'Very sensitive' Zarco's complaints 'nice' for KTM – Pol Espargaro
Pol Espargaro believes Johann Zarco's complaints of the KTM are “nice” for the team, and that it must listen to his "very sensitive" new MotoGP teammate before he “loses these feelings”.
Zarco will join Espargaro at the Austrian marque for the next two years starting in 2019, but has so far found the adjustment from the Yamaha he rode at Tech3 to the RC16 difficult.
The French rider finished the Valencia and Jerez tests close to two seconds off the pace in 20th and 19th, and derided the bike's cornering ability – though began to feel slightly better on the KTM at the end of the Jerez test.
Speaking in Valencia, Espargaro – who also went from Yamaha to KTM machinery last year - was unsurprised to hear Zarco's comments about the RC16's cornering, and is glad to have someone else “to identify” weaknesses he has become “used to”.
“Johann is now in an adaptation period, and he's coming from Yamaha, and the Yamaha is very good on that part [cornering] especially compared to the other bikes,” said Espargaro.
“The entry and releasing brakes, the M1 is unbelievable. So for sure he feels this part weak in our bike, we have other strong parts, but it's nice he complains about these problems.
“It means that he's having a different way of viewing the problems, because he is coming from another place and to have someone to identify the weakness and the problems, even if I don't identify it because I'm used to riding this bike now, this is good.
“It's gonna teach us, all of us, including me, how to improve the bike. And if he says that, it's because that is not good, so we need to improve it for sure.”
Adding to this, Espargaro says the team “really need to hear” Zarco's complaints while he is still “very sensitive” to the RC16's weak points, as they will allow KTM to “improve faster”.
“I mean the whole bike needs to be improved. Yeah, at that place on the brakes I feel good, maybe on releasing the brakes going into the corners.
“Then for sure our bike is not the best in the world at turning. We know that, but he comes from Yamaha, which is amazing [in this area].
“So it's good he say that, to identify the problems. After two years it's quite difficult to identify the problems compared to the other bikes.
“I'm trying to improve the whole package of the bike, he's going to be - especially this first year - very sensitive in some parts of the corner, of acceleration, of electronic, and we really need to hear him before he loses these feelings because in that way we are gonna improve faster."