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march 08, 2024 - Aprilia Racing

Espargaró second on Friday in Qatar


The 2024 season has officially begun for Aprilia, with the first Friday of practice sessions on the Losail Circuit for the opening round of MotoGP.

The afternoon practice session confirmed the good sensations from the winter tests. Aleix Espargaró, in fine form, finished FP1 with the second best time. Maverick Viñales, with a consistent pace, finished just seven tenths behind the best time of the session. 

The arrival of rain showers conditioned the final session of the day, which would have decided the riders who go straight through to Q2. It did, however, give them the chance to try put the track in wet conditions, especially important in terms of the reflections that could inhibit visibility. Race Direction decided that the Saturday Free Practice session will be 45 minutes long and that those times will count towards going through to Q2. 

"I’m happy with the way we started this season. The feeling in the first practice sessions was the same as in the tests, which was extremely good, despite the slightly different grip situation. We are already lapping fast with race tyres. The RS-GP did well and I had fun riding it. In the second session I just did a few laps to get a feel for the way the track is when it’s wet under the lights and I must say that the situation was better than I had expected. I’d say that, in the event of rain, we’ll be able to race without a problem, although I do hope it doesn’t rain here in the desert!".

It was an interesting day because it’s always important to compare the different track conditions. Sensations on the dry track were outstanding – in line with what we had already found during the tests. I compared several set-ups on both bikes and we confirmed the good sensations. Even if our plans for tomorrow have changed and it will be an intense day, the sensations and the desire to do well haven’t changed”.

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