After ninths, tenths and elevenths so far in 2017, the Red Bull KTM MotoGP Factory Racing team today hit another target with ninth and tenth in the same race with Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith finishing just 16 seconds off the outright winner of the Australian MotoGP. Having qualified sixth and ninth respectively the pair made an electrifying start with Espargaro fourth at the first corner. The pace was typical ‘Phillip Island’ with a train of riders millimetres apart at 310kph, but both KTM RC16s could be in the leading group for the first half of the race. Come the last lap the two riders fought tooth and nail to the line but it was Espargaro who pipped Smith by 0.011 seconds to get two Austrian KTMs inside the top ten for the first time.
“Phillip Island has been good to us this weekend but today watching Moto2 was a fantastic build up for me with their 1-2, plus Marvin Musquin won Red Bull Straight Rhythm in the USA – it spurred me on! Starting from a great grid spot meant I was determined to push on and stay inside the top ten and I knew I could do that following our post-Aragon GP test, something that our qualifying speed showed. I had a coming together with Zarco on lap one which lost some time, but I could hold the leaders until halfway. The last lap was a huge battle with Pol but this is a great result for me and for all the guys who are working hard on this project so let’s go to Sepang and finish this trio of races off in the right way.”
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