Pol Espargaro feels his race performance should surpass his efforts in qualifying after he secured a ninth place grid slot for the first MotoGP race of 2016.
The Spaniard described his Saturday performance as 'not amazing' as he struggled to feel comfortable on new tyres. Yet, as his race simulation on the final day of preseason testing showed, he has consistency in abundance over 22 laps.
“[For the race] I'm so confident, even more than in qualifying,” said Espargaro. “In qualifying I felt not ready. I felt that I couldn't make an amazing qualifying. For me this tyre is the opposite to last year. I struggle so much to do one lap with new tyres. I need a lot of laps to get used to it.
“For the race I feel really good but not the qualifying. I was not so optimistic for the quail but we did not do bad. We are the second satellite behind Barbera and we have Bradley and Cal behind. Tomorrow's race is important. It's where you catch the points and it's not a bad place to start.
“[Qualifying] It was not amazing but the third row is OK. For tomorrow's race we have a good pace. We can show a good potential. We needed to start, on the minimum, on the front three rows and we did it. I could improve a little bit the lap but even improving that, it was not enough to be on the second row. So yeah, we are OK.”
Asked for his take on how Sunday's race would unfold, like many others, Espargaro was unable to offer up a definitive prediction, other than the factory Yamahas, Hondas and Ducatis having an advantage over the rest.
“I think we can be a bit more in front than we are now,” added Espargaro. “We have to see what Cal and Brad do in the race. I'm sure the Ducatis will struggle a lot in the end of the race as I saw in some race simulations they did in the preseason. They stall a little towards the end and they cannot use the soft tyre for the end. This sounds good but after we have to see what is happening.
“Maverick is really fast but we don't know. Even after a lot of laps he did not make one race simulation in the whole of the preseason. We don't know what he can do in the whole race. Two Yamahas, two Hondas, they will be faster that us, that's for sure. Two Ducatis, especially in this track they are fast but after that, I don't know!”