Track Report by Alberto Puig [Repsol Honda Team - Team Manager]
How do you see the weekend overall in Portimao?
I think that, overall, it has been quite a good weekend. Pol Espargaro and Alex Marquez were consistent each day and finally in the race they managed to do well. It was especially important for Alex to make this kind of race after many difficult rounds recently. He proved to himself and everyone that he is a fast rider, that’s the most important thing. We are happy for him and also for the LCR Honda Team. Likewise, Pol is clearly confirming that after a difficult start to the season, he is understanding the Honda and is able to ride with the front group. He is producing the lap times we expected from when we signed him.
Pol could have fought for the podium...
At the beginning of the race Pol had an issue with Iker Lecuona and ran wide. This caused him to drop back and then it was difficult to recover all the ground he had lost. His pace was good enough to be in the top three or four, with Alex and Miller. But this is racing, and these kinds of incidents can happen, you must focus and continue. We are happy with Pol’s progress in these last few races.
Without Marc Marquez, Stefan Bradl worked with the Repsol Honda Team this weekend.
Unfortunately Marc has a problem which is bad for us, but especially bad for Marc himself. We were able to have Stefan’s help this weekend, as is normal when we find ourselves in these kind of situations. Our test rider did his job very well – as is Stefan’s standard. We are pleased with what he accomplished, especially jumping on the bike without any time to prepare. His role is important, and we appreciate all his effort.
We approach the final race of the season after a difficult year for HRC. What is the goal?
We still have the final race in Valencia. Pol has a chance to improve on his position in the top 10 in the championship which would be very good for him, especially after some difficult points this year. It also presents a chance to see if Alex can maintain his level and let’s see if Takaaki Nakagami can end the season in a good way. It’s not been an easy year for HRC, it’s almost over, but the good thing about racing is there is always another race coming up, you can always improve. This year was not good for us, so we will go to Valencia and then fully focus on the challenge of the next year.