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26 days ago
By motogp.com

How much of an advantage will KTM & Aprilia have in 2020?

Their six riders will be the only men to have the chance to reacclimatise with their MotoGP™ machines ahead of the opening round

It's an obvious point that KTM and Aprilia's testing concessions offer them an advantage and allow them to close the gap to the four factories ahead of them in the MotoGP™ World Championship standings. However, in 2020, surely these testing concessions offer more of an advantage than ever. In these unprecedented times, simply getting the chance to ride a MotoGP™ bike ahead of the opening round in Jerez will offer a huge help.

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing boss Mike Leitner agrees too, telling motogp.com that Pol Espargaro and Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), plus Miguel Oliveira and Iker Lecuona (Red Bull KTM Tech 3), getting the chance to test at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli next week is "very positive". However, the Austrian will wait until Sunday evening on the 19th of July, the date of the Red Bull Gran Premio de España, to give a full indication of how much of an advantage it is.

KTM return to testing on home turf

Unlike Honda, Ducati, Yamaha and Suzuki, both KTM and Aprilia are allowed to test as freely as they would like, plus they can do so with their officially contracted riders. The only limiting factor being the 120 tyres allocated to them by Michelin for the calendar year. Therefore, KTM's four riders, and Aprilia Racing Team Gresini's Aleix Espargaro, can take part in next week's test at Misano.

"Of course, this is something that’s very positive," said KTM Team Manager Mike Leitner. "Both us and Aprilia have this, but, in the end, at the race weekend many riders will be fast. For sure, it’s not a disadvantage though. I can tell you how much of an advantage it is after the first round because, of course, it’s a different track with everybody starting on zero. But I will tell you after Sunday!

"Pol and Brad plus the Tech 3 team will come so we’ll have all four riders on the track, so we’re happy to have that and continue our development with all four riders. It’s simply not possible to do another test before round one, but this will be enough.

Pol Espargaro: "It's the dream bike to fight for a title"

"We will face Misano in a different way because it’s completely resurfaced so we don’t know what the track will be like with the new asphalt. It’s an important test for Michelin too, they’re extremely happy that both us and Aprilia will be there. It will be a help, of course, for the GP weekend. In particular, for the rookies, it’s good for them to ride before the two GPs there.

"This season will be very special with many back-to-back races, so the riders will need a good strategy to have a strong year. We’re looking forward to it starting, though. I think it’s a fair calendar with many racetracks with different characteristics. It will be a new experience for everyone: riders and manufacturers. We have quite a young line-up so for our team this is quite good, they get the chance to repeat a race just a week after the first. It will be interesting to see the progress, in particular with the young riders."

KTM and Aprilia will be joined at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli by Ducati Team's test rider Michele Pirro, with motogp.com the place to be to hear reactions and see track action from the penultimate bit of MotoGP™ testing before 2020 kicks into life on Wednesday the July of 15th, in a one-day test prior to the opening round of the season.

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