Three KTMs in the Top 10 at the end of the first day of Jerez and moreover with two rookies. Hands up anyone who expected such a result from the Austrian manufacturer. We most certainly did not. This time the RC16 showed its muscles, but Pol Espargarò (8th in front of Lecuona and Binder) keeps his feet firmly on the ground. One swallow does not make a summer, let alone in the scorching Andalusia summer.
"What can I say, it was a very good day - he said - In the morning I took advantage of the cooler temperature to do a good lap, while in the afternoon I concentrated on the pace for the race. I tried different tyre solutions and I would say that I have the pace to stay in the second group on Sunday, the one where you fight for the positions from 5th to 10th. It was a promising day; I think we can have fun in the race. "
Like everyone else, Pol focused on the tyres…
“They are new, maybe we think we have already understood them but that’s not the case - he explained - For example, on Wednesday I had problems with the front hard tyre, it was too soft, so today I used the medium in the heat and it wasn’t bad. I didn’t expected that. "
Espargarò keeps a wide birth, but the question is whether the KTM is ready to appear at the top of the standings...
“Today I tried to follow some riders, to see our strengths and weaknesses - he continued - I noticed that we are very competitive in fast corners and in braking, but tomorrow it will not be easy at all to get into Q2. In my opinion, many riders played around with the tyres today, they did not push to the limit ".
But also the two rookies Lecuona and Binder were very fast…
“They didn't surprise me - observed Espargarò - The best Moto2 riders have arrived in KTM and thanks to them I can improve. Today they were good, but in the race, they will struggle more because of their lack of experience. Brad has great talent and Iker is young, he can afford not to think too much, to follow his instinct. I'm glad they are here because they keep me motivated. "
Then he went back to talking about the expectations for the weekend.
"We are not interested in being happy because we did a fast lap - he explained - The important thing is to improve and unfortunately I cannot be in the other pits to understand what work the other riders have done today. I can speak for us and in the last few months we have worked hard to maintain the same speed as the tests in the race, last year we always took one step back on Sunday. And we were the only ones. "