KTM motorsport director Pit Beirer is confident the factory has 'done its homework well' ahead of the delayed 2020 MotoGP World Championship.

Preparing for the factory's fourth season in the class, Beirer not only feels the latest RC16 parts 'touched' the points identified by their riders but that the whole project will be raised to a higher level after building eight identical bikes.

Having claimed KTM's first podium, in the wet at Valencia 2018, team leader Pol Espargaro elevated the factory's best dry result to sixth (equalling Aprilia's RS-GP best) last season, when he also qualified on the front row in Misano.

The Spaniard will be joined by rookie Brad Binder this year, while the satellite Tech3 team retains Miguel Oliveira - a strong eighth in Austria before an injury curtailed rookie campaign - alongside newcomer Iker Lecuona.

"I think we did our homework quite well, we made a huge step forward because all eight bikes, for our four riders, are on exactly the same level," Beirer told Crash.net. "That was a huge target from us, already more than one and half years ago, to come into that situation.

"Because of the development in the background done by our test riders, Dani and Mika together, we could supply a ready-to-race [2020] bike at the end of last season.

"We had good testing in Valencia and Jerez, then also Malaysia and Qatar and now we can supply exactly the same material to all four of our riders.

"So there we made a big improvement. This is not proof that we also made a step in performance, but I can tell you that it makes the whole project much stronger.

"For sure we brought the project on a higher level with that step."

In terms of direct track performance, the former motocross grand prix title runner-up said of the 2020 machine:

"The comments of the riders were really positive. They made some clear requests to us during the whole of last season and we could touch these points and make the riders happier.

"So I'm confident we made a step, but it's only proven once we race and there is a result."

The most obvious changes made to the RC16 include a revised frame design and new aerodynamics.

Pressed on the main area of progress, Beirer replied:

"We work on everything; suspension, chassis, engine, electronics… But the biggest request from our riders was definitely how to get from a high-speed section, onto the brakes and into the next turn better.

"How well you enter the corner affects how you are going to exit the corner and our bike still went a bit wide into the corners last year. Then it’s logical that it's harder to complete the turn and get back onto the right position on the tyre to accelerate again.

"Only if you turn properly and pick up the bike early enough can you bring the power to the ground. So all your acceleration is based on how you turn.

"How you enter the corner and how early you can pick the bike up straight, that's the key to get performance. So we've worked in this area during the last year and that's also where I think we've made a step forward."

Espargaro - who has progressed from 17th to 14th and 11th during KTM's three seasons to date in the MotoGP World Championship - was seventh fastest at the Sepang test (+0.261s) with Binder quickest of the orange riders with ninth (+0.425s) in Qatar.

Deciphering a ranking for all-important race pace isn't as easy, but the signs were promising. 

"Dani [Pedrosa] was impressed in the Malaysia and Qatar tests at how consistent Pol could be, doing a really good average for many, many laps. Not one highlight lap, but it looks like we could really go faster in race speed," Beirer said.

 

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