Pol Espargaro: I was doing dirt track

Pol Espargaro's hard rear tyre was 'finished' by half-distance at the German MotoGP: 'We need to think about what's going on'
Pol Espargaro: I was doing dirt track

Pol Espargaro struggled with a massive loss of rear-tyre grip on his way to a disappointing twelfth place finish for KTM at the German MotoGP.

The Sachsenring was thus a rare backwards step for the Austrian manufacturer, which failed to match Bradley Smith's tenth place (+21.5s) of last season.

Instead, Espargaro crossed the line 26.6s behind Honda's race winner Marc Marquez and was the only RC16 to score points.

"For us, it felt like the tyre was for a 15-lap race," Espargaro explained. "After that, the tyre was completely destroyed.

"Syahrin had a very similar problem, which is not normal because it's another KTM. But it was something very worrying. Not a normal progression of tyre consumption, so we will need to study what's going on."

All of the KTM riders chose the hardest rear tyre available, with Espargaro revealing that both sides were worn out.

"The thing is that it was not due to me just smashing the tyre, burning the tyre, because we checked the data and the tyre temperature was very constant during all the race, which helps the tyre stay constant in grip until the end.

"I know when I am burning the tyre because you feel it, you have it in your hand, and also I'm super focused in the race to conserve the tyre, because I know that KTM normally is spinning more than the others, because we spend more time at lean angle than the others.

"So I'm always very careful with the throttle, especially at the beginning of the race when everyone is pushing. I just lose some positions, but by doing that I can finish the race in a good spot.

"But here, even riding like that, I finished the tyre so early. I don't know. We need to think about what's going on."

The end result was that: "In corner 12, before the last corner, I was doing dirt track! It was sideways from the moment I was touching the throttle until I was hitting the kerb. And when I was hitting the kerb the bike started to pump and was moving a lot.

"I'm not saying that it's a Michelin problem, but it's something that we have done not good, or this tyre doesn't fit with us in this race, or we have done something wrong on the setup or whatever. But something was not normal for sure.

"I'm super disappointed because I couldn't ride, I couldn't do anything. The spin was so big that it was also quite dangerous by the end.

"Anyway, we tried. Now it's time to relax and enjoy the summer break."

Team-mate Johann Zarco's lasted just over two laps before he slid into the gravel at Turn 3.

"I came into the corner – maybe with too much lean – and lost the front. It’s a shame because I was in the points and that was the target," said the Frenchman. "I know what I will do during the summer break and I am motivated to work and come back stronger in the Czech Republic."

Despite the Sachsenring blip, Espargaro holds tenth in the world championship, which is four places and 24-points higher than this time last year.

Zarco is 17th in the standings.