Tech 3 impressed with Pol Espargaro’s MotoGP debut

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Reigning Moto2 world champion Pol Espargaro’s eye-catching MotoGP debut in Valencia last week impressed his new Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad.

The Spaniard finished eighth fastest overall during the three-day test and his best time of 1.31.533 was only just over 1.2.s behind former bitter Moto2 rival Marc Marquez.

His first appearance on the Yamaha YZR-M1 he will race with British rider Bradley Smith in 2013 though certainly impressed new crew chief Nicolas Goyon.

Goyon said one of the most impressive aspects of Espargaro’s debut was his braking performance on carbon brakes and Bridgestone tyres.

Goyon has worked with the likes of James Toseland, Ben Spies and Cal Crutchlow as a data engineer at Tech 3 and having all come from World Superbikes, the trio all struggled to adapt to the specific braking technique required on Bridgestone rubber.

Espargaro quickly adjusted though from steel brakes and Dunlop tyres he used to capture the Moto2 title from Briton Scott Redding in 2013.

Goyon told MCN: “He is already braking very good. I have worked a lot with WSB riders and I have been working a lot in the first part of braking and the maximum pressure and now I would say almost immediately we have reached a very high level. At the first corner in Valencia he is already braking as late as the rest on Yamaha. He is also able to pick up the bike on the exit and this allows him to work on the good part of the tyre where the drive grip is. He was improving his style and changing his lines and he seemed really happy and it all seemed very natural.”

Goyon also said that Espargaro was instantly carrying incredible lean angles that were even greater than number one YZR-M1 rider Jorge Lorenzo.

Espargaro admitted the 250bhp YZR-M1 was not the wild and aggressive animal he had anticipated and Goyon added: “The first time he got off the bike he said it is amazing how easy it is. The bike stops and turns and it is not the wild animal like they expect. But his lean angle is amazing. I have never seen that and I don’t think anybody in Yamaha has seen that. We had to raise the footrests to the maximum level because it was touching it in every corner. He said he has never had so much lean angle and he said the more you lean the more it turns.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt