MotoGP, Beirer: “Pedrosa, a turning point in the KTM project that we never copied”

Pit Beirer met (virtually) reporters from all over the world to comment on the KTM’s first MotoGP victory at the Czech Grand Prix. A success that has paid off the many efforts made by the Austrian manufacturer in recent years. Beirer raised a lot of topics, talked about the development process of the RC-16 and also brought up a few things related to his rivals.

KTM mastered the MotoGP challenge and believed in it to the end. He has chosen a different direction than his rivals and finished in the top ten in 2020 with four drivers on the track, both in qualifying and in the race. Many expected that a possible first victory for the Austrian manufacturer could be that of Pol Espargarò, But the Spanish rider could soon reap this satisfaction given the level of his motorcycle in Brno.

“I’ve been smiling since last Sunday,” a beaming Beirer began to explain. “It was exciting because we started with a blank board. We put together the first bike and then we did the first race. Today we celebrate our first win. I’m really happy for the team and for Brad, who started with us from the Rookies Cup. I can’t find the right words to express what I’m feeling. We won without any major falls in front of us. We were on the podium in Valencia, but it was a different situation. “

A great win but one that also puts you close to losing concessions.

“Honestly, losing concessions is the last thing we think about at the moment. We had our advantages in the beginning and now we are ready to leave them. That would mean that we have taken another podium. After the win, the goal of the season remains the same. More than one driver in the top 10 and top 5, not just for a weekendand without anyone falling in front of us. “

Beirer: “Pedrosa has changed direction in the project”

To what extent did Pedrosa’s development have an impact? What was the most important step he took?

“The biggest criticism of our bike was that only Pol could ride it. We knew, but you can’t change a situation like this in one night. You can easily take two seconds away, but when you get to the last second the hard part begins. We wanted to make it drivable for all drivers. I wasn’t dissatisfied in 2019. Miguel and Pol were both injured. We put new parts on the track every week, then the time comes when you need to develop the bike for the following year. We worked a lot with Dani and Mika, but Dani took the project in a different direction, our frame, suspensions, and even the engine. Sure, we hired other technicians, but never copied them. The bike is completely different from the last three years. “

Where did you fill most of the void?

“There’s a big difference between the 2019 bike and the 2020 bike. We braked hard, but our real downside was the understeer. If you accelerate late, even with a good engine, you’re wasting time. When we did the first During tests in Valencia with the new motorcycle, we immediately noticed that our riders were following the same trajectories as the others. We analyzed the videos. We are there because we have our frames and suspensions that we make in-house. We don’t have to wait for someone else to develop these components. We do everything ourselves. Today it’s easy to talk and say it’s the right thing to do, but there was no evidence until last Sunday that it really was. “

Today you are the only one with a tubular frame. Is it a marketing question, or are you still convinced of this technical decision?

“Tubular frame, no doubt for us. It’s not a question of marketing. We have the knowledge. We learned to print it, and it’s three times stiffer than aluminum and even lighter. We need to understand how to use it.” Aluminum or steel, it doesn’t make a difference. You have to give the rider the flexibility he wants, front or rear. Now we have a platform for the future. It wouldn’t be possible to win MotoGP any other way. “

Electronics are always a staple, but you’ve taken a Formula 1 engineer in place of a former Marelli technician. Why did you make this choice?

“We respected Dorna by not taking any former Marelli men away from them. Sure, at some point it would have been an advantage to have one of their men, but like I said, there are no short cuts and at some point things fell in. MotoGP is focused currently on the management of power. We decided to mix men from the world of motorcycles and F1 experts. We had to do the job from scratch and rely on a McLaren engineer. And that person immediately took us to a higher level, but you know that motorcycles and cars have different problems. In Formula 1, however, the level of knowledge in electronics for motorsport is simply at the top. “

Beirer: “Pol Espargarò deserved to win the first race for KTM in MotoGP.”

Sunday Binder won, but Pol Espargarò also had his chance. How do you rate the cancellation of his lap in qualifying? Have you thought about being appealing?

“Rules are rules. Sometimes they prefer you, you find others against you. Pol couldn’t see the yellow flag because the corner was on the left, it was bent and, as the flag was shown, outside it would have been impossible to see Even on television, you have to zoom in and put a red circle around it to see it well – do you think a driver who risked his life going into a corner at over 200 km / h was able to To see it? Of course, second place in qualifying would have been incredible. But in the end if he saw the flag he should have turned off the gas so we are not talking about anything, because certainly nothing would have changed. We never thought of appealing this decision. Pol deserved to collect KTM’s first MotoGP win for all the effort he put into. But in any case, he’s part of that victory. If he hadn’t fallen … I feel really bad for him. “

When did you realize you had a bike that could win?

“After the Jerez Grand Prix was over, Brad came up to me and said“Pit, I had the best bike out there.” When a beginner tells you something like this, many doubts about the competitiveness of your bike are removed. He also has a very special disposition. It has two sides. In his private life he is very relaxed and friendly, just like his parents. But when he races he’s a warrior, and it’s not always easy to find that mix in a driver. “

You reached the top at a time when the level in MotoGP is very high and everyone is close.

“Today, with just a second, you’re out of your 20s. Dorna did a great job bringing the teams closer together. The rules are perfect for introducing the different bikes from a performance standpoint. Costs are also under control, and that is important for the class. But we can’t relax now. We’re not up to Yamaha’s level yet and Lin Jarvis who has four great riders and excellent material for all four. Every Sunday they know they can get great results with at least one of their drivers. Having Tech3 and four identical bikes helps a lot. Having four riders means preparing ten motorcycles at the same level (eight plus two for the tests, ed.). Previously, Pol had come under pressure when choosing the new upgrades for the motorcycles. Now Miguel and Brad contribute to the development and everything is easier. Iker is young and learning, but he will soon reach the same level too. “

Beirer: “We let the drivers grow and nobody can copy us, at least I hope.

You have a real supply chain of riders, you have a kind of cantera and in 2021 you will have two factory riders in MotoGP who come from that cantera. It’s a reason to be satisfied. Aren’t you afraid that others can imitate you?

“The Moto2 race was difficult for us, you all know that. Build the frame, develop it. We wanted to do it because we didn’t want to lose a Moto3 World Champion. We didn’t want a driver who won the Moto3 title with us has, drives for someone else. With Moto2 we built a bridge so that Binder can stay with us like all other riders. We have invested in this area for over ten years and I don’t think others can copy us. At least I hope nobody does. “

Do you think that after this great victory, the KTM will have the impetus to build a MotoGP replica or a street superbike, maybe from your V4?

“A superbike is not on our agenda right now. We want to learn in MotoGP and develop technology that can be carried over to our current range of models. We must, however, build other segments and other more strategic types of motorcycles before we build a superbike.” . “