ALEIX ESPARGARÓ IS BACK IN THE TOP TEN IN A RACE RUINED BY THE RAIN. CRASH FOR SAM LOWES
ALBESIANO: “WE HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO STAY IN THE TOP FIVE”
Aleix Espargaró is back in the points, finishing tenth in the #Assen GP. This is certainly a positive result that ends Aleix's streak of zero point finishes, but the #ApriliaRacing Team Gresini Spaniard's race should have ended with a much different result.
Just after the mid-race point, the Espargaró-Aprilia package demonstrated its full potential. After a cautious start without forcing his pace too much, Aleix moved up from fifteenth to seventh, joining Crutchlow's group. An even more significant statistic is that during that part of the race (16th and 17th laps) he had lapped with the second best time and his gap behind the leader was less than seven seconds. In short, all the conditions were right for an excellent race finale, on the hunt for a top-five finish.
Instead, raindrops began to fall and the altered grip conditions (Aleix had the hard tyre on the rear) ruined his pace completely. Aleix dropped back position by position to the end, in any case managing to defend a top-ten finish.
Notwithstanding, the #Aprilia #RSGP confirmed once again in this race that a top-five finish is definitely within reach of a project which has made clear progress in terms of performance over recent months.
#SamLowes, who had started from the fourth row for the first time thanks to outstanding qualifiers, crashed out in the ninth lap while lying fifteenth. There were no consequences for him and he can take comfort in a weekend where he demonstrated the biggest improvement of his rookie year in #MotoGP.
"I cannot be entirely satisfied because our goal is still to be closer to the leaders. The race had started well. I managed the first part, successfully overtaking a lot of riders and maintaining a good pace. A few laps before the rain I had begun to visibly recover ground. The RSGP was really working well and I was closing the gap quickly. Unfortunately, I did not have a good feeling on the damp track and I was unable to push. Today we demonstrated once again that we can be very competitive, but the weather got in the way."
"It was a difficult race for everyone. We had ridden on the dry track only on Friday and the track changed completely. I was in a good group. When Lorenzo overtook me I felt like I could stay with him and set my sights on a good position. I battled a bit with Baz. I was faster than him in some situations, but we overtook one another on practically every lap. I crashed as I was opening up the throttle. Maybe I was a bit too close to the white line, but this weekend I definitely took a step forward. I am pleased that there will be a race in a few days because we are on a positive trend."
"Once again we expressed potential that is clearly worthy of the top-five which did not bear the deserved fruits due to a contingent situation. As long as the race proceeded in normal, dry track conditions, performance was very high. When it began to rain after the mid-race point, Aleix was just over six seconds from the leader. He had caught up to the group ahead of him without pushing too hard and he had a better pace than they did. Realistically, he could have aimed for the top-five. The level that Aprilia has achieved is a clear fact by now. We will keep going strong because if our potential is at these levels, we will soon be reaping the results.”
"With the dry track we rode a fantastic race. Aleix maintained a spectacular pace. He moved up through the ranks easily and was lapping with the same pace as the leaders. Those raindrops ruined the final result, but there are many reasons to be confident and even pleased to have finished the race in the top-ten anyway. These are points that boost morale after our recent DNFs. We draw confidence from the knowledge that we are close to the leaders in terms of performance and that is what we are taking away from this race.”