KTM “in the game now” after strong MotoGP opener

Pol Espargaro believes KTM is “in the game now” in MotoGP, after finishing just one second from a first dry podium finish in the Spanish Grand Prix.

KTM “in the game now” after strong MotoGP opener

Espargaro qualified seventh on his RC16 at Jerez, though was promoted a place after LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow had to withdraw from the race due to an injury. 

The KTM rider stayed in the group fighting for the last place of the podium for the entire 25-lap distance, crossing the line sixth after losing out to Petronas Yamaha's Franco Morbidelli late on when a move on Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso at the last corner proved unsuccessful.

The RC16 has proven to be a strong package across testing, with Espargaro claiming KTM was “on the level of the others” in MotoGP at Jerez.

"Here we are in the level of the others, or even faster," said the Spaniard. "Because I felt that if I could be alone, I would ride two, three, even sometimes four tenths faster, and we were riding in 1m39.1s, 2s, 3s, while I could be riding in 1m38.7s, 8s in that rhythm. 

“So, in one stage I felt faster than them. Also, good news is that all the [KTM] riders were going fast. Brad [Binder] is going very fast,  Miguel [Oliveira] and Iker [Lecuona] as well. 

“All of us, the four KTMs on the in grid are powerful and strong, especially on race pace. We're looking forward and we're in the game now.” 

Read Also:

Espargaro spent part of the race following the Ducati of Dovizioso, and believes – aside from the GP20’s power – the KTM is “faster everywhere” at Jerez. 

“Just we are losing on the straight against Ducati,” Espargaro said. “I promise you, we are faster on brakes, we are faster entering the corner, we are faster in the corner speed - just they have traction maybe a little bit better, but just the top speed [is where we lose]. 

“He [Dovizioso] was slower than us. I'm not saying that to look good, but this was the truth. I tried to overtake him because I felt faster than him, but he would overtake me back in the straight. It's the only place they were faster than me. 

"The rest I could fight against, and my rhythm was faster today. I was giving away sometimes - by doing a mistake, going wide - six tenths and in four or five, six corners I was already two tenths [behind again]. 

“So, honestly, I felt faster than them, but just I couldn't overtake him. This is part of racing as well. I was not good enough to, or we were not good enough to, cut back on the Ducati.”

 

 

shares
comments
Marquez undergoes successful surgery on arm injury

Previous article

Marquez undergoes successful surgery on arm injury

Next article

How overachieving Dovizioso is vindicating contract demands

How overachieving Dovizioso is vindicating contract demands
Load comments
How KTM has ended up with an embarrassment of MotoGP riches Prime

How KTM has ended up with an embarrassment of MotoGP riches

Forming a ladder all the way from Red Bull Rookies Cup to MotoGP, KTM has created a steady stream of top talents in grand prix racing delivering the Austrian marque with the success expected of the brand. Here's how it has gone about it.

MotoGP
Jul 28, 2021
Why MotoGP will miss its gentle giant Prime

Why MotoGP will miss its gentle giant

Danilo Petrucci’s days in MotoGP appear numbered, as KTM looks to completely reshuffle the Tech3 team for 2022. Though the Italian's 2021 season so far hasn’t been standout, the giant Italian covertly became a top runner in MotoGP across the last decade and brought with him a personality that world sport sorely needs more of

MotoGP
Jul 22, 2021
Why Mir's MotoGP title defence can't be written off yet Prime

Why Mir's MotoGP title defence can't be written off yet

Joan Mir’s defence of his MotoGP title has had an underwhelming start as Suzuki didn’t progress its championship-winning GSX-RR as much as its rivals did with their bikes over the winter. Speaking to Motorsport.com, Mir lays out why his title defence has been stalled so far and why he’s confident title number two is still within reach

MotoGP
Jul 12, 2021
How Quartararo became the MotoGP leader Yamaha needed Prime

How Quartararo became the MotoGP leader Yamaha needed

It's been six years since Jorge Lorenzo gave Yamaha its last MotoGP title in 2015. Since his departure at the end of 2016, Yamaha's form has been inconsistent but it has at last found a new talisman to return it to the top spot in the form of a precociously talented Frenchman who currently leads the standings.

MotoGP
Jul 6, 2021
Why the Vinales/Yamaha MotoGP divorce satisfies both parties Prime

Why the Vinales/Yamaha MotoGP divorce satisfies both parties

On Monday, Yamaha announced it will part ways with Maverick Vinales at the end of the 2021 season - a move requested by the rider. As the already strained relationship between both parties in MotoGP hit rock bottom in recent weeks, this divorce - as Oriol Puigdemont writes - is good for both Yamaha and Vinales for a number of reasons

MotoGP
Jun 28, 2021
The unexpected Rossi/Ducati MotoGP sequel offering redemption Prime

The unexpected Rossi/Ducati MotoGP sequel offering redemption

A decade after first linking up with Ducati in what turned out to be an ill-fated period in his MotoGP career, Valentino Rossi has joined forces with the Italian marque once more - this time as a team owner. And the VR46/Ducati tie-up beginning in 2022 has the potential to right the wrongs of Rossi and Ducati's nadir of 2011/2012.

MotoGP
Jun 24, 2021
Why Yamaha is about to risk losing Valentino Rossi Prime

Why Yamaha is about to risk losing Valentino Rossi

With Valentino Rossi’s next career move imminent in MotoGP, it is set to have wide-reaching influences on a number of riders and teams on the grid. But one of the biggest impacts will be felt at Yamaha, with its pivotal role in the saga set to see it lose its appointment with ‘The Doctor’

MotoGP
Jun 22, 2021
How Marquez beat his Honda in his heroic MotoGP comeback win Prime

How Marquez beat his Honda in his heroic MotoGP comeback win

Marc Marquez has been through hell and back in the 581 days between his win in the 2019 Valencia season finale and his heroic MotoGP comeback victory in Germany last Sunday. Despite battling physical limitations and a difficult 2021-spec Honda, the Sachsenring provided the perfect storm for the Spaniard to return to the top step

MotoGP
Jun 21, 2021