KTM to try new-spec engine in Le Mans MotoGP test

KTM will test a new-specification engine for its maiden MotoGP bike at Le Mans this week ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez.

KTM to try new-spec engine in Le Mans MotoGP test
Pol Espargaro, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Pol Espargaro, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Pol Espargaro, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, blown engine
Bradley Smith, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Bradley Smith, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Pol Espargaro, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, Bradley Smith, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Bradley Smith, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Bradley Smith, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

The Austrian manufacturer has the only remaining ‘screamer’ engine configuration on the grid, following Honda’s 2017 switch to the ‘big bang’ firing order.

Riders Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro have noticed how aggressive the RC16 is, with much of that coming from the V4 engine,o n their switch from Tech 3-run Yamahas.

A revised engine was sampled during the final pre-season test in Qatar but has not been raced, and an engine that Smith says is based on a “new idea” will be evaluated by the pair on Tuesday, amid KTM’s three-day test with Mika Kallio.

“We’ve got a one-day test at Le Mans, which will be trying different engine configuration there,” Smith said. “That’s obviously in the pipeline, then whatever else the test team has been trying. 

“I know they’re going hard with different ideas, with Mika. They’re making some good progress. 

“Mika will do, I think, all three days at Le Mans, so anything they find there as well they’ll probably ship down to Jerez and we’ll either try it during the weekend or on the Monday test."

New fairing gets rave reviews

KTM also tried a new aerodynamic fairing at the last round in Austin, which Smith and Pol Espargaro both tried over the course of the weekend.

The Briton says KTM’s update is different and more effective than the winglets he had on his Tech 3 Yamaha last year.

“The biggest problem with our bike is it seems to wheelie quite a lot,” Smith said. “It’s just keeping the front wheel on the ground, like the wings did before.

“I feel a bigger difference before than I ever did with the wings on last year’s bike.

“This fairing’s a completely different concept, and it seems to help our bike quite a lot - by at least half-a-second [at Austin], which is much more than I ever got last year."

Additional reporting by Charles Bradley

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