Pol Espargaro takes seventh at dramatic Andalucia GP, Brad Binder DNF
A dedicated weekend of work, speed and optimistic race pace helped the Red Bull KTM rider in another hot and difficult 25-laps of MotoGP competition in Spain. Three of the four RC16s on the grid set-off from the first three rows, headed by Red Bull KTM Tech3s Miguel Oliveira in 5th place.
With track temperatures pushing both tire and energy preservation at the fore, it was Espargaro who managed to weather the conditions that delivered a high level of attrition in the MotoGP field. The Spaniard settled into a steady ride at mid-race distance to post his second top-seven result at the Jerez circuit with the KTM RC16.
Brad Binder, who had rocked the MotoGP establishment by setting the 3rd fastest time during Free Practice in just his second Grand Prix and went directly through to Q2 on Sunday unfortunately clipped Oliveira’s rear wheel on the first corner. The impact sent the Portuguese out of the race and Binder had to again recover from last position, setting lap-times equal to the leaders for the second Sunday in a row on his way back to 12th. The South African’s Grand Prix ended on lap 13 with a highside fall at Turn 13. The same corner also caught out Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Iker Lecuona on lap six.
“A lot of things happened! It was not like last week’s race. I almost crashed at the beginning when I touched [Danilo] Petrucci’s rear wheel and I lost some positions. I had to fight to recover the ground and pushed a lot but then I was really suffering in the heat. Last week was not too bad but today I almost couldn’t continue. The bike is performing very well and normally Jerez is one of the toughest circuits for us. We’ve seen other manufacturers struggling but the team did great and we’ve been able to show some of the improvements that everybody in the factory has been working towards in the winter. For sure we were expecting a bit more today, but we’ve been gaining points and we’re equal fourth in the championship.”
“Today definitely did not go to plan and the worst thing was that I destroyed the race for Miguel. He’d had a great weekend up until then and I’m sure he would have had a strong race. Really sorry about that. I had a good start and I didn’t see Danilo on the inside and when I picked up it was already too late: I couldn’t avoid Miguel. When I saw the crash I was really worried so I’m glad he’s OK. After that my race was already difficult. I tried my best to track my way through the field. I kept working and pushing and coming into the last corner I tucked the front and I tried to pick it up but it gripped and highsided. Luckily I’m OK and we’ll try again next time.”