Maverick Viñales just outside points with 10th in #MalaysianGP Sprint, Aleix Espargaro 12th
In a Sprint Race that rewards the top nine riders with points, Maverick’s top-10 finish is meagre consolation. After starting well from the third row, the Aprilia rider had to reckon with the usual chaos on the first turns where some contact and some trajectory changes cost him ground with respect to the leaders. His race, characterised by consistency, is a good starting point for tomorrow where, with twice as many laps to ride, he could easily have the chance to exploit his pace.
As for Aleix, it’s safe to say that his performance today in Sepang suffered from the events of yesterday. Although extremely fast in Q1, the time he did was not enough to send him through to Q2, which he missed by just over a tenth of a second. His fifth-row start had him then maintaining a good pace, but still not enough to allow him to move up any farther than twelfth.
I can’t say that I’m disappointed, because I think the result today was the best possible. I had managed to start well, but then in the chaos on the opening corners I lost a few positions and I didn’t have the speed I needed in order to attack. We made a few steps forward on various fronts and we still have the warm-up session to try and find a few tenths. We’ll need to continue working to improve for future races as well.
The good thing is that I got back the “normal” sensations on the RS-GP with the change in settings. My time in Q1 (1’58.069) was the fastest yet for Aprilia in Sepang, but it wasn’t enough to go through to Q2. Starting a bit farther forward would certainly have helped, especially in the Sprint Race, but the fact is that I expected to be faster. We’ll have better chances tomorrow in the long race.