KTM is all set to challenge for the MotoGP championship from 2017 onwards. KTM have been working hard on getting their RC16 MotoGP bike ready to be competitive enough to make a mark in the MotoGP arena. They have signed current Tech3 riders Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro to ride for their factory team in 2017. KTM’s main test rider Mika Kallio has revealed that just like Suzuki back in 2015, KTM will make a wild-card appearance in the final round of the 2016 MotoGP championship at Valencia. Riders like Karel Abraham, Randy De Puniet and Thomas Luthi have been testing the KTM RC16 MotoGP machine alongside Kallio at various tracks like Jerez, Misano, Brno, Mugello and most recently at the official test at Austria.
The KTM RC16 has been put through the paces at the test at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. The brand new venue has just ten turns, with seven right and only three left turns. The Red Bull Ring is also set to be the fastest track on the MotoGP calendar in terms of average speed per lap. KTM have attended the test with the intention of comparing their prototype against the more established manufacturers on the grid. Test rider Kallio put the KTM RC16 MotoGP machine in 16th place on the board with the bike being 2.292 seconds off the lap time of the fastest rider who was Andrea Dovizioso.
The KTM MotoGP machine has been built around the new Magneti Marelli ECU and unified software, which meant that the bike was not as far off from the mark as Suzuki were in 2015. As testing progresses during the season, KTM are sure to close the gap even more by the time they take to the track against the field at Valencia. The test riders will continue to compare the times of the KTM RC16 with the more established manufacturers like Honda, Ducati and Yamaha and tweak the bike as needed. Riders Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro will get a chance to ride the RC16 race bike at the post-season testing after the final round in Valencia and we will know what to expect from the motorcycle next year.
The V-4 engine on the KTM RC16 is said to make about 270 horsepower which is a lot even by MotoGP standards. KTM will have to work hard to make sure the power is usable on the track and be competitive next season.