New MotoGP manufacturer KTM had to work 'double hard' on day one of this week's Phillip Island test.

The team had not tested at the Australian circuit before, meaning Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith had to try and find a base set-up for the RC16 before even starting their programme of new parts.

"As a first day the bike is on this track, we have to work double hard, because the electronics are not set up, the setting on the bike, it's a little bit stressful," Espargaro confirmed. "But it feels good. It's so beautiful to ride here, the engine and the bike makes this track a lot of fun."

The Spaniard then revealed he has a new chassis, which is a 'combination' of previous frames.

"KTM is working like mad! They brought a new chassis here, and every time they bring new parts, they work better straight away," he said. "This is really important, because we do not have a long time until Qatar.

"So I'm really happy because KTM have made a big effort to bring this chassis here in such a short time and it worked really well.

"Especially when I go into the corner, with the old one I needed to use too much physical force in the last 50% of lean angle, to put the bike down to the ground into the corners. And for two or three laps you can manage, but at the end of a race, it becomes really difficult, really tiring.

"KTM managed to bring a new chassis with this compromise between those two, and it's better in leaning, and especially after a few laps it's better, less physical.

"Still our weak point is the electronics. But anyway, we are working on it and they are making a big effort."

The electronic issues translate into a lack of traction: "Especially in two areas, Turn 6-7-8 and Turn 11, we are really weak there. We are missing a lot of drive, acceleration. It's a shame because we have big power on the bike and big potential, but we cannot right now take profit of it.

"For sure the chassis also needs some improvement in one area and the last run was good because we changed something on the chassis. But I think the most difficult to change and the most difficult to improve is the electronics for us right now.

"KTM are very fast to make chassis and swing arms. I think we need to focus on the electronics, right now it's our weak point, and it's where they take more advantage over us. It's huge."

Espargaro set the 17th fastest lap time, 1.7s from Marc Marquez. Team-mate Bradley Smith was 22nd, 3.193s from the top.

By Peter McLaren



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