06.10.2019

Espargaro toughs out Thailand Grand Prix to finish 13th

MotoGP 2019 Round 15 of 19, Chang International Circuit (THA) - RACE
Pol Espargaro KTM RC16 MotoGP Thailand 2019

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The Chang International Circuit drew the 2019 MotoGP series outside of Europe for the first of four rounds in Thailand, Japan, Australia and Malaysia. The second visit by the championship to the fast and hot layout east of Bangkok saw sweltering conditions influence the 26 lap race that took place early CET.

Setting off from 11th place on the grid Espargaro made his 100th start in the MotoGP class. He slotted into a group vying for positions just outside the top ten and paced himself accordingly. Espargaro gained a slot with the retirement of his brother, Aleix, but was passed late by Cal Crutchlow and reached the chequered flag in 13th with three championship points as a reward.

Teammate Mika Kallio crashed out of his second MotoGP appearance of the year at Turn 8 after just four laps. The Fin will be more hopeful at the following round in Japan where he previously celebrated three Grand Prix victories and four podium results.

Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Miguel Oliveira followed Espargaro’s rear wheel in the opening phases of the race but the Portuguese’s weakened right shoulder meant he could not maintain his pace and capture a slot in the top fifteen. He ended the day in 16th, four places in front of teammate Hafizh Syahrin.

Pol Espargaro: “Coming here with that injury we were not sure if I could do some laps on the bike but we did the practice, Q1 and Q2 and took three points in the race and I think that is more than enough in tricky conditions because the race was very hot and it was tricky to ride like this. I managed to finish, and Japan will be a different story, so I’m looking forward to going there.”

Miguel Oliveira: “My pace was very strong and then just after midrace I started to struggle with my shoulder, I was lacking power and just couldn’t brake so late to go fast. It’s a shame, because the pace was there. Anyway, we have to go on with this and recover as fast as possible. It’s just disappointing that this small detail delivered such a huge limitation but I try to prepare myself as best as possible for Motegi.”

Mika Kallio: “Unfortunately it is never good to finish the weekend like that. What can I say? We had the expectation to catch some points and I was satisfied with the feeling I had in the first laps and could pass quite a few guys and get up to 16th but the crash was so early in the race. It seems on Sunday, when the tank is full, it helps me a bit better with the grip level. The target is to improve. Today I’m really disappointed. Motegi is next and it has always been quite good for me, somehow the layout always fits quite well to my riding.”

Hafizh Syahrin: “It was a truly hard race. I don’t know what happened to the bike because I had the feeling there was no power and surely due to the conditions also the engine was very hot. In the exit of the corners, I lost a lot compared to the rest of the riders, therefore, I was unable to benefit from any slipstream. I could just gain a bit of time on the brakes and in entry of the corners but as soon as I picked up the bike, I lost out. I couldn’t push anymore, although I pushed more than 100%. It’s a pity, but I will keep my head up and fight again in Japan.”

Mike Leitner, Red Bull KTM Team Manager: “It was quite a tough weekend for us because we had two riders who are not quite 100% fit. Pol did really well to start the Grand Prix just eleven days after surgery and we could not expect any more. We are happy that he was able to take at least three points for all the effort he made. Miguel is also not quite fit because of his right shoulder and at the end of the race he lost strength in his arm and had to slow the rhythm. This is not so good because he had the potential to get in the points as well. Mika had a crash in the beginning of the race while in the group and these things can happen. Overall we knew this would be a hard GP for us so we are just looking forward to Motegi where we’ll hopefully have the riders a bit fitter and we know that Mika will be motivated again.”

Moto2 & Moto3

Two KTM RC12s made the podium behind winner Luca Marini in the Moto2 class. Red Bull KTM’s Brad Binder narrowly beat Iker Lecuona by fractions of a second to post his second podium result in succession and sixth of the season. Lecuona opened champagne for the first time in 2019 with his 3rd position.

The Thai Grand Prix began with a gripping Moto3 contest and Albert Arenas burst through from the field to clinch his first winner’s trophy of the year on the Gaviota Angel Nieto Team KTM RC4. His previous best had been a 5th place in the Red Bull Gran Premio de España back in May. Four other KTMs made the top ten of Moto3 at the Chang International Circuit.

Albert Arenas: “My best weekend of the season and my career. I felt so confident from the beginning. I had to manage the race well because the others were faster than me in the first and second sectors and I was faster in the third and fourth so I tried to stay around 2nd-3rd. The last lap was incredible and I enjoyed it so much.”

Round sixteen takes place at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit in Japan in two weeks time.

Next race: October 20th, Twin Ring Motegi, Motul Grand Prix of Japan (JPN)

Download the 2019 PTT Thailand Grand Prix photo gallery HERE

Results Race MotoGP Chang International Circuit 2019

1. Marc Marquez (ESP), Honda 39:36.223
2. Fabio Quartararo (FRA), Yamaha +8.924
3. Maverick Viñales (ESP), Yamaha +5.811
4. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA), Ducati +4.836
5. Alex Rins (ESP), Suzuki +5.430
13. Pol Espargaro (ESP), Red Bull KTM +35.667
16. Miguel Oliveira (POR), Red Bull KTM Tech3 +40.136
20. Hafizh Syahrin (MYS), Red Bull KTM Tech3 +1.01.308
DNF. Mika Kallio (FIN), Red Bull KTM +23 laps

Results Race Moto2 Chang International Circuit 2019

1. Luca Marini (ITA) Kalex 38:40.882
2. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Ajo +2.296
3. Iker Lecuona (ESP), KTM +2.544
6. Jorge Martin (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +6.839

Results Race Moto3 Chang International Circuit 2019

1. Albert Arenas (ESP), KTM 38:09.383
2. Lorenzo Dalla Porta (ESP), Honda +0.231
3. Alonso Lopez (ESP), Honda +0.322
19. Deniz Öncü (TUR) Red Bull KTM Ajo +55.804

Contact:
Press & PR Manager
Sebastian Kuhn
+43 676 599 0084
sebastian.kuhn@ktm.com

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