Red Bull KTM rider Bradley Smith says it’s hard to know what to expect this weekend when he and teammate Pol Espargaró make their debut on the RC16 machine at Argentina’s Termas de Rio Hondo circuit.
Heading for the first time to one of the few tracks on the circuit where the team have no experience at all, he says that it’s going to be a learning experience for them as they gather data.
“It’s difficult to know what will happen in Argentina. The track layout is a bit more basic, there are a few less corners and its more user friendly compared to Qatar. But we go there completely blind, we don’t know how our bike is going to be. We have a general understanding and we’re starting to get an algorithm in terms of what the KTM needs at the racetrack. The track will be green the first day, it will evolve and we have to try and set it up at a track we’ve never been to. So, I hope it’s easier – but it also gives us a dress rehearsal ahead of Austin, which is another technical track.”
That lack of experience with the bike was shown last time out in Qatar, too, when the Oxfordshire racer suffered in the opening race of the year after admitting that losing sessions to the rain cost them.
“With a new project, you always need to get the first one over and done with. Testing is one thing but until you’ve put yourself in a race situation you never really know how it's going to be. Obviously, we gathered a lot of information, even like the first couple of laps and being around other riders, seeing what their bikes do compared to ours. It was almost weird to think I was racing – because we’re still testing and developing. But in general I think we have to be happy that we got both bikes across the line – and we’re starting the journey of KTM in MotoGP.
"I hadn’t done any running on low fuel, because during the tests we were too busy developing – and then qualifying was cancelled! So that was interesting in the last third of the race, because I struggled a lot when the fuel load went down."
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