Espargaro endures to capture 11th at Assen as Binder makes Moto2 podium

MotoGP 2019 Round 8 of 19, TT Circuit Assen (NED) - RACE
Pol Espargaro KTM RC16 MotoGP Holland 2019

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The Motul TT Assen is the oldest and arguably most prestigious Grand Prix on the MotoGP calendar and the latest edition took place in warm summer conditions and temperatures hitting almost thirty degrees. The eighth round of 2019 MotoGP rolled across the distinctive weaving and narrow layout and was watched by 105,000 visitors on Sunday.

Red Bull KTM were pleased with another respectable points haul after the 26 lap affair. Pol Espargaro had entered the Q2 session on Saturday for the sixth time this season and launched away from 12th position once the red light faded. The Spaniard had to deal with a painful right hand (a result of a fall in the Barcelona IRTA test last week) that caused him to be conservative with his race pace to last the duration. Espargaro fought on the fringes of the top ten with his teammate and kept safe and consistent to obtain 11th, ensuring 9th place in the MotoGP Championship standings just ahead of Cal Crutchlow.

Johann Zarco started from the penultimate row of the grid and had a strong race for 10 laps until he pulled into the pits suffering with arm-pump and after several big moments.

Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Miguel Oliveira had to recover from a penalisation that saw him parked on the last grid slot. The Portuguese used all his skills and strengths to rise up to 13th. He was one of four riders closely bunched and whom all classified in the same second. One of the others in the group was an improved Hafizh Syahrin who gained points for the second time in 2019 with 15th.

Pol Espargaro: “It was the hardest race to handle the pain but not so much for the riding because I was not on the limit. At the beginning of the race I was quite comfortable. I tried to stay calm and fresh and then I pushed behind [Francesco] Bagnaia. The pain started about 12 laps before the end and then 5 laps to go I couldn't manage. Entering the fast right corners was quite dangerous for me. So I just rolled off and stayed in that position which was not that bad. I was the first KTM…with problems, so this is good. Hopefully with three days the injury can come a bit better and with some painkillers we can do a good race in Germany.”

Johann Zarco: “It is a hard track for all the riders I think and I got this problem, which I was able to control the last two years and this year not. The good thing was the first ten laps and to be able to catch the others with pace and be able to overtake as a racer. We are working a lot and changing the bike a lot to give me this feeling or possibilities to improve. After ten laps I did a few mistakes. I had the feeling I was not holding the bike any more and before something bad happened I had to stop.”

Miguel Oliveira: “It has been a tough race today. For sure, the starting position didn’t help at all. In the first laps I couldn’t overtake anyone but in any case, I had a strong pace at the end. I could be competitive and fight with other riders, so I think finally, to finish in the points was the target and we did it. I’m quite happy for the weekend. This is a small step but we are getting there. Collecting more information for the future is also important.”

Hafizh Syahrin: “It was a really good race in the beginning. From eight laps to go, I lost rear grip on the right side and don’t know why. I tried to manage it with the traction control but it was not working. So, I’m a bit disappointed, because I know I could have been close to Pol and maybe also in front of my teammate. But this is the race. Now we further try to improve our weak points and understand the bike better and better.”

Mike Leitner, Red Bull KTM Team Manager: “Pol had a great weekend in the circumstances. He went from the hospital to the garage and there were a lot of question marks as well as pain for him in the sessions. He did a great qualifying and that was the base of this result today. If someone asked me after FP1 if Pol would finish the race on Sunday I would have said ‘no chance’. To ride a MotoGP bike is not like riding a scooter in the paddock: it is a tough job. He did brilliantly. Johann did well in the beginning and was in the group fighting for tenth position but then dropped away dramatically. So we’ll have to analyse what happened but I could see there were riders with other brands that were suffering on track. We’ll have to look if we can give our best at Sachsenring. It was great to see the Red Bull Tech3 guys both in the points again and looking more competitive.”

Moto2 & Moto3

Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder set-off from his best qualification slot of the season with 2nd spot on the Moto2 grid. The South African was a contender for race victory from the very first corner and managed to avoid the skirmishes and crashes around him to keep pushing to the flag. Teammate Jorge Martin was also part of the leading group until his untimely fall after ten laps. Binder was able to classify as runner-up behind Augusto Fernandez for his first podium trophy of 2019.

Brad Binder: “It feels so good to be back on the podium. Last week we were just fighting for points so to get into this position could not be any better and the race was really good. Hats off to the team because they did a great job to help us make a big step. We take the good with the bad and we’ll enjoy this good moment and hope for more in the second half of the season.”

In Moto3 KTM were best represented by Jakub Kornfeil; the Czech finished 3rd and with a podium champagne bottle for the first time this season. Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Can Öncü followed up his rapid lap-time that allowed the Turk to classify second-fastest in morning warm-up to almost grab a championship point. The rookie finished 16th.

MotoGP reaches almost the halfway point of the season with the HJC Helmets Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland at the Sachsenring next weekend.

Next race: July 7th, Sachsenring, HJC Helmets Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland (GER)

Results Race MotoGP TT Circuit Assen 2019

1. Maverick Viñales (ESP), Yamaha 40:55.415
2. Marc Marquez (ESP), Honda +4.854
3. Fabio Quartararo (FRA), Yamaha +9.738
4. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA), Ducati +14.147
5. Franco Morbidelli (ITA), Yamaha +14.467
11. Pol Espargaro (ESP), Red Bull KTM +28.732
13. Miguel Oliveira (POR), Red Bull KTM Tech3 +34.181
15. Hafizh Syahrin (MYS), Red Bull KTM Tech3 +34.494
DNF. Johann Zarco (FRA), Red Bull KTM

Results Race Moto2 TT Circuit Assen 2019

1. Augusto Fernandez (ESP) Kalex 39:24.779
2. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.612
3. Luca Marini (ITA) Kalex +3.686
DNF. Jorge Martin (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo

Results Race Moto3 TT Circuit Assen 2019

1. Tony Arbolini (ITA), Honda 38:03.113
2. Lorenzo Dalla Porta (ITA), Honda +0.045
3. Jakub Kornfeil (CZE), KTM +1.562
16. Can Öncü (TUR) Red Bull KTM Ajo +12.796

Download the 2019 Motul TT Assen MotoGP Photo gallery HERE

Press & PR Manager
Sebastian Kuhn
+43 676 599 0084

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