Pol Espargaro concluded the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France with an impressive run to his best result of the season, with a 5th place finish, in front of 99,000 thrilled fans. The young Spaniard began the day by surging to third in the morning warm up which left him fully confident for the afternoon battle. Here, the former Moto2 World Champion launched into action from the head of the second row and met the first corner in third whilst determinedly battling with the leading factory MotoGP bikes. He built up his speed and despite running wide and getting shuffled back to 8th on lap 4, he remained focused plus maintained his consistent pace. Later in the race, on lap 21 he lunged past Aleix Espargaro and then comfortably opened a gap before crossing the finish line in 5th. This result sees him clinching the top independent position for the third time this season at the Tech3 team’s home Grand Prix.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the garage, Bradley Smith suffered bad luck and unfortunately fell on lap 20 in the round 5 battle. The young British rider started the 28 lap sprint from the rear of the second row and bolted forward when the lights went out. He finished the first lap in 8th as he duelled with Valentino Rossi and then quickly set into his race pace. At just over half race distance he was running in 7th whilst maintaining his rhythm as he hunted down his teammate. However, several laps later the 25 year old fell at the 5th corner. Nevertheless, after the improvements made throughout the weekend in France, Smith aims to bounce back strongly at the next round at Mugello and challenge for the top independent rider honours.


Pol Espargaro

Position: 5th - Championship: 6 - Points: 47

Pol Espargaro - 2016


"Of course I’m pleased to conclude the weekend once more as the leading satellite rider and inside the top 5, yet after our strong performance in all the sessions I hoped to be a bit closer to the leading guys. However, after the Moto2 race, the track became really greasy and the bike slid so much especially during acceleration so it was quite tricky to ride. Moreover, I was not fully comfortable with the brakes during the whole race and I made several mistakes like running wide a couple of times. It’s a pity because we worked really well in the morning warm up, but finally in the race, my feelings just weren’t quite the same like in the practice sessions, so we could not repeat our pace. Anyway, we did the best job that we could at the Tech3 team’s home race and after the positives of the event we will try even harder in Mugello. Unfortunately, I dropped a position in the championship standings, but I’m still 6th and everything is really tight as I am only points behind Maverick. Next up for us is Mugello which is a circuit that I really enjoy, so i’m looking forward to getting back on the Yamaha soon in Italy."

Profil 


Bradley Smith

Position: DNF - Championship: 14 - Points: 20

Bradley Smith - 2016


"It goes without saying that it’s a frustrating end to the weekend, especially because it’s clear to see that it was the best weekend that we’ve had so far this year. I started well and the first ten laps or so were positive, but then I experienced a bit of a tricky period as I had a coming together with Pedrosa and I lost some time as I ran off track. However, after that, I felt that I was getting a second wind. I felt that my rhythm was getting stronger, plus I was able to improve my lap times so I focused on being as smooth as possible. At that moment, I saw that I was catching Aleix as well as Pol, yet I went too close to the limit as the front tyre was starting to drop away and I carried a bit too much corner speed so I rolled off the side of the tyre. I am very disappointed but more for the team than myself because they have put in a lot of effort and it would have been nice to celebrate with a strong result at our home GP. Nevertheless, I have to remain optimistic because until the race, it was a much better weekend than what we have experienced so far this season. At least we are back on track and next we go to Mugello, which is one of my favourite circuits on the calendar, with a MotoGP bike that I feel confident with. There is a lot of data that we can take from today’s race plus, there are a few adjustments to make because we always want to improve and I still feel that we can make a better bike. This will be the plan when we go to Mugello and we will see how we get on there."

Profil 


Hervé Poncharal - Team manager :


“In all honesty, I have mixed feelings about today’s result at our home Grand Prix, but I know that the guys really went for it and did their best. We were proud about having both the riders on the second row of the grid for the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France. This was almost like a dream, plus the warm up went very well, especially for Pol, so we were confident that a strong result was possible. Pol did a great job all weekend long, put his head down and pushed all the way until the end of the race, so I want to thank him for once again being the top independent rider in the race plus, strengthening this position in the championship. He is really having a good season so far this year. On the other side of the garage, this Grand Prix looked like it was going to be the best for Brad since the beginning of 2016 and his qualifying was incredibly promising. Then, his race pace was consistent and looking good but I’m a little bit disappointed that he pushed that hard because the gap to the rider behind him was big and as a team manager I want to see both riders finish and secure some strong points. Nevertheless, Brad will bounce back and the most important thing is that both riders are fit and Mugello is approaching so hopefully we can have two good results there. Anyway, regarding the event this weekend, I want to give a big congratulations to Claude Michy for his organisation, plus to Yamaha for their result of 1st and 2nd, and I also want to say thanks to the incredible number of spectators who came which altogether made it a memorable weekend for MotoGP in France. Thank you.”

 

 

Monster Yamaha Tech3 team rider Pol Espagaro delivered a highly impressive performance in qualifying today which will see him begin the Tech3 team’s home Grand Prix from the head of the second row. The Spaniard started the day with a brilliant showing in FP3, which left him third overall by the close of the session and only 0.134 back from the leading time. This strong result meant that Espargaro automatically qualified for Q2 and here, he got straight up to speed before blitzing to a time that left him only 0.086 from second position. Today’s fourth place leaves the former Moto2 World Champion fully primed to clinch a top tier finish at the Monster Energy sponsored Grand Prix.

