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More points for KTM in Texas

Pol Espargaro crossed the line 13th to earn his and KTM’s second consecutive points finish

After a tougher than expected start to their 2018 campaign, Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was able to pick up another points scoring finish for him and his KTM team, taking the checkered flag in P13 under the Texas sun.

Espargaro and teammate Bradley Smith were a disappointing 22nd and 23rd after FP2, but the number 44 was able to produce a stellar lap in qualifying to make it through to Q2 – with Smith qualifying in a respectable 15th. Espargaro eventually started from 15th after a three-place grid penalty, and on reflection, the Spaniard was content with his weekends work.

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“It’s always hard to race here, especially because of the sun and the heat, it’s a tough circuit with a lot of changes in direction, to haul these big bikes and to change direction each corner is hard. But overall, I think we’ve done a good race, overall the weekend we did a good result,” said the former Moto2™ World Champion.

The younger Espargaro brother then spoke about some of the settings and decisions he and the team made during the weekend. “Maybe with other setting we could improve the bike a little bit more with the bike because we were using the soft fronts together with Taka Nakagami, so you are so out of range and so different from the other riders. I think if you are doing something different you are doing something bad so yeah, we are doing some mistakes and during the weekend we were not super good, so I think we pay a little bit in the race for that with the front tyre but anyway, we haven’t done a bad job.”

Tyre choices in Sunday’s race was something Smith was ruing. After a good start, his medium compound front and rear tyres lost grip, which meant he dropped out of the fight for a point scoring finish. “The beginning was really good, I was happy with how it was going, but we made a choice to go with the medium front tyre today and unfortunately it just wasn’t the right choice,” started the number 38.

Despite the wrong tyre choice, Smith reflected positively on his weekend in Austin, as he looks forward to the next round in Jerez. “We learn from this one, the soft was the right choice for our bike here, and we go to Europe. The whole weekend has been better than it was in the first couple of races, we were fighting where we thought we could be, I thought in the beginning of the race I showed what I can do, and now we just need to put the pieces together for the full race distance.”  

Both KTM machines are making steps forward, as they aim to break into the top ten on a regular basis this season. Can they both score points in Jerez?