KTM to test new engine for MotoGP bike at Le Mans

KTM will test a new-specification engine for its maiden MotoGP bike at Le Mans this week, before the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez.

Riders Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro have noticed how aggressive the RC16 is, with much of that coming from the V4 engine, in their switch from Tech3-run Yamahas.

A revised engine was sampled during the final pre-season test in Qatar but has not been raced, and an engine that Smith says is based on a “new idea” will be evaluated by the pair on Tuesday, amid KTM’s three-day test with Mika Kallio.

“We’ve got a one-day test at Le Mans, which will be trying a different engine configuration there,” Smith said.

“That’s obviously in the pipeline, then whatever else the test team has been trying.

“I know they’re going hard with different ideas, with Mika. They’re making some good progress.

“Mika will do, I think, all three days at Le Mans, so anything they find there as well they’ll probably ship down to Jerez and we’ll either try it during the weekend or on the [post-race] Monday test.

“We’re certainly busy at the moment.”

Coming off a pair of races at tracks it had never visited – Termas de Rio Hondo, where it scored its first MotoGP points, and Austin – KTM starts a run of races at circuits it has completed tests at Jerez.

That race will be followed a Monday test, and while its package has remained largely unchanged during the opening rounds, Espargaro is looking forward to trying new items again at Le Mans.

“We will test a new engine and it will be really nice,” Espargaro said.

“We all hope we have a good thing with this engine and we can get something really nice.

“We are going to have some new pieces and after that we race Jerez, the first Europe race, where we have already been with KTM.

“I feel something good is coming, but we have to be patient.”

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