Pol Espargaro ‘needed’ Qatar crash for Honda knowledge

Pol Espargaro says he ‘needed’ the fast crash on his time attack during Qatar Grand Prix FP2 because it meant he found the limit of his Honda MotoGP bike.

Pol Espargaro ‘needed’ Qatar crash for Honda knowledge

The former KTM rider, who has joined Honda this season after four years on the Austrian company's machines, admitted during Qatar pre-season testing that not being able to know the limit of the front end of the Honda was “stressful” and felt he could only do this by crashing.

Although he did fall during the test, he said the "strange" crash wasn’t the one he expected – but felt afterwards he had still gained a better understanding of the RC213V’s front end. The Spaniard then had a “silly” crash in FP1 as a result of the dusty conditions and fell again in FP2 while on a time attack at the Turn 15 left-hander.

Espargaro said he was pleased with the latter, as it has offered him more knowledge of his new bike.

“I was smiling because there are two ways of crashing: crashing coming hot and fast, or crashing coming slow,” he said on Friday after practice. “When you crash coming slow, this is bad because you found the limits too early. But when you crash when you are coming fast, it means you have found the limit and this is what I need now.

“So, I know that the next time at this place, with this amount of laps in the front and this amount of laps on the rear I cannot push as much. This is knowledge and I was smiling because I’m enjoying riding.

“OK, I’m a little bit out of control at the moment as you can imagine because to ride in 1m53s, this means we are fast and everyone is very fast. It’s just the first day with the Honda here and the Honda here is not wow. But even like that I could manage to be fast and could manage to be under half a second of the first.

“This is amazing, so that’s why when I crashed I was happy because I was coming fast and I feel everything is coming after the test. This is pretty nice.”

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Espargaro ended Friday inside a provisional Q2 place in 10th, having lapped just 0.514 seconds off Jack Miller’s best pace.

Commenting on his form after Friday, he added: “I feel happy first of all because after a stop of a week after the test, the first day I could be as fast as [I was] with four days of testing here.

“I did more or less same lap time, and the top guys didn’t match their fast lap time of the test, which means I’ve been faster than them. So, I’m five tenths off the first [position], if I finished the last lap maybe I would be even closer, less than half a second. So, it means I’m getting closer.”

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