As soon as he got off his RS-GP at the end of the first practice sessions on Phillip Island, Aleix Espargaró talked about a historic moment. And, beyond his enthusiasm, this statement is not an exaggeration. It’s only Friday, but in MotoGP history, a bike from Noale has never flown so high. The Spanish rider finished the first day of the Australian GP in the lead, thanks to a fantastic lap in FP2 (1:29.225) and the final result once again confirms the significant progress of the Italian project.
For the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini, this is a first and one to be proud of, but thoughts are already on tomorrow’s sessions and the race on Sunday. In fact, Aleix acknowledges the need to improve race pace, a fundamental element in a particularly long race (27 laps) and characterised by some bizarre weather, to say the least.
Even today, the strong wind and varying temperatures were the protagonists of the day, causing difficulties for teams and riders, resulting in numerous crashes.
“It is just the first day, but we are clearly doing a great job. I am proud to be part of this project and I am sure that the guys in Noale will also be happy with the results we are achieving. To be honest, I did not expect it because this morning I didn’t have a good feeling. The track conditions are rather demanding, as they always are at Phillip Island, but in FP2 I was able to put a good lap together. We can improve on pace. The RS-GP still doesn’t turn the way I would like it to and I am lacking a bit of feeling on the front. Finding a good feeling for the race will be fundamental. Today we saw a lot of crashes and with the rain everything will be even harder.”
— Aleix Espargaró (@AleixEspargaro) October 20, 2017
“I’m happy with today because we started with a good base setup in FP1 and I immediately felt good on the bike. Our pace was fast and we were able to do some good work with the tyres. Anyway, I think for tomorrow we can try and further improve the setup, especially the stability of the bike in the fast corners. There are a few places where we could be quicker if we can manage to take another step in that area. The temperature was cold and the wind was quite strong, and sometimes it almost made the front fold. But that’s normal here at this track, and you must try to find a compromise with the setup in order to minimize these factors.”
“I’m very pleased with the way we started off today, with a good pace, and it was important to begin the weekend in this way. Now we still have to work to improve a few aspects, because in any case Marquez was also very quick and there are other riders who have a good pace. Let’s see what sort of conditions we will encounter tomorrow, but for sure this was a positive first day for me at Phillip Island.”