ALEIX GUSHES AT MOTEGI: HE IS THIRD IN THE FIRST DAY. WITH MAVERICK EIGHTH, BOTH RS-GP FACTORY BIKES GAIN DIRECT ACCESS TO TOMORROW'S Q2 QUALIFYING SESSION
The fears of the eve, dictated by the layout of the Japanese track, have been for the moment erased by the good performance of the two Aprilia factory bikes in the first practice at Motegi. The circuit, on paper, does not support the qualities of the RS-GP at its best but the great work of the engineers and the determination of Aleix and Maverick allowed the Italian team to place the two factory bikes in the top-10 and, consequently, in Q2 for tomorrow's qualifying.
With one lap under the track record (which stood since 2015) Espargaró finished third, also showing good competitiveness as far as pace was concerned. Eighth instead was Viñales, who ran into a few yellow flags during the last time attacks but was always fast throughout the two sessions held today.
"I am satisfied with the work we did today. We had prepared a very detailed plan for the first session, with various setting tests, but in the end I went back to a base I knew better and was fast both on pace and on the fast lap. It's only Friday and we can still improve a lot, above all we need to be competitive in qualifying as well".
"It was good to be in Q2 but I felt better on the pace than on the fast lap. Today's plan was to test with the full aero package, which seems to limit us here. So tomorrow we will go back to standard and work on the details, I would say I need another two tenths to be completely satisfied. If we look at the times today everyone lapped very strong, so I am sure that with a little work I can be even more competitive.