RideFast December 2019


SA's best motorcycle magazine!

Brad’s plan heading into the

test was to not worry about

lap times, but rather focus on

understanding the bike and

data as much as possible. He

started off on the racebike used

by Mika Kallio over the race

weekend, after the team decided

to keep Pol’s bike, which Brad

was originally going to use, with

Pol’s race setup so he could test

it back-to-back against the new

“Dani Pedrosa” spec 2020 bike

as they called it.

For the rest of the day Brad

went in and out of pits, riding

on his own to try get as much

feeling as possible without

trying to follow someone else.

His times improved with every

passing lap early on with the

soft Michelin tyres, before

switching to the harder tyre to

help churn out as many laps as

possible. Brad spent a lot of time

in the pits, analyzing data and

comparing it to Pol’s and Dani’s

before heading out and trying

new things.

Towards the end of the day,

once he felt more comfortable

on the bike, Brad would try and

tag onto Pol and did so for a

lap and a bit before running off

heading into the tough turn 10,

which had already caught out

fellow rookie rider Alex Marquez,

Honda test rider Stefan Bradl

and fast Frenchman Fabio

Quatararo earlier on. Brad would

also land up crashing out there,

but on day two.

Brad posted his fastest

lap of the day earlier on when

he managed to get a tow

from another KTM rookie, Iker

Lacuona, on the Tech 3 KTM.

Iker had just completed the

race weekend as a rookie and

surprised all with his pace,

including Brad.

Brad ended the first day

in 21st place with a time of a

1,32.645, putting him 2.482

seconds behind the fastest time

set by Fabio. Brad completed

over 70 laps, spending over an

hour and twenty minutes in the

saddle of his new machine. That

is a lot of riding and big pressure

on the body. By the time Brad had

finished with his team de-brief,

satisfied all the media requests

it was 7pm and I finally got the

chance to sit down and have

a chat with him about his first

day. You can go watch the full

video interview on the RideFast

Magazine YouTube channel – it’s

well worth a watch.

Watching Brad out on track

and I could see him getting more

and more comfortable with

every passing lap. Getting to full

gas early looked like his main

problem, trusting the electronics

will take some getting used to

for sure. Corner speed and lean

angle looked really impressive, it

really was a case of not getting

out as fast, that’s where he

was losing all of his time. This

was made more evident with

his top speeds, which were

down compared to most. On the

brakes he was solid, although

he did run off a fair few times.

Watching him I think this was

more down to the fact that the

electronics would not let him

slide the rear into the turns

like he had done throughout

his Moto2 career. Brad likes

to attack the corners with the

rear hanging out, squaring up

the corner flat tack style. This

helps him scrub off speed while

keeping the front wheel as

upright as possible so it doesn’t

fold, while the rear pretty much

steers the bike into the turns.

Not being able to do this as

pronounced as before will take

some getting used to and he

knows that he has to adapt his

riding style to the MotoGP bike.

Brad knows he has a lot

of work to do and his aim for

testing is to do as much as

possible and learn with every

passing lap. For now, lap times

are not the main priority, but

rather getting to grips with the

bike and tyres. He has a very

mature head on his shoulders

and knows what is needed to

get the job done to the best

of his ability and with a great

team-mate like Pol, and with

Dani’s experience and expertise

plus all the funding and tech

available from KTM, I have no

doubt that Brad will put in some

great performances next year.

Yes, he is not going to be at the

front at every race, but I can see

some solid rides coming from

our champ and the main aim will

be that rookie of the year title

for sure.

Brad went on to improve

his time on day two, ending the

test in 23rd place overall with a

fastest time of 1,32.3, and if you

consider that’s what most of

the riders were racing at on the

Brad getting to grips with the KTM MotoGP bike.

Sunday, that’s good going after

only 150 plus laps in the saddle.

Speaking to Pol after the first

days test having sampled the

“Pedrosa” bike, he said there are

huge gains and the new spec

bike feels a lot more responsive

in the handling and electronics

department. For now, Brad

will spend most of his time on

the old spec bike until KTM are

happy with the new spec and

have enough parts to build

atleast 1 machine for each rider.

After the Valencia test Brad

set off to Jerez for another two

days of testing. We covered day

one of this test earlier on in this

issue and couldn’t get day two

in as we had to send the mag to

the printers.

Whatever happens, these

are exciting times for not only

Brad but for all SA fans and the

MotoGP class.

Pic by GP Fever.de


More magazines by this user
Similar magazines