Moto2 title runner-up Raul Fernandez will be training hard this winter after the power and braking force of the KTM RC16 took its toll during the Jerez MotoGP test.
“I’m really happy, but I’m dead!” Fernandez smiled. “It was really difficult and really physical. Especially because the first day, everything was new and I was really tense on the bike.
“Today sometimes I cannot move the bike like I want, or brake like I want. But anyway I’m really happy, the balance of the test was really good.
“We did many laps with used tyres, and I was really competitive. Also we tried to do one fast lap, with the soft tyre, and I was really close to the [experienced] riders. Less than one-second from them.”
Fernandez, who took a record eight wins as a rookie in Moto2 this season to chase team-mate and eventual champion Remy Gardner until the final round, was 20th on the combined timesheets, 0.163s behind top rookie Fabio di Giannantonio (Gresini Ducati).
“I like too much the braking. Wow! The bike is incredible in braking. Much better than the Moto2 bike,” Fernandez said, when asked what he likes the most about the RC16. “But for sure the power is amazing and the tyres also are incredible. All of the things on the bike are incredible.
“The most difficult was to understand how you need to use the perfect angle to have more power. Because if you have too much banking you don’t have power, if you don’t have much angle, also you don’t have power. It’s really difficult. We have to understand better what is the perfect angle to take more power.”
Fernandez, who like Gardner spent half-a-day on the RC16 at Misano in September, now has until the Sepang Shakedown test (open to rookies) at the end of January to increase his strength.
“I already cannot wait to go to Sepang for the winter tests next year. I will make sure to train hard this winter in order to gain muscles and get stronger, because this bike is very demanding physically,” he confirmed.
Team boss Herve Poncharal confirmed: “I think they [Fernandez and Gardner[ understood a bit more now what they need to do to ride this bike fast and what they need to do to be fit physically.
“They understand that the upper body needs to be much stronger with the speed and the carbon brakes of the MotoGP bike.
“Altogether I think it was a very productive and interesting test for them to go into the winter break, knowing what to do and having a good idea of how to arrive in Sepang.”
Gardner, struggling with pain from a rib injury, was 22nd fastest out of the 28 riders.