Espargaro and Pons battle to 11th and 16th with great comebacks
The first Moto2 race of the 2011 season started bad for the HP Pons riders with neither Aleix Espargaro nor Axel Pons managing to get a good start. After a first few cautious laps where both were running in positions outside the Top 20, they began to improve their pace and start great comebacks.
In the case of Espargaró, riding the same laptimes as the guys in front, started passing other riders en masse and finished in 11th position, very close to reaching the Top 10. Although the initial goal was set higher, Espargaró demonstrated that without any last-minute troubles, his place is among the leaders of the Moto2 category.
It’s also been a good season start for Axel Pons who took a spectacular step forward in the warmup last night, finding a setting which would have enabled him to get a better qualifying position for the race. Pons has used this improvement to pass many rivals during the race, but in the end a physical problem with his right arm prevented him from crowning his comeback with taking the first points of the season. Pons finished in 16th position.
The next round of the MotoGP World Championship will take place in a couple of weeks with the Grand Prix of Spain at the Jerez circuit, a good opportunity for the HP 40 Pons riders to forget the difficult Qatar weekend and show again their potential for the rest of the season.
#40. Aleix Espargaró: 11º
“The race was not bad from lap three or four, the pace was good, we have improved the setup from yesterday and in this regard I’m happy. But even more than the start the first two laps were disastrous. There’s been a lot of chaos with all the bikes and I couldn’t adapt to that, I couldn’t get into a good position, I had no confidence with the front tyre and that made me lose a lot. After that I went well, but it was very difficult to overtake, because there are riders who immediately try to get back in front of you when you pass them, even though they can’t match your pace and that throws you back a lot. But that’s racing. I’m happy with the bike, especially since we managed to improve from yesterday, but in the end you’re left with the final position which is far from our goal. During this weekend, with all the hopes we had, finishing 11th can’t be satisfying for me. However, it’s the first race, we improved the bike but there’s still a lot missing. But we’re already working on that and surely we will do better in Jerez.”
#80. Axel Pons: 16º
“Yesterday we really did a very good warm up and we found a very good setup for the race. And that showed today. I didn’t do a very good start, although the pace I had was good enough for the Top 10. I’ve moved up as far as I could, but with eight laps to go I noticed that my right arm got very stiff and I couldn’t ride comfortable. This is the first time this happens to me and now when I get to Barcelona I will have it looked at. The positive thing is that at the end of the weekend we found the point where we left off at the end of last year, and I think that means we’re on a good way. Now we’re only looking ahead and focus on achieving what we work for.”
Source: HP Pons Racing