2015 - Netherlands - Assen

Espargaro storms to 5th at the Motul TT Assen

  • Written by Axel Raynal
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Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro stormed across the finish line in 5th position today in Assen at the eighth round of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship. The Young Spaniard launched off the grid from 5th and met the first corner in 4th position whilst right in the mix with the factory MotoGP bikes. He executed an impressive overtake on Aleix Espargaro to move into third before being shuffled back one position at the end of the first lap. Espargaro then stuck into his fierce race pace as he intended to remain with the riders ahead of him. The lap numbers counted down and by the mid point of the race, he was heavily involved in a notable battle for 5th position with five additional riders. On the 20th lap, the pack was covered by just two seconds and the 24 year old was running in 6th with his sights firmly locked on Cal Crutchlow in front. Two laps later, the 2013 Moto2 World Champion powered past Crutchlow and progressed up to 5th before blazing across the finish line impressively ahead of the chasing four riders who were covered by just 0.388.

Meanwhile, Bradley Smith produced another strong display in the Netherlands to seize 7th position after becoming involved in the tussle with his teammate that went right to the finish flag. The 24 year old rider commenced the 85th Dutch TT from 12th on the grid and produced a solid start to battle his way up to 8th at the fall of the first lap. Then Smith stuck into his race rhythm and rode consistently as he sought to close in on the group in front. The Briton remained calm and made steps forward before diving past Pedrosa on the 16th lap to seize 8th. With seven laps remaining, he tried to overtake his teammate, yet unfortunately ran off the track in the process and slipped back to 9th. However, Smith soon recovered the distance and was back in the middle of the battle for 5th. He powered onwards before reclaiming 8th on the 23rd lap and then geared up for the final sprint around the 4.5 kilometre circuit. Here he jumped up a place and after speeding out of the iconic Geert Timmer Bocht chicane he was less than a hairs breadth to Cal Crutchlow in what was a spectacular finish to the Motul TT Assen where he just missed out on 6th position by 0.069.

   
Pol Espargaro
Position : 5th Championship : 8th Points : 56

Pol Espargaro - 2015"Of course, I have to be pleased with the fifth position today, yet it was a very tough race. Unfortunately, I had a lot of difficulties with my right forearm again, which I have recently had surgery on and the last six laps were particularly tricky. I ran wide in the fast corners and couldn't brake, so to be honest, riding like this was anything but easy. In the last three laps, I even started to think that I wouldn’t be able to finish the race as I was convinced I would run wide and crash somewhere. Yet, I kept fighting and held my position until the finish line, but I just tried to be as big as possible in the last lap to make the others struggle to go past me as I had nothing more to give on the brakes. Therefore, beside the satisfaction of the good result, there is also some frustration because in this situation it will be tricky to continue racing due to the problem itself which is also painful. However, tomorrow we will fly, as scheduled, to our first test in Japan for the 8 hour race and face this new challenge after the good result here in the Netherlands."

Profil 

   
Bradley Smith
Position : 7th Championship : 6th  Points : 77

Bradley Smith - 2015"Overall, I am pleased to walk away from the Assen track with another solid finish even though it was hard work in this race. It was especially difficult behind the Honda and Ducati bikes as they have to be ridden in different styles when compared to the Yamaha, so it wasn't easy at all to find my way through. To be honest, it was a bit of shame that I qualified in 12th yesterday as I definitely felt that I had the bike underneath me which was strong enough for 4th position. In the second part of the race, I tried to pass Pol with around eight laps left to go, but I ran off track and then had to move back through the group all over again. I thought that I could have overtaken him and then broken away so it was a pity that I ran wide. Nevertheless, beating two factory bikes was great, especially as it was in one on one battles, so I’ve got to be pleased with my performance. Also the top satellite bike was only two bike lengths in front, which means we have been competitive again. I must say thanks to the team for the great job and I look forward to getting back on my Yamaha M1 at Sachsenring."

Profil 

   
Hervé Poncharal - Team manager :

"It was yet again a very strong race result for the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team. Both Pol and Bradley had good starts and were involved in the incredibly tough battle for 5th throughout the whole race, plus they also passed each other several times. Both were fighting with factory riders, such as, Iannone first and then Dovizioso, Pedrosa and Aleix Espargaro who all fought and passed each other throughout the 26 lap sprint. Pol managed to finish ahead of this group even though he had a lot of pain in his right arm and I’m very glad that he was able to complete the race in this position. I’m really happy for him, especially after his DNF at his home round and I’m sure that this result comes at a perfect time for him and his whole team because they have worked very hard. Bradley was right there as well and at some point of the race he was even setting the fastest times of the entire group. Yet unfortunately, at this track it’s not easy to pass. The bottom line is that we leave Assen with a 5th and a 7th which is another positive finish for both guys. Pol was the first satellite rider, plus we are keeping our dream alive as we are just eight points behind Repsol Honda in the team championship and finally, I also want to congratulate Valentino on another incredible victory. Tomorrow our two riders are flying to Suzuka, so I hope they can recover and also sleep well on the plane and we trust to have them back strong at the German GP.” 

