Maverick Viñales hands Aprilia first Sprint podium with 3rd in #BritishGP, Aleix Espargaro 5th
Silverstone lived up to its reputation, giving riders and teams a wet Saturday. Judging from the forecast, it should be the only day conditioned by the rain. So, both the qualifiers and the Sprint race were held in vastly different conditions from yesterday, when Aprilia had demonstrated extraordinary form with Aleix and Maverick (first and fourth respectively).
As for the positions on the starting grid, both riders went through the Q2 session which decides the front four rows. Maverick managed to take eighth place, whereas Aleix had to settle for twelfth. In the 10-lap Sprint race, both Aprilia riders made up positions straight away, with decisive and flawless overtaking. Viñales finished third, taking home his and Aprilia’s first podium in a Saturday race. Aleix, on the other hand, finished fifth after battling for fourth all the way to the final corners.
It was a performance that boosts morale for tomorrow’s race. Despite not having the best starting positions, both Aleix and Maverick demonstrated that they have the potential to come back. With the unknown tyre factor: if it’s dry, as expected, tyre choice will have to be based on the information gathered yesterday.
For me, this result is important because, although we had already demonstrated our speed in the wet, we had never been able to confirm it in a race. The battle with Jack was fun. I tried to overtake him as soon as possible because I felt like I had a bit better pace, but when I did it, I stressed the rear tyre and in the finale I couldn’t recover. There are still things that need to be improved, but I feel like, beyond the results, we are learning from every situation.
Having a good wet Sprint race in the books is important. It shows that, after suffering – for example, in Argentina – we’ve made steps forward in these conditions. We still need to work hard to improve, especially when there is a lot of water on the track, where we are unable to be truly incisive. In the dry we also have a good pace, so hopefully we’ll be able to repeat the comeback tomorrow. Tyre choice will be a crapshoot. It is unlikely that the warm-up session will be able to give us any significant information.