MotoGP

KTM’s 2021 MotoGP progress “not shown in the results”

KTM was expected to be a regular podium contender in 2021 after scoring three victories across its factory and satellite Tech3 squads in a breakout 2020 season for the Austrian manufacturer.

But, despite wins for factory pair Oliveira at Barcelona and for Brad Binder in a wild Austrian Grand Prix, KTM struggled to fifth in the constructors’ standings and scored just five more points than it did across the COVID-shortened 14-round 2020 campaign.

Oliveira – who ended up 14th in the standings and 184 points adrift of world champion Fabio Quartararo in a season also blighted by a wrist injury in Austria – believes KTM’s rivals, namely Ducati, made major strides in the second half of the 2021 season and this further masked KTM’s own improvements.

“Ultimately, I think especially the second half of the season our competitors raised up the step, especially Ducati,” Oliveira said when asked by Autosport following KTM’s 2022 launch if 2021 was as bad as it looked.

“So that made it even harder to follow up to that. I believe there is a few little changes that can translate much better results.

“I think last year was one of the seasons where progress was not shown by the results. There was progress, but we couldn’t really see it in the results.

“That was lacking to make the final result. So, that’s from outside a little bit my perspective.

“Of course, bikes are never perfect and we will always want to work on the defaults, but it’s like that. But I’m confident we can do a good job with this package.”

Bike of Miguel Oliveira, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Bike of Miguel Oliveira, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Photo by: KTM Images

Binder – who was sixth in the standings – wants more traction from the 2022 KTM when he rides the bike again at the Sepang test next week, but also admits he needs to tidy up his own lines this year.

“I think it’s always good once you’ve had an off-season because it gives you time to really understand where it is you need to improve,” Binder noted.

“It’s not just maybe on the bike side, but more on my riding side.

“You really have time to analyse and understand. On the bike side I’d really like to see a bit more traction, that would be great.

“I think if we would spin a little bit less out of the corners it would go a long way for us.

“The two key points I would like to work on are a little bit the stopping and a little bit as soon as I crack the throttle to try not and spin straight away, to try and keep that traction a little bit better and get better drive out of the corners.

“And for me as a rider a point I can definitely improve in is to try and keep my lines a little bit tighter.

“Over a lap I’m definitely making too many metres, I’m not quite tight enough on the inside of a lot of corners.

“That’s one thing I’d like to improve. I mean there’s a lot I still need to improve, but that’s one that comes to mind.”

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