KTM's best MotoGP qualifying a result of "new ideas" - Espargaro

Pol Espargaro has credited KTM's "new ideas" following the Misano test for helping him to an "unbelievable" second place in MotoGP San Marino Grand Prix qualifying

KTM's best MotoGP qualifying a result of "new ideas" - Espargaro

Aided by a tow from Fabio Quartararo in the first half of the lap, Espargaro bagged KTM's first-ever front row MotoGP start in the dry, lapping three tenths slower than pole-sitter Maverick Vinales.

The works RC16s had looked strong all weekend, with Espargaro reliably towards the sharp end in practice and team-mate Johann Zarco also making Q2 and qualifying eighth.

For Espargaro, this form was a consequence of the two-day test at the same venue two weeks prior, which allowed KTM to come into the race weekend in the best possible shape.

"In the test we had a lot of problems with the front tyres, I think most of the guys [did] - even looks like Ducatis now are struggling a lot with that part," Espargaro explained.

"It's what I use to be fast - just on the brakes [is] where I recover, where I gain time, and in the test I had a lot of problems.

"So we were working a lot with Dani [Pedrosa, test rider], kind of improved at the end of that two days.

"But when we were home the guys [at the factory] continuing work, they come here with new ideas.

"The track improved a little and this helps us even more in that place, and I'm enjoying every time there's hard braking, I can recover a lot of time."

Espargaro feels coming to a circuit with prior data as been a major boost, having typically arrived at each race with a substantially updated KTM.

"Because we are improving every single race, we don't know the bike when we go to places - especially in electronics, because we are improving a lot.

"We are better on brakes, we are fast on the straight, more corner speed, so we need to change it all. So we start from zero.

"If we have two days testing, and this year we have Dani Pedrosa helping us so much, with those two days testing we can more or less prepare for the weekend.

"And when we have problems, we know more or less how to improve them.

"It's what these big factories feel when they go to a track that we haven't been to for one year, so hopefully in the future we can keep these new bikes coming, we can slow down a little [the development] and then enjoy a little bit the races.

"But it's what we need to do now, just keep improving."

A visibly emotional Espargaro referred to the RC16 as "our baby" in the immediate aftermath of qualifying, and said that it was a special moment to see it among the top three in parc ferme.

Asked by Autosport whether this was the proudest moment of his career, Espargaro said: "Yeah, for sure one of them.

"With good conditions on the track - it's a little bit slippery, but same for everyone - and to be here doing that, knowing how much we have worked together with [team manager] Mike Leitner, all the crew, to achieve that moment, it's unbelievable.

"So when I arrived to the parc ferme and I saw the two Yamahas and our orange rocket in the middle, I was fully proud. It was an unbelievable moment."

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