Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro persevered against the challenging conditions at the Czech Grand Prix to finish in 13th after what was a tricky race for the 25-year-old. The Spaniard kicked off his round 11 campaign from 12th on the grid and immediately ran with the factory MotoGP bikes at the front of the field. He slipped to 8th on the third lap but pushed onwards as he aimed to stay with the leading group. As the track began to dry Espargaro was shuffled back, despite his best efforts, and by lap fifteen he was running in 13th. Eventually, he met the chequered flag in this position to close what was a tough weekend. Today’s result sees the 2013 Moto2 title winner move up to 7th and as the top independent rider in the 2016 World Championship standings and he now intends to produce a strong result at the next round after tomorrow’s test in Brno.
Meanwhile, Bradley Smith endured a disappointing end to the event after unfortunately suffering with a technical issue which caused him to retire from the Grand Prix. The Briton leapt forward from the middle of the fourth row of the grid and quickly set about moving through the pack as he completed the opening lap in 9th. He was pushed back one position a short time later, but remained focused and did his best to preserve his tyres for the second part of the race. However, at the midway point, the 25-year-old had to pit due to a technical issue with eight laps left to run. Nevertheless, Smith fully aims to bounce back in front of his home fans at the British Grand Prix in a fortnight’s time.
Position: 13th - Championship: 7th - Points: 81
"This morning in the warm-up I struggled quite a lot in the wet but to be honest, we managed to improve the bike significantly for the race. Therefore, I was able to pass many riders at the beginning of the GP as I felt really comfortable. However, when the track started to dry, I began to face some difficulties because I lacked grip and traction, but I tried to keep my pace without making any mistakes so that I could take home as many points as possible. I believe that today we weren't able to use the electronics to their best potential, plus I think the hard rear tyre would have been a better choice, especially at the end of the race. Yet, I rode this compound for two laps and I didn’t feel 100% happy with it, so we went for the option that we used in the warm up. Now I really hope that we'll have a dry race in Silverstone because with no rain, we are usually strong and we will be able to show our true potential."
Position: DNF - Championship: 15th - Points: 42
"Of course, it’s disappointing to have another DNF for a technical issue, especially as my race was running positively up until that point. The opening lap went quite well, and I was able to make up a few positions plus, I felt quite comfortable on the bike. When the track started to dry, I could increase my pace and push harder so that I could go with the guys close to me. Still, at the same time, I was looking after my tyres because I was certain that tyre management would be crucial at the end of the race. Yet, unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance to prove that as I had to pit in. The riders who I was close to before I pitted, ended up finishing in 5th and 6th so this is where I would have seen myself at the end of the race and that definitely would have been a good result ahead of my home GP. Considering that it was one of the weekends where we were closer to the front from the word go, it’s a big shame, but also due to it being the second time I’ve had to retire because of a technical issue in 2016, which is just bad luck. However, with the test tomorrow, we will go over a few things which will boost my confidence for my home Grand Prix at Silverstone, which is up next."
Hervé Poncharal - Team manager:
“On a day like today in the Czech Republic, we all know that anything can happen in the race due to the weather. This is the third time this season, after Assen and Sachsenring, that we have had very difficult and mixed conditions. Like a lot of riders on the grid, we went for the soft compound of tyre as it was the only one we tested and with a lot of standing water this morning in warm up, it worked well. When the track dried out, it was clear to see that the guys who gambled and chose the hard tyres had an enormous advantage. Our two boys did their best to stay on track and lose as few positions as possible. Unfortunately, Bradley had to pit and retire due to a technical issue, which is a shame because he was having a strong race until then. Pol bravely put his head down, reached the flag and got three points. The only thing that we can take as a positive is that Pol gained one position in the championship due to some DNF’s. This is more of a weekend to forget than one to celebrate, but hopefully, Silverstone will be dry and sunny. Plus, in addition, of course, I have to say congratulations to Cal for his victory today!”