Monster Yamaha Tech3 team rider Pol Espargaro equalled his best result in the premier class with a 4thplace finish in a drama filled and soaking wet Motul TT Assen in front of 105,000 passionate fans. The Spaniard leapt forward when the lights went out at the beginning of the wet race and he carefully navigated around the circuit on the first lap which he completed in 8th. Then, shortly after, Espargaro dropped back six positions yet, he stayed focused and stuck into a consistent pace, which allowed him to move up to 9th by the midway point as he steadily made progress. However, by that time, the weather conditions were considerably worse which lead to the Grand Prix being red flagged. A shortened sprint of 12 laps resumed shortly afterwards and he got straight back to work before concluding the opening lap in 6th. With a third of the total distance left to run, Espargaro slotted into the final podium position as he continued to push, before eventually crossing the line in 4th, closing an incredibly challenging round 8 battle.

Meanwhile Bradley Smith’s hopes of a strong result were dashed at the wet Dutch Grand Prix after falling on the 16th lap shortly after the race recommenced. The young Briton began the GP from 13th on the grid and he was shuffled back one position by the close of the first lap. Smith persevered as he launched into his recovery campaign and consistently progressed before clinching 12th when the red flag was shown. Nevertheless, the 25 year old lunged forward at the restart and moved up to 7th, yet his luck ran dry on the following lap as he fell at the 15th corner. He nursed his Yamaha YZR-M1 back to the pits and then bravely re-joined the Grand Prix and sealed 13th.


Pol Espargaro

Position: 4th - Championship: 6 - Points: 72


 

Pol Espargaro - 2016"To come away from a tricky event like today with a 4th position in conditions that were completely wet, is like a dream for us. Of course there is a bittersweet taste in my mouth as I just missed out on the podium again, yet with all the crashes that we saw, I had to be careful and think about the Championship. In addition, Scott was clearly faster and able to push a lot more on the front tyre. In the second race we could use the softer rear compound and my feeling with the bike was much better straight away. Therefore, I can say that I believe I have been competitive in wet conditions for the first time since I’ve been in MotoGP. However my legs, arms, fingers, neck and whole body are now aching from the huge tension that we had while riding in these conditions. I must admit that I wished the GP was red flagged a bit sooner because it really was becoming dangerous to ride during the heavy rain. Anyway, the bike worked well, and the only issue we had to face was that, compared to the other manufactures, we struggled to get a feeling with the front tyre. The crashes from Valentino, my teammate and Jorge’s race underline how tough it is for us to find the limit at the front end, so it was challenging to fight with the Honda and Ducati riders. Yet, this result is another important step in the right direction for my standings in the Championship and we have started to open a gap on the other satellite riders and also reduce the gap to Vinales. So we will continue to push and we’ll remain focused so that hopefully, we can finish in a better position before the end of the season."

Profil


Bradley Smith

Position: 13th - Championship: 15 - Points: 32


 

 Bradley Smith - 2016"It was an eventful day and with the challenging conditions, it was tricky for everyone to not make any mistakes. We started with the harder option rear tyre, which was the first time that we tried it all weekend and it took me a long time to get a general feeling. Yet, I could see Pol just in front of me on the track and I thought that I had made the right decision to go for the full distance, because 26 laps is a long time. Then we had a lot of rain and to be honest, it would have be nice to stop a few laps earlier because it was quite unsafe. It’s always difficult for race direction to understand the right moment but this is something we need to talk about in the future at safety commissions. Then, in part two, I felt a lot better because we were able to start with the softer compound of rear tyre, and twelve laps gave us that chance. I immediately made up a lot of positions in the opening lap, and in fact, I would say that it was one of the most competitive laps that I’ve had this season. Then unfortunately, like many other riders, I fell because I lost the front as it was pushed too much by the extra grip from the rear. Even though it’s another disappointing weekend, it was nice to finish and get some points because the team has worked really hard. We will continue to soldier on and do the best that we can. Right now, if we look at the championship we’re not where we want to be, but hopefully our fortune will change at some point this season and we’ll be back to where we belong."

