The Red Bull KTM Tech3 team endured an eventful opening day at the Jerez test but most of its activities were spent off track with Dani Pedrosa sidelined by illness and Iker Lecuona having to stop early after heavy fall in the afternoon.

With Miguel Oliveira out of action following shoulder surgery, Tech3 are welcoming KTM test rider Pedrosa into their garage again this week after the Spaniard filled in during the Valencia test. But the MotoGP legend was out of action on the first day at Jerez due to sickness, leaving rookie Lecuona as the team’s sole runner.

After a productive morning, Lecuona saw his day ended prematurely when he tumbled off at Turn 4 and despite avoiding serious injury the crash halted his progress for the French squad.

“Jerez is a very difficult track on the MotoGP bike, it’s not easy to go fast here and have a good feeling on the bike. For sure, I need more laps tomorrow in order to get more kilometres in,” Lecuona said. “At the moment, I finished 2.802 seconds from the top, which is obviously too much.

“After the crash, I feel a bit bruised, but overall, I’m OK. This circuit is definitely completely different to what we had in Valencia, so I need to further adapt myself and I can’t wait to be back on the bike tomorrow.”

Tech3 team manager Herve Poncharal says he is disappointed to see Lecuona’s development stalled by the crash, having completed 38 laps before the off, but feels it is a mistake the Spaniard will learn from.

“Unfortunately, straight after the lunch break, Iker was on his third lap, I believe, and did a very slow lap and then followed another rider the lap after,” Poncharal said. “But when it’s like this, the tyre temperature drops quite a lot in this weather condition and on the first left corner, which is turn four, he crashed.

“He is a bit bruised everywhere, but nothing is broken, so he came back without any physical consequences, the bike is not too damaged, but all together we decided to put an end to the day.

“It’s always a pity to do not as many laps as you could have done, because we know it’s the last test of the year and Iker is a rookie.”

As a result, the Tech3 boss remains hopeful of a better day tomorrow when the Jerez test concludes, bringing an end to MotoGP action in 2019, with both Pedrosa and Lecuona in action for the final time this year.

“Dani Pedrosa was not at his best, was feeling quite sick and said that he will try to stay calm in the morning and eventually come back in the afternoon, but it looks like that didn’t work and he is still trying to recover, so hopefully he’ll be testing tomorrow,” he said. “Although the weather forecast is not very positive for Tuesday.

“We did a few interesting laps [today] and hopefully tomorrow we can stay away from the rain and have two riders on track, enjoying their very last 2019 day of testing before going for a well-deserved break. So, let’s wait and see tomorrow.”

Rain is forecast intermittently during Tuesday’s track action at Jerez but encouragingly temperatures are expected to remain much higher compared to last week’s Valencia test.

At the factory Red Bull KTM squad it was a much more productive first day at the Jerez test with Pol Espargaro completing 56 laps despite a late fall as he claimed eighth place on the timesheet. New rookie team-mate Brad Binder notched up 67 laps and ended the day 21st overall as he continues to adapt to the RC16.

 

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