THE FIRST WEEKEND OF THE 2023 SEASON GETS OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT FOR APRILIA
MAVERICK VIÑALES AND ALEIX ESPARGARÓ GO STRAIGHT THROUGH TO Q2 IN PORTIMAO WITH THE SECOND AND NINTH TIMES
The MotoGP season opener was decidedly positive for the Aprilia Racing Team. With the new practice and weekend format, the two sessions on Friday already decide who goes straight through to the second qualifying session (Q2), which is where the first four rows of the starting grid are determined. Those positions will then be valid for both the race on Sunday and the Sprint Race which will be held on Saturday afternoon.
Maverick and Aleix confirmed their good sensations from the winter tests, tackling the two sessions today consistently maintaining a high pace. Stably at the top end of the standings throughout the two sessions they sealed their performance with a fast lap that placed them solidly in the top ten. Maverick finished in second place just 40 thousandths of a second behind the leader and Aleix placed ninth at +0.544.
This takes both riders straight through to Q2, the qualifying session for the leaders.
"I am extremely pleased because I had even better sensations than in the tests, which were already positive. It was clearly not easy for me to go back out on the track after Pol’s accident, but I’ve been doing this job for a long time and I know that these things happen. Fortunately, it seems that serious consequences were avoided. Having someone like Doctor Charte taking care of us riders is truly a great help. Tomorrow, we’ll focus entirely on the qualifiers because I’m convinced that the results of the Sprint Race will depend greatly on the start. With a good spot on the grid, we’ll be able to make a play for it."
"This was not an easy result. There was a lot of work behind the scenes. We picked back up with the good sensations we had in the tests and we need to keep going in this direction. Before starting this morning I was a bit nervous, as often happens on the first day of a new season, but I’m at ease now after verifying our real level. I was fast on the fast lap but times were more than satisfactory on the long run too. As for testing the tyres, I have a pretty clear idea about the choice for the rear, whereas a lot will depend on the temperature for the front."