Pol Espargaro has been given a timely boost testing out new engine configurations for KTM but accepts the introduction of the specification will be delayed until the Austrian brand can ensure the prototypes can be made reliable.

The Red Bull KTM rider surged to fourth place on the Jerez test times after a productive day with his RC16 working on new engine configurations and chassis adjustments.

With KTM permitted to MotoGP concessions the manufacturer can develop its engines throughout the season rather than freezing its configuration at the start of the year – which is the case for Honda, Ducati, Yamaha and Suzuki in 2019.

Each KTM rider is allowed nine engines per rider per season, while the limitations do not apply to in-season tests, which gives Espargaro the freedom to try multiple configurations.

“I am pretty happy because KTM have been working a lot during the winter and brought some things that we couldn’t test in Le Mans,” he said. “It’s a problem of the first races of the year to start so far away but happy with the result.

“In some areas on the engine we have improved quite a lot and also in some areas of the chassis.

“We started with chassis and by the end of the day we switched a little bit to the engine, trying different configurations.

“I cannot explain to you not because I don’t want but because I don’t know how to explain these configurations to you.

“But all of them are working good and we are happy. But still with the new configurations of the engine we have more room to play with than we have more room to improve, which is good and keeps us a little bit more positive than before.”

However, Espargaro has played down any instant impact the new engine configurations will have to his current KTM bike due to fears over reliability on the “prototypes”.

“It’s difficult, because the improvements made in winter come in the test but they are still not ready to use for race miles or something like that, the mileage on the engine, they blow, they are made for a test, they are prototypes.

“KTM are working a lot to bring them as soon as possible but I’m just happy that they keep developing and improving so as soon as they bring I will be happy.”



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