Maverick Viñales on the pace in Austria, while Aleix Espargaro suffers finger injuries in crash
Maverick Viñales put in a strong and consistent day of practice today ahead of Sunday’s Red Bull Ring MotoGP™ 10th round in Austria to post third position aboard his GSX-RR, as team-mate Aleix Espargaró was unlucky to crash-out of FP2 early-on and couldn’t complete the session, as the injuries he suffered required a medical investigation.
Viñales topped FP1 with a time of 1’25.866 with Espargaró in 15th (1’27.067), as both riders tested some new-design ‘Winglets’ on their machines. These are bigger than the standard ones, and this is meant to help the rider counterbalance the wheeling of the machine. In the afternoon’s final FP2, Viñales posted a much faster 1’24.471 on his final lap of 21, but Espargaró, who was in fifth position early on, only completed four laps and sits in 18th with a time of 1’25.945.
Following the crash, Espargaró needed further checks at the Medical Centre. The RX to his left hand highlighted a small fracture to the proximal phalanx of the third finger, which has been treated by fixing the third finger to the second finger with an elastic bandage. His right hand presents a sprain of the metacarpophalanx articulation of the right thumb; and this will be treated with physiotherapy. He will now undergo some medical treatment this evening and his situation will be evaluated further tomorrow morning.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager:
“Unfortunately Aleix incurred a crash at a time he was feeling good and was making solid improvements with faster-and-faster lap-times. The crash generated a small fracture and he will need some physiotherapy this evening, so let’s wait to see how he will feel in the night and then tomorrow morning and together we will decide what to do. This was a pity because the day could have been fully positive because Maverick had a very positive first day. He’d been fast in both sessions, topping the sheets in the morning and being in the top-three in the afternoon; also his pace is positive. Maverick’s weekend has had a good start, but we need to continue improving and also keep an eye on the weather conditions; like temperature and rain. For the moment he feels comfortable, so let’s hope tomorrow we can recover Aleix and try to do a good weekend with the whole team.”
“This morning was pretty hard with the tyres, the grip started to drop after one run and we tried to work on the set-up according to this. In the afternoon I wanted to test the hard tyre and finally the best lap came with that one, so my feeling is positive. Here, the machine works well with the grip, the new track helps in this, but we still need to work to finalise a compromise between pure performance and consistency in order not to stress too much ‘tyre-thinking’ in the race. Tomorrow we will probably better understand. We also tried new winglets today, they are meant to help me keep the front-end on the ground and give a better acceleration; my feelings on this are positive and we made a step forward.”