Espargaro escalates his pace on penultimate testing day

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The penultimate day of testing was another productive one for the Repsol Honda Team, a fruitful day for both Pol Espargaro and Stefan Bradl as the pair completed 110 laps together. Conditions remained decent for the premier class, many riders choosing to focus on longer runs over the course of the day as opposed to time attacks.

Early in the day, Pol Espargaro suffered his first fall as a Honda rider. The crash had little consequence and he quickly returned to the circuit after a change of leathers. Bouncing back, Pol picked up his pace and set a low 1’54 to move to the top of the timing tower with three hours of testing left. For the fourth day in a row of testing, Espargaro completed over 50 laps on the Honda with a best time of 1’54.103 and ending the evening as top Honda. Espargaro and the Repsol Honda Team continue to be pleased with the progress and growth shown across the two tests so far. 0.8s back from first, under 1.5 seconds split the top 18 riders when the flag came out.

Pol Espargaro: “It was a strange crash today; we were trying different tyres and the wind was very different today so there was less wind at the end of the braking zone. So, this and the tyre we were using wasn’t a great combo but after I used a different tyre, and we went much faster so it’s not a big problem. At the moment we look quite competitive, the Honda so far really fits my natural riding style, and I am enjoying riding it a lot. The future looks nice, but we are still in the early stages. If we do everything well we can have a good year.”

Stefan Bradl was back out on track after a heavy fall the previous day, the German continuing with Honda’s testing plan. Today’s programme was focused around consistency and gathering data as opposed to pushing the RC213V to the limit. Although his final time wasn’t as headline-grabbing from the previous days, Bradl set a respectable 1’54.427 on his way to 13th. He suffered a second fall at Turn 2 but walked away unharmed.

Stefan Bradl: “For me the day was OK, we had a lot of things to try today including some aerodynamics. Overall, it was an acceptable day of testing, even if the track conditions did change a bit. For some reason it was trickier out there but we work with what we have. Tomorrow we will try to combine everything that we have to get the best package possible.”

Now just a single day of testing remains of the pre-season, the 2021 MotoGP World Championship set to begin in Qatar on Friday, March 26 with Free Practice One.