The seventh round of MotoGP drew the series into the hot and breezy climes of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and for the second event in Spain this season. The fast and slippery course a short distance north of the famous city has been a difficult one for Red Bull KTM in 2017 and 2018 but Pol Espargaro found enough speed and traction to go straight through to Q2 on Saturday and began the 24 lap race on Sunday from 12th on the grid.
After the sensational crash between four riders on the second lap – four of ten eventual fallers – Espargaro maintained his concentration and pace to hold a position high on the leaderboard and eventually defeated Takaaki Nakagami for 7th. His classification meant a third consecutive top ten result and with a race time sixteen seconds from the winner. Espargaro is 9th in the championship standings and only 6 points from the top six.
MotoGP will embark on the second IRTA test of the season tomorrow. Red Bull KTM will be joined by Dani Pedrosa and share the track for the first time with the former world champion as they further refine the RC16.
“I’m really happy. I said on Saturday that the race would either be very slow or with lots of crashes and it was both! Today was really important to anticipate the braking, and not hit the limit with the brake or the throttle. It was very difficult. It was matter of being so precise, like a watch, and trying to do everything in the same place and with a lot of electronics. In the end the most important thing was the gap of sixteen seconds to the top guy – which is unbelievable because last year we were thirty-six away. We are ninth in the championship and six points from sixth. I’m impressed about the performance we made today.”
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