HRC’s Pol Espargaro is expecting more from his second MotoGP trip to Misano with testing success and lower temperatures set to play in his favour.
Refreshed from a near three week break, Espargaro admitted he would have preferred to have entered the time away off the back of a more successful American race - he scored a top 10 in Austin last time out - but feels confident on his return to the Rimini racetrack.
“The best plan is to do good results and then go with your family and enjoy them,” Espargaro said on Thursday from the Misano paddock. “But as the results are not coming as we wish, I spent a good time with my family, hanging around with the friends and training as well.
“Well it’s a time where it’s a little bit strange because sure it’s the end of the year but you need to keep training, super hard, and I think, these last races, there is two races which I think we can do a good result - which is here and Valencia - and let’s see how Portimao goes. But just looking forward to jump again on the bike tomorrow and even if the things are not going well, I still want to go on the bike and I still want to go racing, and this is nice.
“There is different components, which is the temperature, the asphalt and the layout,” he continued, explaining why he feels Misano and Valencia are the more preferable venues for his Honda machine. “The combination of them I think is going to be good for me and for our bike.
“Here on the test it’s been quite good. I was fast, I was second overall in the two days and the rhythm was good, so I think we can do a good weekend. And then in Valencia is a place where I’ve been always fast and also it’s good grip and the temperature is low, which also helps me. Let’s see, but there is these two places. I like Portimao, it’s a place where I enjoy riding but it’s been not so good. It’s true that it’s been at the beginning of the year, which we were struggling more with the bike. We changed quite a lot the bike and I think it should be a little bit better now but anyway, it was a place where I struggled, so let’s see.”
On his last visit to Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli back in mid-September, Espargaro recorded seventh overall, three seconds off the battle for fourth between teammate Marc Marquez, Jack Miller and Joan Mir. So what is he expecting this time round?
“Hopefully more,” he said simply before elaborating. “I mean, on the race it was not too bad but it was not amazing. It was okay, I finished three seconds off Marc - he finished fourth and I finished seventh. I think the position, sometimes it doesn’t reflect how good or how bad is a race, because in three seconds in other races, I would still keep the same place. But in here, I lose quite a lot of spots but I’m just three seconds off my teammate.
“What is true is that on the test we improve quite a lot. I mean, a lot of the lap time, also we were testing the new bike. The new bike was good but the current bike we could improve quite a lot in the first day, which I finished in a very good position and the second day I was working with the new bike, but even like that I could keep this second overall on the test. But anyway, the point is that the rhythm was very good, the feeling was nice.
“We are coming into this weekend which everything is different. The temperature is different, which is going to change everything, the tyre allocations, the tyre choices, maybe the bike is going to feel in a different way but as we feel in the test, I think we finish in a better position than when we finish on the race weekend, which is nice.”