Top six was the aim from P2 on the grid but nevertheless, it was a solid San Marino GP for Pol Espargaro and KTM
It may not have been the top six they were aiming for ahead of Sunday’s GP Octo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, but Red Bull KTM Factory Racing and Pol Espargaro “must be happy” with P7 says the man himself after another solid performance.
Round 13: MotoGP™ San Marino Grand Prix 15/09/2019
Watch the premier class Gran Premio Octo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini in full with Matt Birt, Steve Day and Simon Crafar
Saturday saw jubilation in the Austrian factory camp as the Spaniard secured KTM their best dry-qualifying result with P2, allowing expectations for a good result on Sunday to be raised. Espargaro didn’t get the greatest getaway from the middle of the front row but the orange machine proved hard to squeeze past, the number 44 frustrating the likes of Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) in the opening exchanges.
Despite not being able to compete with Rossi and Dovi over a full race distance, a seventh-place finish while crossing the line less than seven seconds off last season’s Misano race winner is no mean feat, as KTM continue to make strides in 2019. And it’s a result and weekend as a whole Espargaro is taking plenty of confidence from.
“Yeah honestly we always want more,” admitted Espargaro after a top six wasn’t quite attainable. “That feeling never ends but honestly we must be happy with the result, seventh is a super great position after this weekend. It was so beautiful for us, in all the sessions we were 6/7/6/7, and we expect that for the race. Only problem is that we were starting from second position so apart from that it doesn’t feel nice but to be seventh today it has been a great, great, great race. Just one position from the best result in Le Mans, which is very interesting and a very positive day.”
It shows how far KTM have come in a short space of time for Espargaro to be disappointed with a P7. And next up for the Spaniard is a home round at MotorLand Aragon, a track he likes and a circuit he claimed a top 10 at in 2017 on the RC16.
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“I like Aragon so much and in the past we haven’t been bad there, so the bike is much better now, we have more info and we can do a good result there but you know, we must go there and start FP1, and see how we are. But honestly I like that place, we race at home, family and friends are coming so you want to do a good result. The pressure is high but at the end that’s what matters, controlling that pressure.”
KTM are on the up, there’s no doubt about that.
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