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KTM crew chiefs take stock of Sepang

Paul Trevathan and Tom Jojic assess first 2017 test

In the first Official Test of 2017, new Red Bull KTM Factory Racing riders Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro carried out a full program of work and, incredibly, ended the test with exactly the same gap to the front. With progress looking positive for the Austrian factory ahead of their full-time debut, both Bradley Smith’s Crew Chief, Tom Jojic, and Pol Espargaro’s Crew Chief, Paul Trevathan, talk through the first test of the year at Sepang International Circuit.

Jojic on Smith's KTM progress

Tom Jojic, Crew Chief – Bradley Smith: “We’re not looking for any lap times. I mean, we’re at the beginning of this project, we’re trying to understand our motorcycle, the riders are trying to understand the motorcycle and we’re trying to all work together. We have a huge mountain of ideas, parts, setting things up and the lap times are completely irrelevant right now; what we need to do is make the bike work, understand the changes we make that affect the package and later we’ll be worrying about lap times.

"We must understand what the boys raced here last year, which compound of tyre is the base tyre for everybody and make the bike work on that tyre; when we throw more grip at it of course we can go faster and of course it changes our problems. But the reality is that the race tyre is our number one thing to work on at this stage, we must make our guys competitive and ask Michelin what the best lap time is on the spec of tyre. That´s all we can do. We’ll do our adjustments to our bike and try to help the rider understand that package to build on the future.”

Trevathan on KTM: "We surprised ourselves with the laptime"

Paul Trevathan, Crew Chief - Pol Espargaro: “We were working flat out. Every exit we’ve done it’s been a different bike. There’s been something changed. On Wednesday we focused a lot on some of the issues we found here, rechecked the two chassis we’ve found the better direction with, and some swingarms.

“What we wanted to do over winter, we confirmed here and that’s been really positive. Of course we always want to keep making more steps, but maybe what we’re missing is that fine-tuning time where you can set it up and push for a really good laptime. With the laptime we achieved on the first day we surprised ourselves, and the rider was happy with that. That set the tone for the rest of the test and we put the laptime out of our mind and just concentrated on the bike.