MotoGP moved north across the Americas to arrive at the sweeping and fast undulations of COTA in Austin, Texas and the sixth Grand Prix to take place at the epic facility for what is the third round of nineteen in 2018. On a grey and occasionally damp day of Free Practice and Qualification both Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith worked through some tricky conditions and across a bumpy and demanding track to refine the set-up of the KTM RC16 for the 20 lap distance starting at 21.00 CET tomorrow.
With his last attempt of the Q1 period Espargaro posted a 2.05.1 lap-time to earn his first passage into Q2 this year by less than a tenth of a second from Danilo Petrucci. Not long after the chequered flag had been waved to end the session Espargaro was deemed to have slowed down another rider and docked three spaces, dropping behind Smith and alongside his teammate on the fifth row.
“I think we made an amazing effort to make Q2 and we were very happy but I think what happened afterwards was not fair. We checked the images and I was not in the middle (of the track) and it is not comparable with other incidents today. I don’t really know what is going on but I don’t think it is fair we have to go back by three positions. We will go strong tomorrow. We made some good steps and the bike feels much better.”
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