Tech3 KTM boss Herve Poncharal was not too concerned with his riders’ lack of pace at the Valencia and Jerez MotoGP tests as he believes it is more important to get comfortable and confident first.
The veteran skipper, who is also president of IRTA, limited the amount of tyres used by Hafizh Syahrin and series rookie Miguel Oliveira over the four days so they could get a feel of what the works-spec RS16s were doing with worn rubber.
“The last two days of testing this year were important for everybody, but especially for KTM Tech3 Racing. We needed a lot of laps and fortunately the weather was on our side this time. We could do many kilometres,” said the Frenchman.
“The crew together with KTM, who is helping us tremendously well are acting more and more like a KTM race team, we improve our understanding of the bike. Still, we have only one bike, so each operation in the garage takes some time, but we are happy. We feel better and better, more and more comfortable with the KTM bike.
“I think both Hafizh and Miguel improved their feeling and of course also improved their lap times. Obviously, the positions are not great, but we’ve been going faster almost every single run. For sure the lap time is the main point of reference at the end of the day, but the confidence both Hafizh and Miguel are having on the bike is very important, because without that confident feeling, you can’t push and this is what we’ve been working on without changing the tyres too often, without chasing the lap time, as we are not at that stage yet.
“I believe this was a very productive test and everybody is going to think a lot about what we have to do, what we have to improve – the riders on their side, they have a lot of things to digest. Meanwhile the whole team is going to KTM to schooling and assembling before Christmas time. I believe this is going to be a very important week as well.
“At the end of the day, I would like to thank the team again, because the season has been long and tough, but everybody has been working hard with a positive frame of mind all the time. I would like to thank KTM for their trust and support, because we know how important the MotoGP project is and we feel proud to be part of it.
“Plus, I would like to thank Hafizh Syahrin and Miguel Oliveira, obviously, as they did a good job. I’m really pleased to see Miguel with a small smile on his face at the end of this test. It’s always very interesting to take a rookie coming from Moto2 and helping to discover the MotoGP, which is what we’ve been doing again and I think it’s working.”