Petrucci tries new KTM chassis, top speed worries remain
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The centrepiece of Monday’s Catalan test for Danilo Petrucci and Tech3 team-mate Iker Lecuona was the new KTM chassis that has helped transform the fortunes of factory star Miguel Oliveira.The Portuguese hadn’t finished higher than eleventh prior to the race debut of the new chassis’, and a change of fuel supplier, at Mugello. Oliveira promptly celebrated KTM’s first podium of the season in Italy, hotly followed by victory in Catalunya.Petrucci felt the chassis was “helping a bit” but doesn’t address his main issues, the Italian’s size meaning he currently stresses the rear tyre too much in the middle of the corner and especially struggles with top speed on the straights.”It’s a little help but it’s not the only thing I need in this moment because the most critical part for us is the aerodynamics and speed on the straight,” Petrucci said of the chassis.”So it’s a little help but I would like to have more speed in the straight, to be more relaxed on braking, because now braking is the only part where I can gain some time.”I was struggling to keep the line [with the old chassis], with this one was helping a bit, even if still my main [cornering] issue is to not stress the rear tyre too much.Related ArticlesaccImages.createImage(); Marc Marquez tries ‘big changes’ for Honda problemsaccImages.createImage(); Binder, Oliveira try 2022 KTM prototype at Catalunya test”This happens especially when I have a new tyre that doesn’t support the extra G-force I put on the tyre. For this reason, I struggle a lot in qualifying but I’m good on the pace.”We have to wait a moment before picking up the bike and not let it slide too much, but it’s quite a critical moment because you don’t have to go too early on the throttle, but absolutely not too late.”Just this moment is where I’m struggling [in the corners] and then I lose all the acceleration and as I said the aerodynamics.”Related ArticlesaccImages.createImage(); MotoGP podcast with Keith Huewen: Surprises, controversy in Catalunya accImages.createImage(); Moto3 technical freeze extended until 2023, then 2-3 year ‘rolling period’The bad news for Petrucci is KTM has already used its 2021 fairing update, meaning no further aerodynamic changes can be made this season.”Unfortunately, it’s not possible to have a different fairing this year because the homologation is already done and unfortunately on this side we are locked,” Petrucci confirmed.The factory team’s change of fuel supplier to ETS is also said to have helped the top speed of Oliveira and team-mate Brad Binder, but for now Tech3 continues with long-time sponsor Elf.”4But at least the next two rounds at Sachsenring and Assen are not top speed tracks.”Regarding the speed on the straight fortunately the next two races are not too fast and then we will talk next [about it] for Austria,” Petrucci said.The Italian, who ed out of Sunday’s race, was only ranked 18th (1.527s) at the test, but explained they had been working with the worst-case scenario as far as tyre grip.”We had a chance to try a different set-up, trying to move the weight balance of the bike and we worked only with hard tyres. Let’s say we [deliberately] put ourself in difficult conditions, to try the worst case scenario we can have,” he said.”5″It was a long day but I’m satisfied, the most important thing to do is to get used to the bike and I’m feeling well for the next two races because usually Germany and holland are cooler and there are not so many long straights. So I’m really looking forward to going there.”Lecuona, also on the DNF list in Sunday’s race, was 22nd fastest at the test (1.805s).“Today we tried the new chassis.” he confirmed. “Finally, it was not about a fast lap time, so we finished quite far back. But I feel very good with the bike and confident for the next races.”With Moto2 title leader Remy Gardner already confirmed on one of the Tech3 bikes for 2022, Lecuona and Petrucci look to be in a direct contest for the remaining seat. The pair are currently 16th (Petrucci) and 20th (Lecuona) in the world championship.
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