KTM’s first full public appearance with its 2017 rivals was promising, but not sensational – with test rider Mika Kallio moving up from last place in the early sessions to qualify 20th, ahead of both Tito Rabat’s Honda and Yonny Hernandez on the Aspar Ducati.
The Finnish former full-time racer had carved almost two seconds off his lap time from the first free practice, but remained some 2.5 seconds off Lorenzo’s pole time.
“You always have your eye on the lap record,” smiled race director Pit Beirer. “But these other guys keep going faster.”
The V4 engine is currently in the same “screamer” format as the one Honda are expected to abandon, and is the only version currently available, said Beirer. “But we can make different configurations for the firing intervals. Nothing is finalised,” he said.
“But at the moment we are working more on the chassis.”
Uniquely, the KTM uses a steel tube chassis, and Kallio was complaining about a lack of rear grip into the corners, leading to wheelspin on the exit.
By Michael Scott