Warm sunshine bathed the fourth round of MotoGP at the Circuit de Jerez-Angel Nieto and the first fixture of the series in Europe. In front of a large crowd and busy paddock, the Red Bull KTM quartet tackled a resurfaced, grippy Spanish layout, and were slightly handicapped by qualification slots from Saturday that placed the riders towards the back of the grid.
Pol Espargaro – a former GP winner at Jerez – headed the KTM RC16 runners and engaged in a long duel with countryman Jorge Lorenzo for positions on the fringe of the top ten. As the laps clicked down and other rivals either retired or fell the tussle was on for 12th and Pol just lost out by misreading his pit-board, taking 13th by the flag and with a marginally faster race time than 2018. Zarco, using a new chassis on his #5 racebike circulated a small distance behind his teammate for 14th.
Espargaro is 11th in the MotoGP standings while Zarco has obtained 7 points from the four outings so far. Jerez will be busy once more tomorrow with testing due to take place throughout Monday and for the first of four post-GP outings planned for 2019. Red Bull KTM will also ride again on Wednesday.
“I did a good race. I suffered with the grip in the beginning but caught Lorenzo and passed him. I then just misread my pitboard and eased off a lap earlier. It was one of the biggest mistakes in my career. I was so focussed and so on the limit that I was not thinking about anything else except that Jorge would not pass me back. In the end we lost one position and also I would have been closer to the winner in terms of race time. I know we also had good lap-time speed today. We have a lot to do tomorrow now and to compare what we had in Le Mans and also this weekend.”
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