French GP was first chance for «something big» in MotoGP

Acosta was once again the top rider in the KTM contingent at Le Mans, with a rapid launch allowing him to jump from seventh on the grid to run fifth in the opening laps.

But the 19-year-old race came undone when he lost the front of his GasGas-branded RC16 into Turn 8 while trying to chase after the battling duo of Aleix Espargaro and Fabio di Giannantonio.

It has been described by many as the Spaniard’s first major mistake of 2024, with the MotoGP rookie having exceeded all expectations with a series of starring performances in the first four rounds of the year.

Acosta’s DNF was a big blow for KTM in a race that also saw factory rider Jack Miller retire with a crash of his own and his team-mate Brad Binder only took eighth after starting from the back of the grid.

But while KTM scored its worst points haul of 2024, Acosta feels the RC16 has never been as rapid as it was at Circuit Bugatti last weekend.

«It was a good day. [It was] the first day in the whole season that the bike was really competitive to fight for something big,» he said.

«The potential was high, really high. We were fast in FP1, we were fast in practice, we were fast in qualifying, we were fast in FP3. In the sprint, we managed to take points. 

Pedro Acosta, Tech3 GASGAS Factory Racing

Pedro Acosta, Tech3 GASGAS Factory Racing

Photo by: Marc Fleury

«The biggest step was in the warm-up. For me, I say again it was the most competitive KTM bike we had in the whole season.

«It’s a mess to make this type of mistake, but anyway, we are on the way.»

Sensing an opportunity to overtake two bikes in quick succession and snatch third, Acosta sent his KTM up the inside of Di Giannantonio’s Ducati into the right-hander at Turn 8.

But while he managed to get past the Italian, he fell off the bike near the apex and slid onto the gravel run-off, retiring on the spot from the race.

Acosta explained that he tried to avoid crashing into the back of third-placed Espargaro as they braked for the corner, but ended up locking the front and crashing out of Tech3 team’s home event.

«Diggia and Aleix were having a battle in front of me, at Turn 7,» he said. «Maybe it was coming to T8 they were doing [staying at] the right, and they braked quite early to let’s say to go to the left. 

«And when they realised that they were quite slow, they started to release [the brakes] and it was at the moment that I was coming so fast. 

«At the end, I didn’t want to hit Aleix and destroy the race of all the guys. I tried to stop the bike and then I locked the front.»

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