Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro rode a competitive race in front of approximately 51,000 fans today in Argentina to clinch a strong result in round 2 of the 2016 World Championship. The Grand Prix, which was shortened to 20 laps in order to ensure the safety of all riders, included a mandatory bike change at the midpoint and it turned out to be an eventful race for Espargaro. The 25 year old Spaniard leapt into action from 10th and closed the first lap in his grid position but quickly set into his pace and started his campaign. By lap six he moved up one place before pitting at half distance. Once he re-joined the track, he carried on his climb up through the field and fought with Hector Barbera as the race progressed. Espargaro moved clear, yet on the final lap, after a hard battle he ran off the track and ended the fight in 6th.
On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team pit box, Bradley Smith persevered in the challenging Grand Prix and met the chequered flag two places behind his teammate. The Briton started from the fourth row, yet he was unlucky to run wide on the opening lap, to avoid contact with another rider, which caused him to drop to the back of the field. Nevertheless, he mounted his recovery charge and by lap eight he had overtaken six riders, before pitting half way through the event. Once back on the track, he maintained his rhythm and claimed 11th with a quarter of distance left to run. Smith continued his climb before powering across the line in 8th. This result marks his 26th consistent point scoring result, plus puts him in 6th in the longest successive point finishers in the premier-class.
Position : 6th - Championship : 6th - Points : 19
"The race today has been very difficult and in all honesty, I'm quite disappointed. Fighting with Barbera and Laverty is definitely not where we want to be, but at the moment we are unable to stay close to the Ducati riders. We are slower on the straight and we can't brake late enough into the corners because of the front tyre. In addition, in the last lap Barbera broke incredibly late in turn 5 so to avoid a contact with him I had to run off track and as a result Laverty passed both of us. This is a real pity, because even if our race wasn’t great, we could still have scored an important result and finish as first independent bike. Yet, like this we leave Argentina with just a sixth position. Therefore we have to work a lot in the following days in order to be more competitive in Austin next weekend. However, the result isn't too bad for the championship, so we have to take today's finish as a damage limitation."
Position : 8th - Championship : 9th - Points : 16
"It was a very challenging race, but to score points is satisfying and the 8th position gives me more determination to finish in a better place next time. Today was tricky with the flag to flag and also with the conditions after the rain made things difficult this morning. Plus, there was a lot of dirt on the track and still some wet patches, so it goes without saying that it was tricky. When the Grand Prix started, I was a bit unlucky in the first corner and then again in turn three where I lost numerous positions because I wasn’t able to put myself in the right place. As a team, we made a big mistake because we chose a setting which we had never tried before and it really didn’t work. It was the same on both bikes and I really struggled to get any kind of feeling. I just kept telling myself that I only needed to get to the chequered flag, regardless of the position. Fortunately for us that meant 8th place which is the same as in Qatar, so we can’t be too disappointed. Still, there is a bittersweet taste in my mouth as the first satellite bike finished in fourth position and I’m sure that we could have done much better especially in these conditions. Yet, we finished and now we can go to Texas with a lot of useful information from what was a challenging weekend here and I’m sure there we will be able to put the Yamaha back to where it needs to be.”
Hervé Poncharal - Team manager :
“Regarding the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team, we have to be happy because we had to cope with a lot of difficult matters such as the weather, the dirty track and with this being the first time for the tyre manufacturers at this track. Even though we may have gained a few positions due to other riders failing to finish, we have to be proud of what Pol and Bradley did. Their results give us third position in the team championship which is fantastic. They tried hard from the word go and managed to bring some solid points home. It was a bit of a pity for Pol because he was holding fourth until the final lap, and there Barbera was a bit aggressive with him and they both ran wide which cost us two positions. The team did a great job as bike one and two were close to each other in terms of performance and finally, the guys managed to reach the chequered flag with two top finishes which is a good achievement in such tricky race conditions. So now we can leave here with a positive frame of mind. Next we head to Austin where we will be aiming for another double top eight finish and hopefully we can claim the first independent team position back which is what we should have got here.”