After a summer of hard labour at KTM HQ, Pol Espargaro has “lots of [new] things” to test at Brno as the second half of the 2019 MotoGP season kicks off on Friday.

The Catalan has hinted he may have an engine upgrade to try after factory test rider Dani Pedrosa took part in two separate tests during the summer break, with the RC16’s motor and chassis a priority.

“The factory was not on holidays during the summer break,” said Espargaro. “The riders yes, but all the mechanics and all the staff in the factory were working so much.

“Also Dani Pedrosa has been testing quite a lot. We have new things to try. We don’t know if we’re going to use them during the race weekend. It depends how we start FP1 and FP2. Then maybe we’ll gamble and play a little.

“But the most important thing is to start after the summer break in good shape, how we left everything, which is quite nice. Then we’ll start improving the bike. This race is just to take all the calories away that we put on during the summer.”

While Espargaro was initially tight-lipped on what he had available to test this weekend, he soon opened up.

“[We] Kind of [have]… Lots of things! I’m sorry but I can’t tell you about that,” he smiled when asked what was on the testing schedule. “Maybe you will notice during the weekend but I cannot tell you.”

But when asked what Pedrosa had been prioritising during the summer’s two tests, he said, “he was working with the engine and the chassis. Maybe he took some good decisions with the engine.

“I would like that because I’d like to be faster on the straight, in acceleration and to have more control in the corners. For sure everyone would love that. But we will see.

“I was on holidays but also with one ear put into the circuit. When he was at both tests I was at home but I was talking to my chief mechanic, also to Mike Leitner about the changes.

“The improvements about what Dani feels and what he likes is important to know. Dani is a unique rider and everything he feels is interesting. So I was trying to do that.”

After a fast testing fall at Montmeló in June, Espargaro was riding with severe pain in his hand. Although no bones were broken, the Dutch and German Grand Prix were a real struggle.

Does he feel back to full fitness after close to a month’s rest? “Almost,” he said. “I expect to have a faster recovery. It took a little bit longer.

“But honestly I hope I don’t feel anything on the bike. I don’t think I will. I’m super happy with those three weeks I had but it was enough to come back in more or less my best shape.

“[In previous races it cost me] A lot. Especially in Assen at the beginning it was hurting a lot and I was taking so many painkillers. So there it was a problem in just a couple of corners.

“But at the Sachsenring from the first couple of corners and through the first part of the track it was very, very painful. For sure it wasn’t helping me with the riding style. Then we had other problems which didn’t help me in the race.

“But for sure this didn’t help me at the beginning.”



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