KTM motorsport boss Pit Beirer says rider Pol Espargaro is “not using his full potential” in MotoGP and needs to approach races differently.
Espargaro broke his collarbone when he crashed out of the warm-up session ahead of the Czech Grand Prix, admitting he initially could not feel his arms or legs.
He joined KTM for its first season in MotoGP alongside Bradley Smith, with Espargaro’s form enough for Smith to be dropped in favour of Johann Zarco at the end of the year.
But Smith has since become increasingly a match for his team-mate, outqualifying him in three of the four weekends leading up to Espargaro’s injury at Brno.
Speaking at the Red Bull Ring, Beirer said he was “unhappy with Espargaro” and that he needs to regain form.
“I think with Pol, especially lately, we saw him doing some things where I am not 100% happy,” Beirer said. “And we need to talk about it.
“I really see that he is absolutely not using his full potential.
“If a rider just doesn’t have more talent and he cannot go faster, we will never tell him ‘go faster’ because he will crash or something.
“But I think in the surrounding and preparation of the race, Pol can do better, and he needs to do better, because [if he stays] like this he will always hit the roof at the same level.”
Espargaro’s crash left KTM scrambling to find a replacement in case he isn’t fit for Silverstone, and Beirer explained the cause of his rider’s injury.
“We have a really quite intense discussion with him because he was six seconds slower the lap before, engine temperature dropped by 15 degrees, and then he went around the finish line and wanted to make a fast lap.
“I think he used the same braking point as normal, but things didn’t work as normal.
“Then he braked too hard, he released everything, and then he was already on the way to the fence. He had a really hard crash.
“I think it was really a pure mistake to let the bike cool down and then go on a flying lap out of this.
“That’s something he needs to be very careful of in the future. Because he did some things like that before and we warned him, but this time we paid a high price for doing this.”
Epsargaro is the 2013 Moto2 champion but has yet to turn consistent points-scoring finishes into a breakthrough result, and Bierer points to future team-mate Zarco, pictured above, as someone to learn from.
“I’m sure Pol could be a really really top rider, but [he has to] prepare differently. If you hear how Johann is preparing and how much he is training for this, I think this can be really beneficial.
“On the other side, how talented Pol can use the bike and do some corners is just completely crazy, that could help also Johann’s side.
“We hope it will lift the team from both sides.”