KTM missed points target in Qatar, admits Smith

Bradley Smith says KTM had been targeting a point on its first MotoGP weekend as a regular competitor in Qatar, a goal the Austrian marque narrowly missed out on.

KTM missed points target in Qatar, admits Smith
Bradley Smith, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Bradley Smith, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Bradley Smith, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Bradley Smith, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Bradley Smith, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Bradley Smith, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Pol Espargaro, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Pol Espargaro, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

New-for-2017 manufacturer KTM endured a difficult time during the Losail weekend, remaining firmly stuck at the bottom of the timesheets for the majority of the weekend.

Combined practice times left Pol Espargaro and Smith starting at the very back of the grid, in 22nd and 23rd, with the former’s best time ending up a full 2.8 seconds slower than poleman Maverick Vinales.

However, some attrition allowed the two KTM riders to move up to 16th and 17th places by the end of the race, both beating Aprilia’s Sam Lowes.

Espargaro ended up missing out on 15th and the final point by a little over four seconds, a result Smith said was encouraging for its first race.

“The target was points, we were very close all considered,” said Smith. “Pol being 16th, me being 17th, the goal was to scrape one point so it's disappointing that we missed out on it.

“I think Pol was only about four seconds off, so it was a realistic situation. Had we had FP4 and qualifying, perhaps things would have been different.

“Up until now we didn't really have an idea of what does the bike actually does over a race distance. We had no time to check during any of the tests, so we went into the unknown.

“But in the grand scheme of things, the plan was to get both bikes across the finish line, gain as much data as we possibly could. I think we have to be happy with this opening night.”

Espargaro: Qatar our weakest track

Espargaro was similarly upbeat despite falling short of the points, saying that Qatar had been the hardest track for KTM during the pre-season.

“For sure, this track for us was our weakest track,” he explained. “We have tried this bike at Phillip Island, Valencia, Malaysia and Jerez – and this is the place where we were farthest.

“We expected something worse in the race, honestly. We could be just 1.6s per lap [slower than the leaders] so we need to take the positive things.

“We arrived four seconds off some Ducatis and one Honda [Tito Rabat], but it's a good start. The team is happy, KTM has made history today, and this is the most important.”

Additional reporting by Mitchell Adam

shares
comments
Opinion: MotoGP got lucky with the weather in Qatar

Previous article

Opinion: MotoGP got lucky with the weather in Qatar

Next article

Top riders praise Zarco for “impressive” Qatar showing

Top riders praise Zarco for “impressive” Qatar showing
Load comments
Why Quartararo’s suit penalty highlights a wider issue in MotoGP Prime

Why Quartararo’s suit penalty highlights a wider issue in MotoGP

OPINION: Fabio Quartararo racing with his leather suit open and subsequent penalty has been the main talking point of the Catalunya MotoGP weekend, which has highlighted a wider issue with MotoGP’s stewarding that risks a negative precedent going forward.

MotoGP
Jun 8, 2021
How MotoGP’s “beast” tamers bounced back at Catalunya Prime

How MotoGP’s “beast” tamers bounced back at Catalunya

The expectation on KTM to replicate its winning form from 2020 this season made its difficult start to the new MotoGP campaign even more disappointing. But a key update has seen KTM's fortunes reversed over the last week and returned it to the top step of the podium in Barcelona

MotoGP
Jun 7, 2021
The signs that point to Rossi's MotoGP retirement Prime

The signs that point to Rossi's MotoGP retirement

It's not been a happy start to 2021 for Valentino Rossi at the Petronas SRT satellite squad, with performances that are a shadow of the rider that utterly dominated MotoGP at the start of the new millennium. At the age of 42, how much longer can he go on?

MotoGP
May 19, 2021
Why the most significant Le Mans MotoGP performance wasn't Miller's Prime

Why the most significant Le Mans MotoGP performance wasn't Miller's

Hot on the heels of his first MotoGP win in five years, Jack Miller made it two from two with a commanding French Grand Prix victory at Le Mans despite two long-lap penalties. Impressive though it was, it was an expectation-defying performance from an anticipated title rival that was the real standout.

MotoGP
May 17, 2021
The impossible problem Honda faces with its 2021 MotoGP bike Prime

The impossible problem Honda faces with its 2021 MotoGP bike

Honda hasn’t enjoyed an easy start to the 2021 MotoGP campaign, despite gains last season which looked to have carried over into the pre-season. Now admitting it does have issues in serious need of resolving, it faces an almost impossible task in doing so.

MotoGP
May 11, 2021
How Jerez underlined MotoGP's speed problem Prime

How Jerez underlined MotoGP's speed problem

The brutal nature of a series of crashes at Jerez has reopened the debate about whether current MotoGP speeds are beyond the safety limits of the tracks. But even if riders are supportive of the move, getting the manufacturers to find a consensus on how speed reductions should be achieved may be altogether harder

MotoGP
May 4, 2021
How a Crutchlow helped Miller to Jerez MotoGP redemption Prime

How a Crutchlow helped Miller to Jerez MotoGP redemption

Jack Miller’s tough start to life as a factory Ducati MotoGP rider left him mentally battered and bruised, but a pep talk and positive reinforcement from a surprising source aided the Australian to show his full potential with victory at the Spanish Grand Prix

MotoGP
May 3, 2021
What does Marc Marquez have to do to get back to his best? Prime

What does Marc Marquez have to do to get back to his best?

Following his resounding MotoGP return with a seventh place finish in Portugal, Marc Marquez now must work to rediscover his best form before turning his attention towards results-based targets

MotoGP
Apr 20, 2021