Tech3 KTM Factory Racing showed progress throughout day two at the Losail International Circuit. Following an intense debut yesterday in Qatar, the team’s new addition Danilo Petrucci managed to refine his feeling aboard the KTM RC16, which reflected in a steady improvement in lap times with nearly each run on Sunday. At the end of the opening test, the Italian went 1.194 seconds quicker than the previous day.
Likewise, Iker Lecuona increased his pace on the second day. The Spanish youngster, who secured several top 10 finishes in his rookie season 2020, tried different solutions with his KTM RC16 and concluded the first official test of the year 0.078 seconds behind his teammate. Both Tech3 KTM Factory Racing riders aim to step forward even further during the second official test at the Qatari venue, which takes place next Wednesday until Friday.
"Today has been another intense day of working. I’m understanding the bike better day by day. We tried something that works, but it’s clear, that we need some more time, as the challenge is quite tough. Unfortunately, I crashed this evening and I’m really sorry for that. Overall, I’m happy about the improvements we made today. For sure, we are still quite far from where we want to be, but we have three days left next week, where we need to use the time we have available to the best and then I think we can be competitive. We improved the lap time a lot today, but it’s still not enough. I would like to say thanks to my team for the hard work. We have to continue like this."
"I tried many things on the bike for KTM and also for myself. I continued to improve my performance, mainly with my riding style in order to readapt myself to the bike. Also, with the temperature I felt more confident tonight than yesterday, so I’m quite satisfied about this regard. I didn’t check the result throughout the day, as I was fully focused on my performance and my work. We still have three test days to go faster, so we will see what happens next week."
"Finally, we’ve done our first two days with Danilo Petrucci and Iker Lecuona to open the 2021 MotoGP season. It has been a very busy two days with a lot of things to test for both of our riders. KTM has worked very hard during winter and we had to go through a lot of different items to evaluate and this is what managed to do during these first two days. I think it was very important to go through this process in order to see a bit clearer where we want to go and to give the right feedback to the KTM engineers. This was done and we are pretty happy with that. Of course, it was also very important to hear and understand what Danilo was going to tell us in terms of feeling when he jumped on the KTM after so many years with his previous manufacturer. Clearly, he is happy with the bike. He is sure there’s quite a lot of improvement that will be done, but we had to try everything KTM wants us to try and having him doing his adaptation on the bike step by step in order to go to the next test with a much more comfortable feeling. I believe we’ve already lowered the gap between the leaders and us by a half second, which is something interesting. This is what we have to focus on at moment; to give Danilo the feedback so he can feel at home with the bike and he can push. On other side of garage, it was very interesting to see Iker back on bike since October. A MotoGP bike is very special and so long time without riding it, is difficult. You can’t replace the feeling of riding a MotoGP bike, so he needed some adaption as well. We are happy, he had the same pace as his teammate and was together with all the rookies, a group which will be a lot of fun to follow this season. Same as Danilo, Iker had to go through a lot of items to test and this is what we’ve done besides doing laps. I believe the four KTM riders had a big agenda, we did. Hopefully this is behind now and for the next three days we can work towards the race weekend. Although the positions are not the most exiting ones in our life, but we are happy, we have done our job and we’re confident that we can be closer to the front before the official Grand Prix week starts."