MotoGP presents a dilemma for the motorcycle manufacturers. On the one hand, it has never been closer or more exciting, making it a very attractive prospect for factories looking to boost their profile and push the limits of their engineering prowess. On the other hand, when the top ten is so close and there are so many competitive bikes on the grid, it becomes much more difficult to make a mark on the championship. When there are perhaps 14 bikes capable of getting on the podium, the margin between success and failure is razor thin.
KTM is learning this lesson the hard way. In their third year competing in the championship, the Austrian factory is only now starting to make regular inroads into the top ten. Much of that success is down to Pol Espargaro, the stable factor in KTM's line up in its third season. Since the beginning, Espargaro has been working with crew chief Paul Trevathan, and that pairing has proven to be an ideal combination. Both lively, enthusiastic, with a keen sense of humor, and both absolutely dedicated to pushing above and beyond in pursuit of success.
At Barcelona, I sat down with Paul Trevathan to talk about KTM's MotoGP project, and working with Pol Espargaro. We covered a lot of ground in the 25 minutes or so we spoke for, talking about everything from applying lessons learned in motocross to MotoGP, how the progress KTM have made mean there is a little bit less testing and a little bit more concentrating on race pace, the benefits of using the right approach to testing, why Espargaro is currently really the only rider to get everything out of the KTM, and much more.
To make it all a little easier to digest, the interview has been split into two parts. Here is part 1, part 2 will follow: