Pol Espargaro has insisted KTM is retaining its DNA despite publicly debuting a much-revised chassis at the MotoGP Valencia test on Tuesday that strayed from the round tubular-steel design that it has used across a host of disciplines.

The Catalan sported a new frame that appeared more like a conventional beam shape, as used in aluminium form by KTM's MotoGP rivals.

Espargaro ran it throughout the day as the factory attempts to improve the turning capabilities of the RC16.

“We are trying to find this turning that we are missing in comparison to other manufacturers. We get more turning and a little bit more comfort in the corner," he said

“We were also trying a few other things to help with that. Our main focus now is to get a little bit more traction when the conditions are worse. I think we are in the good way.

“It feels not normal for me. Normal is tubular and I like it, but yeah it’s a hybrid. I think it is 80% tubular still. We have done the form on the side so that it looks a bit different but not as much as it looks.

“We still have the KTM DNA with the tubular chassis which I think puts us in a good way but we are still trying to understand things. We tried different things on the engine which was important for us to find a bit more torque and power on the straight. It was a pretty successful day.

“At the moment we are trying the chassis Dani [Pedrosa – test rider] made steps through the year, but we have another one for tomorrow which is like the new one Dani was asking for and in theory it should be a little bit better.

‘We are improving in that mid-corner where we are trying to find the grip and the turning which we were struggling a lot, especially with the used tyre. I think we are improving.”

Which chassis did he prefer come the end of the day?

“Definitely the new,” he said. “We used it all day and I did the fastest lap-time with it. I think it is the line we need to work with. The chassis feels very good but I think the room to play with it is much better.

“It is much, much lighter and we are gaining a lot. There are only benefits. We will go to the new one tomorrow which I think will bring something.

“[Traction is better] Especially mechanically. We have tried many things with electronics in the last days but we could not really get anything from that. So we thought it was mechanical and testing that chassis is touching it.

“We are turning a bit better. We need to continue understanding what’s going on and to do a bit more if it’s possible.

“We can see how many guys in the press are here. This is something important for the factory and for sure we are not changing our style or DNA but we are trying to figure it out and what is going on.

“Also why the others are using this kind of chassis and how good we are to make this kind of chassis. This is the first small step and we are going to continue working in that line if it is useful for us.”

On his plans for tomorrow, the Catalan added, “Yeah, different chassis. Dani tried this one in some other tracks and he felt some improvement but also some negative points.

“The new one is made based on these comments; trying to improve on stopping areas and trying to make it a bit more rigid which is important when you go down such a big step in weight. I’m interested to see what is next.”

 

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