Steep learning curve for Red Bull KTM MotoGP Factory Racing Team in Austin

RACE 3rd Rd. MotoGP 2017 – Circuit of the Americas (USA)
Pol Espargaro & Bradley Smith KTM RC16 Austin 2017

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It was the team’s first visit with the KTM RC16 MotoGP bike to the difficult Texan circuit, and represented another stage in their steep learning curve as they tackle their first season in the premier class.

Bradley Smith: “It was a tricky day with tire choice. When the sun came out we were a bit worried about whether the soft tire would really work, and we had done the majority of our work on that tire choice. The hard tire was okay when we had grip but then we had problems when it slowly disappeared. I was a bit nervous when I saw Pol’s bike smoking and after that, I just tried to look after the bike and the tires. I started to push a bit to see if I could stay in front of Bautista but he was stronger than us. In the end I just tried to finish the 21 laps to get some important information for the team. We always knew that this race was going to be a difficult one for us. I’m proud that we were able to have a bike that could do one fast lap, now our objective is to move forward and make one that does 21 laps.”

Pol Espargaro: “We started to feel this problem with the clutch in the second lap. I was not fast enough in the straights and in some corners the front was shaking quite a lot. Honestly the guys put in a big effort this weekend with the new fairing, and they didn’t get much sleep. We were really unlucky today. I don’t know what we could have done, but maybe it would have been possible to take a point. We will have some new parts to test in Le Mans and after that we race in Jerez, where we have already been with the KTM. I feel something good is coming but we need to be patient.”

Mike Leitner (Team Manager MotoGP): “This was a typical track where we were for the first time, and we ran out of time to make any really big steps on the bike setting, and to test everything to be competitive. We have to take it like it is because we will face this problem a few more times this year. With Pol we had an issue with the clutch, which caused an oil leak and this is why the engine was smoking. Now we just have to accept it and keep working to make it better.”

Miguel Oliveira, who in the last round in Argentina took the first-ever podium on the new KTM Moto2 bike for the Red Bull KTM Ajo Team had another solid race at the Texas circuit to finish in sixth place. He is also third in the points after three of 18 rounds. Ricky Cardus of Spain, the team’s test rider for the new Moto2 project raced alongside Oliveira this weekend to replace factory rider, South African Brad Binder, who is recuperating from surgery. Cardus (ESP) finished a respectable 14th place to pick up two championship points.

Oliveira said it had been a tough race even though in the beginning he had been able to get close to the front. “But the truth is that I was not fast enough. I couldn't catch them. I had my pace in the high 2:10s, but couldn't keep in the low 2:10s. When I realized that, I was content to defend the fifth position. Unfortunately, I skipped a gear going into the first corner and (Dominique) Aegerter passed me. I tried to hold out a little but I was not close enough to overtake him.” Oliveira added that it had been an important weekend for gathering data about the bike and in discovering points that need to be improved.

Also the fastest KTM in Moto3 qualifying, it was Nicolo Bulega (ITA) on his KTM RC250 GP who had the best finish on race day. He and KTM rider Juanfran Guevara (ESP) crossed the line in fifth and sixth. Germany’s Philipp Oettl and Darren Binder (RSA) finished 9-10 to give KTM four riders in the top ten. While Italian Niccolo Antonelli did rescue two points for the team with a 14th place, his teammate Bo Bendsneyder (NED) lost the front end and crashed in the second lap, just before the race was red flagged after another rider went down. The race was reduced from 18 laps to 12 at the restart.

Bulega: "I came back to the front group and this is something to enjoy. It was not an easy race, with KTM we struggled a bit and it was difficult to keep the pace of the Honda until the finishing line. I'm happy with this result and I can not wait to back on track at Jerez, a track that I really love."

Antonelli: "I made a good start in today's race. However, as the laps went by I didn't feel comfortable under braking and lost many positions as a result, until I found myself inside a large group of riders. In the end I just tried to complete the race without crashing and to continue gaining experience on the bike.”

