Pol Espargaro rides through the pain to ninth at Sepang
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro produced a brave and relentless effort as he rode through the pain to finish in 9th in the gruelling Sepang Grand Prix.
The young Spaniard started the 20 lap battle from the fourth row, despite experiencing huge discomfort in his cervical spine after falling due to a collision with Barberá in the morning warm up. Yet, an X-ray confirmed that there was no fracture and Espargaro was given the all clear to race.
However, the 24 year old remained fully focused and determined to clinch a solid result when the lights flicked off. Espargaro undertook a strong start and picked his way through the field to finish the opening lap in 7th, having moved up four places from his grid placement.
He immediately stuck into his race pace as he sought to remain with the leading group, yet slipped back one place by the start of the fourth lap. Espargaro remained in this position but as the end of the GP inched closer, he became engaged in the fight for 6th with three other riders.
However, his heroic effort saw him eventually cross the finish line in 9th despite riding with the injury. He now looks towards the season finale at Valencia in two weeks, where he will aim to close the year positively with a strong result.
“I must admit that today’s race was one of the hardest that I have ever had to ride. During the warm up this morning, Barberá crashed into me and I hurt my neck badly. As a result, I had to get it checked before the race so I went to the hospital and to the Clinica Mobile. I have to thank all of the staff, because they worked really hard to make sure that I was in the best possible condition, although in all honesty, I wasn’t feeling great at all. I knew that it was going to be a hard race and sure enough, it was. I experienced a lot of pain and sometimes I even felt dizzy, but I gave it my 100% and tried my best to get to the chequered flag. Obviously, how I felt riding the bike as well as the setting and everything else was less important, as I was just fighting and counting down the laps. Yet, looking back, I think I could have clinched a good result bearing in mind how the race progressed and how my pace was in the practice this morning. Anyway, now I will have my neck checked again in Barcelona and after that, I will try to be as fit as possible for Valencia.”