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Two crashes on Day 2 at the Valencia Test left Johann Zarco (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) feeling disappointed with his results as he acquaints himself with the RC16 machine for the first time.
The Valencia Test, the best of Day 2
“I would say that it was worse than I expected,” reflected the Frenchman, who ended the test down in P20 and 1.752 off Maverick Viñales’ (Yamaha Factory Racing) time. “I wanted to improve the lap time more but I could not do it. We were improving the feeling and we got better control of the bike but the speed is not there. I’m disappointed with the result today. It’s a shame, I had two crashes but no injuries, which is important, and it helped us to really understand the weak point of our bike and I also understood things about my riding that maybe I will have to change a little bit. Step by step, I’m building up that adventure.”
Fresh off the back of his maiden MotoGP™ podium, teammate Pol Espargaro was able to complete 47 laps on Day 2 to finish 0.871 from Viñales. But what does the Spaniard make of the first 2019 tests?
“It’s been tough but it’s been positive,” said the number 44 rider. “Always a test, even if some things go wrong, you can take the positive parts of them. We have tried many things, especially focusing on the electronics because we’ll need to work on it more next so. It’s been pretty nice. By the end, we wanted to do a fast lap time because it’s what people see, but we had some problems with that. Anyway, I think we have done a good job. We tried many things on the bike. All the staff are happy and have still a lot of things to try. We’ll continue in Jerez.”
Hafizh Syahrin (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) was another KTM rider to crash on Day 2, but what did he make of his first two days on a 2019 RC16? “It was good. We didn’t change many things from yesterday to today but around an hour and a half before finishing we changed something on the front,” began the Malaysian, who managed to get 43 laps under his belt on Day 2 to finish 2.251 off the top.
“We changed the rear suspension. It’s quite a short time for me to understand but we feel better and better,” continued Syahrin. “We also only used two new tyres for this morning then we changed them for the afternoon and tried to run and understand the bike. The important thing is try to get used to the bike. This is what the team really want and also we want to work hard on the new electronics and new suspension; it’s very different from the other bike. I had a small crash in the afternoon because of the medium tyre, when the temperature was a bit cold and dangerous on the right side. Nothing happened. The bike is okay. We’ll try to work step by step before the test in Jerez and come back in a good shape to go a bit faster in the practice.
All of the action from Day 2 of the Valencia Test
I think the electronics are very important to improve and also the suspension. It’s very different. I need to have the feeling for turning. Before I crashed we changed something and I just did four laps and then I crashed, so not enough laps to understand more. But in a very short time, we had a good feeling in this setup, so maybe we’ll use this base in next week’s test.”
It was nearly three KTM riders who fell on Wednesday after Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) very nearly lost control of his RC16. Luckily for the rookie, he stayed on and was able to get another vital day of testing in his pocket, improving his lap time by over a second from Day 1.
“I definitely made a step forward compared to yesterday,” reflected the rookie. “I improved the lap time, did many more laps than we did yesterday, and continued to work on the bike. Today, we started to touch on some areas. Yesterday, was basically the same bike throughout the day but today we made some changes. Obviously, everything is new, so it took the team a little bit of time to make those changes, as well from my comments that I get from the bike. It’s a learning curve for everyone, so it’s a particular situation that I’m in, with a team with a new bike. A learning curve for everyone, but so far positive.
Oliveira's first scare on the KTM RC16
“One thing we did today that was quite good was that I could feel much better on the brakes with the bike, which was something lacking a lot yesterday. We will continue to improve in this area, with a lot of room to improve. In Jerez we will look to do more laps, collect information and try to be closer to the front.”
But what happened when he came out the pits at Turn 2? “It was a rookie mistake. We went out, tried to warm up the carbon disc but too much. Fortunately, it didn’t end in catastrophe!”
So, not the start Zarco was looking for at KTM but there’s not long until he gets to jump on board his new bike again when the premier class head to Jerez on Wednesday 28th and Thursday 29th November.
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