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march 09, 2024 - Aprilia Racing

First podium for Espargaró and Aprilia in Qatar


It was a great day for Aleix Espargaró who took the second spot on the starting grid in qualifying – Aprilia’s first time on the front row at the Lusail track. In the opening laps of the Sprint Race, the Spanish rider lost four positions before being forced to fend off his rivals’ attacks. Four laps from the end, Aleix embarked on a fantastic comeback ride overtaking several riders to include a decisive pass over Pecco Bagnaia that took him into third place. For Aleix and Aprilia, this is the first podium ever at the Lusail Circuit.

Viñales, who managed to go through to Q2, started from the tenth spot on the grid. After a good start from the fourth row, Maverick struggled in the melee of the opening laps and, unable to make a comeback, finished the Sprint Race ninth.

"I am extremely satisfied. In the final laps, I was really fast and I had a lot of fun riding the bike. I lost too much time coming back from behind, but if there had been one more lap, I undoubtedly would have been able to get close to Binder and Martín. The bike is an absolute missile and we were fast in both qualifying and in the Sprint Race."

"I’m a bit concerned because the feeling is much different than in the tests. I already wasn’t feeling comfortable yesterday and the situation did not improve much in the Sprint Race. We’ll analyse the data well now with my technicians to identify the problem. In the long race, managing the tyres could hold some surprises. I don’t think everyone is sorted in that respect."