Pol Espargaro eleventh in Brno
Red Bull KTM picked up more MotoGP points as both Pol Espargaro and teammate Johann Zarco finished 11th and 14th respectively at a warm Brno for the Monster Energy Ceske republiky today. Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Miguel Oliviera was the third RC16 rider in the top fifteen with a creditable 13th.
MotoGP clicked into the second half of the 2019 campaign with the visit to the popular and demanding Automotodrom Brno circuit and where a wet and complicated day of qualification changed to largely summery conditions for the tenth round of nineteen.
The 50th Grand Prix at Brno started brilliantly for KTM with the manufacturer’s best qualification results in their short two-and-a-half year spell in the premier class: Johann Zarco obtaining the KTM RC16’s first front row position with 3rd and Pol Espargaro equalling a previous best with 5th place.
On Sunday afternoon a freak shower on part of the track caused a 40 minute delay and plenty of consternation among the teams and riders as the grid formed up. The race was shortened from 21 to 20 laps and declared a ‘Flag to Flag’ sprint.
Espargaro initially ran within the top five as Zarco could not ace a start to head the pack. The Spaniard struggled with rear tyre grip to slip just outside the top ten.
“Qualifying went very well, and today we could keep the rhythm near the front for the first four-five laps after making a good start in very tricky conditions. Then we had some wheel-spin as the tyre dropped, mostly on the straights, and it meant we lost some positions. I tried to go with Valentino [Rossi], [Danilo] Petrucci and [Cal] Crutchlow but it was complicated. I was losing a lot each lap. So, some positives and negatives today and we’re looking forward to tomorrow to see if we can make some improvements. We have a big target for next weekend.”