ALEIX COMES BACK, LAPPING WITH THE SAME TIMES AS THE LEADERS TO FINISH ELEVENTH 13 SECONDS FROM THE PODIUM
A SOLID RACE FOR BRADLEY SMITH AND LOTS OF DATA FOR DEVELOPMENT OF THE RS-GP
It was an outstanding race for Aleix Espargaró in Jerez de la Frontera. Starting from the sixth row, the Spaniard moved up no less than four positions during the first lap. His pace, particularly in the second stage of the race, was consistently in the 38.5s and perfectly in line with that of the positions just off the podium. Making up ground lap after lap, Aleix was getting ready to attack Nakagami for ninth and only contact with another rider while overtaking deprived him of a well-deserved top-10 finish. The narrow gap behind the race winner of just 15 seconds after 25 laps is worth a mention. With the 5 points earned today, Aleix brings his total to 18 - triple what he had at the same race last season.
Bradley Smith rode a solid race, shaking off a bit of rust in the early stages due to his being a tester and not a full-time racer. The Aprilia test rider then found his rhythm, although limited by a less-than-perfect feeling with the front. He battled down to the finish with Oliveira, gaining the upper hand for seventeenth place.
After his bad crash yesterday, Andrea Iannone was unable to take part in the race, with the Medical Centre declaring him unfit. The Italian watched the race with his team from Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s spot along the pit wall.
"In the very early stages of the race, I struggled to find traction, but after just five or six laps I began to feel more at ease, and I was lapping with a good pace. The situation got even better in the last ten laps, where I was decidedly consistent. I began to make up ground on the group of riders ahead of me and I knew I could battle with Nakagami and Crutchlow, who I was getting closer to. Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible because Miller hit me as I was overtaking him. I was already all the way on the inside of the turn and it was a rather violent blow. Fortunately, I was able to keep it upright. However, that made me lose a position to Bradl. The race was our best track session of the weekend and that makes me happy. Right now, obtaining the maximum result and not making mistakes is the important thing, and today we were able to do that. Tomorrow will be another very important day of testing. I’ll be the first one out on the track, and we will keep working hard to improve."
"At the start of the race I was a bit rusty, but then things improved. Unfortunately, the medium front tyre did not help me to be incisive in braking, but I haven’t been able to try the hard compound much on the RS-GP and that is one of the things I intend to do in the tests tomorrow. This morning I felt good, but the high temperatures in the afternoon changed things. In the finale, I managed to ride better and be more decisive in the battle against the other riders. Overall, it was a positive weekend for the type of work that we are doing."
"I am sorry that I wasn’t able to be out there on the track. Yesterday in FP4 it seemed like we had found a positive direction for the weekend, but unfortunately the crash kept us from continuing our work. I hope to be at full fitness and back in the saddle as soon as possible. I am staying positive and confident."