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KTM will not race latest engine in Qatar opener

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KTM will not race latest engine in Qatar opener
By:
Mar 15, 2017, 10:31 AM

KTM will not race its latest specification of engine in the first round of the MotoGP season in Qatar, after struggling badly during last week's final pre-season test.

Pol Espargaro, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Pol Espargaro, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Pol Espargaro, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Pol Espargaro, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Pol Espargaro, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Pol Espargaro, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Pol Espargaro, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Pol Espargaro, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

The Austrian marque brought a new engine for testing in Qatar, which should have tamed the wild character of its RC16 bike, but it never performed as expected - resulting in Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith ending up at the bottom of the times.

Smith ended up 2.021s off the pace of pacesetter Maverick Vinales (Yamaha) on Sunday at Losail, a tenth of a second up on teammate Espargaro.

Espargaro told Motorsport.com that the latest specification won't be used at Qatar, and that another engine is now being produced - but won't be available until May's Jerez round at the soonest.

“The engine gave us lots of information in order to develop a different one, but that wasn’t the one we’ll use at the races," said Espargaro.

"We had a lot of expectations for it; it performed very well on one side, but it lacked on another. Anyway, on the positive side it gave us some direction, some feedback we will use building the new one.

"However, it will take some time and it won’t be available in the first three races of the season [Qatar, Argentina and Austin]."

Engine-software interaction "a mess"

The former Tech 3 Yamaha rider also admitted that KTM has struggled to make its new engine interact with the control electronic software that its rivals have had a year of experience working with.

“Our problem is that we don’t see clearly how the power is delivered after opening the throttle," explained Espargaro.

"There are many ways for delivering power, many different lines on a power curve; and then that data crosses with traction and anti-wheelie control.

"It’s sometimes a bit of a mess for me, as it is also for our engineers. We need some time, as you can’t do that from one day to another."

He added: “This is the MotoGP class, and you can not race just a terrific looking machine, but you also have to have built a fast one. I’m sure everything is going to be fine.

"How long will it take? I don’t know, but some other manufacturers had similar problems a couple of years ago, and they are getting great results now."

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Analysis: What we learned from the Qatar MotoGP test

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