Heartbreak for Espargaro as he crashes out of home race and loses championship lead
Pol Espargaró was left without a podium reward at the Circuit de Catalunya, close to his home and in front of his fans, after a clash with Marc Márquez which left him in the gravel when he was fighting for third position. The incident cost the Repsol rider from Cervera a penalty of one minute which meant no points at this round for him either after Race Direction reviewed the crash. [The decision was later repealed and Marquez reinstated in third place]
Polyccio lost some positions at the start and made them up until fourth position. When he was fighting with Andrea Iannone, Thomas Luthi and Marc Márquez he needed to risk more under braking to compensate his bike’s unusual lack of speed and then encountered the touch with Marquez which left him without a podium and cost him the lead in the Moto2 championship.
Tito Rabat did a brilliant race which after difficult practice sessions and starting from eighth position he finished in fourth place which was then temporarily turned into a podium without celebration after the decision from race direction. The rider from Alella lost touch with the front group and battled with a group of up to six riders, where he beat late brakers like Dominique Aegerter and Toni Elías in the hunt for the podium. This is the second podium for Tito in Moto2 after he took his maiden rostrum in Indianapolis last year.
Axel Pons started well and recovered half a dozen poositions, but couldn’t fight for the points on the straight as the tyre degradation played a big part and he was suffering a lot of chatter on the front.
3. TITO RABAT “I am very happy with my second podium in Moto2, even though this time I wasn’t able to go on the box to celebrate. Today the gap to the winner was a bit big and we must work to reduce it in the next races. Practice here did not go as expected, but in the race I made an important step forward and if the opening laps had been better I might have been with the top four. In the fight with Aegerter and Elias we lost touch and when I escaped from them the first group was already far away. The end result makes me happy and hopeful for the upcoming races, but with the clear understanding that we need to keep working hard to fight for the podium regularly.”
21. AXEL PONS “It’s been a very difficult weekend and I can’t go home happy. The start of the race was good, I made up several positions and was in 20th, but in the end I started to have a lot of problems with chattering at the front and I lost everything that I’ve gained. It was impossible for me to push in the corners, because I could feel that I was losing the front and my laptimes became worse and I lost positions. In the next race there’ll be a change of engines and I hope in the draw I’ll get one with some more potential than the current one.”
POL ESPARGARÓ “It’s been a real shame and the only important thing is that I didn’t get hurt in the crash, only a big blow to the right ankle which I hope isn’t sprained and hopefully won’t keep me from being at 100% in two weeks in England. It’s been a difficult race which ended in the worst possible way, with a crash, losing the championship lead and being down in third position. At the start I lost some positions and then I found it hard to get with the front group. The bike didn’t run like on the previous days and I had to push a lot in the braking to be with them. It’s my home race and I had to take risks, but I didn’t expect to hit the ground by the mistake of others. Race Direction summoned us for declarations and after analyzing the incident decided to penalize Marc and there’s nobody better than them to decide because they have lots of cameras. We lost the lead, but this championship is very long and now the main reference is Lüthi.”
SITO PONS, TEAM MANAGER “Race Direction has decided to act on its own and their argument was that when a rider loses the good line, as happens in a chicane, before rejoining he should make sure that there’s no other rider. We abide by the decision and hope that fair play prevails in all the races and actions between the riders, to prevent the risk of accidents exceeding the already inherent risk in motorcycling. Luckily Pol didn’t suffer any serious injury and we continue to fight for the title of Moto2 with the likes of Luthi, Iannone or Marquez, now the four separated by 18 points.”
Source: Pons Racing