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KTM a match for top bikes without tyre wear woes - Espargaro

KTM a match for top bikes without tyre wear woes - Espargaro

Pol Espargaro says KTM had the pace to race MotoGP's top bikes in last weekend's Czech Grand Prix before suffering with tyre wear, which he described as a "real problem" for the team.

Espargaro, along with his teammate Johann Zarco, had an excellent qualifying on Saturday in wet conditions, the duo starting the Brno race fifth and third respectively.

While Zarco had a bad start, dropping outside of the points early on, Espargaro stayed in his starting position and was able to run ahead of Valentino Rossi's Yamaha for several laps.

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He was running in the top seven in the first half of the race but kept losing positions later on, eventually only finishing 11th.

Espargaro blamed poor tyre management for his lack of pace in the closing stages.

"That was three steps, beginning of the race very good, middle of the race with Valentino okay, end of the race very very bad," he said.

"Looks like we have an X percent of the tyre and then if I use it at the beginning of the race to try to follow them, I am able to be there.

"I could take some gap to Valentino at the beginning of the race with good performance on the tyre, but then as soon as the tyre drop, we lose a lot.

"I was spinning on the straight something massive. I was not pushing so hard.

"They overtook me and go even, they were pushing more than me and even like that they were better with a better tyre at the end of the race.

"I need to be in all the race pushing, but thinking not to be with full throttle in some places of the track because the tyre is gonna die, so yes, we have a real problem and we need to improve that."

Espargaro said the Brno race was the second in a row where he had similar issues in cooler conditions, which has previously not been a problem for KTM.

"In theory, the cooler conditions are working a little bit better for us than the hotter conditions but the last races in Sachsenring and here, were not so hot, nothing crazy," he said.

"We are using soft tyre but the others as well and Marquez has been 18 seconds faster than us. For sure we are doing something wrong, but we need to study what."

Zarco finished only 14th, having lost seven places at the start due to a partly-wet grid slot, and said that in dry conditions his speed was "maybe worse" than in other tracks.

"Difficult race," said the Frenchman. "We knew in the dry the pace was not there.

"I had a few problems in the morning which didn’t help to get confidence before the start, and in the race the speed this weekend was maybe worse than some other weekends.

"I want to take some satisfaction from just finishing the race in the points, and I’ve been able to overtake the guy [Stefan Bradl on the last lap] in front of me, that’s the satisfaction I’m taking."

Additional reporting by Gerald Dirnbeck

Johann Zarco, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Johann Zarco, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / LAT Images

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About this article

Series MotoGP
Event Czech GP
Sub-event Race
Drivers Pol Espargaro
Teams Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Author David Gruz