The 21st Grand Prix to be hosted by the Sepang International Circuit took place in typically hot and humid conditions. The eighteenth round of nineteen this season was also the third in three weeks for the busy MotoGP paddock after trips to Japan and Australia.
Pol Espargaro set off from 15th position on the grid with his KTM RC16 after two days trying to find effective rear wheel grip around the 5.5km layout. The Spaniard launched into a position on the edge of the top ten and then proceeded to push hard throughout the 20-lap distance. He fought with his brother, Aleix, and also withstood the presence of Francesco Bagnaia in 30+ degree temperatures to bring the #44 machine across the finish line in 11th place. Espargaro’s classification represented significant progress for the team. Not only did their form and pace improve across the weekend but the 2019 race time was over 30 seconds faster and almost 18 seconds closer to the winner compared to 2018.
“It was not like a European race where we are fighting for a top ten, normally, but to come from where we did on Friday means I am pleased. There was a lot of set-up [work] and thinking going on during the nights and the team have done a very good job. It is amazing to turnaround the weekend like we did. We were improving much more than the others. Now to the final race and then Valencia will be a fun test and Jerez as well: the new engine is coming, the new chassis is coming, the whole package. It looks very promising.”
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