With a reasonable track temperature and the enticing promise of top ten potential at the iconic French facility (that first hosted a motorcycle Grand Prix in 1969 and has been a popular draw for MotoGP since 2000), both Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith set off from the sixth row of the grid. The Le Mans asphalt counted out a number of names, riders like Andrea Iannone, Andrea Dovizioso and home favourite Johann Zarco, but #44 and #38 KTM RC16diligently pushed for the best points and positions throughout the 27 laps.
Smith tried to relegate Franco Morbidelli to reach the top thirteen but was unable to defy the Italian in what would have been a ranking to equal his highest of 2018.
With 18 points Espargaro is 13th in the MotoGP table. Smith is 22nd and Mika Kallio already has enough points to sit in 20th.
“I’m pleased with the race. I lost a bit of time at the beginning with the battling on the opening laps. I was keeping stable with the guys by mid-race and then struggled to get back to them. 14th is another points-scoring position and I was having a good fight with Morbidelli at the end. We improved another fifteen seconds over our race distance last year so again KTM is making gains but the competition keeps getting higher and higher. Heads down now and thoughts towards the two-day test in Barcelona and we need to try the new surface. I enjoy Mugello and the bike has some good power and potential. It is always a favourite of mine on the calendar with the undulations and the crazy Italian fans. It’s a pleasure to ride there.”
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