“I’m nervous for KTM, haven’t seen what I expected…”

Have KTM impressed in MotoGP preseason testing? Or is there a worry?

Brad Binder, Qatar MotoGP test, 19 February
Brad Binder, Qatar MotoGP test, 19 February

Optimism around KTM has been quelled by Simon Crafar’s concerns over their preseason.

Jack Miller and Brad Binder tested a bold aero design and various set-up configurations over the two-day Qatar test.

KTM had been tipped by many to be Ducati’s closest challengers when the 2024 MotoGP season begins.

But is their competitiveness better than their humble lap times in Qatar?

Broadcaster and ex-rider Crafar insisted: “That is the million dollar question!

“I have really believed in KTM because they have brought so much.

The riders confirmed that it is better.

“When I say so much, a couple of specs of engines.

“I asked Brad about the new engine. He said: ‘It’s great, I can’t feel anything different, it just gets quicker to the rev limit’.

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“They have worked on electronics, exhausts, the aero is confirmed as better.

“But I still haven’t seen what I was expecting.

“I was expecting, like last year, when it all came together, to see the results of all of this.

“I’ll be honest, I’m a little bit nervous for them that it hasn’t turned up yet.

“It is the last minute. I really don’t know…

“I don’t think we’ve seen what I expected, that KTM would get close to Ducati.

“Aprilia, on the one-off lap, was the only one close [to Ducati].

“Brad, in his defence, did a big long run. They he came in and put two softs on, just to have a go.

“He must have been tired, after two days, then did a long run.

“What I’m saying is that there’s a chance still that we will see what I’m talking about at the first race. What I am expecting, like last year.

“Both KTM riders are ‘racers’ - they dig something deeper out, at a race event.

“I think everyone will agree with that. Their team do.

“There’s a good chance of seeing it. But I’m a little nervous for them, that we haven’t seen it on paper yet.”

Binder was fourth-fastest on Monday, with Miller 14th.

They were ninth and 11th respectively on Tuesday.

KTM will run Miller and Binder as their factory duo, and have Pedro Acosta and Augusto Fernandez in their Tech3 GASGAS project.

The manufacturer also has the strong testing duo of Pol Espargaro and Dani Pedrosa in reserve.

The season begins in Qatar on March 8.

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