"The only thing I did consistently in the race was crash!" those were Brad Binder's words after falling twice during the opening 11 laps of Sunday's Spanish MotoGP, leaving the KTM rider with his first DNF of the season.

Unsurprisingly, finding more 'margin' for the front-end was high on Binder's priority list for the Monday test, overlapping with a concerted effort by KTM to source a set-up that will allow them to use the soft compound front tyre in future events.

"Yesterday I just washed the front twice with not much warning and we changed the set-up a little bit today and it gave me a lot more margin with the front. So pity I didn't realise that beforehand!" Binder smiled.

"It's not really the weight balance or anything like that, we just played a little bit with how the front fork works, all the different clickers and stuff and managed to make it feel a little bit better on the soft tyre.

"What it was [we changed] I couldn't tell you, because I don’t know myself! But whatever it was, it worked great!"

So far this season, the KTMs seemed to struggle more than any other manufacturer when track conditions dictate the soft compound front is preferable.

"Today we did quite a bit of work with the 'K' front tyre, which was the soft, purely to try and gain some knowledge so that when we get to a circuit where we only have these soft options again, we have something in the pocket when we have this really 'on the limit' feeling on the front," Binder said.

"It was a little bit with the idea of Le Mans [next weekend] because we will have really soft compound tyres, but it's also really necessary to have those soft tyres because it's so freezing cold!

"So I'm happy with what accomplished, the guys worked hard and we tried a lot of different things. Our poor mechanics were worked to the bone! But in general we had a good day."

The South African was eleventh fastest overall 0.8s from the best time attack lap by Yamaha's Maverick Vinales and 0.2s behind the fastest KTM of team-mate Miguel Oliveira.

Like Binder, the Portuguese focussed on making the soft front tyre work, having joined the majority of the field on the medium front for the race, where he finished as the top KTM in eleventh.

"It was a good day," Oliveira said. "We had not a very, very large program but we tried to profit from the day by trying different solutions in terms of set-up on the bike and working always with the soft front tyre and medium rear.

"We needed to understand how to get a better feeling with the front tyre, especially. We have been trying to use softer compounds since we know that during the calendar, we will have to use them more often and this was the main target.

"Try to adjust the bike to use the soft front the whole day and also try not to lose, with the modifications we have been doing, what the bike has as an advantage in our way of looking to the overall set-up.

"So more like a race kind of situation. And we get many good laps and finally a positive conclusion."

Oliveira admitted that track conditions are always better for Monday tests session, due to the amount of MotoGP rubber, but added that it's the "same day and same conditions for everyone. So it's still a fair comparison and I think this is what we need to keep in mind."

Meanwhile, Binder was also asked if he knew anything about ongoing rumours, persistently denied by KTM management, that test rider Dani Pedrosa could make a wild-card entry at Catalunya, to evaluate a revised RC16 he has been developing.

"I haven't got a clue!" Binder said. "I know Dani's been testing a lot of things, but what they are I never really ask and I'm never told either!

"A lot of the stuff we tested today has obviously been tested already by them, I think a few of the things we tried were just to get our opinion on them and see if we liked them or not. Of course normally what works for Dani works for us."

As well as the set-up work, KTM brought new items for the chassis and electronics to Jerez.

“This test day was really important. We had a big agenda and many ideas from the company. The hours were just flying by and all the riders did some fine work," said KTM race manager Mike Leitner. "We had a big ‘menu’ of test items for the chassis and we worked a lot on electronics and the suspension also."

 

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