KTM 'black and white' compared to Yamaha
The philosophy of KTM's maiden MotoGP bike is "black and white" compared to riding Yamaha's M1, Pol Espargaro says.
Espargaro has joined the Austrian manufacturer for its first full MotoGP season in 2017, arriving from Tech3 Yamaha with former team-mate Bradley Smith.
Both riders have found the RC16 requires a more physical style to the Yamaha that has routinely won races and championships, and are settling in for a long development programme.
The pair finished 16th and 17th in the Qatar season opener, and while Espargaro said the more-aggressive KTM suited his natural riding style, it was a definite departure from the Yamaha.
"For me it's much easier to ride this bike than the Yamaha," he said. "The only problem is that we are slow.
"With this bike, it's quite different, when you push, you get the lap time.
"It's not the same as the Yamaha that you need to ride smooth when you want to lower the lap time.
"The philosophy is black and white.
"This is the beginning, the bike doesn't have a personality still. We are building it.
"We are going to improve the bike, I think we know what is the character of the bike and we need to improve it."
Espargaro believes the reason is split between KTM's steel trellis frame and its screamer-configuration engine, both of which are unique in MotoGP.
While conceding the KTM is more demanding to ride than the Yamaha, on which "everything was the same, from the first to the last lap", the Spaniard believes it also provides more scope for a rider to "play with the bike".
"It starts from the chassis, for sure it's different because you can not turn as fast as the Yamaha," he said.
"And the engine is so different. It looks like this bike is working more in high-rpm and Yamaha is working in low-rpm, they can take profit a little bit more of the grip at the beginning of the corner because they push less, stress less, the tyre.
"For sure it's more physically demanding, more than the Yamaha, and I think for me it's more rider demanding.
"The rider can make an extra difference with this bike than the Yamaha, it looks like you need to ride on rails.
"I don't know if they are changing with Maverick [Vinales], but when I was in Tech3, it was like this. You have just one line, and you needed to follow it.
"With this bike you have a little bit more freedom, you can ride how you want."