ESPARGARÓ LEADS ON THE OPENING DAY OF THE ITALIAN GP
MAVERICK STOPS SHORT OF THE PROVISIONAL TOP TEN AND HOPES FOR A DRY FP3 WHERE HE CAN MAKE A PLAY FOR Q2
Even in Mugello, at the most eagerly anticipated event of Italian motorcycling, Aleix Espargaró and his Aprilia are protagonists. And they are the fastest on the thrilling track of the Tuscan hills, finishing in the lead after two practice sessions on a first day characterised by summer temperatures.
After the announcement this morning that Aprilia will be launching a satellite team in 2023 thanks to the partnership with RNF Racing and the confirmation formalised yesterday of Espargaró and Viñales for the next two years, this is more great news for the Italian team.
Aleix was with the leaders from the morning session, finishing second (1’47.070), and he did even better in FP2 ending up being the fastest with a time of 1’45.891. In the standings, characterised by extremely narrow gaps where the top thirteen are all within eight tenths of one another, this is yet another nice show of strength.
After a positive morning session where he took an encouraging sixth place, Maverick was unable to exploit his time attack in FP2 and it was precisely the tiny gap which relegated him to a position outside the top ten, but only by less than 5 tenths. If the weather holds, which is not looking very promising, he’ll have FP3 to try another time attack for a spot in the top ten in order to go through to the second qualifying session.
In Mugello, the third RS-GP machine was also out on the track with Lorenzo Savadori carrying out essential development work on the bike, assisted by the Noale test team. Among other things, Lorenzo tested some new aerodynamic configurations which will be used in the race to generate data that will help in assessing their use on the factory riders’ RS-GP units.
"I’m pleased with the way we started this weekend. It is undoubtedly an important race for us and we know that it won’t be easy to stay at the front, but I have an outstanding RS-GP to work with. Even though Mugello is an old-school track where you can overtake, qualifying will still be fundamental in setting up a good race."
"We really did a lot of work today. The goal was to test as many solutions as possible to then analyse the data and select the best technical package for qualifying. Right now, we need to stay calm and work meticulously. Some changes don’t just happen from one moment to the next."
"Today we primarily tested the new aerodynamic item Aprilia brought. There is still work that needs to be done to make it perform better. That’s why I didn't focus on the time attack or pure speed, but I am extremely happy to be here in Mugello and to see Aleix competitive yet again."