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Austin MotoGP: ‘Disaster’ but Aleix Espargaro ‘sure’ of 2014 podium

"I'm confident we can do a podium this year, 100% sure" - Aleix Espargaro.
After charging from ninth to a career best fourth in the Qatar MotoGP, Open class star Aleix Espargaro experienced exact opposite fortunes in Texas - starting fourth and finishing ninth.

Like fellow second row starter Valentino Rossi, the Forward Yamaha rider was likely distracted by Jorge Lorenzo's jump start, finishing the first lap in twelfth place.

But Espargaro had warned after qualifying that his high grid position “wasn't real” and that without the special soft tyre he was having major problems.

That proved to be the case in the race, when the Spaniard struggled with chronic chatter and ultimately settled for points, blaming the switch from the 2014 to 2013 medium compound rear.

“The race was a disaster because I had a really bad feeling. I had a lot of chatter and there was no way to go fast,” he said.

“With the soft tyre, the feedback was not too bad, but it was impossible to race. With the hard tyre - with the new [2014] generation we felt really good in Qatar and during testing in Malaysia.

“But with this tyre from last year we were just chattering and chattering. I hope this game is finished and we can all go with the new generation tyre for the rest of the season.”

Unlike many Yamaha riders, Espargaro at least did not suffer front tyre issues as such, the chatter being generated from the rear, but revealed his rear tyre situation was similar to Ducati's Cal Crutchlow.

“My front tyre was perfect but Bridgestone said my rear tyre was not good like Crutchlow, who [pitted and changed his tyre during the race] because he felt a lot of vibration. I had the same. Unbelievable vibration. I just finished the race, ninth is not too bad and we take a couple of points.”

Despite the setback, Espargaro is adamant he can stand on the rostrum this season.

“In Qatar our pace was really good. We were really close to the podium. I just made two big mistakes in qualifying. But here I didn't feel good all weekend. It was a disaster. The soft tyre was okay but the hard tyre was a disaster.

“Now I'm just looking forward to Argentina. I'm confident we can do a podium this year, 100% sure. This is our target and we are not too far away.”

Over 13 seconds clear of the next best Open rider, Espargaro has only lost one place in the championship standings. Team-mate Colin Edwards retired from his final home race with technical problems.

Tagged as: Yamaha , Espargaro

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April 14, 2014 1:34 PM

I think we are seeing the impact of the tyre advantage. Flatter to deceive? Only any good in qualifying? Despite his undoubted talent I suspect there are too many in front of him for a podium to be realistic. Even when half the field fell off in Qatar he still didn't get there.


April 14, 2014 6:05 PM

Ok AEsp. Giving the scenario from the Qatar race with guys dropping like they were (5 fast guys we talking bout). Factor in Dovi isn't in front of you Cal bike still isn't dialed in and you get the best of Lannone. Yeah. I got you on the podium too. But I'm 100% sure it won't be a dog fight full of late breaking and passes on the final laps. But more of drama filled day of mistakes by guys you have yet to be within 10 sec of during a race.. Rooting for ya bud. Oh and hope HRC doesn't react to their slow Piece of crap pro racer with mods. Cause I don't see the likes of redding or a Hayden playing around either.

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