ALEIX ESPARGARÓ IS FAST STRAIGHT AWAY ON THE FIRST DAY OF PRACTICE IN QATAR
MAVERICK VIÑALES FINISHES JUST 55 ONE HUNDREDTHS OUTSIDE THE TOP TEN
Under Losail’s floodlights in Qatar, the 2022 MotoGP world championship kicked off with the first day of free practice.
After a winter season of positive tests, the new Aprilia RS-GP shone with Aleix Espargaró, consistently in the group of leaders from the first practice session and then easily making it into the top ten, thanks to a seventh-place time of 1’53.886. Both the ranking and the time could have been significantly better if Aleix hadn’t had to cross trajectories with Viñales on the final turn of the decisive lap.
With this great performance, Aleix has a good chance to get a spot in Q2 if, as seems likely, the temperature conditions in FP3 tomorrow, scheduled for 1:15 PM local time, should make it extremely difficult for everyone to improve on their times from this evening.
Maverick Viñales, on the other hand, on this track for the first time astride an Aprilia, remained consistently just outside the top ten, busy testing various settings but without finding the best solution. He finished with the eighteenth time at 1’54.524.
“It was a positive day. I’m pleased because we started well. The bike is proving to be better than the one last year and I had the potential to finish much closer to the top. But it’s all good. The important thing today was to finish in the top ten and we did that. I feel fast and we’ll try to do well in qualifying tomorrow because here, with such a long straight, getting out front straight away is extremely important.”
“I would have liked to have been farther forward but I’m not worried. It’s just that adapting to a new circuit for this new bike was complicated. The references on the track changed completely and obviously we have not had time here to test many solutions like we were able to do during the winter tests. We tried going in a direction which wasn’t the right one, but now it seems clear where we need to make changes. We need to keep working and improve in every session, beginning already tomorrow.”