesn’t mean they’re better. We could just try and shoot in all directions.

“And we don’t want to do that, we want to have a similar bike to ’21 because we believe that with small tweaks both in parts and settings we can come up with better performance.

” And that’s what we’ve done. It may seem to the naked eye that the changes are not very big, but the small changes we are making make us believe that we have more potential to have a better bike this season.

Wiley C. Thompson