Pol Espargaro: Pedro Acosta’s progression ‘insane’, throttle-brake ‘like Valentino in Yamaha’

‘The way he's rolling the throttle and catching the brake, I saw Valentino doing in Yamaha’

Pol Espargaro, Pedro Acosta
Pol Espargaro, Pedro Acosta

Pol Espargaro says he’s been ‘shocked’ by how well MotoGP rookie Pedro Acosta has adapted to the premier-class.

Espargaro has a unique perspective on the reigning Moto2 champion’s achievements, not only stepping down from full time racing to make way for Acosta at GASGAS Tech3 this season, but also actively assisting his progress whenever possible in his new role as a KTM factory test rider.

“He didn't need so much help I tell you!” Espargaro smiled at the recent Mugello round, when quizzed on the 20-year-old, who has already taken two Grand Prix podiums already and sits fifth, as the top KTM rider in the MotoGP standings.

“This guy was born ready!” Espargaro added. “The level of MotoGP is so high now that to see a guy performing like that with our bike, it's insane.

“I give it more authority than in the past. Guys like Lorenzo, Marquez, they were superb [as rookies], but there were just four bikes fighting for the title. Now there are many rider, and not just factory also satellite.

“All the guys are young, talented and fast, and this guy is proving that he’s even faster than them… without experience! He’s doing something unbelievable. So he doesn't need [my] help!”

Picking out some of Acosta’s strengths, the Yamaha, KTM and Honda MotoGP podium finisher said:

What was shocking me more first of all, is that he's using all the track. Like from inside to outside. Amazing and this is very difficult.

“The other point I was shocked about is the way he's braking. Normally the instinct is to arrive to 150 metres, see that you are at 350k per hour and hit the brakes so hard.

“But the way he's rolling the throttle and catching the brake, I saw Valentino [Rossi] doing in Yamaha. He was braking while he was still with 20% of throttle and this was something that I was never able to do.

“I tried actually here in Mugello once and almost killed myself in the first corner! Because I kept the throttle open [too much] while I was braking!

Pedro Acosta
Pedro Acosta

“Also his body, the way he's turning the bike is pretty interesting… I'm shorter than him so even if I want to try I cannot, but the way he's putting his body out of the bike, it's pretty unique. And I think this helps quite a lot on turning the bike in the middle of the corner.”

Told about Espargaro’s words, Acosta responded: “We see that it is a way that the bike likes to be ridden. Also I am trying, at the end of the day, to pick the best of everyone and put it together.

“Like I say, the bike feels like it wants me to ride it like this.”

Casting an eye generally over his first seven MotoGP events, Acosta smiled:Not a disaster! 

"To be honest, could be much better, but could be much worse. It's true that we lost two good opportunities in Le Mans and Barcelona, but it’s part of the learning process.

“After these seven races, we have everything much more clear. We have many things to try and to think about for the next the races.”

One of the biggest lessons so far has been: “How the MotoGP guys are fast like hell, and that maybe sometimes [being] calm you arrive more fast.”

Aside from keeping the RC16 away from chatter [vibration] issues, through step-up and riding style changes, one of the areas where Acosta feels he can improve is: 

“In the long corners, like Barcelona, with the rear, trying to keep a little bit more  speed.”

Acosta will face his eighth MotoGP event at Assen this weekend, the start of two back-to-back rounds that offer his last chance to beat Marc Marquez’s record as the youngest MotoGP race winner.

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