To conclude the 2020 season, riders will take to the track in Portimao for the very first time as the Algarve destination makes its debut on the World Championship stage, and today sees the official MotoGP™ test commence as the teams try to get to grips with the new circuit.
The Autodromo Internacional do Algarve is set to provide a unique set of challenges to riders, with its characteristic elevation changes and undulating layout earning it the reputation of a high-speed rollercoaster.
KTM’s test rider and former World Champion Dani Pedrosa is in Portugal today and has had his say about the circuit ahead of the official MotoGP™ test.
“It’s my first time here, of course, the key tomorrow is to try to learn the track, get a bit of feeling on the corners and how to learn the blind spots of this track cause there is a lot of elevation change, in many points, you won’t see the corners, so you learn how to approach them and where to brake, etc, you need some laps. At the same time we’ll be trying the tyres and we have some different tyres, today and the race in November will be in different conditions but we have to try different tyres. See the speeds, to sort the gearbox and get the feeling on the first day… and from there, reset again for the second day!”
It has been a historic season for KTM as for the very first time both teams carrying the colours of the Austrian manufacturer have claimed race wins already this year.
Factory rider Brad Binder’s performance in Brno saw him become the first rookie race winner since now six-time World Champion Marc Marquez in 2013, while Miguel Oliveira ended Tech 3’s long wait for the top step with a stunning final corner overtake to steal victory at the death in Styria.
Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) has also put together a string of impressive performances, claiming podium finishes twice this season, while Iker Lecuona (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) has also given cause for optimism in his debut season with consecutive Top 10 finishes in the Austrian double.
There have been a lot of highs and lows for the Austrian manufacturer in one of the most unpredictable seasons in recent memory, but Pedrosa feels they have improved from recent years.
“I think KTM are very happy with the progress from last year, it was really positive to see the step. The key I think it’s a more settled package on the bike, a little more confidence with the bike for the riders and also the championship is… one race you can be on top and the next struggling, this also affects the results for everyone. So far it’s good for KTM, this step from last year, and I see that maybe now the Championship will be more stable towards the end, so let’s see how it’ll look at the end…”
“Every race we see a lot of change in the performance of the riders and bikes, I think from now on it’ll be a bit more stable especially the guys who see their chance closer to finishing well. Maybe from now on we can guess the results a bit more. So far it’s been so unpredictable so it’s hard to say!”