MasterBike 2010: KTM RC8R

Can the KTM’s angular Austrian awesomeness compete under an onslaught of accomplished all-rounders?

MasterBike 2010: KTM RC8R
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Next up, and polar opposite of the CBR: the KTM RC8R. It's longer and less lively, and the torquey Twin's even power pulses—delivered through the great grip of its Dunlop D211 Supersport race tires—allowed me to lean hard into learning Aragón's nuances during practice. And it didn't hurt when ex-GP rider Jeremy McWilliams came past on the other RC8R he was there to set up for KTM. I tucked in for a tow on five warm-up laps nowhere near as exciting as my CBR ride but probably quite a bit faster.

For timed laps, the RC8R was such a piece of confidence-inspiring engineering that I could have ridden it all day and not gotten tired. Finely set up WP suspension combined with linear power delivery to never upset the chassis anywhere on the track. This bike steers quickly enough to finish sharp corners without ever feeling like you're going to run wide, yet remains stable while running wide-open in fifth gear. Great grip and linear torque produce the kind of predictable, smooth acceleration that builds confidence, while the Brembo brakes are an outstanding insurance policy when it comes to late, hard braking; like Motel 6, they leave the light on for you.

Riding the RC8R, I could just think about the track and trying to get the most out of the Spanish real-estate. In hindsight, I think I got in the way of the Twin's torque in a couple of corners: I leaned over too far at the apex and didn't use the entire track exiting a couple of important fast corners (where on the Honda I would have to leave a foot for the hinged-out powerslide). The RC8R's wheels were always lined up and locomotive driving. Like I said, I think I could have done 2:03.834s all day long. They wouldn't let me. There were more bikes to ride!

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MasterBike 2010: KTM RC8R
MasterBike 2010: KTM RC8R
MasterBike 2010: KTM RC8R
MasterBike 2010: KTM RC8R
MasterBike 2010: KTM RC8R
MasterBike 2010: KTM RC8R
MasterBike 2010: KTM RC8R
MasterBike 2010: KTM RC8R
MasterBike 2010: KTM RC8R
MasterBike 2010: KTM RC8R
MasterBike 2010: KTM RC8R
MasterBike 2010: KTM RC8R
MasterBike 2010: KTM RC8R
MasterBike 2010: KTM RC8R
MasterBike 2010: KTM RC8R
MasterBike 2010: KTM RC8R
MasterBike 2010: KTM RC8R
MasterBike 2010: KTM RC8R