Resilient Pol Espargaro to start from fourth row of Aragon grid
Monster Yamaha Tech3 team rider Pol Espargaro will contest the 14th round of the 2016 MotoGP World Championship from 11th on the grid after giving his all in what was a challenging qualifying day at the Motorland Aragon circuit.
In an eventful FP3 session, Espargaro took to the track and began building up his speed, but unfortunately crashed at the midpoint of the session. He rushed back to the pit box and bravely mounted his second bike, but shortly afterwards, he was hit by a falling Marc Marquez, who caused him to crash again although he did not suffer any serious injuries.
Nevertheless, his personal best from yesterday was strong enough to clinch 10th in the combined standings and this lap carried him through to QP2. After a strong showing in FP4 where he refined his race setup for tomorrow, he finished only half a second back from Valentino Rossi in second. Then, in QP2, he immediately attacked and after steadily increasing his pace, he posted his fastest time on his penultimate run, which left him just 0.670 from the rear of the front row.
Espargaro now intends to undertake a rocket start and then compete for a top-tier placement in front of his fans.
“We started the weekend well yesterday so I have to admit that today wasn’t great and 11th on the grid is not at all close to what we were aiming for. Having said that, after the two crashes this morning I lost a bit of confidence, plus I struggled with grip issues in the afternoon so I didn’t want to risk falling again in Q2. The result is even more of a bitter pill to swallow because I am racing in front of my home crowd and I really hoped to give them something to cheer about. Anyway, for my first crash this morning, I lost the front but the tough thing for us is that we don’t know why I ended up in the gravel so it’s difficult to try and amend this. With regards to the second fall, Marc went too fast and took me out. This was a big shame because it left me without a bike for the remainder of the FP3 session. However, I remain optimistic for tomorrow because with the race tyres, I feel more competitive. On the grid in front of me, there are some riders who are strong on a single lap time in qualifying, but my rhythm is better than theirs over a long distance. So I need to undertake a good start and move past them, which should be easier here because the track layout of the Aragon circuit is much better for overtaking as opposed to Misano. It’s been an unlucky day, but I am not injured and I will push hard from the word go tomorrow so that I can hopefully finish well in front of my fans.”