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MotoGP, Pol Espargarò: "I had only seen Valentino Rossi brake like Acosta does."

"Help Pedro? He doesn't need it, he was born ready. I'm more excited about this wild card at Mugello than when I was racing, I'll have to do yoga to calm myself down!"

MotoGP: Pol Espargarò:

Even for experienced riders like Pol Espargarò there is always a first time, and Mugello marks his debut as a wild card on the KTM. The Spaniard left life as a rider at the end of last year, replacing it with life as a tester and commentator for Spanish TV. "Now it feels strange to be here and not on the other side, I was used to it by now," he laughs in his racing uniform, "I haven't raced for more than six months and I've been waiting for this moment, maybe Mugello is one of the toughest GPs to come back to, but we needed to try some things on the bike here and I'm happy to help out.

All antennas are raised when there is talk of new things, but Pol quickly calms tempers: "You won't see anything very different from what Pedrosa tried in Jerez, I'm not just talking about aerodynamics ," he explains, " The other manufacturers are very competitive and we are working to catch up and overtake them. At Mugello you can test the aerodynamics, the electronics, the chassis, the engine, and that's what we want to do."

The feelings of returning to take part in a GP are always intense.

"I'm even more excited than when I was racing," he admits with a smile, "I know it's going to be tough and I'll have to take it calmly, also because last year I was injured and didn't race here, plus I haven't been on a bike since the Jerez test, while the other riders raced a few days ago. If you put everything together, I will have to adapt quickly and work for the other KTM riders ahead of the tests. I have to take this GP like this to prepare for Monday's testing."

The problem is keeping the rider's instincts at bay....

"I know my instincts will be there, I'll have to do some therapy to relax, maybe some yoga ," jokes Pol. " Even if I wanted to and if I had the best bike in the world, it would be impossible to compete with these guys who are young and talented. I didn't even prepare for this GP, we didn't test before, so I don't even know how the bike will perform. It will be a challenge."

On the other hand, when asked if he will also have the opportunity to give rookie Acosta a hand, he has no doubt about the answer.

"He doesn't need any help, Pedro was born ready! - he exclaims - The level of MotoGP is so high that to see a guy perform like that on our bike is something crazy! I give more importance to what he is doing than to Lorenzo or Marquez, who had been super in their debut, but at that time there were 4 bikes fighting for the title, now many more. They are all young and strong, but Pedro is proving to be faster than them and without experience, it's incredible. There are riders with better bikes than his and he is faster, in Barcelona he shocked me: in the early stages of the race he was with Martin and with a difficult tire to handle. Every time he shows that he is better than the others."

Pol wants to find out all his secrets.

"I'm curious to see his data this weekend because I had seen him in the shakedown in Sepang and I want to understand here how he has improved ," he says, " The thing that surprised me the most is that he can use the whole track, not an easy thing, and then his braking. I had only seen one other rider do the same thing - Valentino in his Yamaha days. He used to brake when he had the throttle still at 25 percent and I was never able to do it, I tried it once here at Mugello and I was about to end up in the stands! Pedro can handle all these things, even his way of using his body on the bike is interesting."

Then he goes into more detail: "Pedro has a fairly long upper body, even his arms, and he leans off the bike in a way that I can't. It's a pretty unique style that definitely helps him turn the bike in the middle of the corner."

The last line is on his brother Aleix's recent decision to retire at the end of the season.

"We had seen each other well before Barcelona and he had explained to me how he saw his future ," Pol says , "He's starting to get older, he's achieved more than even he himself could have imagined, he's had a lot of ups and downs in his career, and he's got what he wanted. When you have the money, you run for fun and he realized he wants to spend more time at home, so I think he made the right decision. We celebrated because he was able to decide when and how to retire and that's a wonderful thing."

Automatic Translation by DeepL

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