Pol Espargaro produced a superb display in his final MotoGP race aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1 to seize the leading satellite honours in the fiercely competitive season closer.
The Spaniard bolted forward from the second row of the grid and undertook a solid first lap whilst dicing the factory riders. From here, he set into a formidable rhythm, which allowed him to progress to 7th with just under a quarter of the race having been completed.
Espargaro powered onwards and continued his consistent pace to expertly keep the pursuing factory Suzuki of his brother, Aleix Espargaro, at bay. The distance dialed down, and then on the penultimate lap, the 25-year-old hunted down the 2016 GP winner Andrea Dovizioso.
Pol dug deep and eventually soared across the finish line ahead of the Ducati rider by only 0.039 of a second, in what was a nail-biting but impressive end to his Tech3 campaign.
“It was my last race in black and green for Yamaha and the result today marks a positive end to my time with Tech3. This finish will keep my morale, as well as the team’s, up over the winter break and it’s a good way to end our journey together. We concluded the season as it began, which is in the top independent rider position, even if it has been a challenging year at times because unfortunately, we didn’t quite secure the best satellite placement in standings in the end. However, we always did our best and I have to thank the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team for giving their all in the years that we have worked together. Plus, I must say thanks to them for teaching me how to ride a MotoGP bike. We’ve shared some happy moments and some not so great ones. Our first year was excellent, but then we had a tough second one, yet in 2016 we have tried to handle the situations as best as we could. With regards to today’s race, I think the opening laps were crucial and sadly, we lost a lot of time there. After though, my rhythm was quite similar to the pace of the factory guys in front of me. For the entire GP, I had my brother behind me, but I was never sure if he was struggling to stay with me, or if he wanted to overtake. Fortunately, I kept him behind which allowed us to catch Dovi, who then acted as a barrier between me and Aleix and I made the most of this. Once again, I have to say thanks to everyone in the team for their work in the past three years and I will take a lot of memories of Tech3 away with me.”
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