Positive Aragon qualifying for Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales
It was a tough day in qualifying today, with the pole-setter destroying the previous circuit record by more than half a second and the gap between second and third also being around half a second.
MotoGP was at its competitive best once more as Aleix Espargaro managed to sensibly improve his feeling with his machine and place his GSX-RR only four-tenths-of-a-second from the front row, thanks to his 1’47.573 lap that gives him seventh place in qualifying.
The result comes from a positive morning for Team SUZUKI ECSTAR, where the Spaniard could find a lot more confidence with his machine and being within the top riders for the whole FP3 session. Finally the 1’48.524s he scored in FP2 yesterday set him in the 10th place in the combined classification and having direct access to Q2.
Maverick Viñales also improved a lot from yesterday and recovered his usual place in the top 10, finding a new positive set-up on his machine which allowed him to make several attempts at his best lap in the FP3 session, finally hitting the 1’48.449s mark that gave him ninth place and getting him directly into Q2. Qualifying was a little harder than expected, due to different track conditions, and he couldn’t do better than 12th place, with a 1’48.648s lap.
“It’s good to be back in the top group. After yesterday I didn’t feel very comfortable at all while this morning we could make a good improvement. It is important to start from seventh place, it is more like the place where I think we deserve to be and will allow me to be immediately up to the front of the pack. In fact today’s qualifying was very, very hard, the circuit record was completely destroyed and I’m on the third row although I am only 0.4s from the front row. This means that we found a proper way to proceed and we are getting back closer to the top. Finally my pace is pretty much the same as other middle pack riders, therefore I am confident that tomorrow we can make a positive race.”
“Finally we found some directions to work in and we could make a very important step forward. Yesterday we lost pretty much all the day because we couldn’t find the proper direction, while today we managed to be very competitive. This pays back our efforts and re-ignites our positive expectations. Of course today I had to focus on qualifying, in FP3 I thought to be as fast as possible to hit direct access to Q2 and in qualifying as well I focused on getting the best place available. This means that we couldn’t finalise the work for the consistent race pace, probably we still miss something to be relaxed and confident, but we still have the warm-up to try to find something more and consolidate our pace. The race will be tough, the top riders are doing very well but also the middle pack is very competitive. We need to get as many points as possible for the championship therefore we will work hard in warm-up to finalise the race-pace set-up and try to be aggressive in the race itself.”