After a fantastic qualifying performance, the Czech Grand Prix at Brno proved to be a little tricky for Pol Espargaro and KTM.
Espargaro mastered the mixed conditions on Saturday to qualify fifth. The session was a great one for the team, with Espargaro equaling the team’s highest qualifying position. Team-mate, Johann Zarco, then achieved their highest-ever position with third.
A rain shower led to the race being delayed by 40 minutes. Whilst the majority of the circuit was dry, the grid and turn one was wet. Once the lights went out, Espargaro made a positive start, remaining inside the top five throughout the opening laps.
He enjoyed battling with Valentino Rossi and Cal Crutchlow for several laps. Both riders got by the KTM man on the same lap, and began pulling away.
Espargaro would then begin to struggle with rear tyre grip in the middle of the race. As a result, he fell down the order and ended the race in 11th place.
After the race, Espargaro said:
“Qualifying went very well, and today we could keep the rhythm near the front for the first four-five laps after making a good start in very tricky conditions. Then we had some wheel-spin as the tyre dropped, mostly on the straights, and it meant we lost some positions.
“I tried to go with Valentino [Rossi], [Danilo] Petrucci and [Cal] Crutchlow but it was complicated. I was losing a lot each lap. So, some positives and negatives today and we’re looking forward to tomorrow to see if we can make some improvements. We have a big target for next weekend.”
Espargaro – Standings and Schedule
The result leaves Espargaro 10th in the championship standings. He is now 15 points behind his nearest rival, Fabio Quartararo. He is, however, still the leading KTM rider. His team-mate, Zarco, is down in 17th spot.
Espargaro stayed at Brno for the one-day test today (5 August). KTM now travel to Austria for their home race at the Red Bull Ring this weekend.