Steady 7th for Espargaro in action-packed Catalan Grand Prix

MotoGP 2019 Round 7 of 19, Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya (ESP) - RACE
Pol Espargaro KTM RC16 MotoGP Catalunya 2019

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The seventh round of MotoGP drew the series into the hot and breezy climes of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and for the second event in Spain this season. The fast and slippery course a short distance north of the famous city has been a difficult one for Red Bull KTM in 2017 and 2018 but Pol Espargaro found enough speed and traction to go straight through to Q2 on Saturday and began the 24 lap race on Sunday from 12th on the grid.

After the sensational crash between four riders on the second lap - four of ten eventual fallers – Espargaro maintained his concentration and pace to hold a position high on the leaderboard and eventually defeated Takaaki Nakagami for 7th. His classification meant a third consecutive top ten result and with a race time sixteen seconds from the winner. Espargaro is 9th in the championship standings and only 6 points from the top six.

Johann Zarco also persevered among the accidents and mistakes around him. The Frenchman was one of two racers to select a Hard rear Michelin and circulated to 10th place for his best finish in ‘orange’ so far.

Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Miguel Oliveira scored 13th position despite running wide on the first lap having to avoid a rider collision, while Hafizh Syahrin was forced to retire with a mechanical problem.

MotoGP will embark on the second IRTA test of the season tomorrow. Red Bull KTM will be joined by Dani Pedrosa and share the track for the first time with the former world champion as they further refine the RC16.

Pol Espargaro: “I’m really happy. I said on Saturday that the race would either be very slow or with lots of crashes and it was both! Today was really important to anticipate the braking, and not hit the limit with the brake or the throttle. It was very difficult. It was matter of being so precise, like a watch, and trying to do everything in the same place and with a lot of electronics. In the end the most important thing was the gap of sixteen seconds to the top guy – which is unbelievable because last year we were thirty-six away. We are ninth in the championship and six points from sixth. I’m impressed about the performance we made today.”

Johann Zarco: “The second third of the race was good for me. The pace was quite strong and I was following Tito Rabat and sometimes overtaking and able to fight. I was happy to see the top ten group in front of me and not so far away. I was able to think about catching them, even if my speed was not quite enough. I was able to manage the race. Tomorrow we have many things to test and I hope we will go in a good way with the help of Dani [Pedrosa] to put fingers on good things to help us.”

Miguel Oliveira: “It was a difficult race as we expected. I started really good and recovered a lot of positions until I got to Turn 10 where I was in the incident when Bradley Smith took out Aleix Esparargo. I had to go very wide to avoid both of them and obviously, I lost a lot of time. I was last and it took me a few laps to get that time back. I had no one to fight for positions, so I just did my race and finished in the points, which was the target.”

Hafizh Syahrin: “I’m really disappointed because my engine stopped after just a few laps. I had a good pace and it’s hard for me to express my feelings as I was sure I could score some points here or even finish inside the top 10 after all these crashes in the race. The only thing I can do is to look forward to the next round.”

Mike Leitner, Red Bull KTM Team Manager: “Finally we are very happy with the result we achieved because Barcelona has been one of our most difficult race tracks in the last two years - along with Mugello - and we made reasonable results at both places. We knew it would be very difficult here because the grip level was tough for all the riders. Pol managed the race in a very good way and we are happy that Johann made his first top ten and we hope this might give him a bit of confidence for the future. We made a step, and the whole team have made a great effort since the test in Jerez. Now we are looking ahead to Assen. We have a big list for the test tomorrow and things to confirm – without pressure at the races – as well as some new items on all aspects with engine, chassis and aerodynamics. Maybe we can make another step but we’ll know this after the test.”

Moto2 & Moto3

Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder picked up Moto2 points with an 11th place finish while Jorge Martin finished 15th. A thrilling Moto3 race was won by Marcos Ramirez – for the first time - after 21 laps but KTMs filled second and third places on the podium thanks to Aron Canet and Celestino Vietti. Canet extended his lead in the championship standings and now has a gap of 23 points over Lorenzo Dalla Porta.

MotoGP travels to the oldest circuit on the calendar, TT Circuit Assen, in two weeks time.

Next race: June 30, TT Circuit Assen, Motul TT Assen (NED)

Results Race MotoGP Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya 2019

1. Marc Marquez (ESP), Honda 40:31.175
2. Fabio Quartararo (FRA), Yamaha +2.660
3. Danilo Petrucci (ITA), Ducati +4.537
4. Alex Rins (ESP), Suzuki +6.602
5. Jack Miller (AUS), Ducati +6.870
7. Pol Espargaro (ESP), Red Bull KTM +16.144
10. Johann Zarco (FRA), Red Bull KTM +26.228
12. Miguel Oliveira (POR), Red Bull KTM Tech3 +44.666
DNF. Hafizh Syahrin (MYS), Red Bull KTM Tech3

Results Race Moto2 Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya 2019

1. Alex Marquez (ESP) Kalex 38:25.678
2. Thomas Luthi (SUI) Kalex +1.989
3. Jorge Navarro (ESP) Speed Up +2.532
11. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Ajo +20.891
15. Jorge Martin (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +27.132

Results Race Moto3 Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya 2019

1. Marcos Ramirez (ESP), Honda 38:36.156
2. Aron Canet (ESP), KTM +0.119
3. Celestino Vietti (ITA), KTM +0.146
DNF. Can Öncü (TUR) Red Bull KTM Ajo

Download the 2019 Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya MotoGP Photo gallery HERE

Press & PR Manager
Sebastian Kuhn
+43 676 599 0084

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Hafizh Syahrin KTM RC16 MotoGP Catalunya 2019
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