4 years ago
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More points for Pol Espargaro to help maintain his advantage in the championship over other Independent team riders.
A spirited fight saw Pol Espargaro hold off the factory Ducati of Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team) for the majority of the race, eventually having to concede to the power of the Desmosedici GP. Even after losing a place to Iannone, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider was still able to take eighth place in the race and end as the leading Independent Team rider yet again. Many riders encountered severe tyre wear issues in the race, Espargaro managing the situation well. Eighth place gave Espargaro eight more points in the championship and defend his position as the leading Independent Team rider, fifth overall. It’s a tight battle as Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) is only five points back on him. Another strong race at his team’s home round in Le Mans could potentially see Espargaro reclaim fourth in the championship from Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) who sits just four points ahead of him in the championship.
Pol Espargaro: “I am pleased to walk away from Jerez with another strong set of points but it certainly was a challenging race. The weather changed so much from the practice sessions and it was very hot out there, so that it was tough to choose the tyres and then ride a decent race yet we did what we could. At the beginning I was just adjusting to the conditions, but I upped the pace in the middle and then went quick at the end. I feel, along with some of the other satellite riders for sure, that the gap to the factory guys is still considerable. We saw them going and just had to think about the end of the race otherwise we would wear the tyre and not finish. It’s a pity that you cannot extract all of the potential from your bike because the tyre is limited. Having said that we are in a development stage, so for sure this will improve in the future. Anyway we still managed to get eighth but we need a bit more so that we can fight a bit higher in the opening laps which we will aim to discover tomorrow. In the final third of the GP, Iannone had a bit more traction than me when exiting the corners. My rear tyre was worn so I didn’t want to push too hard and risk it all. Le Mans is next, which is the Monster Energy sponsored race and the home GP for my team. I like the track but not the weather as it changes a lot! We are all motivated and in a good position in the championship so I know we can have a positive time there."
It proved a busy and long weekend for the MotoGP™ World Championship as they were back out on track on Monday for a day of testing. With few new parts to test, Espargaro and his crew had an entire day to simply experiment with different setup options. 62 laps of the Jerez circuit saw the team gather some very valuable data and assess many things they would be unable to during a race weekend. Almost everything the team tried proved to have a positive benefit for Espargaro as he continued to close in on the top riders. A best time of 1’39.942 saw the Spaniard end the test as the ninth fastest rider but only three tenths from Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) on the factory Yamaha.
“I’m a bit surprised with today’s outcome because we tried a lot of adjustments on the bike and all of them turned out to be positive. However, the solutions that we found on the bike really helped me, especially at a track with low grip like this. In addition, I also sampled a couple of new front tyres from Michelin, which I am pleased with. Regarding the tyres of this weekend's allocation, we had to use mainly the harder compound, as there wasn’t too many soft ones left, which I used in yesterday’s race. However, we did use one soft tyre for more than 30 laps without any issues and at the moment it’s still my favourite compound. The good news is that with the setting that we made on the bike and the new tyres, we have made progress with the locking issues that we were having with the front. So the tyres which Michelin brought seem to be performing well, and we now have some solid points to take home. We’ll test the new compounds again after the Catalan Grand Prix and let’s see what happens there."
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