Best KTM qualifying a 'small trophy' – Pol Espargaro
Pol Espargaro says his and KTM's career-best MotoGP qualifying result is a “small trophy”, after he put his RC16 fifth on the Americas Grand Prix grid.
Espargaro made it straight into Q2 from practice for the first time this season, and went onto qualify fifth with a lap of 2:04.472s – which was just three tenths from the front row.
The KTM rider utilised a reference from Yamaha's Maverick Vinales – who qualified sixth – to make his “hyper-fast” laptime, which he still “can't believe”.
“It's a small trophy. I can't believe it,” Espargaro enthused after qualifying.
“We've been hyper-fast today. The conditions were not proper ones to make that lap for me today, [but I was] just one tenth slower than yesterday.
“[It was] so windy, after the rain the track was not in perfect condition. But luckily I caught Maverick, so thanks to Maverick because he was pushing in front of me.
“I thought that I wouldn't follow him, I couldn't follow him, but I think he was struggling a little bit today.
“I could catch him a little, even in the fourth sector. I just felt like [I was] flying. I will enjoy the moment tomorrow on the grid.”
Espargaro says KTM needs to be “realistic” in its expectations for Sunday's 20-lap race, and hopes to “learn” where the RC16 is losing out relative to the frontrunners in the opening stages.
“We need to be realistic,” he told BT Sport.
“I mean, on one lap we can get it, but I cannot tell you how on the limit I was on that lap.
“So the race is a matter of just enjoying the race, just learn where our weakest points are in a race distance compared to the top guys in the beginning of the race.
“Just enjoy the moment with all the American people around, it's going to be unique. So just enjoy it.”