Pol Espargaro expects clear development gains from Dani Pedrosa’s test rider role will be felt at KTM in 2020.

The Red Bull KTM rider was delighted to see Pedrosa named as the Austrian manufacturer’s test rider at the start of last year following his retirement from racing at the end of 2018.

But after undergoing stem cell surgery which ruled him out for the opening three months of the year Pedrosa made a delayed start to his KTM duties before the impact of his work began to show.

As a result, Espargaro believes the significant progress from Pedrosa’s efforts will come to fulfilment this year.

At the post-season tests in Valencia and Jerez, KTM wheeled out its new tubular steel chassis which blends its rivals’ twin-spar aluminium design by the use of rectangular-shaped steel side beams.

“The real fruit of his work we will begin to see this year, because it is also true that he began to test late after his operation and then has had very bad luck with the weather in his tests. But it does bring many intangibles, concepts and ways of working.” Espargaro told Motosan.es.

“Dani’s arrival has been important because it gives another dimension to development work, and because it brings ideas.

“He is a very sensitive pilot, very technical and experienced, and that allows him to ‘touch’ in many areas and open our eyes to many things.”

With KTM’s Achilles’ heel over recent seasons being injured riders, meaning the bulk of prototype materials have been delayed by the lack of testing time, Espargaro has often had to shoulder the majority of test work – while also battling his own injury setbacks – but with Pedrosa as an ally he’s confident rapid development gains will be found over 2020.

“Of course, we share all the information, he asks me a lot when I’m trying new things, also when he’s at the races,” he said.

“And I ask him when he has been working on the motorcycle. It is a luxury to have him there. We didn’t talk much when he was still competing, and it has been a personal discovery.”

Espargaro returns to action along with all KTM riders at the Sepang shakedown test on February 2-4, which race riders are eligible for under the concession rules, ahead of the official test at the Malaysian track on February 7-9.

Espargaro, who has taken part in Red Bull’s fitness programme this winter at its High Performance Centre in Austria, confirmed after the Jerez test last November he will be in action for five of the six test days in total after firming up his programme before the end of last season.

The Spanish rider enjoyed his best KTM MotoGP campaign to date in 2019 as he secured points finishes in 17 races out of 19 rounds with 100 points scored over the course of the season.



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