MAVERICK VIÑALES FINDS A GOOD FEELING STRAIGHT AWAY WITH HIS RS-GP, ALEIX ESPARGARÓ LAGS A BIT BEHIND
LORENZO SAVADORI IS ALSO ON THE TRACK TO CONTINUE DEVELOPMENT OF THE RS-GP IN THE RACE
The first day of practice ahead of the fifth MotoGP round was strongly influenced by adverse weather. Rain and low temperatures dominated the Portuguese Portimão circuit. It is a double annoying situation given the improved forecast for tomorrow and, even more drastically, for Sunday, which could make the sessions held today entirely pointless, both for the starting grid order and in terms of setting up the bikes for the race.
Even in this situation, Maverick confirmed his progressively increasing familiarity with the RS-GP, lapping regularly at extremely good times and closing out the day in seventh place with a time of 1’51.309.
Aleix was not too far behind his teammate (1’51.958) but the tight gaps between the riders and the impossibility (due to heavy rain) of exploiting FP2 to improve the times from the morning, relegated him to 19th place.
In Portimão, Aprilia Racing also brought Lorenzo Savadori on board who, in his first wild card of the season, took electronics and chassis architecture developments onto the track to continue, even during this race weekend, the profitable development work on the RS-GP that he carries out as a tester. He finished the day with a time of 1’54.260.
"It was a difficult day and, given the forecast, probably pointless as well. The conditions were difficult and even dangerous in FP2, with streams of water going across the track. In any case, I tried to improve my feeling in the wet as I expect there may be other races in the rain, but I had to battle with extremely poor grip, especially at the rear. We’ll have tomorrow to take some steps forward."
"I’m happy with this first day. I didn’t look at lap times too much but rather at my feeling, and the sensations on the RS-GP even in the wet were extremely good. We’ll see how the weather evolves tomorrow, but being in the top 10 is important in any case. I would clearly prefer to qualify and race on a dry track, but we’ll adapt. Earning a good starting position will be important so we can take advantage of our pace on Sunday."
"It was definitely not a simple day. The many things we need to test require time to be fine-tuned but, first and foremost, I am happy to be back on the track, especially on this fantastic circuit. Tomorrow we’ll continue our work, hopefully with better weather that lets us improve our feeling and do a good job for the growth of the bike."