KTM test Moto3 upgrades at Montmelo
The summer break is in full swing for most of the paddock but KTM held a private test at Montmelo this week for their Moto3 riders. The Austrian manufacturer has been competitive in the class this year but with Danny Kent dominating it's clear that there's room for improvement despite winning races and claiming pole positions.
Gabriel Rodrigo, Niklas Ajo and Romano Fenati were all on hand to test with Rodrigo spending the two day test focusing on turning laps and learning the bike. The Spanish rookie has shown flashes of his potential this year but needs more experience on the bike.
Ajo and Fenati on the other hand were both testing new parts with a new chassis the biggest step taken by KTM. Both riders tested their standard race bikes and the new chassis to offer feedback on the feeling and data to determine whether the new chassis was a step forward.
The test is crucial because Moto3 manufacturers can now only bring one major upgrade through the season. This has meant that choosing the right time is critical and a manufacturer best be sure that the new parts offer a significant improvement.
With winter testing having been a series of wasted days due to rain Tom Jovic said that this was a cost still being felt by KTM and he offered his views on the test.
"It was a difficult winter with testing being brutal for us because it was raining when we needed dry track time with a new bike," said the Canadian engineer. "The first few races were difficult but the guys got on top of it an dwe've have wins and podiums and we're getting to where we should be. The bike is getting better and we're improving the setup. This test was to do some development work with our test team from Austria as well as work with some of our Grand Prix riders.
"We're working on some bigger parts now. We have a couple of chassis to test, one new and one old one. The feedback from the riders has made it easier for us had made it easier to achieve a target for most of the top guys. We've got some other little things to test that may not be about performance but rather that we can iron out issues that could affect a weekend. We don't have a date for when we'll deliver an upgrade but today was positive and so far the feedback is positive."
KTM sent both riders out on track with their usual bike and also the test bike. With the laptime data and rider offering them insight into whether the improvements are actually something that can make the key difference in the fight with Honda in the class.
Fenati has finished in the top ten at every race this year, except the season opener in Qatar, but qualifying has once again been his weakness. Improving that one lap speed will be crucial but overall he has been pleased with the progress made in recent races and also in this test.
"Now we're testing in Barcelona to confirm our feeling and to complete some laps to practice and get ready for Indianapolis," said Fenati. "We improved the bike a little with this test and I'm happy with the first part of our season because the bike is improving. I hope that we'll continue to improve and the team will continue to work hard."