KTM have finally taken their first podium of 2021 after a tough start to the season.
Miguel Oliveira stormed to an incredibly impressive second-place finish at Mugello amidst a tough weekend mentally for many with the tragic loss of young talent Jason Dupasquier. Many riders struggled to race and maintain concentration with Francesco Bagnaia questioning why the riders even raced in the first place stating it was “One of the worst days of my life” after crashing out due to an inability to concentrate, Aleix Espargaro and Danilo Petrucci would echo this saying they felt dirty holding a minute silence just 10 minutes previous to putting on their helmets and racing.
It was clear to see that it was an unusual race with many riders having a bitter taste in their mouths but Miguel Oliveira was able to put the events which had transpired over the weekend to the back of his mind and go out and race starting from P7 on the grid.
KTM had brought a bucket full of upgrades with them to Mugello including a new updated 3D printed chassis, the Austrian factory spent much of the test at Jerez working on improving race distance with the tyres fading towards the end of races due to the chassis demanding more of the tyre than it should, it was clear that they needed some chassis updates to enable all riders to be able to save their tyres throughout the race. The new updates have meant that bike turns more naturally allowing them to continue to battle in the final laps, running the entire race at a calmer pace remaining consistent and competitive.
Another upgrade the manufacturer brought to the race weekend was a new fuel supplier, it seems they are now running rocket fuel instead of the normal gasoline (not true, just a joke in case you thought they are actually using rocket fuel) with Brad Binder blasting his way down the Mugello straight to match the MotoGP top speed record of 362.4 km/h (225mph), this record is also held by Johann Zarco at Qatar. This speed record also means that Brad Binder is the only non-Ducati rider in the top 10 list for outright top speeds.
This extra speed advantage aided Miguel Oliveira to get off to a rocket start of the race blasting by the competition to arrive within the top 4 at the end of lap one before battling his way past Johann Zarco and holding off Joan Mir to take a very impressive second-placed finish, this would be KTM’s first rostrum finish of 2021 and Oliveira’s first top 10 finish after moving from the Tech3 team over to the factory Red Bull KTM squad.
On the other side of the garage we saw a similarly impressive result with Brad Binder marching home to P5 after struggling following contact with Marc Marquez which caused his airbag to go off, the tightness of the airbag meant Binder was barely able to breathe for a lap until the airbag deflated back to normality. Despite this problem he knuckled down in typical Brad Binder style and marched home to a solid result.
KTM’s progress was desperately needed, hopefully, these upgrades will help them to continue to improve in Catalunya and further.
Featured images – KTM Media / Polarity Photo