The RC16 is the newest bike on the MotoGP grid, with KTM making its debut in 2017.
In the space of five years, KTM went from the back of the grid to winning races by 2020, with the marque’s tally standing at five victories following two success for Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder last season.
Despite its two wins in 2021, KTM endured a largely difficult campaign but have seemingly turned things around in 2022, with Binder fighting for victory in Qatar before finishing just shy in second having qualified seventh.
Of all the bikes on the grid, the KTM is the most different, with the RC16 the only motorcycle built around a steel trellis frame and WP suspension.
Having followed Binder for some time in the season-opening Qatar GP, six-time MotoGP world champion Marquez says the RC16 is a bike he still doesn’t understand given how differently the South African was making time from lap to lap.
“I mean, it’s the bike that I understand least,” Marquez said after finishing fifth in Qatar.
“I understood [race winner Enea] Bastianini [on his Gresini-run 2021 Ducati], the way that he rode.
“But Binder was like each lap was different.
“One lap he was going in [to the corners] very fast, next lap he was going in slower but exiting very fast.
“So, still the KTM – especially behind Binder – I don’t understand.
“But they have a good engine, he was stopping the bike a lot with the rear tyre.
“And also he was very fast at the end of the race.”
Pol Espargaro, Repsol Honda Team, Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team, Brad Binder, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Photo by: MotoGP
The Qatar GP threw up some interesting results, with a year-old Ducati winning the race while its 2022 factory counterparts all struggled.
The 2021 Qatar-winning manufacturer and reigning world champion Fabio Quartararo also struggled, while pre-race favourite Suzuki had grip issues which hindered its race.
Marquez feels Qatar is too “special” a track to make any championship predictions from, but is convinced Bastianini and Honda team-mate Pol Espargaro – who finished third – will be contenders.
“I mean, we are in the first race and I said already that the first race is special and particularly here in Qatar,” Marquez added.
“Here in Qatar it’s a race track that always we are looking at different results here, and last year Maverick [Vinales] and [Fabio] Quartararo were very fast, and [Johann] Zarco also was very fast and in the season was not fast enough.
“But I believe I saw two guys today, that were Bastianini and Pol Espargaro, who were fast and will be contenders for the championship.”