Mika Kallio testing the KTM RC16 MotoGP race bike at Valencia

After its earlier roll out in Austria, KTM has completed its first proper test with the KTM RC16 MotoGP bike at Valencia. On Saturday and Sunday, test riders Alex Hofmann and Mika Kallio put the KTM RC16 through its paces on the Spanish track.

The test sees KTM stepping up the pace of development on the RC16. Alex Hofmann has been used as a development rider, to verify the bike is working correctly and is being developed in the right direction. New hire Mika Kallio has been brought in as the performance rider, the 33-year-old Finn freshly retired as a full-time racer, and therefore having the speed to push the limits of the bike.

Kallio also has more recent experience of MotoGP machines, having ridden for Pramac Ducati in 2010, and having tested the Suter CRT MotoGP machine in 2012. Kallio was known in his former teams for his attention to detail and ability to pinpoint areas that needed improvement.

In a press release (shown below), Mike Leitner, the man leading the MotoGP project, pronounced himself very happy with the progress of the bike. KTM is working towards preparing the bike for a full-time return to the class in 2017, though KTM CEO Stefan Pierer recently told German-language publication Speedweek that they intended to contest the last race of 2016 at Valencia.

The interview with Pierer contained a number of interesting details. It was already well-known that KTM would be using a 90° V4 engine housed in a steel trellis frame, but Pierer revealed that their engine is already making around 270 horsepower.

The bike is using a seamless gearbox, developed in conjunction with X-Trac. Though KTM have already asked Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta for a wild card entry at Valencia, they could enter earlier, should the bike be ready.

The key to success for KTM’s project will be the ability to hire a competitive rider for 2017. That will require them to show fast times during testing. No times were released from the Valencia test, and as the project is still at such an early stage, there is still a lot of testing left to do.

But with everyone out of a contract at the end of 2016, KTM need to be able to demonstrate that their bike could be competitive as early as possible.

The official press release from the test appears below:


Just four weeks after the official rollout, KTM test riders Alex Hofmann (GER) and Mika Kallio (FIN) last weekend completed the first tests with the new KTM MotoGP motorcycle at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain.

Thanks to excellent conditions on the four-kilometer circuit, the two riders were able to put in numerous laps with Hofmann riding the new RC16 on Saturday and Kallio at the helm on Sunday.

Mike Leitner (MotoGP Consultant): “I’m very impressed with what the team has achieved in the four weeks since the rollout. There is already an excellent team spirit and this means a quick response onsite followed by considered action at the factory. The GP circuit at Valencia had a lot more grip than Spielberg (Austria’s Red Bull Ring) but even this worked very well with our package. I’m also happy with our current driver lineup. Both are working very professionally and are very analytical. Alex (Hofmann) delivers many useful inputs and even after one day Mika (Kallio) is already at a level where we can continue to work on improving the entire performance.”

Mika Kallio (MotoGP Test Rider): “Clearly there was still a lot of question marks before the test, but I’m now very happy and I can go into the winter break with a good feeling. Alex and the team have already done impressive work, we had absolutely no problems and we’re already on a really high level. Nevertheless we still have a long way to go and I’m looking forward to the next test. Until then I’m going home to do some racing on ice to keep myself fit.”

Alex Hofmann (MotoGP Test Rider): “It’s good to hear that what we have to say about the bike is going in the same direction. Mika was racing here a few weeks ago and he’s still in full racing mode. He was able to put in very respectful lap times at the end of his first day on the bike. This makes it clear that the entire package is working, which is another important step for the team before the winter.”

In the coming weeks there will be intensive further development of the KTM RC16 using the data collected and the inputs from both test riders ahead of the next test at the beginning of February.

Source: KTM; Photos: Philip Platzer

  • Dustin Nisbet-Jones

    Sounds promising! I’m excited to follow their progress

  • jon

    geez, 270Hp…that’s scary

  • Dan Hughes

    270 HP in a chassis that weights about 350 lbs…..

  • Alex

    Holy crap. That… That’s like 20HP more than Ducati, 25HP more than Honda/Yamaha and 270HP more than Suzuki at the moment

  • Superlight

    Be skeptical, especially this early in development. Do you really believe KTM can get another 20 HP over Ducati and Honda with the same engine configuration?

  • coreyvwc

    It’s in the same neighborhood as Honda, maybe a little more than Yamaha, but definitely not more than Ducati.

  • n/a

    270 at the crank. By the time it get’s to the back wheel it’s not scary at all.

