Herve Poncharal 'amazed' by KTM's winter work
Tech3 team boss Herve Poncharal says he is “amazed” at the amount of work KTM did between last November and the Sepang pre-season MotoGP test.
Poncharal's squad becomes a factory-supported KTM satellite operation in 2019 after ending its 20-year association with Yamaha at the conclusion of the 2018 campaign.
Initially testing 2018 bikes in Valencia and at Jerez last November, Tech3 riders Hafizh Syahrin and Miguel Oliveira had two 2019-spec bikes available at Sepang plus an “unbelievable” amount of updates to test.
Speaking to motogp.com at Sepang, he said: “During these two tests in Valencia and Jerez, we had a lot of meetings with our engineers, data guys, of course the riders to tell the KTM engineers what was the right direction to go.
“I have to say honestly, without being too much, I'm amazed at how much work KTM has done over the winter.
“It's a short amount of time, and we received an unbelievable amount of new parts here: new seat, new forks, new winglets, new engine management, etc.
“But everything we have been testing so far has honestly been going in the right direction, and both Hafizh Syahrin and Miguel Oliveira feel much better on the bike and much more at home.
“A motorcycle, the main point is the front end; if you have confidence in the front end, you can push, you can keep the brake on when you enter in the corner and the laptime is gonna come, and you feel good.
“So far this is what's happening, we are very pleased. Still a lot of work to do but I can see the whole factory, with four riders plus test rider Mika Kallio - Pol [Espargaro], Johann [Zarco], Hafizh and Miguel and Mika Kallio - we do a really good job together and we push for the same target which is to close the gap to the top guys.”
Tech3 – which will sport a Toro Rosso-style livery in 2019, revealed at KTM's launch event in Austria on Tuesday – ended the Sepang test with rookie Oliveira just two tenths from Espargaro in 19th, while Syahrin was two spots and a further eight tenths adrift.