Table of contents:
- Did KTM and Mika Kallio make progress over the weekend?
- A career abandonment that does not distort reality
- The conclusions are more positive than we could have expected
2023 Author: Nicholas Abramson | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-09-01 00:14
The eyes were focused this weekend, favorites aside, in a box painted orange. KTM comes to the MotoGP World Championship to stay and this weekend was the acid test. With Mika Kallio at the controls, the Austrian firm was returning to a championship in which it already tested back in 2005 as a motorcyclist, a subject that we will discuss this week at Motorpasión Moto.
The objective results achieved in the Valencian Community Grand Prix are clear: Mika Kallio was last in the four free practice sessions, while in Q1 he managed to sneak ahead of Tito Rabat and Yonny Hernández. In the Warm Up he was also last. In the race he had to leave with eleven laps to go, when he was also running in last position.
Did KTM and Mika Kallio make progress over the weekend?
Let's get into subjective evaluations. To get started, Mika Kallio is, in the times, a test driver. Although he has spent 14 years of his life fighting in the different categories of the Motorcycle World Championship, the Finnish rider has been without competition rhythm since the end of 2015. And that is important: developing a motorcycle is not the same as breaking your back for 18 weekends with 22 boars.
Taking into account the pilot factor, we are going to analyze the progression in terms of lap times. In the first free practice session, Mika Kallio set a best lap of 1: 33.985, four tenths slower than Loris Baz and almost three tenths slower than Jorge Lorenzo, penultimate and leader of FP1.
KTM fought for the last positions throughout the weekend
The improvement of the Finnish driver is significant. Already in the first training session on Saturday he had broken the “33” barrier, although he continued to close the times table. The key was in Q1, where they managed to stop the clock in a magnificent 1: 32.092. Mika Kallio slipped tenth in said session, ahead of Tito Rabat and Yonny Hernández. In addition, he was within a couple of tenths of his main rival to beat: Aprilia.
If we specify, the KTM stayed 2,691 seconds from the stratospheric lap set by Jorge Lorenzo to get pole position. If we extrapolate to 2015, the three-time runner-up in the world would have started in 18th position, two places ahead of this year on a grid with four more drivers. In 2014, already placed, he would have come out 13th.
A career abandonment that does not distort reality
In the race, the new MotoGP KTM had a problem with the rear wheel speed sensor, which i prevented the traction control from working. What things. There were eleven laps to go before they showed the checkered flag and Mika Kallio was running in nineteenth and last position, nine seconds behind Tito Rabat, penultimate in the race; and 45 seconds from Jorge Lorenzo.
In the 18 laps that he was able to do (we do not count the nineteenth, in which he entered the pits), Mika Kallio was shooting at a 1:33”mid-high rhythm, picking 34”on lap 12 and in the four more than he gave from 15º. So things, that rhythm was about 2.5 seconds slower than Jorge Lorenzo's and a few tenths worse than that of Tito Rabat and Loris Baz, who closed the classification of the Grand Prix of the Valencian Community.
His race pace was about 2.5 seconds per lap slower than Jorge Lorenzo's
In the lap by lap of the Finnish pilot we can see his lack of competition rhythm. Only his last four laps are saved by the following statement: he is not capable of doing two consecutive laps in the same tenth. To be specific, in most laps the time is between three and four tenths slower or faster than the previous lap. That is to say, it does not achieve a homogeneous rhythm, as do the aforementioned Loris Baz, Tito Rabat, who also rode relatively alone during the time that Mika Kallio and KTM were on the track.
For instance, Maverick Viñales He only varied his pace by just over a tenth in the five laps from 20 to 24. Danilo petrucci, a rider with a level more similar to that of the Finn, rode eight laps in times between 1: 38.8 and 1: 38.9, with the sole exception of a 1: 32.7. Eight traced laps. That was missing from Mika Kallio.
The conclusions are more positive than we could have expected
We might think that the KTM is still far from the level we expected. But we have to highlight the almost zero experience of the Austrian firm in the premier class. To this must be added that its pilot has been a test pilot.
Although the comparisons are hateful, we cannot forget the start of Suzuki's new stage in MotoGP. In the 2014 Valencian Community Grand Prix, Randy de Puniet finished Q1 tenth with a time of 1: 32.509. In the race, the French driver could not cross the checkered flag either. In this way, if the path to be followed by KTM is that of the Hamamatsu brand, we can confirm that they are on the right track.
Rivers of ink will still flow until we can draw clear conclusions. Tomorrow, in the first training sessions in 2017 mode, we will see Pol Espargaró and Bradley Smith on the KTM. With two riders of his level we can see where the Austrian bike really is. If we stick to the past and look at their numbers in 125cc, 250cc and Moto3 we should have no doubt of their effectiveness. Time to time.
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