Espargaro slashes 14secs off KTM’s Mugello race time

Pol Espargaro shows another solid step forward for KTM to record another strong top ten finish
Espargaro slashes 14secs off KTM’s Mugello race time

Pol Espargaro says he can take pleasure from finishing the 2019 Italian MotoGP a full 14 seconds quicker than he and KTM managed at Mugello a year earlier as he notched up another solid top ten.

Showing top five pace on Friday, though Espargaro wasn’t able to maintain that form at the critical moment in qualifying on the way to 11th he’d make gains in the race to cross the line ninth for a fifth top ten result of the year.

Blaming the changeable conditions for affecting the KTM RC16’s sensitive set-up, Espargaro was nonetheless impressed with the big step forward compared with twelve months earlier when he finished 11th but much farther back on the timesheets.

“We knew our position would be around 7-10 and we were not expecting these temperatures. With the Medium tyre we were in a very low grip situation and we knew our job would be a little bit harder.

“I was fighting a lot at the beginning of the race with [Franco] Morbidelli, [Alex] Rins even and [Fabio] Quartararo. It was hard, hot and with many changes of direction.

“It was a physical track and we saw many riders by the end were dropping and we could keep our pace. Anyway, we were fourteen seconds faster in our total race time in 2018 and in the end I think we can be happy.”

Indeed, with Red Bull KTM team manager Mike Leitner expecting Mugello to be one of the bike’s weaker circuits, he says a top ten result was a positive outcome.

“A top ten was the target for us and we achieved that here with Pol, which was very good. A positive point was that the bike had good potential all weekend. Mugello and Barcelona have been difficult tracks for us in the past and with our current package, so to make the top ten so far is very good.”