French MotoGP team Monster Tech3 Yamaha have announced ahead of the seventh round of the 2016 MotoGP season at Catalunya, Spain, that Spanish local Pol Espargaro will be parting company from them at the end of the season.
Pol Espargaro to start ‘new racing challenges’
The team announced on social media that “the Spaniard will start new racing challenges” however did not say what he will go on to do. His teammate Bradley Smith already announced at the start of the season that he will be piloting one of the KTMs when they join the MotoGP field next year. So what will happen to Espargaro?
His brother Aleix currently rides for Team Suzuki Ecstar and it has not yet been confirmed as to whether or not he will remain, but undoubtedly Pol will be reluctant to take his brother’s ride. Recently the independent team announced that Moto2 rider Jonas Folger (Dynavolt intact GP) will be joining them for next season.
A lot of success for Pol with Monster Tech3 Yamaha
Pol Espargaro has been with the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team since 2014 and has experienced much success with them. Last season he finished as ‘Rookie of the Year’, and as the top satellite MotoGP rider, as he finished ninth overall in the championship. His success has continued this year as he has continued to claim the spot as the top independent rider claiming the title three times already this season at Losail, Jerez and Le Mans. He is currently seventh in the championship with forty-eight points.
In the statement released, Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd said they “look back with great appreciation on Espargaro’s contributions to its racing success over the past two and a half years and wish Espargaro the very best in furthering his racing career.” The team do not yet have a rider lined up to take his seat and said, “the 2017 Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team replacement for Pol Espargaro will be announced in due course.”
However the season is not yet over and Yamaha and the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team said they will “continue to put their full efforts into finishing the 2016 season with Espargaro in the best possible manner” and speaking about the remaining duration of the season said they, “Hope to share many memorable moments during the upcoming twelve MotoGP rounds of the 2016 World Championship.”
Home round of the MotoGP for local lad
The news comes ahead of the seventh round at Catalunya where the 24-year-old, who was born not far away in Granollers, will compete in his home GP where they are hoping he will complete the race “as close as possible to the factory MotoGP riders”. Pol Espargaro and his team, made up of Alex Lowes and Katsuyuki Nakasuga, will try to retain their winning title at the Suzuka 8 Hours endurance after winning last year with Nakasuga and Smith.
Espargaro excited for weekend
A sentimental Pol Espargaro is “very excited for this weekend” and is “looking forward to putting on a good show” for his fans who mean a lot to him, as well as it being his home race. He describes the atmosphere here as “electric” and claims “their support really spurs [him] on”. He is hoping do his “absolute best to give them something to cheer about”.
Complimenting the circuit where he has spent a lot of time, he described it as “spectacular” and “one that challenges every aspect of our riding”. He feels the Ducati teams will have a “slight advantage” on the long straight, however the corners he feels will suit the Yamaha. Discussing the last round at Mugello he said, “last weekend’s race ended in a disappointing way for me”, as he crashed out of the sixth round at Mugello. However he is “ready to turn everything around and have a positive race in Montmelo."