Aleix Espargaro scores a podium with 3rd in the #DutchGP, DNF for Maverick Viñales and 11th for Lorenzo Savadori
Aleix Espargaró puts Aprilia back on the MotoGP podium in the Assen race. And he does it his way, in true team captain style, battling like a lion even in the face of the misfortune which robbed his RS-GP of the front right winglet in the early stages of the race after contact on the first corner. With the bike unbalanced, Aleix never lost contact with the trio battling for the podium and, in the race finale, he defended against Martin’s attacks. So, by just a few thousandths and thanks to a penalty levied against Binder, he took home a well-deserved third place, just nineteen tenths behind the race winner.
Maverick also had an outstanding start and, super-fast, settled into sixth place overtaking Oliveira, Marini, and Miller. However, during the fourth lap, when he was staying close to the group which then went on to fight for the win and the podium, a crash excluded him from the race and from a certain role as protagonist. In any case, he is still taking home the outstanding sensations he had throughout the weekend and the good performance – both his and the bike’s – in situations that had proved to be difficult in the past, such as the race start.
It was a fantastic race for Lorenzo Savadori, the Aprilia Racing tester who rode in his second wild card of the season at Assen and who confirmed his outstanding performance from the sprint race yesterday in the full-length race today. He battled hard for a top-ten finish which he missed by just over a second, finishing eleventh and taking home another five points in the world championship, not to mention a lot of extra data for development of the RS-GP.
We deserve this! We have been working hard and we need to continue to do so. Today’s podium allows us to go on holiday with a bit more peace of mind. I started well but lost part of the front winglet straight away after contact with Marini. In fact, the bike moved around a lot and it wasn’t easy to maintain the pace. When I caught up with Brad, I tried to put him under pressure because overtaking was not at all easy. I knew he would be struggling in the finale with the soft tyre and, in fact, he was sliding around a lot and he touched the green. I’d like to dedicate this podium to everyone who works with me and to my family. This is not a simple sport and being surrounded by a good group of people is truly important.
This is a weekend that leaves me happy, even with the race. I really started strong and braked extremely well at the first turn. I felt really strong on the bike, which was working quite well, so I pushed hard. I crashed because I lost the front end and that can happen if you decide to really have a go. Anyway, it’s all good. We need to continue looking for the limits, pushing the bike to the max, and this can happen. Our potential is clear and when we are able to exploit it, we can battle for the very top spots.
It was undoubtedly a great weekend. On a track where we do not test, and with a lot of things to try, just missing a top-10 finish in such a close race is truly wonderful. It’s a shame about a small problem at mid-race that forced me to slow down, just when I was rather easily recovering to move into tenth place. But nothing can take away this performance that does a world of good for me and for Aprilia, demonstrating the quality of our hard work.