8 May 2016
MotoGP France: Espargaro top satellite but frustrated at Le Mans
'If we can reproduce what we do in the weekend in the race everything will be easier for me and I will be faster and more in front' - Pol Espargaro.
Pol Espargaro may have achieved his aim of finishing as the top satellite rider at Le Mans, but the Spaniard was far from happy after a 'frustrating' race.
The Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider, who finished in fifth place on the M1, was at a loss to explain why he was unable to match his race pace from free practice.
“Looking at the number it's OK, it's nice,” said Espargaro of his final position. “But looking at the weekend, no [not happy]. This morning we were faster than Jorge [Lorenzo] over one lap.
“In the rhythm we were the same and faster than Valentino [Rossi]. If you check the papers we were faster than Vale. Then the race start and Vale took 14 seconds from us.
“I mean, I cannot understand or explain to you why. The thing is that I cannot replicate what we do in the free practice. This is really frustrating,” he added.
“I felt really good and powerful this morning. But the result is the same. Fourteen seconds to Vale and 24 to Jorge – it's the same as always. Looking at how the weekend was, this was a bad result.”
Elaborating on where he was losing out the most to Rossi on the factory machine, Espargaro said he was at a disadvantage in acceleration and braking in particular.
“They do everything easier. They open the throttle and they accelerate. They brake and they brake, like I did this morning: this morning I was doing that. On the race I cannot,” said Espargaro.
“In every acceleration they took three or four metres from me. Then in the next acceleration four metres more, then again until the end of the race. The problem of that is that you try to recover in braking, with a full tank with less grip on track and you go wide – you make a lot of mistakes.
“I mean, I don't know what to say and what to do. We have to do something for the next race because after an amazing weekend the result was the same as always and this is not fair.”
Espargaro admitted his aim before the race was to finish as the leading satellite representative but even though he fulfilled his objective, he cut an unhappy figure at Le Mans after the race.
“Before the race, when you are thinking about it you say, 'My job is to be the first satellite.' We can do that with confidence, not struggling,” said the 24-year-old.
“But when you fight with riders that you think you are faster than… I showed during the weekend that I was faster than Dani [Pedrosa], for example and Maverick [Vinales].
“I cannot follow them in the race. I was faster than Aleix [Espargaro] and it cost me so much overtaking him. I was massively faster than him during the weekend, this makes me feel bad,” he added.
“If we can reproduce what we do in the weekend in the race everything will be easier for me and I will be faster and more in front. I'm sad, I'm angry, because we cannot do what I used to do.”
Track conditions were much different on race day at Le Mans following the Moto2 race and Espargaro feels the factory machines coped with the change in surface characteristics than his own satellite M1.
“Sure, the race was much different than the practice. Not for the weather because we were lucky that it remains the same,” said Espargaro.
“But after Moto2 the feelings of the bike change so much. It looks like the factory bikes, they feel much less than us. We feel like we're doing an amazing job.
“We go from the top to the rubbish and the factory riders can just take a good pace – not the same as in practice but pretty similar,” he added.
“In numbers we go from ten to one whereas they go from ten to five. That is where we lose so much.”
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