The bike KTM is preparing for their entry into MotoGP has made its track debut. At the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria, Alex Hofmann took the KTM RC16 for a shakedown test, to see how the bike would hold up on a circuit. The aim was to check whether the bike would hold together on an actual track, to see if they ran into any unforeseen problems with the basic design. Although both the engine and the chassis have been subjected to many hours of testing on dynos and test beds, this was the first opportunity KTM had to see how it stood up in the real world.
Though neither a press release nor official photographs were issued, there were witnesses to the roll out. One Facebook user posted some footage of the bike on Facebook, which shows the bike quite well, and allows you to hear its engine note. The video confirms what we knew: the KTM RC16 is a 90° V4, sitting in a trellis frame. The bike uses an aluminium swing arm, with underbracing, as is common practice in MotoGP. The bike is using WP suspension (a KTM-owned company) and Brembo brakes.
It also revealed a few new details. The exhausts, made by Akrapovic, are located where you would expect them to be on a V4, with one set of pipes exiting the tail, and another lower down. The exhaust layout looks more like the Honda RC213V than the Ducati Desmosedici, however. The engine note also sounds more like the Honda than the Ducati, the note betraying that they are using a "screamer" firing order (where the cylinders all fire in sequence) rather than a more closely ranged firing order, as is used in a big bang engine.
Speaking to the German language website Speedweek, KTM boss Pit Beirer pronounced himself very pleased with the roll out. It had been an emotional moment for everyone concerned, he said, seeing a completed MotoGP bike in the garage. The main objective was to check that the bike held together, that it went in a straight line and that it felt like genuine racing machine. KTM test rider Alex Hofmann confirmed that it did, Beirer told Speedweek. He emphasized that it was very much an endurance test, rather than a performance test. It was all about getting as many kilometers under the wheels as possible, and much less about lap times.
The bike will see another day of testing at Spielberg, with Hofmann putting more kilometers on the bike. A second test is planned, though not at the test planned for some teams at Jerez at the end of November. For the moment, KTM have built two complete bikes, one of which is spending all of its time on the dyno, the other is being tested at the track, Beirer told Speedweek. They have enough parts to test as much as they need to without problems, and start the process of development. The real process of building new parts and refining the bike to get it ready for MotoGP will start once they are satisfied that the fundamental design is sound, and can be raced.