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Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pol Espargaro enjoyed one of his best days with the Austrian factory during the first day of the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas after impressing with sixth quickest in FP1, followed up by seventh fastest in FP2.
The Spaniard struggled in Austin last year, closing the first day two and a half seconds adrift but having improved his lap time from a 2:07.136 in 2018 down to a 2:04.364 this afternoon, Espargaro is now just half a second behind Viñales’ fastest lap thanks to a lap that would've put him seventh on the 2018 grid.
“It was crazy today with being in the top ten in the morning, doing very good laps and we were also there in the afternoon in P7,” said Espargaro after a pleasing first day at the Americas GP. “Looking at how it was last year in this track we struggled a lot; we finished the first day more than two and a half seconds off and today we are just half a second from the top."
With rain forecast on Saturday, it looks likely that Espargaro will move straight into Q2 and consequently back up his Saturday performance in Argentina, where he reached Q2 for the first time this season thanks to finishing Q1 inside the top two.
“I’m impressed with how we are improving and how the bike is going. I’m looking forward to seeing the rain tomorrow and seeing the qualifying in Q2 but let’s see tomorrow and we’ll push if the track is dry.”
KTM’s best result in dry conditions currently stands at ninth place but if Espargaro can continue his pace and form from today, there’s no reason why he can’t better that and more. Plus, after grabbing the factory’s first podium finish in wet conditions in Valencia at the end of 2018, who knows what he can achieve in qualifying, starting at 14:10 (GMT-5) on Saturday, if the predicted wet weather does arrive.
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