Almost 70,000 spectators cooked in early summer sunshine at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto for the fourth round of nineteen in the 2018 MotoGP contest. Track temperatures crept up to 45 degrees by the time of the 25 lap premier class race in the middle of the afternoon in southern Spain.
In a dramatic affair that was lined with incident and accident, Mika Kallio took the updated spec of the KTM RC16 to a top ten ranking and just beat Pol Espargaro. The Spaniard had to defend his slot from a last corner attack from Bradley Smith as the duo defied rear grip issues to battle to the final moments. All three riders were within 21 seconds of race winner Marc Marquez.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing will remain in Spain with two busy days of testing slated for Monday and Tuesday.
“The opening half of the race was pretty good and then (Alvaro) Bautista and Maverick (Viñales) started to up their pace a little bit. I tried to go with them but got a bit nervous and stressed on the bike. I spent half the race digging-in-deep. Pol and I then duked until the last corner: I was off the track! To the white line and everything. I was going for the pass; whether it stuck or not was another matter. It was a bit of a shame to lose a place but I was pleased with my pace. It is nice to see our ’updated bike looking strong and Mika threw some good sectors at the end. It is looking like the right direction. Let’s see how this test goes and the team have some good ideas for progress.”