Pol Espargaro says his battling run to the podium in the Emilia Romagna MotoGP was ‘worth more than a victory in Austria’ as KTM gave an assured demonstration of its progress in Italy.

A strong race day for Espargaro - who’d suffered multiple falls at Misano over the course of the two events - the Spaniard battled inside the top three for the length of the race having finished down in 11th a week earlier.

Though he crossed line fourth, he was bumped back up to third position once Fabio Quartararo’s time penalty for track limits applied. It was his second podium of the season, as well as fourth for KTM as it consolidated third in the manufacturers’ standings.

Vinales Win Continues Crazy 2020 MotoGP Season | Winners & Losers: Emilia Romagna GP

Though KTM’s strength in depth this year has made it a threat in every round so far, Espargaro nonetheless considers Misano - together with this weekend Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya - to be the weakest venues.

Moreover, having finished 12secs off the leader on the first Misano weekend, to end up third the following week marked a big breakthrough for Espargaro.

“This podium for us is worth more than a victory in Austria, because in Austria everything was good, everything was clear, the bike was performing well in all the sessions, warm-up, race. 

"It's not easy to fight against these guys, but when the bike is working so well, you can expect these [podium] results.

"But when you arrive like last weekend 12 seconds from first, and today we arrived four or five seconds to Maverick [Vinales], who's been very fast, and we lost this second just at the end of the race because the tyre was gone, I realise how shocking this result is and how much we needed to the result.

"This was one of the races on the calendar along with Barcelona that we knew we would struggle.

"So, let's face Barcelona in the best of ways and let's see how the championship goes, because after Barcelona we know things can be better for us."