Pol Espargaro may not have beaten KTM's best MotoGP result of the season, but he finished closer than ever to the race winner in Sunday's Aragon Grand Prix.

The Spaniard caught and passed star wild-card Mika Kallio for tenth place, one position from his Brno best, but only 14.075s from race winner Marc Marquez.

"I'm happy with our result, just fourteen seconds from the top is amazing. It's our best race ever in KTM, and especially at Aragon which is like my home GP, and it's super nice to be in the top ten and fighting against Zarco, Cal, big names like this with good bikes," smiled Espargaro.

"I was pissed off at the beginning of the race because I did a bad start and I was completely alone doing the rhythm. When you are in a group it's much easier to do the lap time, when someone is pushing in front of you.

"But I was also happy, because I know that I could be there, and this is a great feeling. Not watching the other guys escaping into the corners, and this is nice. We started to feel that we are competitive.

"The championship has never been at this level before.

"The top guys have a lot of 'curriculum' behind them, winning a lot of races and championships. Of the top bikes - Ducati are now showing a very good performance, leading the championship. The satellite bikes are in their best moment ever.

"All the bikes are competitive, but KTM and Red Bull had the balls to come into the championship at this moment, and they are showing that they can do it. 14 seconds in the first year, fighting against big satellite teams with a lot of years of experience is honestly impressive."

Espargaro confirmed he raced with the latest frame parts, which he used once the track was dry, from FP3 onwards.

"It gives overall a little bit more grip and a little bit more turning. And when you turn earlier, you can pick up the bike earlier, you catch the grip earlier, you accelerate earlier. It translates into more speed at the end of the straight, more acceleration, and a little bit of everything.

"I cannot say exactly what [the parts are], but it is something big on the bike."

And the next step?

"We are trying to improve the bike in a lot of areas. We have done a good step with the new parts we received here in Aragon. And looking forward again to jump on the bike at the test, because we have an infinite list of new things to test on the bike.

"So we will see. It's going to be interesting to see what we can do until Valencia, but especially with the bike that is coming next year, it's going to be even more interesting."

A satellite rider for his previous three MotoGP seasons at Tech 3 Yamaha, Espargaro said he is still amazed by the constant attention from the KTM technical team.

"It's amazing. As a rider, this is the best feeling ever, because every time we finish a race, I sit with Sebastian [Risse] the project leader, and Sebastian asks me, "What do you want to improve? What do we need to do to improve the bike?"

"These words I like! F**k, it's like a dream for a rider! You are getting what you are asking for. And honestly, everything that KTM is brings new to the track, we are improving.

" So far, it has never happened, touch wood, that they brought something, they tested it, and they are one second slower. So every time we test something, it's better. It's not easy with all of the parts that they bring, but most of them are good.

"So I'm super happy and thankful for this job from KTM, because there are a lot of people working in the factory."

Test rider Kallio held the previous KTM record for time from the top at 19-seconds in Austria, a margin he cut to 17.192s at Aragon. Espargaro's team-mate Bradley Smith was 19th (+36s).


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