Factory KTM riders Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira enjoyed one of their better starts to a MotoGP race weekend in 2021, as they claimed fifth and sixth in FP2 at Mugello. 

Oliveira led most of the afternoon session with a mid 1m 46s lap time that proved tough to beat even during the closing stages when riders fitted the soft tyres. 

Both riders alluded to ‘corner exit’ being greatly improved by the new chassis frame, while new fuel also gave them a bit of extra performance. 

Speaking about the chassis, Binder said: "We had a new frame which we tested for the first time in Jerez and the goal for the frame was to help us line the bike up a bit better to get out of the corners better, and at Mugello it seems to be working well. 

"For sure the chassis does help us slightly only because it allows us to line up the exit of the corners a bit better. That’s great but more so than that we got some new fuel and that has given us a bit of extra speed.

"For sure, I think as always when you are testing something new there are always some positives and negatives, but in this case I’m happy with the positives we have. 

"I think it would be more important for us to try and keep working on the new frame to try and make everything work perfectly. 

"It seems to be working really well here. I think it’s really clear that the riders aren’t the only ones that don’t enjoy being upfront. KTM wants to be there too, so as always, the amount of effort they put in is huge."

With poor weather conditions at Le Mans, KTM were unable to fully test the new chassis, while Mugello has provided extensive opportunities to in fact do so.

Oliveira was quick to back-up what his team-mate said: "Of course I’m happy, the bike is performing well. Surprisingly we are taking a bigger step forward than we thought. 

"We started to use a frame that we tested in Jerez and it looks like it works well here. Also the fuel the team is using now gives us a bit more top speed. Of course they are all positive points that help us go faster at the end of the lap.

"We focused a bit more on corner exit to try and get a bit more stability and more load into the ground."

With Mugello not on last year’s race calendar, this was also the first time on MotoGP machinery around the Tuscan circuit for Binder. 

"Today was good and happy about the feeling so far. This morning was my first time ever at Mugello on the GP bike so it took me a while to find my feet and figure out where to go," added the South African. 

"It’s a bit different to how I remember it in Moto2; the straight is quite a bit quicker! Turn 1 is a lot more on the limit to find a good marker. 

"Other than that I’m really happy with how the first day has gone and really want to take it one lap at a time and see how we get on tomorrow."