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Challenging Misano race starts important phase of MotoGP work for Red Bull KTM Team

The thirteenth round of MotoGP meant one of the trickier tracks for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team with the mix of fast and slow corners of the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli accentuating set-up and rider feeling across the flat layout.

Bradley Smith started the Grand Prix from 17th place on the grid and after having sliced tenths away from his fastest lap-times through the weekend: he was almost two seconds quicker than the efforts recorded at the same venue by the team in 2017. The Englishman fought on the fringes of the top fifteen and the last MotoGP points until the second half of the sprint when tyre choice came into play. He managed to hold-off Jorge Lorenzo after the Spaniard had crashed and remounted from 2nd position but could only boast 16th place.
Pol Espargaro made a competitive return to action after his crash in the Czech Republic and having sat-out the aborted British Grand Prix two weeks ago. The former World Champion came through practice and qualification by slowly increasing his speed and level of comfort on the #44 racebike but the pace and demands of the 27 lap dash on the San Marino coastline was tough to handle. Pol managed more than half race distance before deciding to return to the pitlane and think of the coming days of work.
Smith: “The top five-six were separated by twenty seconds so the leaders really did a good job today with super-strong lap-times. This was always going to a weak track for us but we still improved a lot, especially when you look to last year. We turned up with new package this weekend, which was going to make life a bit more difficult. We tried the very best we could and I pushed so hard to stay with the points group in the first half of the race but towards the end I had nothing left when the tyre started to drop. We'll learn from this weekend and let’s see when we turn up to Aragon. I’m excited for that track because we did two days testing so I think we’ll have more to show.”
Espargaro: “I was weak and I had some pain in my collarbone but at least I was able to be here. I got through practice, qualifying, warm-up and after sixteen laps of the race I saw I was not performing or riding well. I preferred to stop and think about the two test days ahead now and then to be closer to 100% for Aragon. We will stay here and try as many things as we can. I cannot do many long runs but I can do short runs and test some new pieces. I can make some good laps but the problem is when I try for more than five-six together because I get too tired and my collarbone doesn't resist. It was good to be out there but I’m still not ready to fully race against those guys on a track like this. We’ll cross our fingers for more improvement and more work ahead.”
Mike Leitner (Team Manager MotoGP): “We knew when we brought Pol here it would be a difficult mission. Even though it was good to have him back on the bike we found that he couldn't finish the race in the way he wanted without the risk of a crash. It was better to stop and that was 100% clear. It was the correct decision and we are glad he made it: we know he will be in much better condition in Aragon. On Bradley’s side he was working a lot with the settings during the sessions and the race was quite difficult. He just missed the points, but looking at other riders we are easily reminded that this is a demanding track. We now have a two-day test and I think we can work quietly and with short runs for Pol to make an improvement for the next race.”

Espargaro and stand-in test rider Randy De Puniet will now begin a test programme through Monday and Tuesday to assess further modifications and components with a view to the future version of the KTM RC16.

Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Miguel Oliveira secured a well-earned 2nd position behind title rival Francesco Bagnaia in the Moto2 race and after a close scrap with Marcel Schrotter that was decided on the last lap. The Portuguese sits just eight points behind Bagnaia in Moto2 table. Teammate Brad Binder was 8th on his KTM Moto2 bike and gaind one position in the championship with now on third place.
Oliveira: "Pecco (Bagnaia) was very strong today and we paid the price for not having qualified on one of the front two rows, but I'm happy, since I was riding comfortably and the bike performed very well during the race. At some tracks it is very difficult to lower your lap times, and this is one of those circuits. On the first few laps I couldn't run a strong pace, and as Pecco and Mattia (Pasini) could do that, we struggled. They broke away a little; I caught back up with Mattia but it was very difficult to reach Pecco.
I eventually took second position and only lost five points in the title fight, so I'm happy with how this Grand Prix has gone. Now we are going to Aragon, a track that I like, so I will be ready to fight again and start to recover points. Only eight points separate us, so anything can happen."
In Moto3 Marco Bezzecchi was bitterly disappointed to crash out of the multi-rider battle for victory on the final lap and lost control of the championship standings to Jorge Martin as a result. RBA BOE Skull Rider’s Gabriel Rodrigo was 4th past the chequered flag while Red Bull KTM Ajo's Darryn Binder socred his second best finish of the season on the KTM RC250 GP with strong eighth place. 