Next Race: May 7, 2017 – Circuit de Jerez (ESP)

Results Race MotoGP Circuit of the Americas 2017

1. Marc Marquez (ESP), Honda, 43:58.770 min (21 laps)
2. Valentino Rossi (ITA), Yamaha, +3.069 sec
3. Dani Pedrosa (ESP), Honda, +5.112
4. Cal Crutchlow (GBR), Honda, +7.638
5. Johann Zarco (FRA), Yamaha, +7.957
Other KTM
16. Bradley Smith (GBR), KTM, +1:22.090 min
DNF Pol Espargaro (ESP), KTM, +12 laps

Standings MotoGP 2017 after 3 of 18 races
1. Rossi, 56 points
2. Maverick Viñales (ESP), Yamaha, 50
3. Marquez, 38
3. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA), Ducati, 30
5. Crutchlow, 29
Other KTM
21. Espargaro, 2
22. Smith, 1

Results Race Moto2 Circuit of the Americas 2017
1. Franco Morbidelli (ITA), Kalex, 41:20.078 min (19 laps)
2. Thomas Luthi (SUI), Kalex, +2.633 sec
3. Takaaki Nakagami (JAP), Kalex, +6.809
4. Alex Marquez (ESP), Kalex, +9.852
5. Dominique Aegerter (SUI), Suter, +10.927
Other KTM
6. Miguel Oliveira (POR), KTM, 13.029

14. Ricard Cardus (ESP), KTM, +24.245
DNS Brad Binder (RSA), KTM

Standings Moto2 2017 after 3 of 18 races
1. Morbidelli, 75 points
2. Luthi, 56
3. Oliveira, 43
4. Nakagami, 32
5. Xavi Vierge (ES), Tech3, 25
Other KTM
16. Binder, 7
21. Cardus, 2

Results Race Moto3 Circuit of the Americas 2017
1. Romano Fenati (ITA), Honda, 27:15.841 min (12 laps)
2. Jorge Martin (ESP), Honda, +4.504 sec
3. Fabio Di Giannantonio (ITA), Honda, +4.527
4. Enea Bastianini (ITA), Honda, +4.673
5. Nicolo Bulega (ITA), KTM, +4.968
Other KTM
6. Juanfran Guevara (ESP), KTM, +5.618
9. Philipp Oettl (GER), KTM, +6.594
14. Niccolo Antonelli (ITA), KTM, +13.412
DNF Bo Bendsneyder (NED), KTM

Standings Moto3 2017 after 3 of 18 races
1. Joan Mir (ESP), Honda, 58 points
2. Martin, 52
3. John Mcphee (GBR), Honda, 49
4. Fenati, 45
5. Andrea Migno (ITA), 25
Other KTM
7. Oettl, 20
9. Guevara, 17
14. Antonelli, 11
29. Bendsneyder

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Bradley Smith KTM RC16 Austin 2017
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Pol Espargaro & Bradley Smith KTM RC16 Austin 2017
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Bradley Smith & Staff KTM RC16 Start Austin 2017
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Pol Espargaro & Staff KTM RC16 Start Austin 2017
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Miguel Oliveira KTM Moto2 Austin 2017
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Miguel Oliveira KTM Moto2 Austin 2017
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Ricard Cardus KTM Moto2 Austin 2017
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Nicolo Bulega KTM RC250 GP Austin 2017
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Philipp Oettl KTM RC250 GP Austin 2017
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Niccolo Antonelli KTM RC250 GP Austin 2017
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Bo Bendsneyder KTM RC250 GP Austin 2017
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Pol Espargaro & Bradley Smith KTM RC16 Austin 2017 (. jpg )

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Bradley Smith Quote RACE 3rd Rd. MotoGP 2017 – Circuit of the Americas 23.04.2017

.mp3 1,9 MB

Pol Espargaro Quote RACE 3rd Rd. MotoGP 2017 – Circuit of the Americas 23.04.2017

.mp3 1,6 MB