KTM's new MotoGP test rider line-up of Mika Kallio, Alex Hofmann and Randy de Puniet completed their first outing of 2016 at Jerez.
It marked the third test for the V4-powered RC16 , which has previously been on track in Austria and Valencia. KTM will officially join MotoGP in 2017, but is tipped to make its race debut as a wild-card during this season.
Thursday and Friday saw the factory's two main development riders, Kallio and Hofmann, ride on a very wet track. On the third day, de Puniet changed places to ride Hofmann's bike in the dry.
de Puniet, like Kallio and Hofmann, is a former MotoGP racer who spent last season in WSBK. The Frenchman's KTM debut also marked his first grand prix laps since working as a test rider for Suzuki's GSX-RR project.
“I haven't sat on MotoGP machine for more than a year [but] I immediately felt very good on the bike,” de Puniet said. “As usual we first adjusted it to suit my personal needs. Then in the short time left we tried a few things with the electronics. We are now well prepared for the next test in a few weeks.”
“After we worked on the ergonomics and the setup in extremely difficult conditions in the first two days, we could confirm many changes in the improved conditions in the third day,” commented Kallio, who retired from Moto2 competition at the end of last season.
“We tested some things with the traction and wheelie control, also the suspension elements from WP and the various options for the triple clamp. I am very happy with the performance and I think we were again able to give the technicians important feedback.”
Hofmann added: “The only negative on the three days was the weather – and that was good. Compared to both my last tests in Spielberg and Valencia at the end of last year, the bike has been further developed, not only in terms of appearance; it is also technically on a very good basis. Now it's all about getting on with the work and hunting down the times.”
Jerez is home to the Spanish MotoGP round. No lap times were released by KTM.
The factory's next test will be at the beginning of March.