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Pol Espargaro chatted to motogp.com at the recent Yamaha Racing presentation in Barcelona about the 2016 season.
How was your winter break?
“So good! I am living in Andorra and it is snowing a lot now so this is pretty cool. I am also training Skimo [Skiing/Mountaineering] in Randonee, Andorra, so getting ready in high altitude to be fit for the season. I am looking forward to going to Malaysia to test the new Michelin tyres, the new electronics and the new bike.”
How will the changes affect the racing this year?
“I think a lot! But not in a bad way, it will be good. We hope that it will affect in the sense that everyone will be even closer this year, not just in the practices but in the races too. If these changes go in the direction that Dorna and IRTA wants, which is to allow everyone to be more attacking and to make more funny races, it will be really nice! But for that to happen we have to work a lot. Yamaha have to work a lot, we have to find a good setting and if we can get this the Yamaha will be up there.”
Do you think we could see satellite riders winning races this year?
“Yes we hope that everything changes and maybe satellite riders will be even faster than the factory…yeah I don’t think so! It is difficult, the factory team is always helping us and giving us the material to improve at every race, but you know, factory still is factory, even with some changes. Our target is to attack as much as possible and if we are closer to them, then we are okay.”
The 2015 season wasn’t exactly the perfect season for you; with the new regulations is it like a chance to start again?
“Yes it will be like starting again from zero. It will be a completely different bike. I think the most important part is the electronics and tyres and these two will change. The electronics can make you accelerate, brake, anti-wheelie and control traction better. Everything that makes you escape from the corner, while the tyres are the one thing that is touching the ground so they can make you fast or slow. Everything will change so maybe the bike at the beginning will be not really good or fast and we will have to work a lot.”
Do you know what chassis and engine you will use at the Sepang test?
“We don’t know yet, we will be starting with the base from last year and also last seasons engine. We do not have any information yet about what we will use next year. When we get to Malaysia everyone will explain what we will use, and what the difference with the Factory team is. We will be hoping to help a lot the factory guys with the new pieces to try to make them improve, if they improve, we will improve.”
With the new tyres and electronics, the Sepang test will be a bit of a unknown for fans, is it the same for the riders?
“Yeah I was listening to Valentino talk at the press conference earlier and he said the same thing. Honda, Ducati and Suzuki have an advantage because they have completed some test with Michelin in Misano last year, plus they were in Jerez with the satellite teams. Plus Suzuki tested in Malaysia so I think we are a few kilometres behind in regards to the electronics and tyres. We have to go to Malaysia to see how we are, how the bike is, start from the base and start work.”
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