MotoGP Technique: Where is KTM in mid-season?

KTM is going through a difficult 2022 season, having started with a blow in the first two races – with a second place for Brad Binder in Qatar and a victory for Miguel Oliveira in Indonesia – it became more difficult afterwards. But in recent races they seem to have found some consistency, at least on Sunday. The Austrian factory currently ranks fourth in the Manufacturers Championship, Suzuki and Honda are still far behind the Austrian manufacturer.

In the first preseason test of the year, all the KTMs were pretty similar overall, despite some small differences between the factory RC16s and the Tech16 team’s RC16s. But overall, the prototypes at the Mattighofen factory were largely similar and very close to what they were at the end of the 2021 season.

After getting a little lost in development in 2021, KTM returned to a well-known base to start in 2022 and evolve afterwards. This meant that for much of the pre-season testing they seemed to be quite lagging behind the competition, but they quickly changed course.

The first major evolution visible in the orange prototypes was the aerodynamic package. By 2022, KTM developed larger fins than in 2021 and added lower side fins to the fairing. Of course, the way they set up their RC16 has completely changed, and both Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira commented that after a while finding out, it gave them a little more room for error in the game before, which hurt them. last year.

One of the most important technical developments for 2022 was the new swingarm. It was a rocker we had seen in development for a long time, we saw it at the beginning of the 2021 season with the prototype of the test driver Dani Pedrosa, but the factory racing duo did not use it full time until this year. It is easy to see the differences with the old version, the bottom edge has a good curvature.

Here we see the change. The Tech3 rider duo now have this swing, but they only got it after about 6 or 7 races during the season. They both seem to have liked it, as both Remy Gardner and Raul Fernandez have used it since they tried it.

KTM also tested a pretty original exhaust in this year’s Jerez test. While it may have been more of a data collection exercise for the future, it could also be said that it was also trying to adjust its power to allow for better subsequent grip.

Ducati also tried a long exhaust as they sought to tame the GP22’s engine, but found that while this long exhaust softened the way power was delivered, it actually caused them more traction problems. Maybe KTM was looking to do the same here and maybe we’ll see an evolution of that in the future.

One thing KTM teams work tirelessly on is adjusting the chassis. We can’t really be sure of the changes they make, as they are very well hidden, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

Above is the chassis with which KTM started the year. It looks identical to what we saw in 2021 and that is why it was chosen as the basis for the year 2022. The important areas to highlight here are the pivot of the rocker and then also the main beam, at the level of the column of direction.

This is the chassis that KTM riders use now. Here are two different changes. The first refers to the pivot of the rocker. Looking at where the circle is on the pivot, in this prototype it is further ahead than in the standard chassis in the image above.

The second change is in the main frame beam, at the level of the steering column. No physical modification of the chassis is seen here, but KTM has covered this area with the fairing. This does not necessarily mean that there has been a chassis change in this area, but it does make us wonder why KTM would change the fairing to cover an area of ​​the chassis that could be seen before. They may have lengthened the fairing just for the comfort of the rider when they have their wrists and arms very close to this area.

But we also know that KTM is always testing new parts and ideas, so a small chassis upgrade is very likely. One thing to note is that we have seen this different fairing, which covers this area of ​​the chassis, since last year.

Over the course of the season, KTM has already evolved its aerodynamic package. They are one of the few factories that have made an aerodynamic upgrade and what KTM decided to do was keep the upper fins but leave the side fins, which are arranged on the fairing. Since then, pilots have been switching between updated aerodynamics and stock aerodynamics on a regular runway-to-runway basis, which they are allowed to do.

Photos: Dorna Sports

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