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May 17, 2014 - 02:19 PM
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Espargaro Storms To Maiden Front Row
Posted by: newsla on May 17, 2014 - 02:16 PM
MotoGP
Espargaro Storms To Maiden Front Row


Rookie Pol Espargaro delivered a heroic qualifying performance today to superbly clinch 2nd and his first ever MotoGP front row start, for tomorrow’s 28-lap dash at the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team’s home grand prix in Le Mans.

 

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The reigning Moto2 World Champion wasted no time in setting a blazing pace at the gloriously sunny circuit, having ridden to a superbly executed 3rd place in FP3 which allowed him to progress through to Q2 for the fourth race in succession. His final lap time during the second 15-minute dash was an exceptional 1.32,734, which was quicker than last year’s pole by 0.445 of a second, in only his fifth race event for the Monster Yamaha Tech3 MotoGP team. With the 22 year old Catalan feeling self assured with his race pace and ability, he is poised to deliver a positive performance in his first outing at the Le Mans circuit on the Yamaha YZR-M1 as he proceeds to make leaps forward in terms of his performance and confidence.

Bradley Smith continued his positive form for the team’s special home Grand Prix, sponsored by Tech3’s title backers Monster Energy, by qualifying in 10th. His lap time of 1.33,058 today illustrated his large level of progression from last year, as he beat his previous time by well over one second. Having progressed straight through to Q2 with a lap of 1.33,510 equalling 9th place, Smith pushed determinedly, but was hampered slightly by grip issues yet still produced a lap time of 1.33,058, only one tenth from the fifth position. He fully intends to begin tomorrow’s 28-lap race strongly, where he will aim for a top five result at the legendary Le Mans circuit.

Pol Espargaro Pol Espargaro

Position : 2nd Time : 1'32,734 Laps : 9
Pol Espargaro - Le Mans 2014“I am flying high right now, and am really happy and proud that I was able to produce this lap at the team’s home race. This is very important for me, as the team and I have done a lot of work during the preseason and for the first few rounds, so this qualifying result is like a small victory. The race will still be a challenge, as there are many laps and not just one however I am confident with my pace. For sure, the factory riders may seem faster and have more experience, but starting from the front will still be a big advantage for me compared to the other races so far. I intend to fight whilst trying to learn as much as possible, and I feel like I can clinch a great result for the team and it would be perfect to go home with plenty of championship points in my pocket. I will make the most of the start and see what I can do.”

Bradley Smith Bradley Smith

Position : 10th Time :1'33,058 Laps : 8

Bradley Smith - Le Mans 2014"Obviously, it is not ideal qualifying in 10th, especially with the nature of this circuit as it is a narrow track, and therefore it might be tricky to overtake on. Fortunately, I am confident with my starts, so I am not too worried as there is a long distance to turn one, and I’ll aim to retake some positions straight away there. I have made it a little harder for myself, and I believe I had the pace to challenge for the front row. With the team and myself we weren’t able to find a solution to some rear grip issues and especially in acceleration, which is so important here. I am pleased with the braking stability, which is a positive as it is also significant for this track due to its stop and go character. With this, I am confident that we can fight and make some ground in tomorrow’s race. There is still some work to be done in warm-up, and I aim to do my very best for tomorrow’s race to give the French fans something to cheer about.”

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