After showing off the RC16 prototype at Red Bull Ring, Austria, KTM brought its 2017 MotoGP bike for testing at Valencia alongwith the other manufacturers, it was the first official test the bike has participated in and marks KTM's return to the premier class. In a test that concluded last week, KTM has carried out first proper real world (read on the same track as it's would be competition) of its RC16 with the development rider Alex Hoffman and the new joinee Mika Kallio who will be acting as the performance tester for KTM's MotoGP project.
In a bid to get the pace up for the development of the bike, both KTM test riders were present at the Valencia track where the final testing of 2015 was carried out before the testing ban comes into place for almost 2 months. The new addition to the KTM fold, Mika Kallio, who used to ride in MotoGP with Pramac Ducati back in 2010 and till recently was riding in Moto2 where he was the runner up of 2014 championship which his then team mate Tito Rabat won. Mika had also tested the Suter CRT MotoGP machine in 2012 and his popular among his previous teams for being able to provide attention to detail and ability to pinpoint areas that needed improvement, something that will suit his role at KTM perfectly.
The interesting bit about the RC16 that came out from the testing at Valencia was in the press release where, Mike Leitner, who is handling KTM's MotoGP project has quoted his pleasure with the way the project has been developing and improving, and the fact that KTM is on time and should be completely ready for their full time return to MotoGP. Recently, KTM CEO while talking to a German publication that the RC16 is already producing a staggering 270bhp of power from its 90° V4 engine with a steel trellis frame. That much amount of power brings the RC16 at par with the Honda RC213V while just a tad bit lower than the Ducati GP15 that is rumoured to be upwards of 275bhp.
With the KTM RC16 already using a seamless gearbox which has been co developed with a company known as X-Trac. It is expected that KTM would race the bike at 2016 Valencia MotoGP round, but it might come in earlier as well if the bike is ready for it. It remains to be seen who will be the factory riders for the Austrian company's return to the premier class in 2017 as the success of the project hugely depends on hiring a good competitive racer.
Since KTM wants to sell the bike to teams wanting to race in MotoGP, it will become imperative for the Austrian company to make its Valencia outing next year a success so that probable customers can put in their money for 2017 onwards for the bike. Now that Red Bull ahs had long years of dominance in Formula 1 , it seems now the Austrian energy drink giant is getting ready for making its territory in MotoGP as well. Seems like a right idea viewership of Formula 1 has been constantly decreasing over the years while MotoGP has been growing rapidly.