Best MotoGP finish for Espargaro and Smith on the KTM RC16 with most points scored so far

It was a hugely brave effort from Pol Espargaro as he felt a little ill before the race that was held in the warmest conditions of the weekend. Bradley Smith added to the tally of seven points that the team take away from Le Mans – the most the team has taken in the new-for-2017 MotoGP project with the KTM RC16 bike.

Espargaro: “We didn’t make the race we should today so I’m not happy because I thought we could’ve done a bit better. This time it was my fault as I wasn’t at 100% physically and after 15 laps I was starting to feel a little bit weak so I lost a little bit of time every lap. It’s a shame but I am sorry for the team as we are making big improvements, the bike is getting better and better but still we need to show it and I was not able today so I will try harder at the next race.”

Smith: “First of all I have to apologise to the team as my start wasn’t the best one and I ran off track three times so I definitely left a few seconds out on track, but the bike felt good considering the limited dry track time we had. Over the weekend as a whole we took the opportunities with both hands going straight through to QP2 which was obviously the highlight. In the race we settled a bit further back but we stayed focused and finished with points – which is the target.

We will keep on moving forward and scoring these points every weekend and picking up on improvements, learning a lot and learning from my team mate as I battled with him over the last few laps so I can see what he has with his package and what I have with mine. Overall we must be proud of ourselves this weekend and we will keep on improving like always.”

Mike Leitner (Team Manager MotoGP): “From the result, we have to be happy after 8th and 10th on the grid as you already have the feeling that maybe something more would be possible in the race, but it’s the reality we can now fight for points and between 10th and 15th. It’s the best result we have achieved this year. It’s great to see this. With Pol in 12th and Bradley in 13th, it means the whole weekend was very positive with the steps we have made, but of course we’ve never done a Le Mans race so of course it would’ve helped to have had four dry sessions to maybe lead to our race pace being a bit better but this is how it positively finished with points for both riders.”


The Moto2 race was a difficult hunting ground as battled through the ever warming conditions on his KTM Moto2 bike to get 13th position as he continues to stand in for Brad Binder. Podium man from Argentina, Miguel Oliveira, struggled to score today due to set up problems but he is realistic about this brand new for 2017 project and knows that he’ll be back in the points soon.

Cardus: “We’re not leaving Le Mans as happy as we could be. We’ve taken a bit of a back seat over the weekend -not like at Austin where we regularly entered the Top 10- but we’ve done a great job and we’ve drawn some good conclusions. At the start we had some problems with the bike and we were overtaken by other riders. I waited for the fuel tank to empty a little and for my nerves to calm, and then I improved my pace and rode with better times than some of the Top 10.

I can take that from this race: We had pace and we were fast enough to fight with Top 8, but it wasn’t to be. We will continue working with the Test team so that the official riders can improve. I want to thank this wonderful team, the partners, Aki (Ajo) and my mechanics for these three races we have ridden together. I congratulate them for the group of people they have and I wish a speedy recovery to Brad (Binder).”


In one of the most bizarre sights of recent times, nearly half the Moto3 field crashed out when oil was spilt on the track following a rider recovering from an earlier crash. The race was stopped and restarted over a shortened distance but come the flag, Bo Bendsneyder took his best finish of the season in 9th on the KTM RC250 GP bike and former Moto3 World Champion Danny Kent who was a wildcard rider for Red Bull KTM Ajo right behind him in 10th.

Aki Ajo (Team Manager Moto3): “In Moto3 this weekend had been quite positive. Although it has been tough, we are happy with the feeling we had and it seems that we are back on the path to fighting for the top positions. The race was difficult after oil fell on the track in the first start, causing the red flag. Unfortunately, Niccolo (Antonelli) crashed when he was in a good position, after making a good start and having a good first lap. Bo (Bendsneyder) and Danny (Kent) – despite not starting too well – moved into the group that was fighting for the front positions and I’m happy about that. We must continue to work hard and the results will come.”

Next Race: June 4, 2017 – Mugello (ITA)

Results Race MotoGP Le Mans 2017
1. Maverick Viñales (ESP), Yamaha, 43:29.793 min (28 laps)
2. Johann Zarco (FRA), Yamaha, +3.134 sec
3. Dani Pedrosa (ESP), Honda, +7.717
4. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA), Ducati, +11.223
5. Cal Crutchlow (GBR), Honda, +13.519
Other KTM
12. Pol Espargaro (ESP), KTM, +52.661
13. Bradley Smith (GBR), KTM, +53.179

Standings MotoGP 2017 after 5 of 18 races
1. Viñales, 85 points
2. Pedrosa, 68
3. Valentino Rossi (ITA), Yamaha, 62
4. Marc Marquez (ESP), Honda, 58
5. Zarco, 55
Other KTM
21. Espargaro, 6
22. Smith, 6

Results Race Moto2 Le Mans 2017
1. Franco Morbidelli (ITA), Kalex, 42:17.557 (26 laps)
2. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA), Kalex, +1.714 sec
3. Thomas Luthi (SUI), Kalex, +5.837
4. Alex Marquez (ESP), Kalex, +6.212
5. Mattia Pasini (ITA), Kalex, +13.537
Other KTM
13. Ricard Cardus (ESP), KTM, +23.801
17. Miguel Oliveira (POR), KTM, +26.394
DNS Brad Binder (RSA), KTM

Standings Moto2 2017 after 5 of 18 races
1. Morbidelli, 100 points
2. Luthi, 80
3. Marquez, 62
4. Oliveira, 59
5. Bagnaia, 53
Other KTM
19 Binder, 7
20. Cardus, 7

Results Race Moto3 Le Mans 2017
1. Joan Mir (ESP), Honda, 27:37.830 min (16 laps)
2. Aron Canet (ESP), Honda, +4.252 sec
3. Fabio Di Giannantonio (ITA), Honda, +4.365
4. Marcos Ramirez (ESP), KTM, +4.469
5. Juanfran Guevara (ESP), KTM, +4.845
Other KTM
8. Andrea Migno (ITA), KTM +5.821
9. Bo Bendsneyder (NED), KTM, +6.049
10. Danny Kent (GBR), KTM, +6.193
DNF Niccolo Antonelli (ITA), KTM, +5 laps

Standings Moto3 2017 after 5 of 18 races
1. Mir, 99 points
2. Romano Fenati (ITA), Honda, 65
3. Canet, 63
4. Jorge Martin (ESP), Honda, 59
5. John Mcphee (GBR), Honda, 53
Other KTM
7. Migno, 43
8. Ramirez, 36
9. Guevara, 34
10. Nicolo Bulega (ITA), KTM, 22
16. Bendsneyder, 12
17. Antonelli, 11
22. Kent, 6

Webb and Gomez finish 2-3 at Red Bull Minas Riders Hard Enduro Rallye

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