Pol Espargaro 10th, Brad Binder 12th at the #SanMarinoGP
Pol Espargaro captured 10th position ahead of fellow Red Bull KTM riders Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder at a hot Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli for the first of two San Marino-based rounds of 2020 MotoGP.
The Gran Premio Lenovo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini represented the first appointment of a busy week at Misano. The sixth MotoGP fixture of 2020 was the opening race of a back-to-back stint in San Marino and with a MotoGP IRTA test also part of the program.
Red Bull KTM rued some misfortune in Qualification on Saturday that led to some mid-grid positions. The 27-lap main event on Sunday then became a tricky challenge. Once the red light disappeared Pol Espargaro led the orange charge on the KTM RC16s on the fringes of the top ten. He had Styrian GP winner Oliveira for company and Brad Binder soon joined the scrap. Iker Lecuona was handicapped by a long-lap penalty (after stalling his bike on the warm-up lap) but pushed hard to enter the top fifteen and register championship points. At the checkered flag Espargaro was less than half a second in front of both his fellow Red Bull KTM riders.
“Not so much to say today. I had trouble to stop the rear of the bike from the first lap and I was stuck behind Johann [Zarco] for quite a long time. It wasn’t really safe to make it happen cleanly and I could only manage when the pace dropped and then the others caught me. We paid a bit for the mistakes on Saturday and we need to solve our problems before next weekend. I’m confident we can do it and we can have a better race.”
“I didn’t start well and from then I tried my best to recover positions. The first 10-12 laps I didn’t have a good feeling but then it got better and better. I don’t feel I can complain too much. We have to take advantage of this test on Tuesday to make a few improvements. It was cool to be part of that KTM battle and I could see we were all having the same issues. It’s very tight in MotoGP right now but my attitude stays the same: I’m trying to enjoy and take the best of each race.”