The Pramac Ducati Team could be seen as quite a team who haven’t got Lady Luck on their side at the moment. After some poor results and some race ending spills, the team looked to be making some headway at the USA Moto GP at Laguna Seca. After a poor qualifying, with Aleix Espargaro starting 13th and Mika Kallio in 15th, a good start was essential to get the most out of the weekend. Kallio made it stick, and was up to 11th by the end of lap 1. Espargaro on the other hand lost 3 places after bogging down on the line. However, after several riders fell, and a stunning ride by Espargaro, both riders were fighting each other for top ten places. Then, with three laps left, yet more bad luck. Espargaro clipped a white line which de-stabilised the bike and flung him into the gravel. Kallio went on to finish in ninth.
“What a shame!” said Espargaro after the race. “As usual I had some starting problems, I lost a couple of positions in the first turn, but I recovered thirteenth in less than one lap. On lap 3 Bautista tried to overtake me and we touched. I apologize for the accidental contact which caused his fall, I know how important it is for all the rookies to score points on all the tracks.”
“The contact made me lose a few positions and I found myself struggling with De Angelis and R.L. Hayden for fifteenth. My pace was faster than theirs and I managed to overtake them in a few laps also reducing the gap from my teammate. Once I overtook Mika, I had Capirossi ahead but I was able to close the gap. During the third to last lap I touched the white line at the edge of the track and I lost the front of my bike. Too bad because I would have easily finished the race in the top ten, that on a difficult track would be a good result as a debut.”
Kallio was understandably more upbeat. “Finally, a good result after so many bad races! I had a very good start which allowed me to find myself in eleventh after the first lap. I struggled with Capirossi to maintain this position, but unfortunately he was much faster than me. When Aleix overtook me, I was able to slow my pace and together we took Capirossi. Three laps from the finish I saw my teammate slipping after touching the white line with the front. I tried not to lose my concentration and was able to stay as close as possible to Loris (Capirosi). In the last corner exit I made my move,and thanks to the higher top speed I managed to get ahead of him.”