Red Bull KTM rider Pol Espargaro says pushing to “find the limit” led to his crash during the first day of MotoGP pre-season testing at Sepang. 

The Spaniard set the pace early on during Wednesday’s running before suffering a small crash in the closing stages of the session. Despite the incident, Espargaro still finished as the quickest KTM rider in 10th, outpacing new teammate Johann Zarco by eight tenths. 

Explaining his crash, Espargaro said the off was caused by simply pushing too hard in the search for improved lap time. 

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"I was trying to push and improve the lap time,” Espargaro said. 

“The tyres were still a little bit hot and I was coming in a little fast, I think too fast and then I lose the front. 

“We tried for the test to find the limit and we crashed and found the limit.

“I apologise to the guys, they are going to sleep a little bit late. The bike was a little bit destroyed but just working as a test day.” 

Espargaro labelled his 2018 campaign as the “toughest” season of his career so far having suffered multiple injuries and being forced to miss three rounds, before he bounced back to claim KTM’s first-ever MotoGP podium at the season finale in Valencia.

The 27-year-old said he is happy with the improvements the team has made so far but admits there is more to find, particularly with regards to the RC16’s handling. 

“We are getting the bike a little bit more ridable and smoother,” he added. But this takes time and it is not day and night but the characteristics of this bike is what it is. 

“It’s hard to ride and it needs a rider on the top which needs to fight a little, which I like - I’m not going to lie. We are trying to be as fast as we can and if it’s smooth I’m happy and if it’s wild I’m happy too.

“We are always looking for more and KTM is always looking for more but at the moment I am satisfied. I think we have tried good things and positive info. 

“All the test, even if the test is not going well about the lap times you learn and we are learning quite a lot so I am pretty happy.”