Red Bull KTM’s Pol Espargaro has never been so close to the top runners in a winter MotoGP test as he was at Sepang and reckons he has never felt so ready for a season to start.
The Spaniard finished the three days at Sepang only a quarter of a second off the pace and also put in impressive 12 laps under the 2’00 mark from a total of 34 on Sunday - four of which were in the 1’58s.
“We have never felt so ready and never been so close in one test – these three days – and especially in Malaysia. We have been super-competitive during all day and the bike feels super-good. Honestly, I am very impressed,” said Espargaro, speaking at the track.
“It is important to do good races but it is also important to start the pre-season well because those track are difficult for us and until we arrive to Jerez. I’m happy we have started 2020 like this.
“I’m surprised because this isn’t the easiest track for me but our competitiveness means we can be positive to start the season.
“The bike looks ready. It is not going to explode in Qatar, so we are confident everything is working well.”
Espargaro is particularly made up with how well the 2020 RC16 is performing on used tyres - crucial in a race environment.
We tried the tyre with twenty-three laps and did a 1’59.7s, which was honestly very good. We then did around 14 or 15 laps and made a 1’59.3s. Honestly, I am surprised with how it is going.”
“This is a circuit where power is important and also acceleration onto the straight. We improved the engine a lot at the Jerez test and we again saw evidence of that here,” he said. “We’re really satisfied and were always among the first five-six and the Ducatis here. That’s really important.
“The engine is very good. We have more horsepower and the electronics are working smoother which allows you to open the throttle earlier in the corners and is important here in Sepang and what we were missing before. Overall it feels very good.”