Riders put through their pre-season paces at the Athlete Performance Centre.
Red Bull KTM’s riders from MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 were put to the test in a punishing training regime at the Athlete Performance Centre (APC) in Thalgau, Austria.
From Pol Espargaró and Brad Binder to Deniz Öncü and Ayumu Sasaki, they were pushed to the limit through weights, heavy ropes and reaction tests, all geared at preparing them for the marathon season ahead.
And all will return to Thalgau for another test in January to clock their progress before the season officially gets under way in Qatar in March 2020. Here is all you need to know:
– In all, eight Red Bull KTM riders took part in the performance tests: MotoGP trio Espargaró, Binder and Iker Leucona, Moto2 runner Tetsuta Nagashmi, and Moto3 quartet Öncü, Sasaki, Raúl Fernández and Kaito Toba.
– Expert staff from the APC were on hand to run a series of tests from a circuit-like programme to doing blood work in order to take lactic acid readings and find out the optimum heart rate in both training and in a race for each of the riders in question.
– Already the Red Bull KTM riders have tested out their machinery for 2020 with a first track session in Jerez in November, but this proved a test of a different kind altogether.
– It was a total break for Espargaró, whose typical endurance training regime involves cycling in the summer and mountain skiing in the winter. Of his visit to the APC, he said: “It’s everything that an athlete is looking for. It’s a place where they teach you how to train, how to eat, how do the right physio. From the foot to the head they do everything, and that’s super important to us as they help you to know your body which at the end is your tool.”
– For the 28-year-old Spanish rider, it helped rectify issues he was having during his own training programme while back at home, all of it aimed at translating directly to track performance for his fourth season in MotoGP. He added: “Every single year you try to be a little bit better. That’s why I’m here. I’m changing my diet, trying to be more professional, trying to be like a sponge. Every year, there are new things coming and learn a bit more and be better.”
– Binder, meanwhile, is a newcomer to MotoGP, the 24-year-old making the step up to the factory team having finished runner-up to Alex Marquez, the younger brother of the dominant force of MotoGP Marc, by just three points at the 2019 season’s conclusion.
– For the South African, this is the crucial part of the season: “This December and January is the period where I set my base fitness for the year. The new season will be really hard on my body physically. Compared to Moto2, it’s quite a big step how hard you have to work on the bike. That’s basically what I’m doing here, to see where I’m at and work on weak points.”