D. Binder: "I'm quite happy with today's race. We fought back from 23rd to 8th, partly because of some crashes in front of us. Our pace was good and consistent compared to what we had yesterday. We didn't make any big changes from Friday or Saturday, only small details; it's just that today in the race I felt better when I pushed. I'm happy because I think we are taking steps in the right direction and I feel that I still have a lot more to offer. I think that I can take the fight to the front group soon. We need to take away all the positives from this weekend and apply them at Aragon, to start there in the same way that we have ended the weekend at Misano."

MotoGP heads back to the Iberian Peninsula for the third Spanish fixture of four in 2018. The Grand Prix of Aragon at the expansive Motorland Aragon circuit takes place in two weeks time.

Next Race: September 23, 2018 – Motorland Aragon (ESP)

Results MotoGP Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli 2018 
1. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA), Ducati, 42:05.426 min
2. Marc Marquez (ESP), Honda, +2.822 sec
3. Cal Crutchlow (GBR), Honda, +7.269
4. Alex Rins (ESP), Suzuki, +14.687
5. Maverick Vinales (ESP), Yamaha, +16.016
16. Bradley Smith (GBR), KTM, +46.500
DNF Pol Espargaro (ESP), KTM, +10 laps

Standings MotoGP 2018 after 13 of 19 rounds 
1. Marquez, 221 points
2. Dovizioso, 154
3. Valentino Rossi (ITA), Yamaha, 151
4. Jorge Lorenzo (ESP), Ducati, 130
5. Maverick Vinales (ESP), Yamaha, 124
15. Espargaro, 32
19. Smith, 15
22. Mika Kallio (FIN), KTM, 6

Results Moto2 Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli 2018 
1. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA), Kalex, 41:02.106 min
2. Miguel Oliveira (POR), KTM, +3.108 sec
3. Marcel Schroetter (GER), Kalex, +4.094
4. Mattia Pasini (ITA), Kalex, +6.320
5. Joan Mir (ESP), Kalex, +6.728

8. Brad Binder (RSA), KTM, +12.134

Standings Moto2 2018 after 13 of 19 rounds 
1. Bagnaia, 214 points
2. Oliveira, 206
3. Binder, 119
4. Lorenzo Baldassarri (ITA), Kalex, 116
5. Mir, 114

Results Moto3 Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli 2018 

1. Lorenzo Dalla Porta (ITA), Honda, 39.38.684 min
2. Jorge Martin (ESP), Honda, +0.058 sec
3. Fabio Di Giananntonio (ITA), Honda, +0.122
4. Gabriel Rodrigo (ARG), KTM, +0.822
5. Jakub Kornfeil (CZE), KTM, +6.731
6. Albert Arenas (ESP), KTM, +6.859
7. Dennis Foggia (ITA), KTM, +7.315
8. Darryn Binder (RSA), KTM, +7.380
9. Andrea Migno (ITA), KTM, +8.608

Standings Moto3 2018 after 13 of 19 rounds 
1. Martin, 166 points
2. Marco Bezzecchi (ITA), KTM, 158
3. Di Giannantonio, 137
4. Aron Canet (ESP), Honda, 118
5. Enea Bastianini (ITA), Honda, 117
6. Rodrigo, 97
7. Kornfeil, 91
9. Migno, 67
10. Marcos Ramirez (ESP), KTM, 67
22. Darryn Binder (RSA), KTM, 28