MotoGP: KTM trio joined by Olivera at Aragon test
KTM’s regular MotoGP trio of racers Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaró and test rider Mika Kallio were joined at a two-day test last week at Spain’s Aragon circuit by Moto2 rider Miguel Oliveira, with the Portuguese racer rewarded for his 2017 success with a run on the RC16 machine.
Making an incredible debut for KTM in the middleweight class as he takes regular podiums and even challenged for the win last time out in Sachsenring, Olivera says that although the focus wasn’t going fast on the bike, he nonetheless had fun.
"The goal was not that I was to get really fast but it was a test for myself to enjoy the day. I had this opportunity that I think every rider would like to have in his career at least one time but I’m really pleased to have had the chance to try that bike. So all in all it was a very good day to do a few laps and enjoy a MotoGP bike. Thank you KTM."
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However, while he was getting comfortable on the RC16, the regular trio were working hard – and project boss Mike Leitner says that big changes and big progress has been made by the squad.
"It was an amazing test as we had a big, big test planned where we touched some areas where we see the bikes have changed, so we now go back to the factory in Austria and look where we can improve for the second part of the season. Moreover, I want to say thank you to each single person who has worked on this project whether in Mattighoffen or in the race or test team as they have spent so much time and effort to get here. The riders have made a big effort too, and we are seeing progress from that as we go forward. It was a great job by all."
His sentiments were echoed by Bradley Smith, who says the successful test gives the squad hope for the coming rounds of the series after MotoGP’s month-long summer break.
"The great thing is that we had two days here before the summer break. The guys worked extremely hard and we touched on some really important points in our weakest area so from that point of view we are super happy with that work and direction. We ended up being very busy with a great deal of laps to confirm everything, but I really feel this will give the team good direction for the second half of the season, and for 2018 as well, so although we may not see the big picture right now, we will see it in the future.
“Aragon has been pretty good; the bike seems to work well here so I’m quite looking forward to coming back here at the end of September but there’s still an endless list of things we need to do with this project. All in all I’m happy going into the summer break finding some solutions."