Pol Espargaro decides to stay at KTM? - by Simon Crafar

MotoGP™'s pitlane reporter and former 500cc Grand Prix race winner Simon Crafar analyses the lay of the land if Pol was to remain with KTM

There's been lots of speculation about Pol Esparagaro moving away from KTM lately. I've been asked to comment on it, in particular, the scenario of Pol staying at KTM.

Firstly, I'm surprised by the rumours. I did not foresee KTM losing Pol. They love him. Pit Bierer has made that abundantly clear to me during the many pitlane interviews I've done with him and I can see why. Pol has squeezed some impressive results out on Saturdays and some Sundays too.

He is one of the few riders that is happy forcing the orange machine to do what he needs it to, especially on entry. Could that be the very skill some other manufacturers see as so attractive in the Andorra based Catalan? I can certainly understand a team wanting to sign a rider that has proven his ability to ride around problems while smiling, ever the professional.

Speaking of problems, going on what I saw at the pre-season tests, I have to say KTM's MotoGP™ efforts look to be in the best shape ever. They found some direction in 2019 and I believe this is at least partly down to the work of the KTM test team and Dani Pedrosa. These improvements have made it so not just Pol but all the KTM riders and teams are upbeat about the 2020 machinery, which I've never felt was the case before.

Taking all this into account, I think KTM are on the brink of their best MotoGP™ period in history, but will it be with Pol Esparagaro leading the charge?

If KTM continues to find direction and improvements that make their bike easier to ride they won't need to rely on a rider that can cope with handling difficulties, and they'll have a queue of riders wanting to ride for them.

Whatever Pol and KTM decide, together or apart, they bring excitement and depth to the MotoGP™ grid. I thank them and wish them both the very best.

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