ESPARGARÓ SECOND AND THIRD IN THE TWO FRIDAY SESSIONS
THE JAPANESE WEEKEND STARTS WITH A BANG FOR ALEIX AND HIS APRILIA RS-GP
On the first day of practice at Motegi, Aleix Espargaró and his Aprilia were protagonists. Immediately at ease on the Japanese track, wet from the light but constant rain, Espargaró was extremely fast from the first session.
Well supported by the features of his Aprilia’s chassis architecture, Aleix finished the morning FP1 session in second place with a time of 1’56.293 just 875 thousandths behind the leader, Marquez. He rode the entire session on the same tyres, looking not only for a good time, but also for the right settings in view of the race, a goal which convinced Espargaró to ride a good portion of the afternoon FP2 session on the same tyres used in the morning.
In the second free practice session, which he finished with a brilliant third place time, Espargaró improved even further, both in terms of time (1’55.061) and in terms of his gap behind the leader, this time contained to just 184 thousandths. This is the best weekend start for the fledgling RS-GP and for its rider and the timing of it, not by chance, comes right after a few races that demonstrated the Italian bike’s competitive level.
On the other side of the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini garage, Sam Lowes also found a good feeling between the bike and the track conditions and, certain that he will be able to improve in the coming sessions, he preferred to work more on the setup, avoiding any pointless risks and finishing in 19th place in the combined standings of the two sessions.
“I am very happy. Every time we find good grip conditions, even in the wet, we are able to be fast straight away. I had fun today. In the final part of FP2 I really pushed to the limit, but when you are confident you are able to do that without taking too many risks. A mistake in the last sector kept me from aiming perhaps for first place, but in any case I am satisfied with the feeling and I think that we will be able to take home some nice satisfaction from this weekend.”
“My first day on this track with the MotoGP bike didn’t go badly. I am at ease on the RS-GP in the wet, but I preferred not taking risks in order to keep that good feeling. Tomorrow the conditions should be slightly better and I’ll be able to push more boldly. We definitely have the potential to get close to the top 10.”
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