Meanwhile, Bradley Smith superbly sealed a starting position at the rear of the second row for tomorrow’s race after reaping the rewards of his hard work from yesterday. He kicked off the day by completing 21 laps in FP3 and then set his best time on the final run which confirmed 9th and allowed him to progress instantly through to qualifying 2. Here, Smith immediately got to work and after building up his speed, he powered to his personal best on lap seven. The result sees him repeat his qualifying placement from last year, and tomorrow the young Briton will seek to battle to the top independent rider position in front of the Tech3 fans.


Pol Espargaro

Position: 4th - Time: 1'32.502 - Laps: 8

Pol Espargaro - 2016


"It's a really positive feeling to get back on the second row as I have had to wait since Aragon last season. Having said that, I feel that we definitely deserve it this weekend for the performances that we have shown in all the sessions. Yet, we have to bear in mind that tomorrow will be another story. However, the good thing is that by starting from the second row of the grid, we have a better chance of following the factory riders for at least the first part of the race, which means I can learn from them and enjoy the riding. Furthermore, I really like the new Michelin tyres because they allow me to ride my bike how I want to and the times come more easily for me which of course, gives me confidence. It goes without saying that it's a pity that we just missed out on the front row by only 0.033 of a second but there are a lot of the Factory guys behind me and this is what we will also aim for tomorrow. Therefore, I will try to get a good start and then fight all the way to the chequered flag in order to give the French fans and the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team something to cheer about."

Profil 


Bradley Smith

Position: 6th - Time: 1'32.820 - Laps: 8

Bradley Smith - 2016


"First of all, it was great to go directly through to Q2 and it was the first time this year that we’ve achieved this, so I think the team added another year to their lives because Q1 is obviously quite stressful! All day we’ve slowly been improving the bike and I’m feeling more comfortable all the time. With every lap I’m learning and getting faster so even though we still need to make some final adjustments for the race, I believe that we have a strong base setting. In terms of the result, I can’t really be any happier as we have turned around what has been a difficult first four races. To be on the second row at the team’s home Grand Prix which is also sponsored by our title backer, Monster Energy, is great. It gives me a fantastic opportunity to start well tomorrow and then try to gain some more knowledge from fighting with the front guys. I believe the race will be another learning experience for me because of the new setting, which I haven’t tried on a long run yet, and also the tyres but I will be as prepared as possible. Anyway, the team did a fantastic job and they’ve had a lot of patience during these opening events, so to finally reward them and get back to where we need to be is super and I must give a big thanks to them. I am ready for the team’s home race and tomorrow will be 28 laps of fighting to get that top satellite position."

Profil 

The Monster Yamaha Tech3 team rider Pol Espagaro began his round 5 campaign with instant speed at the stop and go Bugatti Circuit as he looks to impress in Sunday’s race in front of the French MotoGP fans. The young Spaniard rocketed into action as he commenced in setting up his Yamaha YZR-M1 for the 28 lap sprint and positively closed FP1 in 7th. The 25-year-old continued his progress in the afternoon and eventually posted a best time that saw him finish only two tenths back from second and as the top independent team rider.

On the other side of the pit box, Bradley Smith got straight into gear as he started his in-depth setup work on the Yamaha YZR-M1 in preparation for Sunday. The British rider began the day by making the initial adjustments to the base setting whilst also sampling the new Michelin tyres and he finally ended the session in 11th. In the next practice, he carried on where he left off and pushed non-stop before completing 23 laps, more than any other MotoGP rider, and with a time that was half a second back from 8th.


Pol Espargaro

Position: 4th - Time: 1'33.406 - Laps: 42

Pol Espargaro - 2016


"The opening day went very well and just like in Jerez, we kept improving. In Spain we made some steps forward and then during the test we managed to comfortably ride a competitive pace, however, today we managed to progress even more. Of course, it's just the first day but for sure it has been a better start in comparison to other Grand Prix’s. We improved the rear grip level and now I have the chance to ride the bike in the way that I want to. Furthermore, I'm even more pleased because the team is working very well and every time I stop in the garage and we make some modifications, I can actually feel them, which wasn't always the case last season and this is much more important than the actual result today. In addition, I have to say that I'm very happy about the job that Michelin is doing. The tyres might not be ideal in every corner of the track, but they really have made huge leaps forward in the last weeks and we can feel a clear improvement compared to the previous races."

Profil 


Bradley Smith

Position: 14th - Time: 1'34.306 - Laps: 45

Bradley Smith - 2016


"In all honesty, it was a positive day overall for me even if the result doesn’t really show our true potential or reflect what we achieved. I felt that it was more important to do long runs and gain some more experience with our new setting from Jerez. This was in order to try and ensure that I’m comfortable with the bike, my adapted riding style and how we can apply it to this track. The team and I only made some small changes with the M1 to try and gain a direction for tomorrow, however, we know more or less what we need so we didn’t try anything too drastic. We wanted to find out what is best for me and we also focused on building a bike so that we can go directly into Q2 tomorrow and have a good starting point for Sunday. We tested both new front and rear Michelin tyres and now we have some useful information about the new rear options. Also, for the first time this year I am comfortable with both compounds of front tyre. Like I said, the end result doesn’t really show the positives for today but we’ll be able to show our potential tomorrow when it counts."

Profil 

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