MotoGP
28 Mar
FP1 in
21 days
R
Doha GP
02 Apr
Next event in
27 days
R
Portugal GP
16 Apr
Next event in
41 days
R
Spanish GP
29 Apr
Next event in
54 days
R
French GP
13 May
Next event in
68 days
R
Italian GP
27 May
Next event in
82 days
R
Catalan GP
03 Jun
Next event in
89 days
R
German GP
17 Jun
Next event in
103 days
R
Dutch GP
24 Jun
Next event in
110 days
R
Finnish GP
08 Jul
Next event in
124 days
R
Austrian GP
12 Aug
Next event in
159 days
R
British GP
26 Aug
Next event in
173 days
R
Aragon GP
09 Sep
Next event in
187 days
R
San Marino GP
16 Sep
Next event in
194 days
R
Japanese GP
30 Sep
Next event in
208 days
R
Thailand GP
07 Oct
Next event in
215 days
R
Australian GP
21 Oct
Next event in
229 days
R
Malaysian GP
28 Oct
Next event in
236 days
R
Valencia GP
11 Nov
Next event in
250 days

KTM's "new ideas" key to Espargaro's "unbelievable" front row

KTM MotoGP rider Pol Espargaro has credited the team’s “new ideas” following the Misano test for helping him to an “unbelievable” second place in San Marino Grand Prix qualifying.

KTM's "new ideas" key to Espargaro's "unbelievable" front row

Aided by a tow from Fabio Quartararo, Espargaro bagged KTM’s first-ever front row MotoGP start in the dry, lapping three tenths slower than pole-sitter Maverick Vinales.

The works RC16s had looked strong all throughout the weekend, with Espargaro reliably towards the sharp end in practice and teammate Johann Zarco also making Q2 and qualifying eighth, the Frenchman's second-best grid slot of the year.

For Espargaro, this form was a consequence of the two-day test at the same venue two weeks prior, which allowed KTM to come into the race weekend in the best possible shape.

“In the test we had a lot of problems with the front wheels, I think most of the guys [did] - even looks like Ducatis now are struggling a lot with that part,” Espargaro explained.

“It's what I use to be fast - just on the brakes [is] where I recover, where I gain time, and in the test I had a lot of problems so we were working a lot with Dani [Pedrosa, test rider], we kind of improve at the end of that two days.

“But when we were home the guys [at the factory] continue working a lot, they come here with new ideas, the track improve a little and this help us a gain even more in that place, and I'm enjoying every time there's a hard braking, I can recover a lot of time.”

Espargaro felt KTM was able to take this much of a benefit from the Misano test because it normally suffers from a lack relevant data, given the frequent changes that the RC16 undergoes over a given season.

“Because we are improving every single race, we don't know the bike when we go to places - especially in electronics, because we are improving a lot, we are better on brakes, we are fast on the straight, more corner speed," he said. "So we need to change it all, so we start, we can say, from zero.

“If we have two days testing, and this year we have Dani Pedrosa that is helping us so much, with that two days testing we can more or less prepare the weekend. And when we have problems, we know more or less how to improve them.

“It's what these big factories feel when they go in a track that we haven't been for one year, so hopefully in the future we can keep these new bikes coming, we can slow down a little [the development] and then enjoy a little bit the races, but it's what we need to do now, just keep improving.”

A visibly emotional Espargaro referred to the RC16 as “our baby” in the immediate aftermath of qualifying, and said that it was a special moment to see it among the top three in parc ferme.

Asked by Motorsport.com whether this was the proudest moment of his career, Espargaro said: “Yeah, for sure one of them.

“With good conditions on the track - it's a little bit slippery, but everything same for everyone - and to be here doing that, knowing how much we have worked together with [team manager] Mike Leitner, all the crew, to achieve that moment, it's unbelievable.

“So when I arrived to the parc ferme and I saw the two Yamahas and our orange rocket in the middle, I was fully proud. It was an unbelievable moment.”

Second place Pol Espargaro, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Second place Pol Espargaro, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / LAT Images

shares
comments
Rossi: Marquez knew he was ruining my lap

Previous article

Rossi: Marquez knew he was ruining my lap

Next article

Misano MotoGP: Marquez leads Vinales in warm-up

Misano MotoGP: Marquez leads Vinales in warm-up
Load comments
Why Alex Marquez doesn't care about 'shutting up' MotoGP critics Prime

Why Alex Marquez doesn't care about 'shutting up' MotoGP critics

Alex Marquez's form was one of MotoGP 2020's biggest surprises and, by firmly stepping out of his six-time world champion brother Marc's shadow, he proved a few people wrong. Not that he cares about this, as he tells Lewis Duncan

MotoGP
Feb 20, 2021
How Yamaha's new MotoGP era can unchain Vinales Prime

How Yamaha's new MotoGP era can unchain Vinales

After the electrifying start to his Yamaha MotoGP career in 2017, Maverick Vinales has struggled for consistency. Many anticipate that the arrival of Fabio Quartararo could spell disaster, but the departure of Valentino Rossi could be just the impetus he needs.

MotoGP
Feb 16, 2021
Does KTM really need 'super engine' for MotoGP title challenge? Prime

Does KTM really need 'super engine' for MotoGP title challenge?

Fears from rival MotoGP manufacturers that KTM would build a 'super engine' for 2021 have ultimately come to nothing with the revealation that the RC16 hasn't been radically changed over the winter. But does it really need that to win the title?

MotoGP
Feb 13, 2021
How Ducati's latest Aussie union can return it to MotoGP glory Prime

How Ducati's latest Aussie union can return it to MotoGP glory

Australians on Ducatis is an iconic partnership, the marque's last one yielding its sole MotoGP crown to date. But its latest Aussie union with the often underestimated Jack Miller can end this drought.

MotoGP
Feb 10, 2021
The "balls out" battle between MotoGP's true greats Prime

The "balls out" battle between MotoGP's true greats

Senna vs Prost is regularly cited as motorsport's greatest rivalry. But it can easily be argued Rainey vs Schwantz can stake that claim. That rivalry was in full swing during the 1991 500cc season, remembered fondly by both stars 30 years on...

MotoGP
Jan 19, 2021
The "warrior" MotoGP rookie KTM was right to back Prime

The "warrior" MotoGP rookie KTM was right to back

The 2020 MotoGP campaign featured a standout pair of rookies, but one flew under the radar as he adjusted to a shock step-up armed with very little racing experience. However as his veteran team boss explains, the faith shown in him was not misplaced

MotoGP
Jan 18, 2021
Why Suzuki's Brivio replacement must come from within Prime

Why Suzuki's Brivio replacement must come from within

With its charismatic leader Davide Brivio leaving for Formula 1, the Suzuki MotoGP squad he turned into a world championship-winning force in 2020 has a major recruitment headache that it needs to resolve carefully.

MotoGP
Jan 9, 2021
Why Alpine's latest signing could be its best hope of F1 glory Prime

Why Alpine's latest signing could be its best hope of F1 glory

The return of Fernando Alonso to the renamed Alpine team is a sure sign of the team's ambition. But its latest appointment from MotoGP could be an even bigger coup as it seeks to end a barren run stretching back to Alonso's 2006 world title

Formula 1
Jan 7, 2021