The Austrian GP might be tomorrow, but today the news is all about MotoGP’s newest entrant, KTM Racing. The Austrian team used its home to debut officially its MotoGP program, showing the KTM RC16 MotoGP race bike in its officially Red Bull livery for next year.
The livery itself is what you would expect between at KTM/Red Bull collaboration, with the same blue and orange paint scheme as can be found on the Red Bull KTM Moto3 squad. The big difference of course is the rumored fire-breathing, 270hp, V4, engine, which Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro will attempt to tame.
At the MotoGP test at Spielberg, the KTM RC16 was two seconds behind the incredible lap times that the Ducati machines were capable of at the Austrian track, which bodes well for the project.
The bike’s next outing will be at Valencia, where Thomas Lüthi and Mika Kallio will ride with the MotoGP-regulars once again, competing as wild card entries.
The best apples-to-apples comparison though might be the subsequent MotoGP test at Valencia, where Smith and Espargaro will get their first rides on the KTM RC16.
So far though, the indications are good. In the meantime, if you’re looking for a new desktop background, these photos are MEGA high-resolution – because we love you.
It’s the Sachsenring all over again. Or almost: when the MotoGP bikes were here in July, air temperatures were in the low 30s, and track temperature was around 50°C. During FP1, the air temperature was just 9°, and track temperature was 14°C.
“The temperature this morning was pretty extreme,” Jorge Lorenzo said after practice was over. “Only a few times in my life have we been riding in such cold conditions.”
Cold temperatures meant cold tire crashes, especially in the morning. The most obvious was Dani Pedrosa’s crash, who fell at Turn 9 as he touched the front brake, the front folding as if the track were wet.
The crash caused the session to be red-flagged, as Pedrosa’s Honda ended up puncturing the air fence and landing on top of the tire barrier.
The crash seemed to be a warning of the excesses of tarmac run off, but Pedrosa was happy that there wasn’t a gravel trap at the edge of the track. “I crashed in fifth gear, so I was going very fast,” Pedrosa said.
“From one point of view I think, most of the run-off area was asphalt so maybe the bike didn’t decelerate enough. But on the other side I was very lucky it was only asphalt, because I crashed so fast that if I went into the gravel I would have tumbled over and over with a lot of speed.”
There are upsides to asphalt run off sometimes.
Dorna is considering allowing communication between teams and riders via the dashboard. At a meeting today between Dorna and the teams, initial discussions took place over a system to allow teams to pass very brief messages to the dashboard of the bikes.
The ability to pass messages between team and bike has been made possible thanks to the transponders currently being used in MotoGP. Those allow for a very limited and very short burst of communication as the bikes pass the timing loops at the track.
Race Direction is currently using the system to pass signals to the dash in the case of a red flag, black flag or ride through penalty, but the system would also allow teams a limited ability to pass messages to the riders.
Honda has issued a sizable recall for 11,424 motorcycles, which pertains to the Honda CBR300R and Honda CB300F motorcycles for the 2015 and 2016 model years. The recall stems from a the bikes’ crankshafts, which may have been machined improperly, and as a result could cause the rod bearing to fail.
Since a rod bearing failure could potentially stall the engine, a recall was filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
So far, Honda has only found 41 affected motorcycles, with zero injuries reported. Honda dealers were notified in July to stop sales of the CBR300R & CB300F until recall work could be completed.
In the last few years, the MotoGP season has shown remarkable stability. New tracks have been added from time to time, but the calendar has been very similar from one year to the next.
Even though you get to go to some of the most amazing tracks in the world, the travel becomes routine, humdrum almost. You get to know the road from the hotel to the track, the circuit itself, the idiosyncrasies of each paddock, each media center, like the back of your hand.
It becomes almost like a daily commute to an office. Almost, but not quite.
So new circuits have something a little special. They bring fresh faces, new ideas. There are new routes to learn to the circuit, a new paddock layout, figuring the most efficient path through the paddock.
As a journalist, each media center has its own secrets. The best place to sit to get a view of the TV screens, whether the setting sun in the evening will end up shining on your laptop making it impossible to work, where to sit to avoid being whacked on the head by cameras as photographers try to squeeze past.
You make note of which media center has good coffee, and which has none (Italy, surprisingly). You scout the paddock for food, if you do not wish to wear out your welcome at the hospitality units of various teams.
The Red Bull Ring in Austria has something special too. The track is different, in both good and bad ways, both simpler and at the same time more complicated.
Part 2 of our big catch-up, Episode 27 continues our conversation about my recent travels, with this episode focusing those trips with Ducati.
In the show, we talk about my recent interview with Claudio Domenicali, giving a teaser of what’s to come from A&R’s conversation with the Ducati CEO. We then turn our attention to my two trips to Italy, one for World Ducati Week, and the other for the DRE Enduro course.
On both trips I was riding the Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro, so Quentin and I talk a bit about that as well.
We finish up the show by talking an speculating about Ducati’s 2017 model lineup, which includes the Ducati 1299 Panigale Anniversario and the Ducati Supersport. If you’re a Ducatista, you won’t want to miss this show.
As always, you can listen to the show via the embedded SoundCloud player, after the jump, or you can find the show on iTunes (please leave a review) or this RSS feed. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter as well. Enjoy the show!
It is not uncommon to see factory endurance teams tapping into their WSBK and MotoGP riders for the Suzuka 8-Hours race, stacking the odds in their favor at the very prestigious and important Japanese race. But, we rarely see these marque names outside of Suzuka.
That being said, Bradley Smith will be joining the factory-backed Yamaha Austria Racing Team (YART) at the 8 Hours of Oschersleben, the final round of the FIM Endurance World Championship.
The reason for this is pretty simple: YART is tied for second, only eight points back from winning the FIM Endurance World Championship, and vying for the top spot with nine other teams mathematically in contention.
The MotoGP test in Austria brought to light several safety issues with the Red Bull Ring. At least one of those issues is to be addressed before the start of the Austrian round of MotoGP.
After consultation with several members of the Safety Commission, the FIM Safety Officer Franco Uncini has ordered the final corner, Turn 10, to be modified.