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KTM can now fight for Q2 on merit, says Espargaro

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KTM can now fight for Q2 on merit, says Espargaro
By:
Aug 9, 2017, 9:35 AM

Pol Espargaro claims that he and his KTM MotoGP team have shown at Brno that they can now fight for a spot in Q2 on merit in dry conditions.

Pol Espargaro, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Pol Espargaro, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Pol Espargaro, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Pol Espargaro, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Pol Espargaro, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Pol Espargaro, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Pol Espargaro, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Pol Espargaro, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Pol Espargaro, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Pol Espargaro, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Espargaro was convinced he would be able to challenge for Q2 at the Czech Grand Prix after a strong showing in FP4, in which he took ninth, and kept up with Tech 3 Yamaha rider Johann Zarco.

However, the Spaniard ended up crashing in Q1, and only took 18th on the grid, one position ahead of his teammate Bradley Smith.

"It was really, really close," Espargaro added. "After what we did in FP4 where I had Zarco in front and I was managing, catching him and letting him go and catching him back, it was a surprise, the performance of our bike.

"[In Q1] I was doing it but it was a bit too hot, I was on the laptime of the top guys and it is a shame because I think it was the first time that we were fighting for the Q2 under normal conditions."

Espargaro admitted that he got nervous about the possibility of making it to Q2.

"It is the first time that we found that we could go to Q2 directly by pushing in dry, normal conditions so for that maybe I get a little bit nervous and I pushed the limit a bit too much and I crashed.

"Even with the crash I feel really happy because I showed to the team and they showed that we can do it and the bike is on the level so this is nice.

"We need to get used to these conditions and these feeling to be fighting for the top 10 and we need to work harder and be in this situation more often to not make these mistakes."

Seventh possible in the race

Espargaro was among four riders next to Marc Marquez to pit on the second lap of the race, and he found himself in 12th place when the rest of the field went in to change bikes.

However, instead of falling behind, the Spaniard passed Jack Miller, Scott Redding, Alex Rins and Karel Abraham with only letting Valentino Rossi go ahead, climbing up to ninth place - KTM's best finish in MotoGP yet.

But without an excursion off-track, which he reckons cost him five or six seconds, Espargaro estimated that seventh place would have been possible.

"[It was] my mistake and I apologise to the team because I lost a lot of time there and we could finish in seventh," said Espargaro.

"Anyway, super happy, but for sure it always can be better and I made a huge mistake in the race and I went wide on the gravel and I lost more or less five-six seconds in that lap.

"Considering this, that I needed to overtake many riders during my race, I finished in ninth position and we could have been even more in front, it's amazing.

"I am super proud of the team because this is a teamwork, after Aragon we improved a lot the bike and we are showing that we can do it."

Additional reporting by Toni Borner

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About this article

Series MotoGP
Event Czech GP
Location Brno Circuit
Drivers Pol Espargaro
Teams Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Author David Gruz