5th place finish for Aleix Espargaro in #SpanishGP, DNF for Maverick Viñales
Once again in Jerez de la Frontera, the fourth round of the MotoGP season, Aprilia was not lacking in performance. In the fast lap standings, Aleix did the third best time and Maverick was eighth, in spite of a race where they were battling for most of the laps. It is precisely this difficulty in being aggressive that is keeping the riders from turning their extremely fast pace into a matching result.
The race today, as happened yesterday, was red-flagged on the first lap, nullifying the performance of Aleix and Maverick in the leading group. At the second start, Aleix lost a few positions but maintained contact with the group. However, he was unable to fully exploit his pace and had to settle for fifth place in the end.
Maverick found himself battling straight away with Pedrosa and Álex Márquez. After a series of overtakes and counter-overtakes, by the time he made a move for eighth place, the gap behind seventh was too wide to bridge. Then, during the final lap, a technical problem brought the Aprilia rider’s race to an unfortunate conclusion.
In these cases, it would be easy to say that the bike is not performing well. To the contrary, I love this Aprilia and I think that it is extremely fast, even more so than some of the bikes which, however, are achieving better race results, and our performance on Friday and in qualifying confirms this. The reality of the situation is that we struggle more when we are behind. I don’t know if that is because of the setup or aerodynamic performance, but we need to take a closer look at it. Once again today, after Zarco’s crash, I had open track ahead of me and I was back to being fast but in the race, being able to overtake and be aggressive counts more than pure performance. We need to get the RS-GP to work in these conditions and improve our start because I am convinced that in every other area we lack nothing.
The first start was extremely good and the second wasn’t bad, but I found myself battling with Álex Márquez and we lost a lot of time. This also put a lot of wear on the front tyre, so much that I had no more margin to attack in the finale. Just before I stopped I noticed a few problems and I hoped to make it to the chequered flag but I couldn’t. The temptation is to get angry but we need to look at the positive side instead: the bike is fast, I like it, and at the first start I did very well, solving one of our problems. Now we just need to keep working, starting with tomorrow’s test.