Why KTM’s Pol Espargaro “needed to crash” in MotoGP practice

KTM’s Pol Espargaro says he “needed to crash” in FP3 in order to understand the limit for MotoGP Emilia Romagna Grand Prix qualifying at Misano.

Espargaro lost the front of his KTM at the Turn 6 left-hander in the closing stages of this morning’s FP3, though narrowly held onto a direct Q2 place. The KTM rider produced a 1m31.308s in qualifying right at the end of the session go fourth-quickest, but was just 0.081 seconds clear of teammate Brad Binder in sixth.

Espargaro says the risk at Misano this weekend is rising as the field is “super-fast”, having already completed one race weekend and a test day in the last week, but feels going over the limits in FP3 to understand them paid off.

“If I want to be somewhere compared to my teammates, I need to crash to see the limit and then give the info back to my team and then learn from this,” Espargaro said. “To do these lap times, I needed to crash to understand the situation. They’re all so fast, what I can say is that I need to find the limit and then tomorrow, for sure it’s going to be difficult because also the rhythm is fast.

“My teammates are very fast, but also Yamaha and Ducatis are hugely fast. I would like to risk less here in Misano, because we have two races in a row plus one test. The risk is rising up because everyone is super-fast and we cannot have anything left in the pocket.

“It’s very [easy] to make mistakes at this speed, also this track is very tricky with the front, with the left corners, with this front tyre, [the] hard tyre, you need this level of risk. It’s my riding style, I need to make that do the lap time, and find the limit, but finally with that fourth position it shows that it pays off.

“I don’t like to crash, but if I was to repeat it, I’d do it again and again.”

The top 11 in qualifying were covered by under six tenths of a second, with the top six all going underneath the lap record Maverick Vinales set last weekend. Espargaro hopes the race “will be slower” as he fears it will be easy to crash out otherwise. 

“Everyone is so good, so quick,” he added. “All the riders are so talented, the manufacturers, the bikes are so fast and after two weekends, one test, imagine all the machines are on the highest level with the best info, the quickest time, and also the riders, we’ve seen how quick everyone was today.

“Everyone is super-fast, super-quick, you need to risk, but for sure tomorrow’s race is hopefully going to be slower because otherwise it’s going to be very easy to not finish the race.”


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