Disappointment for Smith in Assen
Posted on Jun 25, 2017 by Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
As the half way point of 2017 season approaches, the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team took their best ever MotoGP finish today in Assen, Holland after a dramatic race where mixed conditions and bravery were the order of the day resulting in Spaniard Pol Espargaro clinching 11th place as the team chips away step by step at the pinnacle of motorcycle racing.
The race started under grey skies that turned to drizzle and light rain nearly half way though, leading to some riders entering the pits and change motorcycles for ones with wet tyres. However, the crossover point of the wet tyres to be an advantage never happened so Espargaro, who didn't stop, bravely threaded his way over a slightly damp track on slick tyres to gain the best points scoop so far for the Austrian manufacturer. Team mate Bradley Smith made a fantastic start only to be unlucky in running wide and falling off just before the rain fell. He was desperately disappointed but fortunately didn't get any injury.
The KTM RC16 motorcycles had further development after the last race in Barcelona following a three day test in Spain resulting in data and hardware applied even if wet weather thwarted further confirmation of those tests at Assen. Now the team's focus is already upon the German Grand Prix weekend at the Sachsenring in seven days time, the fourth race in five weeks.
Bradley Smith (Factory Rider MotoGP):
"I'm OK but just a little bit frustrated after I made a good start. In fact I felt pretty good and was in front of the group that was fighting for the top 8 but then they edged ahead as I had a new set up for this race, but I found my rhythm and got back into some low 1m 37s laps. However, later on I ran into turn seven a little bit too fast and tucked the front... I'm really sorry for the team and my crew as it's quite frustrating that this has happened today but we'll regroup and improve the motorcycle for Sachsenring next weekend."
Mike Leitner (Team Manager MotoGP):
"I call today typical Assen. This is what happens here! You think everything is done and then...it's Assen. Maybe this is a reason why we choose soft/soft tyres but when the rain came some of the riders took the risk and some not so much, so I'm very happy that Pol made the correct decision. He did his max out there but for KTM it is the best result we have achieved in MotoGP and this is in the book. It's another step. For Bradley it's unlucky as he put so much effort into his recovery from Barcelona to here, especially at the beginning of the race he was in a great group, but he was there...then he ran wide and fell. At least he is OK after this so now he'll be back at the Sachsenring and stronger with it too."
Next Race: July 2, 2017 – Sachsenring (GER)