Profil

Hervé Poncharal - Team manager:

“What a weekend in Assen! We got the typical Dutch weather and it split the event into two incredible races for the fans. Race direction made the right decision to red flag the GP because there was far too much water on the circuit and it was unsafe to ride. Anyway, our two guys remained steady on the track in the first part which I think was the best decision because the asphalt was very slippery. After the restart, we knew there was a good chance of a strong result, and they ended lap one in two solid positions. Unfortunately Bradley, like many other riders crashed but he bravely recovered and managed to finish. I have to say thanks to him for doing his best and always pushing for any points. On the other side, it was a marvellous day for Pol. Last year he struggled a lot with the wet conditions on the MotoGP bike, but this season, he seems to be more comfortable. I think this is because of his efforts and also his adaptation to the Michelin tyres. We believed that a podium could have been possible and Redding stayed behind Pol for quite a while, however when he did overtake, he had a better pace and Pol was clever enough to not do anything too crazy. I want to thank him for being the first Yamaha in the field and hopefully there will be a podium before we end our collaboration with him. Now, Pol will head straight to Japan to test for the Suzuka 8 Hour race which, of course, we wish him luck with. We will be back on track soon and if we can complete the first half of the season one step higher in Germany, it would be the perfect way to head into the summer break.”

 

Monster Yamaha Tech3 team rider Pol Espargaro undertook an impressive qualifying campaign at the Cathedral of Speed and will kick off tomorrow’s highly anticipated race from 7thon the grid. The young Spaniard began the day by completing the morning practice in 12th after suffering a fall midway through the session, which prevented him from progressing to Q2, which he missed by only 0.073 of a second. However, rain fell just before FP4 where Espargaro battled onwards then, in QP1, he launched into action and notably finished first to progress through to qualifying 2. Here, he continued his efforts and after topping the time sheets early in the session, the Spanish rider pushed further and cut his time again, before completing the shootout in 7th by the time the chequered flag fell. Now the 25 year old keenly awaits the GP tomorrow where he aims to seal the top independent rider honours.

On the opposite side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 pit box, Bradley Smith fought against the elements at the historic Dutch circuit and will begin the 8th round of the World Championship from the fifth row of the grid. The young Briton kicked off his day by continuing his setup work from yesterday before finishing the morning session in 15th, which confirmed his attendance in Q1. Here, Smith got straight to work as he battled against the tricky conditions and he built up his pace as the minutes counted down, before setting a personal best on his penultimate lap. Nevertheless, the 25 year old optimistically looks on to the race tomorrow where he intends to clinch a solid point scoring result.


Pol Espargaro

Position: 7th - Time: 1'46.997 - Laps: 8


 

Pol Espargaro - 2016"To end up in seventh position in what was definitely one of the most difficult days I have experienced in MotoGP, is something that we have to be pleased with. Today was about being smart on the bike which I had to work a lot on and I also had to be super smooth plus not make any mistakes. The fact that we had to go through QP1 was an extra tricky task because with these conditions you can’t predict how things will turn out. The bike was sliding so much in FP1 but I didn't ride on the absolute limit until the last minute as I didn't want to crash. Instead, in the final qualifying I pushed one lap too early and on the last one I had Vinales in front who hindered me a bit so I couldn't improve the lap time further. It's a pity but considering how the day started, we have to be very satisfied with our position. For tomorrow I really hope we will have a dry race, as our pace seemed to be strong and consistent. If the conditions are wet I think it will be a real lottery, just like at the beginning of the season, as we could see today how easy it is to crash out because of a minor mistake. However, we will do our best and fight until the chequered flag."

Profil


Bradley Smith

Position: 14th - Time: 1'48.909 - Laps: 8


 

 Bradley Smith - 2016"It was tricky out there today, but we gave it everything that we had. It was the first time since Argentina that we had to ride in the wet, and I was quite apprehensive because we didn’t have a fantastic setup when it rained there. Anyway the team worked really well today and we tried to undertake a solid strategy by pitting in Q1, yet unfortunately I couldn’t tell the guys in the garage exactly what I wanted and we were very short on time! Therefore, we compromised ourselves a little bit by going out on the second bike. Nevertheless, I felt that we had decent pace and Hernandez and Pol who progressed, were really competitive in the second qualifying practice, so I have to take some positives from that as I was close to both of them in the first session. For tomorrow, we have some work to do and we can still improve the bike in different areas in order to obtain a good result for the Dutch fans."

Profil

Monster Yamaha Tech3 team rider Pol Espargaro got straight on the pace in the Netherlands and closed day one with a positive performance. The young Spaniard began strongly and after completing the first shake down laps, he quickly set about adjusting his Yamaha YZR-M1 to the iconic Assen circuit. He impressively finished the FP1 in 3rd, with a lap time that was a mere 0.074 from the position in front, which left him highly confident for the afternoon. Here, the 2013 Moto2 World Champion carried on his efforts and with rain expected tomorrow morning, he pushed and determinedly posted a best time on his penultimate lap that left him only half a second from the top. Espargaro now optimistically looks on to the all-important qualifying shootout at the Cathedral of Speed.

On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 pit box, Bradley Smith concluded a solid opening day at the historic Dutch circuit for the 8th round of the 2016 MotoGP World Championship. The 25-year-old instantly jumped into action when the morning session kicked off and he started the initial work as he looks to seal a strong placement in Sunday’s Grand Prix. He finished in 9th with a time that was only 0.269 behind his teammate. Then, when Free Practice 2 commenced, the Briton continued his tireless work as he made adjustments to the setup of his Yamaha YZR-M1 and also made progress with the Michelin tyres as he gathered information for his race choice. He eventually completed 21 laps, setting his best time on the penultimate one and now he confidently awaits the second day of action at the Motul TT Assen.


Pol Espargaro

Position: 9th - Time: 1'34.163 - Laps: 36


Pol Espargaro - 2016

"I am very pleased overall with the first day at Assen, because the times were competitive throughout both sessions and I finished only half a second from the front, plus, just 0.1 from Jorge. I enjoy riding at this track and my feeling this morning, when we started, was positive straight away. Then, at the beginning of FP2, we had to try some tyre options in order to have a clear idea about which way to go this weekend. Initially I didn’t feel too comfortable on the hard compound of rear tyre, so we tried another one but it was the same, which means the hard compound won’t be our choice. At the end of the FP2, it felt like a qualifying session as the forecast for tomorrow is not ideal so it was important to finish inside the top ten. There were a lot of fast guys outside the cut off point for QP2 so to end up where I did means that I can have a better rest tonight as I am through to Qualifying 2 even if the rain falls tomorrow. There, I plan to be strong and continue the good form in the Netherlands."

Profil


Bradley Smith

Position: 14th - Time: 1'34.531 - Laps: 40


Bradley Smith - 2016"The opening day at the Motul TT Assen has been quite encouraging and I am satisfied with what we accomplished as I was inside the top ten throughout the day, which is positive for us. Yet, unfortunately we didn’t undertake the best strategy for FP2 in terms of the scoring a fast lap time. Instead, we focused more on setting the bike up for the race and trying to improve my feeling, which seems to be good here, so we wanted to take advantage of this. Having said that, I’m a little disappointed to end up in 14th because we had the potential to finish inside the top ten today, which would have been useful in case of bad weather tomorrow. Anyway I have to acknowledge the positives, and overall, this is probably one of the better starts that we’ve had so far this season on a Friday. The guys and I worked really well as a team and all day we focused on trying to improve the rear setting of the bike and now we have a good plan for the rest of the weekend. We were able to try the soft and medium compounds of front tyre as well as the soft and hard rear options so now we have a clear indication of the direction which way we will follow this weekend."

Profil

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