RiderTua.com – KTM boss Pit Beirer said, “Finishing in 2nd place exceeded expectations”… 8 days before the first race was held in Qatar, quite cautiously KTM Motorsport Director Pit Beirer said, “It would be nice if Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira could fight in the top 10.” But what happened was even more than that. Binder made it to the podium after finishing in 2nd place and clearly made the Red Bull KTM team cheer. Very surprising considering the Losail circuit is not their favorite track. Why is getting into the top 10 so difficult for every team and manufacturer?
KTM boss: Podium-2 exceeds expectations
In Sunday’s race, the South African racer appeared extraordinary. After posting the best time in FP1, first place in Q1 and 7th place on the grid, Brad secured an incredible 2nd place, losing just 0.3 seconds behind winner Enea Bastianini (Gresini-Ducati).
After returning to Austria, Beirer heaved a sigh of relief. He said, “I am much better than last week.” The reason is, the results of the MotoGP tests at Sepang and Mandalika are not too promising for KTM.
Red Bull KTM placed 2nd in the drivers’ and constructors’ championships and 3rd place in the teams’ championship. If 1 week ago someone predicted the start of the season like that, would Beirer still have any doubts? “Well, I don’t have much faith in my team.
But earlier I humbly spoke about the top 10 results,” replied one of the KTM bosses.
Furthermore, Pit explained, “Because there are 6 manufacturers who are very competitive and the records are very close. If we only look at the two main factory drivers from the 6 manufacturers, there are 12 top drivers. So it can quickly happen that a factory rider doesn’t make the top 10.”
“That’s why getting into the top 10 is so difficult for every team and manufacturer. Finishing in 2nd place was certainly more than we expected in Qatar. Because the Losail Circuit has always been a difficult track for KTM. Of course, we now have a lot of knowledge and have worked diligently on it. The decisive factor is the result on paper, and that’s pretty good.”
“Returning to the question above, last week I would not dare say that we will finish second in Qatar.”
When Beirer was asked, was he under pressure because of the personnel change? Francesco Guidotti as the new team manager and in the field of technology is now led by former Ducati engineer Fabiano Sterlacchini who served as KTM MotoGP Technology Head.
“One problem, since the summer of 2021 only Brad Binder which really delivers the desired performance at KTM. But of course our project is measured from the beginning, not from the back. Our benchmark at the moment is Brad,” replied the Austrian KTM boss.
At length, Beirer continued, “But Miguel really puts on a strong display. There were three important moments, FP2, then FP3 and Q1 where they lost 0.1 seconds to qualify for Q2. With the long run in Qatar, we can’t say that 0.1 seconds is worse.”
“But he missed his chance in Qatar and often started too far from behind due to poor qualifying. The rest is like a vicious circle. Miguel then crashes while trying to catch up from 14th on the grid. But he has good speed. He went up from 11th to 10th and then closed the 2-second gap with Fabio Quartararo in two laps.
“There is some potential there. Miguel has speed. He knew exactly that he had to work even harder in qualifying. He tries to race himself, he tries to race well.”
“But in MotoGP we have to be ready to face a chaotic lap in qualifying and take risks. It doesn’t look very good and it’s not very clean, but then we have to speed up every 0.1 second. He knows it. And he will do it in the next race.”
“I believe that at the moment we have a strong Brad and also Miguel. This has not happened to Miguel in terms of results. But we analyzed a lot of laps and a lot of data. Miguel has had a very strong FP4. He is back where he is, as in the 2021 season. We have two strong riders for the next few weeks and months, “concluded Pit Beirer.