Pol Espargaro qualifies 12th in tricky conditions at Le Mans

 In MotoGP, News

ed Bull KTM have showed promising speed in the first two days of the Grand Prix of France and Pol Espargaro was able to enter Q2 directly, eventually taking 12th position in difficult mixed conditions at Le Mans.

For the last twenty years the Bugatti section of the famous Le Mans circuit has hosted the French stop of MotoGP. The fifth round of the 2019 calendar took place on the layout that was resurfaced in 2016 and is renowned for heavy braking zones and tight, relentless corners. Red Bull KTM came to Le Mans in the wake of a private test at the venue three weeks previously and after two days of more work at Jerez.

Espargaro made the most of new upgrades to the KTM RC16 to set lap-times throughout Free Practice 1 and 2 to vie for positions on the first two rows of the provisional grid. Johann Zarco eagerly approached his home Grand Prix and was also impressive in Free Practice. Friday was chilly but sunny and Pol’s lap to sit 7th quickest (and just half a second from the top time) was enough to enter directly to Q2, particularly when the weather turned and Saturday was dark and showery.

Riders were surprisingly able to use slick Michelins through Q1 and as Le Mans started to develop a dry line. Zarco was less than a second from grabbing the last slot to make the Q1 cut but still posted his best Qualification of the year in 14th. The rain then fell for Q2 and Espargaro was caught out at Turn 6 where he slipped off and could not post a significant lap.

Pol Espargaro:
“This morning we made some changes on the bike that I really liked and in FP4 I was fast over one lap. We had a few problems in the end but that first lap out of the box was really fast. I had good feelings for the Quali, but Le Mans is complicated! Things change very quickly with the weather. It was much more slippery and it was hard to find a good feeling. I stopped to fit a softer rear tyre to find more grip and in the end, nothing. On the first lap I crashed. I don’t understand [why] that well because I was 7ks slower and not leaning more or pushing more on the brakes. In the dry we have top ten pace but if it is wet we’ll have to see tomorrow.”

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Start typing and press Enter to search