  • D3

    I hope that was sarcasm XD
    Has to be around 255 rear, give or take. That in a 160 odd kg bike…you make it sound like a SV650 haha!

  • miko

    youre ignorance burns with the force of a thousand suns

  • Miko

    your* :(

  • Alan Clarkson-Dodds

    Proof I’m an old fart: as soon as I see 270hp/litre seeming impressive I consider a 1000cc 2 stroke from 15 years ago (without development) as making 400hp with 40Kg less weight.

    Now THAT would be something special. Imagine a whole grid of them..

    Get off my lawn you kids etc etc.

  • BDan75

    I really don’t know how those guys manage it. My ’14 Z1000 practically blurs my vision at full throttle in the lower gears, and it’s down 125 rwhp and up 130lbs on this bike!

  • paulus

    irony… it’s not just the taste of rusty water!
    (not ribbing you, just enjoyed the circumstances)

  • D3

    Doesn’t quite match up in my mind, sadly. I think it’s actually amazing that they get in these HP regions with restricted testing, restricted fuel, no engine development during a year, and only 5 engines for the year.
    I expect to see things changing over the next couple though, teeny bit more fuel, a couple more engines…just a lift on engine development would top the cake off nicely haha.

  • Alan Clarkson-Dodds

    I agree! 4 stroke development has come on far more than anyone really expected when they were brought in to MotoGP.

    Sweet Jesus but I really miss *ultra*-light high-powered bikes though.

  • Jason

    Yes, I do. The key isn’t raw power but producing power in a controlled fashion and taming that power through the power of electronic controls.

  • Daniel Caruso

    Doubt it .. one thing is 270 hp on the dyno and it’s another thing in a race package. 20 liters of fuel, spec ECU, and a rideable powerband. Sure the GP15 is already pushing 275hp but nice to see KTM serious about racing MotoGp.

  • Hickman

    A 400hp/litre 1000cc bike that weighs less than a modern motogp bike? I’m sorry but that sounds like absolute bullshit, but i’ll concede that you might know more about this than I; could you give me the names of these bikes? I’d like to have a look.

  • MTCZ

    2WD and downforce? GP being all about bleeding edge and all. For all we know, 10+ years from now GP bikes will partly/all be one of those tilting 4 wheelers. Hello fan cars and 6 wheel F1s.

  • Igor Brocic

    you mean Aprilia?

  • Superlight

    Electronic controls which, for 2016, they all share the same basic package.

  • Alan Clarkson-Dodds

    I don’t think you understood my point. I was postulating that considering 15 years ago 500cc 2 strokes were making almost 200hp and weighed (if I remember correctly) around 120Kg, 270Hp from double that capacity just reminds me how crazy the power-weight ratios used to be. Imagine if we still ran them. It’s a pipe dream older fans line to bench race over.

  • Jason

    The basic package is the same but each team still has to do all the programing and adapt that software to their engine. Some are better than others and Honda is behind right now because they chose to use their own custom software last year.

    To quote Dani Pedrosa:
    ““The trouble is that we don’t know this program, The technicians don’t know this program, neither me or them. They need a lot of testing to find out and figure to arrive to the point we want, or figure out what we need.”

  • Superlight

    Yes, I know and Ducati seems to be doing just fine with the Magnetti Marelli program, at least that’s what they’re saying after the Jerez test.

  • Jeram Mallis

    270hp at the crank isnt far fetched, both honda and ducati could acheive that. The bigger question is the engine reliability and power delivery of a 270hp 1000cc V4

  • Jason

    Yes, Ducati is looking really good right now. That has nothing to do with whether KTM can build an engine that puts out 270 hp.

    Horsepower numbers on a dyno and lap times on the track are two very different things.

  • Superlight

    I wish KTM all the best, but don’t believe for a minute that they’re eclipsing Ducati or Honda power numbers.

  • Jason

    It has happened in the past. Remember the Aprilia Cube MotoGP bike? That was new entry by a small factory. Out of the gate they made more power than the rest of the field and race after race clocked the fastest top speed. It was also a dismal failure because they couldnt tame that power.

  • Totz

    400 hp 1 liter 2 stroke motogp bike is already beyond the ability and controls of riders and electronics as of now, it’s monstrously scary and massively wild to tires too….

  • yarwellnofine

    Even 270bhp at the gudgeon pin is a lot. The leftovers that make it to the back wheel will kill as certainly a a bad case of ebola.