20.05.2018

Points all-around as Pol Espargaro almost makes Le Mans top ten for Red Bull KTM

RACE 5th Rd. MotoGP 2018, Le Mans (FRA)
Pol Espargaro KTM RC16 Le Mans 2018

This press release has: 19 Images
MotoGP
With a reasonable track temperature and the enticing promise of top ten potential at the iconic French facility (that first hosted a motorcycle Grand Prix in 1969 and has been a popular draw for MotoGP since 2000), both Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith set off from the sixth row of the grid. The Le Mans asphalt counted out a number of names, riders like Andrea Iannone, Andrea Dovizioso and home favourite Johann Zarco, but #44 and #38 KTM RC16 diligently pushed for the best points and positions throughout the 27 laps. 
 
Espargaro duelled with Alex Rins and then had to cope with an ailing Cal Crutchlow and was eventually less than five seconds from his best result of the campaign. Smith tried to relegate Franco Morbidelli to reach the top thirteen but was unable to defy the Italian in what would have been a ranking to equal his highest of 2018.
 
With 18 points Espargaro is 13th in the MotoGP table. Smith is 22nd and Mika Kallio already has enough points to sit in 20th. 

Espargaro: “We made a good start with six places on the first lap and made my way into that group ahead of me. I then tried as hard as I could to finish as fast as possible and make that eleventh place. We’re almost twenty seconds faster than we were last year and this is very nice because we have been working very hard. We’re still looking ahead and we have some way to go. Mugello next and our bike is fast on the straight – I think today we had the fourth best speed in the traps – this means our engine is working well and I’m hopeful and positive that we’ll be consistent.”

Smith“I’m pleased with the race. I lost a bit of time at the beginning with the battling on the opening laps. I was keeping stable with the guys by mid-race and then struggled to get back to them. 14th is another points-scoring position and I was having a good fight with Morbidelli at the end. We improved another fifteen seconds over our race distance last year so again KTM is making gains but the competition keeps getting higher and higher. Heads down now and thoughts towards the two-day test in Barcelona and we need to try the new surface. I enjoy Mugello and the bike has some good power and potential. It is always a favourite of mine on the calendar with the undulations and the crazy Italian fans. It’s a pleasure to ride there.”

Mike Leitner (Team Manager): “A race team is a race team and we are always looking for targets ahead of us. At the moment we are stuck around these positions…but that does not mean it is easy to earn these positions! It is the limit we are hitting at the moment and everybody in the team and the company is working very hard to make a step on the technical side because we have to help our riders get into the top ten. That is the goal for the season and it will not happen overnight but we are pushing hard for it. I hope we can bring an update and start to beat our previous best results.”
 
Moto2
Red Bull KTM’s Miguel Oliveira was content with his progress to reach 6th position in the Moto2 Grand Prix and an improvement of eleven places compared to 2017. The Portuguese was just a tenth of a second behind Xavier Vierge and three slots ahead of Brad Binder on the KTM Moto2.

Aki Ajo (Team Manager Moto2): "We have to be happy with today's results, because both of our riders were able to finish in the Top 10. The start of the weekend was very difficult, as was Saturday morning. I’m happy with the progress we have made throughout these past three days, since last year we had difficulties here with Miguel (Oliveira); Brad (Binder) was out injured. We have improved and we haven’t surrendered at any time. Making improvement during the race weekend is the most important thing. We leave here with more points, we are second in both the rider standings, with Miguel, and in the team standings. Next week we will have a day of testing and we’ll have another after the race at Mugello, so the next three weeks are very important for us. I am very sure that we can fight for victories again."

Moto3
Albert Arenas won his first ever Moto3 Grand Prix on the Angel Nieto Team Moto3 KTM RC250 GP after a typically dramatic and crash-laden affair. KTM filled all three podium positions once more with Andrea Migno and Marcos Ramirez also on the rostrum and Red Bull KTM Ajo's Darryn Binder just outside the top ten on eleventh place.
 
The Gran Premio D’Italia at the majestic Mugello circuit will celebrate another carnival atmosphere around MotoGP with the FIM World Championship arriving to the fast and flowing layout in two weeks time.
 
Next Race: June 3, 2018 – Mugello (ITA)

Results MotoGP Le Mans 2018 
1. Marc Marquez (ESP), Honda, 41:49.773 min (27 laps)
2. Danilo Petrucci (ITA), Ducati, +2.310 sec
3. Valentino Rossi (ITA), Yamaha, +5.160
4. Jack Miller (AUS), Ducati, +6.314
5. Dani Pedrosa (ESP), Honda, +7.419
KTM
11. Pol Espargaro (ESP), KTM, +32.304
14. Bradley Smith (GBR), KTM, +38.299

Standings MotoGP 2018 after 5 of 19 rounds 
1. Marquez, 95 points
2. Maverick Vinales (ESP), Yamaha, 59
3. Johann Zarco (FRA), Yamaha, 58

4. Valentino Rossi (ITA), Yamaha, 65
5. Danilo Petrucci (ITA), Ducati, 54
KTM
13. Espargaro, 18
20. Kallio, 6
22. Smith, 5


Results Moto2 Le Mans 2018 
1. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA), Kalex, 40:40.162 min (25 laps)
2. Alex Marquez (ESP), Kalex, +2.709 sec
3. Joan Mir (ESP), Kalex, +4.865
4. Marcel Schrötter (GER), Kalex, +7.041
5. Xavi Vierge (ESP), Kalex, +9.811 
KTM
6. Miguel Oliveira (POR), KTM, +9.943
9. Brad Binder (RSA), KTM, +15.429

Standings Moto2 2018 after 5 of 19 rounds 
1. Bagnaia, 98 points
2. Oliveira, 73
3. Marquez, 67
4. Lorenzo Baldassarri (ITA), Kalex, 64

5. Mattia Pasini (ITA), Kalex, 58
KTM
9. Binder, 37
10. Icer Lecuona (ESP), KTM, 23

Results Moto3 Le Mans 2018 
1. Albert Arenas (ESP), KTM, 37:40.056 min (22 laps)
2. Andrea Migno (ITA), KTM, +0.160 sec
3. Marcos Ramirez (ESP), KTM, +0.709
4. Fabio Di Giannantonio (ITA), Honda, +1.811 (3 sec penalty)
5. Niccolo Antonelli (ITA), Honda, +2.305 (1.8 sec penalty)
KTM
6. Jakub Korneil (CZE), KTM, +5.487 (1.3 sec penalty)
10. Jaume Masia (ESP), KTM, +11.704
11. Darryn Binder (RSA), KTM, +12.011


Standings Moto3 2018 after 5 of 19 rounds 
1. Marco Bezzecchi (ITA), KTM, 63 points
2. Di Giannantonio, 59
3. Aron Canet (ESP), Honda, 56
4. Jorge Martin (ESP), Honda, 55
5. Migno, 45
KTM
6. Ramirez, 37
8. Philipp Öttl (GER), KTM, 36
9. Kornfeil, 36
21. Binder, 8

>> LINK MOTOGP PICTURES KTM MEDIA LIBRRAY
>> LINK MOTO2 PICTURES KTM MEDIA LIBRARY
>> LINK MOTO3 PICTURES KTM MEDIA LIBRARY

PHILIPP GRÜNBERGER
PR MANAGER MOTOGP
philipp.gruenberger@ktm.com
0043 664 6217921

www.motogp.com
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Albert Arenas & Marcos Ramirez KTM RC250 GP Le Mans 2018
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