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MotoGP Austin: Race ‘almost impossible’ for exhausted Espargaro, ‘retire or points’

Repsol Honda’s Pol Espargaro had another tough MotoGP weekend at Circuit of the Americas after sickness struck the Spaniard.

Having initially hoped to bounce back from the disappointment of Argentina - which saw him crash out from podium potential at the halfway stage - Espargaro spent Texas battling illness as well as the closely-matched rivals around him.

While teammate Marc Marquez overcame early tech issues to power through from dead last to sixth at the flag, the exhausted and utterly depleted 30-year-old came away with just three points after what he described as one of the hardest races of his life.


“So tough!” Espargaro admitted from the Austin paddock on Sunday evening. “In one stage of the race, I think ten laps remaining, I was not feeling great and I was thinking about to retire but I was inside the points. I said, ‘Okay. Let’s keep it up and try to finish the race as well as you could.’ But I was very slow and I couldn’t handle, especially in T1, changing direction was almost impossible.

“I feel exhausted. This was one of the hardest races I ever did in MotoGP. Luckily we go home, I have some time to recover and then we start in Europe.”

Since standing on the podium at the season opener, 2022 has not gone to plan for Espargaro. Confident and happy with his revised RC213V, he has shown front-running potential across all four races so far this season. With controversial tyre changes proving his undoing in Indonesia - a disappointment after the standout showing during preseason testing - and a crash while battling Suzuki’s Alex Rins for the final podium spot last time out, the ‘what might have been’ anguish is high in the Honda camp.

“Sure the bike has more performance than what we are in the championship,” the Spaniard admitted. “We start very good in Qatar. We had the problems with the tyres in Indonesia, but then we come back in Argentina, I was fighting for the podium and I crashed. So a few points in Indonesia, I didn’t take points in Argentina and here I felt super sick.

“For sure the potential of the bike, Marc shows that it was much higher than what I did. We should be much better in these races and I couldn’t really prove myself, apart from Qatar. So we move on and we hope to be a little bit better in Europe.”

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