MotoGP, Mike Leitner: "Pedrosa fundamental to KTM development"

"He won't test here at Valencia. We haven't been able to set the test team up in time. He will ride at Sepang. The tubular frame won't change"


Last weekend was the happiest - despite the rain - and most fruitful for the KTM team, winners in Moto3 with Turkish wildcard Can Oncu, first across the line in Moto2 thanks to Miguel Oliveria and third on the podium in MotoGP, thanks to a great performance by Pol Espargarò.

The Mattighofen manufacturer - multi-title winning in MX and off-road- knows how to do things well and, step by step, has become one of the racing firms of reference.

Team manager Mike Leitner can finally express his satisfaction...

It may have taken us a little time to achieve this podium, but with all of the manufacturers with an official presence in the championship and the level of the teams and riders, it was no easy task. We've worked hard and tirelessly, and this podium result is incredible”.

It is also down to Pol Espargarò, unstoppable in the wet. The former Moto2 riders event went to pass Marquez around the outside.

A lot of the credit for this third place is down to Pol Espargarò, who has had a complicated season, conditioned by injury. While he was away, we struggled to improve. On his return, the results started to come, thanks to his ever improving performance. We've taken a step forward with Pol, and also with Bradley Smith, who is very fast in qualifying and a real fighter come race day. On Sunday, the interruption came as a reset, I asked the riders to remain focused and they pushed as hard as they could, Pol did what he did and Bradley raced hard too”.

You are not yet as fast in the dry as in the wet.

“Sure, this is clear. The circumstances made for a complicated race, several riders made mistakes, I don't know whether to call that luck or whether we were ready and quick to react, but I have to admit that in the dry our bike was deserving of sixth-place, like in qualifying. Bradley and Pol did well to exploit the adverse weather conditions right from Saturday”.

You've proved that an aluminium frame is not necessary in order to be competitive. Are you still of this opinion in KTM?

“Of course. The DNA of the firm is based on this concept. The steel trellis tube frame is used on our MX and enduro bikes, and Moto2 and Moto3 bikes, and we also have it in MotoGP. The same goes for the road models. In KTM, we have shown that this is a very valid technical solution. Others continue to build aluminium frames, but we are sure that we don't need to change the frame to win in MotoGP, though perhaps things will be different in two years”.

Pedrosa, your new test rider, will not be out on track this week.

"It's still too early. Having two bikes to test in the garage, plus two more for the Tech3 team, we haven't had time to set up the test team for Pedrosa. We want to start out right and work in the right direction. Dani needs no introduction, his results perfectly sum up his career. I know Pedrosa quite well, having worked along side him for many years, when he decided to retire, we talked and his comments about the KTM were immediately valid. I'm sure that he will help us to improve the bike, bringing new ideas to guide development and boost performance. I'm very pleased that Pedrosa will join the 2019 work group”.

So when will he test the new KTM?

"I don't think we'll see Pedrosa on track before the Sepang test in February".







Translated by Heather Watson

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