 

 

Espargaro speeds to fifth place in qualifying at the Motul TT Assen

  • Written by Axel Raynal
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Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro will begin the 85th Dutch TT from the middle of the second row on the grid after pulling off an impressive qualifying performance aboard his Yamaha YZR-M1. The young Spaniard completed the opening session this morning with a best lap of 1’33.660 that left him in 9th, despite a small shower in the middle which cleared quickly. His time allowed him to progress straight through to QP2 and once the 15 minute contest started, the 24 year old pulled the pin instantly as he sought to clinch a top grid position for tomorrow’s 26 lap race. He went on to complete eight laps, with his top time being a 1’33.013 which was a mere blink of an eye from the front row by only 0.127. The confident charge by the 2013 Moto2 World Champion today sets him up for a strong display tomorrow where he intends to follow up his strong qualifying with a top 6 finish.

Meanwhile, Bradley Smith will commence the 8th round of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship from 12th on the grid at the legendary Assen circuit. Smith delivered a notable performance in FP3 to seize 5th position with a 1’33.387 lap that was just 0.220 from the leading time. He surged into action when qualifying 2 began and posted a best time of 1’33.236 which saw him at the rear of the fourth row. Nevertheless, his time was just over two tenths back from his teammate in what was a fiercely competitive qualifying shootout. The British star will now look to undertake a typical rocket start from the grid and then battle for the leading satellite honours in the Motul TT Assen in order to follow up his double top five finishes at the previous two rounds.

   
Pol Espargaro
Position : 5th Time : 1'33.013 Laps : 8

Pol Espargaro - 2015"I am happy to begin from fifth on the grid as it has been a few races since I’ve started from the second row. The qualifying was really tight and I’m pleased that we were able to put a fast lap together, which was our ambition after yesterday’s practice. As we achieved this, we now have a good position to start from in tomorrow’s race. Unfortunately, the changes that we tried in FP4 didn’t work as well as we hoped and I couldn’t ride the bike as aggressively as I wanted to with the low grip levels. So we changed back to the setting that we used before and with the new tyres, things seemed to be a lot better straight away. Now we have to continue to work tomorrow in the warm up in order to be all prepared for the race."

Profil 

   
Bradley Smith
Position : 12th Time : 1'33.236  Laps : 8

Bradley Smith - 2015"I’m quite content with how the bike is feeling for the race tomorrow, so despite being a bit frustrated that I was only 0.2 from fifth, I am still optimistic. We tried a few different settings in FP4 which seem to be positive for the race and have definitely given us a good direction. Due to this, we were weighing up our options before QP2 and considered altering the settings for qualifying, but in the end we decided to remain with what we had. Perhaps we should have risked changing something, but then again, doing that is a gamble and it doesn’t guarantee anything. Nevertheless, I know that I left more than 0.2 on the track and our race pace is more competitive than our position is showing at the moment. I have made things a bit trickier for myself by starting from 12th, but with a strong start, we will be in the mix. Just by looking at the lap times today, we know the race will be very close, plus the track is narrow and so it will be a bit more difficult than usual to find somewhere to pass. Yet, the bike is good and I am looking forward to the 26 lap battle tomorrow."

Profil 

   

Espargaro and Smith confident for Dutch TT after opening shake down

  • Written by Axel Raynal
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The Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro kick-started his Motul TT Assen challenge by finishing in 11th position on the first day of action at the 8th round of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship. The young Spaniard began confidently by getting into gear immediately and posting a best time of 1’34.927 in FP1 under bright and sunny conditions in the Netherlands which left him in 5th place. In the afternoon session, he got straight back to work and continued his efforts to refine the setup of his Yamaha YZR-M1 for the 26 lap race on Saturday, while setting his best time on lap 14. This time of 1’34.321 equalled 11th at the close of the session, which was just over half a second back from the second row. The 24 year old now sets his sights on making some further steps forward tomorrow morning before focusing on the all important qualifying where he intends to score a solid grid position to launch from in Saturday’s race.

Meanwhile, Bradley Smith concluded the day in 13th after undertaking a thorough effort in setting up his Yamaha to suit the fast flowing nature of the Assen circuit. The young British rider confidently jumped into action and completed FP1 with a best lap of 1’35.042 that resulted in a 6th place finish. As a result, Smith optimistically looked towards FP2 and here, he picked up where he left off by continuing to make the necessary tweaks to his MotoGP bike. At the fall of the chequered flag, he highlighted his dedication by completing a total of 23 laps, more than any other MotoGP rider, and finished with a top time of 1’34.627. The 24 year old rider intends to make further steps forward in FP3 tomorrow ahead of the qualifying battle.

