Pol Espargaro may have raced in Texas last year but speaking after the opening session of the weekend the Spaniard made it clear that the track is very different on a MotoGP bike.
When asked by Crash.net how difficult it was to adapt to the track on the bigger bike the reigning Moto2 champion laughed that, “It’s too stressful! In MotoGP the corners come too fast!” Espargaro ended the opening session 11th fastest but saw plenty of reasons of to be encouraged by his performance:
“I was really stressed in the first practice because I had the feelings of Moto2 and I had never been here [on the MotoGP bike] and too many corners are together,” said Espargaro. “If you do one corner bad it means that you do the other one bad too. But it looks pretty good because we are not too far from the first Yamaha, Marquez is in another world here, but we’re 0.7s from Valentino so for the first practice having not been here is not bad.”
When asked what made the track so difficult Espargaro echoed the thoughts of many riders from last year as they learned the track:
“The three, four, five corners that are linked together are for sure the hardest. If you do the first one wrong you are completely lost two corners later. That part of the track is especially difficult and then in T4 in the long corner [the triple apex right hander] you never see the end of the corner. It’s so difficult to take the good line.”
The physical nature of the track provides a challenge for the riders but it was clear after the session that the mental strain of riding around the 3.426 miles circuit also takes a toll on the rider:
“It’s difficult to relax after the first corner because after it you are so tired. I’m actually more tired because I’m too nervous and stressed on the bike; I’m braking where I don’t have to brake and accelerating too much in places. Now after FP1 I’m tired because I’m too stressed but after next practice I should be much smoother and it will be easier. I followed Dovi at the start and I was relaxed but after I tried to be alone and I was faster but I was braking too much and wasn’t smooth.”