The switch to Triumph engines in Moto2 has had a major impact on the chassis manufacturers in the middleweight class, requiring a complete redesign of their chassis. The dimensions of the Triumph 765cc triple is very different to the Honda CBR600RR engines which they replace, and the power delivery places very different demands on the chassis in terms of handling and getting drive out of the corners.
After the first test at Jerez, Kalex appears to have done the best job of understanding the requirements the new engines place on the chassis. Eleven of the top twelve riders were on the German bikes, with only Jorge Navarro on the Speed Up spoiling the party in sixth. Austrian giant KTM were in real trouble, Brad Binder the best-placed KTM rider in thirteenth, over nine tenths behind Luca Marini on the Sky VR46 Kalex. Six of the last ten riders are on KTMs.
Reason for Kalex chief chassis designer Alex Baumgärtel to celebrate? "Well, it's too early to say," the affable German told us on Saturday. "It's just one and a half days now, and one of those had a wet session start, so I would say 'tranquilo', let's be calm. It was not a bad start, let's call it like that, with only minor problems. But everybody still had quite a lot of work to do to understand how systems work."
The most promising thing was that the Kalex riders all had similar feedback, and were pointing in the same direction in search of improvement. "We already find a kind of a trend with the setup with all the guys, so that's a good thing," Baumgärtel said. "Especially when the mass of the riders follow the same trend, that is a nice indication that we found quite early a good understanding of how the machine reacts. But still a lot to do."
The different power delivery and throttle response meant the riders had a lot of adapting to do, Baumgärtel said. "It changes the riding style quite a lot, so the riders needed to understand how to attack the corners, to use the torque. You have now 30% more torque on your rear wheel. With the Honda you were able to be binary, zero or one with the throttle, and now you have a little bit more to control with your hand."
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