   
Pol Espargaro
Position : 11th Time : 1'34.321 Laps : 40

Pol Espargaro - 2015"We kicked off the Dutch TT in a positive manner after having a good start this morning and managed to set a quick lap at the end of the session which put us near the front of the field. Yet unfortunately this afternoon, things didn't work out the same way as everybody improved their times, while we had to face a few slight issues which prevented us from posting a really fast single lap. Everything is so close in the times and the guys with the soft tyre have a clear advantage and can easily beat us on one lap. Yet our race pace is really promising and is quite close to the top riders. Now we just have to hope that it won't rain tomorrow morning so that we can have a good chance of qualifying straight through to QP2. We will see what happens and I will give it my very best."

Profil 

   
Bradley Smith
Position : 13th Time : 1'34.627  Laps : 44

Bradley Smith - 2015"Today was quite a good day despite the final position in the combined standings. I am satisfied with the work that we have undertaken and as soon as we got out on track this morning, I felt comfortable straight away. When we tried the hard tyre this afternoon, I was happy with how the bike handled, yet when we put the soft tyre in, the grip wasn’t as good as it should have been because we had a tyre that may have not worked properly. This limited me and unfortunately was the reason why I wasn’t able to post a strong lap time. Having said that, these things occasionally happen and it’s much better for this to occur today instead of tomorrow as we all know how important the qualifying is. We don’t know what the weather conditions will be like tomorrow so it’s not ideal to be in 13th, but we’ve had a strong pace all day today and I am optimistic for the qualifying. Therefore, we will make a few small adjustments, but overall, I’m feeling confident and I’m looking forward to getting back out on the track."

Profil 

   

Tech3 pair ready to hit Cathedral of speed at full power

  • Written by Axel Raynal
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Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team riders Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro head to the legendary Assen circuit this week for round 8 of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship optimistic of clinching success. The venue, which has a deep history, is the only event on the MotoGP race calendar to have held a Grand Prix every year since it’s creation in 1949. In terms of layout, the narrow 4.5 kilometre circuit features many rapid corners and the Geert Timmer chicane always provides an exiting close to the lap for the thousands of ecstatic fans who flock to the track to witness the action.

Bradley Smith will be aiming to follow up his two consistent 5th place finishes at Catalunya and Mugello with another notable result aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1 at the Motul TT Assen. The young British rider, who concluded the rain affected post Catalunya GP test at the head of the pack, will take the positives from Spain as he intends to meet the chequered flag inside the top six in Saturday’s race. Meanwhile Pol Espargaro is fully confident of jumping straight back to a high scoring position at Assen after luck went against him at his home Grand Prix in Catalunya. The young Spaniard, who won from pole position in his title winning year of 2013 in the Moto2 class, will look to battle as closely as possible with the factory MotoGP bikes and complete the eighth round with a strong result.

   
Bradley Smith
  Championship : 6th  Points : 68

Bradley Smith - 2015"The Motul TT Assen is a race that we all look forward to due to the track itself and also because of the festival atmosphere of the crowd who are always so excited about the MotoGP paddock coming to their country! The first half of the circuit is quite slow, but the second is much faster so it really is a mix of two halves and a good challenge for the riders. Plus, it has a very short straight, which means that we don’t get much of a break during this race. I’ve ridden to two podiums in the lower classes here, so I will be going all out for another top result in order to continue my form this season. At the post race Catalunya test we found some useful settings that should certainly aid us, so we will put these to use and get on the pace as soon as practice begins on Thursday. It will be vital to have a strong free practice run so that we can get into Q2 and then do our best in the race, which I am pumped for!"

Profil 

   
Pol Espargaro
  Championship : 9th  Points : 45

Pol Espargaro - 2015"I’m really looking forward to attacking the cathedral of speed on my Yamaha and I fully intend to close the weekend with a notable result. After my home Grand Prix, which didn’t go to plan, I am more determined than ever to finish as close as possible to the factory bikes, especially as I’ve had some good results here in the previous years. Unfortunately, the test on Monday after the Catalunya race was disrupted by the weather, but nevertheless, we have a few settings that we must try at Assen so it’s important that we make the most of the available track time in order to be ready for the race. It rained last year right before the start of the GP, therefore we must be aware that this could happen again. Yet, I am much more confident about riding in the wet this year, so if it happens, I’ll be ready. Rain or sunshine, I’m going to give it my best and my intention is to battle with teammate to the finish line so the Dutch fans can watch a great fight on the track!"

Profil 

   
Hervé Poncharal - Team manager :

"The Motul TT Assen is a special race, not only because of the amazing crowds that come to watch our sport and who really enjoy it, but also because it is sponsored by Motul who are one of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team partners. It will be the 8th race of the year and almost the midpoint of the season so we can see that both riders have done a good job, despite some different spells of luck. Brad has been strong, is doing great and impressing us. Therefore, we hope that he can follow up his double 5th placed finishes and fight near the factory MotoGP bikes like in the previous races. Pol has had a bit of a tricky year at times and the last race in Barcelona must have been tough for him. However, it was just a matter of luck and we know he will have a top race here and battle with his teammate for the leading satellite position. After this race, both riders will be heading over to Japan to test for the Suzuka 8 hour race, so it would be great for them to go to the east with two strong results ahead of that challenge.” 

 

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