Espargaro and Viñales 7th and 8th in #AustrianGP Sprint on emotional day for Aprilia, DNF for Savadori

 In Aleix Espargaro, Maverick Vinales, MotoGP, News

Saturday on this MotoGP weekend in Austria began with the worst of news for Aprilia Racing and the entire Piaggio Group, namely the death of Chairman and CEO, Roberto Colaninno. He was a man who had always believed in racing as the maximum expression of technology on two wheels, something which has always been the feather in the Italian company’s cap. An emotional moment of silence preceded the start of the first race of the weekend – today’s Sprint race – with every team and rider on the starting grid participating.

In the Sprint, Maverick started from the second spot on the grid which he had earned in qualifying and Aleix started from the fourth row. Viñales did not have the best start, losing a few positions and then, in spite of his efforts, he was involved in a series of contacts triggered by an overly ambitious move by Martin. Regrouping from the rear, the Spaniard then demonstrated an extraordinary pace which had already been seen in all the sessions, managing to catch up with his team mate (despite the half-distance of the Sprint Race), battling for sixth. His eighth-place finish certainly does not do justice to what he had shown thus far on the Red Bull Ring, where the epilogue has now been postponed until tomorrow’s race.

Aleix had a bit of difficulty, especially managing the front, which kept him from being incisive on the harsh braking sections typical of the Austrian track. Finishing seventh, with fifth place just a few tenths ahead of him, is a result to build on for a good race on Sunday.

Lorenzo Savadori had some hard luck, struck by Quartararo in an overtake manoeuvre which brought his Sprint race to an untimely end.

The Aprilia riders will be racing tomorrow an additional incentive – to dedicate a special result to the memory of Roberto Colaninno.


It was a complicated race for various reasons. I did not start very well, and then the front tyre pressure went up quickly, causing problems in braking and making it hard for me to overtake. I’m not making excuses, though. Maverick had a much faster pace than I did today, so all we can do is analyse the data and try to improve ahead of tomorrow’s GP. We are actually not far off. If we can solve these issues, I think we’ll be able to battle for the top five and take home some good points.


The start compromised the race. Immediately after the start I was no longer in the right conditions to be able to battle at the top. It’s a shame. We could have aimed for the podium today because we had an extremely good pace. That’s the positive aspect of this race. I was fast and able to make up ground on the riders ahead of me and overtake in a short time. We have the speed – there is no doubt about that – and I feel stronger than ever on this bike, but an effective start is essential in order to bring home the result.


It was certainly not a great day for us from many points of view. In the Sprint Race, I chose the soft at the rear. I had a good feeling and I was making up positions. Unfortunately, Quartararo hit me and I was unable to avoid crashing. It’s a pity because it is always important for us to finish the race and take home as many points and as much data as possible.

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