Espargaro: Pedrosa making new KTM package

Pol Espargaro describes the benefits of having Dani Pedrosa as KTM’s test rider; “He's just making a new package … [so it's ready] at the beginning of next year at the Malaysia test.”
Espargaro: Pedrosa making new KTM package

Pol Espargaro has talked up the influence of KTM test rider Dani Pedrosa after observing the triple world champion for two days at the Circuit of Barcelona, and revealed his countryman is already focussing on possible parts and direction for the factory’s 2020 package.

A crash during the Monday test at Montmeló meant the younger Espargaro brother could not ride on the Wednesday, when the factory had planned an extra day of track time. Thankfully for the ex-Moto2 world champion, Pedrosa was on hand to take over.

“Imagine if I couldn't test on Wednesday and it was just Johann [Zarco] testing,” said Espargaro. “We trust a lot in Johann, but the amount of info would be half of having Dani there. Not so much for the project at the moment.

“But the things Dani was testing for the project were very important, and for the future of the company. It was good also to be on the outside. I didn't like it, but it was good to check what's going on not riding the bike.

“I think Dani is still in the process of learning the KTM. For sure it's super good to hear him talking, because he gives a different point of view to the engineers that is a kind of experience.”

Espargaro went on to cite Pedrosa’s development work over 13 years at Repsol Honda, when, in his eyes, team-mates Casey Stoner and Marc Marquez were benefitting greatly from his expertise.

“We have seen in the past years that Dani made an amazing Honda. We heard that when Casey was there that Casey was an amazing rider to be fast, but not to develop a bike. And then Dani was taking off this pressure and Dani was the guy sensitive enough testing a lot of things, and then Casey was unbelievably fast.

“I have no idea if it's the same, but it looks a little bit similar with Marc. When Dani was there, Dani was always testing a lot of things which Marc always liked.

“And now I think Dani is focusing on the future bikes. Not on what we are going to test in a few races, but these things we can test.

“He's just making a new package, a new bike which will be a similar procedure to what Honda is doing: test the bike in the middle of the season, and then at the end of the season again, and then have the new package at the beginning of next year at the Malaysia test.”

Pedrosa’s media duties have been kept to a minimum since he joined KTM in a testing role at the close of 2018. But according to Espargaro, what his fellow Catalan tested on the Monday and Wednesday after Barcelona led him to stated “this is the future of the company.”

“He went out on the bike and he tested something that maybe he couldn't be so fast on, but he said this is the future of the company. And how Dani knows that is because he has a lot of experience behind him.

“I cannot do that, even if I wanted, because I've never been winning for so many years in a factory team. So I don't have this information even if I'm fast on the KTM. So Dani is the only person who has this kind of info.

“And also riding the bike, he has a peculiar style, because his body demands a different riding style, he picks up the bike so early in the corner, he is very soft with the beginning of the throttle, and he opens quite early but with not so much torque.

“It's very different to what we are used to doing, but it's very nice to see and to check different riding styles.

“It's not that Mika was not doing a good job, but now it's a different kind of work. Dani is making a new bike completely, and we are focusing on improving this bike, and there are two lines in the factory: Dani is in one line, and we are in the other line.

“We are in the short term, and Dani is more in the long term. There are two directions. And I think Dani is the correct guy to do that. He is patient, he likes to work a lot on these types of things, and let's see how the new bike is going to come at the end of the year.

“It's going to be the first time in KTM that we do something like that, so it's quite interesting.”

On the new parts he will have for the Dutch Grand Prix, Espargaro added, “Especially this stuff that focused on the weight of the bike. From WP, to the chassis, to different swingarms.

“But just a matter of going a little bit lighter. This was the main thing. But also to retest some stuff that we couldn't re-test during the weekend, because we didn't have enough time.

“So for example we started in Barcelona with one bike that I didn't feel really good with, and then we swapped. So we were testing everything we couldn't earlier, because we didn't have so much time during the weekends.”