Espargaro to start Shell Malaysian Grand Prix from 15th on the grid

MotoGP 2019 - Round 18, Sepang International Circuit (MAL)
Pol Espargaro KTM RC16 MotoGP Malaysia 2019

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The Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix drew MotoGP together again for the third week in a row and for the eighteenth round of nineteen. The heat and humidity surrounding the Sepang International circuit, with its challenging mix of turns and two long straights, created conditions that caused some head scratching for the Red Bull KTM contingent. All three riders strived to find effective rear grip to get near the top ten through Free Practice. Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Miguel Oliveira pulled out of the Grand Prix after Free Practice 1: the pain in the Portuguese’s hands after his crash at Phillip Island the previous Saturday was too much for the impressive rookie to continue lapping.

Pol Espargaro pushed through Q1 and moved up to 5th position but was just half a second from the top two and less than three tenths of a second from making the cut to Q2. The Spaniard adjusted his set-up to search for usable traction but could not circulate any quicker. Mika Kallio nearly dipped under the two minute barrier but will ultimately line-up on the final row of the grid, just in front of Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Hafizh Syahrin.

Pol Espargaro: “We were a little bit better, for sure more than yesterday. We could finally find an improvement, technically, and do some good lap-times in FP4 when the track was 50-50. Still, we are far from where we must be. I was quite happy with the whole package. I was pushing with everything I had and I almost did a perfect lap up until the last corner when I had some pumping and could not open [the gas] as good. I risked it all and I don’t think I can do it better, honestly. Tomorrow I hope we can start well and fight with the others.”

Mika Kallio: “We made an improvement in our lap-times if you compare them to yesterday but for sure it was not enough. In FP3 I felt better grip. As I said yesterday we lowered the bike and we checked the direction we used in the winter here. Somehow that was working but it was in the opposite direction to what we wanted to go! It worked for here though, even though it was not quite enough and I am not happy at all with the results.”

Hafizh Syahrin: “I have the feeling we managed to find a small improvement. It’s nothing huge but better than nothing. We are still far from the top guys. I couldn’t use the soft tyre today because we are quite sure it will not endure the entire race distance, so we already opted for the medium one. I hope I can find a good rhythm in the Warm Up tomorrow, let’s see what we can do later. Above all I wish I can enjoy my home race on Sunday together with all the people here.”

Miguel Oliveira: “It’s nothing serious, but [the injury] needs more rest and that’s what I need to do now. For sure, we want to be competitive and not be here just to cruise around. I want to take the opportunity to thank our entire team and KTM because everyone was really understanding about the whole situation and the support was there right from the beginning. It’s way easier to make decisions like this, when you have everyone on your side. I think the team deserves me at 100 % and not at 80, so this is what I’m going to take care of now.”

Moto2 & Moto3

Red Bull KTM Ajo started the weekend at a fast pace in Moto2 with Jorge Martin continuing his strong recent form by clocking the quickest lap-time after both Free Practice sessions on Friday. The Spaniard came through Qualification less than half a second from the Pole Position effort set by Alex Marquez. Martin will fill a slot on the second row (in 6th) and just ahead of him will be teammate Brad Binder; the South African improving to seal 3rd position.

In Moto3 Albert Arenas came through Q1 to register the fourth best effort in Q2 and will head the second row. Italian youngster Celestino Vietti is just behind the Spaniard in 5th.
Races: November 3rd, 2019 – Moto3 03.00 | Moto2 04.20 | MotoGP 06.00 CET

Results Qualifying MotoGP Sepang International Circuit 2019

1. Fabio Quartararo (FRA), Yamaha 1:58.303
2. Maverick Viñales (ESP), Yamaha +0.103
3. Franco Morbidelli (ITA), Yamaha +0.129
4. Jack Miller (AUS), Ducati +0.422
5. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) Honda +0.648
15. Pol Espargaro (ESP), Red Bull KTM 1:59.812 (Q1)
19. Mika Kallio (FIN), Red Bull KTM 2:00.644 (Q1)
20. Hafizh Syahrin (MYS), Red Bull KTM Tech3 2:01.045 (Q1)

Results Qualifying Moto2 Sepang International Circuit 2019

1. Alex Marquez (ESP) Kalex 2:05.244
2. Tetsuta Nagashima (JPN) Kalex +0.151
3. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.315
6. Jorge Martin (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.487

Results Qualifying Moto3 Sepang International Circuit 2019

1. Marcos Ramirez (ESP) Honda 2:11.758
2. Tatsuki Suzuki (JPN) Honda +0.127
3. John McPhee (GBR) Honda +0.232
4. Albert Arenas (KAZ) KTM +0.414
16. Can Öncü (TUR) Red Bull KTM Ajo +1.402

Press & PR Manager
Sebastian Kuhn
+43 676 599 0084

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