What was the strategy for the Qatar race?
The strategy was to finish the race, this was the first and primary goal. It was a complicated race, suddenly temperatures dropped before the race after a day of heavy wind. This is one of the unique points of racing at night in Qatar, the conditions can change a lot. The plan was to have a good start and run with a good pace. The first race of the year is always about learning, studying our rivals. We learn a lot through testing, but the first race is always something different and it’s important to pay attention.
Positive points and negative points after the race?
The crashes of Takaaki Nakagami and Alex Marquez were the negative points, certainly. They had good pace throughout the weekend, and both were coming stronger in the race so it’s a shame they fell.
I would say the first race of Pol Espargaro with our machine is a positive. It’s true that during the practice sessions he struggled at various points, he had some crashes, we didn’t find the way for him. But in the race, he made a clear step. He recovered very well, and he finished six second from the leaders and this was after an incident with Mir on the first lap when he lost three seconds. It’s not bad for the first race and when you take away these three seconds from the first lap, it’s even more positive. We are very happy with his performance. He was able to understand the bike during the race and afterwards he gave us useful information. Stefan Bradl also did a good race; he had an issue with the front tire but was able to manage it and finish the race. He raced with his head and collected points and data for us.
The view from pit wall during the race?
We saw how Pol started and then the incident with Mir, it put him back quite a bit, but this can happen in racing. The first lap is always complicated, especially if you do not start at the front. Then we started seeing how, lap-by-lap, Pol was catching, and catching. It was very exciting, and I think in two or three more laps he would have been able to get into the group ahead. It was not an easy weekend, and we go to the next week with higher hopes than today.
Inside story apart from official comments?
We are happy to be here in a safe environment, thankful for the vaccine and to the State of Qatar for supplying it to us via Dorna. From the Repsol Honda Team, we can only say thank you to them. Of course, we are excited to start the 2021 season, and we keep waiting our rider Marc Marquez to return. Now we begin the process again for round two at the same circuit.