Of course, at the beginning of a new motorcycle season everyone is hopeful. But it has been a long time ago that the expectations at NTS RW Racing GP were as high as on the eve of the 2019 season, as became clear during the team presentation at the Motor Show in Utrecht.
With a new NTS-frame, which is tailor made around the new Triumph engine, a new Dutch rider - Bo Bendsneyder - and an experienced test rider and rider coach - Alex de Angelis - on board, RW Racing GP is in good shape. "We are the only team with the NTS-frame and that gives some benefits in terms of testing", team manager Jarno Janssen said. "We are already testing from the summer with the new Triumph engine and have therefore been able to fully adapt the frame to that engine. Alex de Angelis has ridden hundreds of test kilometers with the machine before our drivers Bo Bendsneyder and Steven Odendaal got on the machine last week."
A world opened up for Bo Bendsneyder. In November he tried the NTS for a while, but due to his leg-injury he could not make many meters. That was a lot better last week in Valencia. "I had a difficult debut year in the Moto2 and that makes it difficult to express expectations, but the feeling with this machine, with this engine, is really insane. It feels very natural. I rode in lap times in Valencia that I have never had there. That I can speak Dutch again and work with an experienced man like Hans Spaan, only makes things better."
Hans Spaan - normally quite critical - is the one who raised expectations. "The engine and the chassis fit together well. You notice that everything. Beforehand I had the idea that we would be happy if we could race every race in the points, but after the first test I feel that there is more to it. Based on what I have seen, I think it should be possible to drive around the top 10 very regularly. The work that NTS has done is impressive."
The Japanese NTS has specialized in high-quality metal prototypes since the 1970s and is active in space and aviation. In the summer of 2017, when NTS participated with a prototype at the European Championship Moto2, the first contacts were made between RW Racing GP and the Japanese company. This resulted in a close partnership that is now entering the second year.
Steven Odendaal rode on the European Championship machine and came out last year for RW Racing GP in the Moto2. "The new machine is unrecognizable", the South African experienced, who due to a broken foot could not drive much during the test in Valencia. "It is a 100% improvement. It is such a powerful package that we have to be able to participate in the front."
Test rider Alex de Angelis, who will also be riders coach during the season, is very pleased with the machine. "I know the bike, with all its plus and minus points, and know how it feels and responds in certain situations. When I go and look along the track, I can also directly indicate where the riders can improve, especially compared to other riders."
The first official IRTA test will be held in Jerez from 20 to 22 February. Then it becomes clear how Bendsneyder, Odendaal and the NTS machine stand in comparison to the rest of the field.
All information about that test can be found on our website in due course, where you can already find all the information about the riders, the engine, the team and the coming season.
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