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Power Electronics riders Aleix Espargaró and Randy De Puniet are hoping to be the first two CRT riders across the line in tomorrow's Grand Prix of Portugal after qualifying twelfth and fourteenth respectively this afternoon.
De Puniet will race with a minor injury having crashed at the end of qualifying practice, inadvertently taking Colin Edwards to the ground with him and unfortunately leaving the Texan with a broken collarbone. De Puniet escaped relatively unharmed, taking a blow to his shoulder, finger and ribs. Randy later offered his apologies to Colin, who accepted them with typical good grace and the whole team would like to wish him a swift and successful recovery.
With his team-mate out of action for the closing stages of qualifying Espargaró took advantage to park his ART machine in parc fermé as the fastest CRT qualifier, clocking the twelfth fastest time. The pair are separated by just two tenths of a second and De Puniet's physical condition permitting it promises to be an entertaining battle between them on track tomorrow.
12th Aleix Espargaró (1.39.353, 26 laps):
"It has always been our objective to be the fastest CRT bike but I didn't think it would happen today. Randy had a second over me this morning but I knew that wasn't indicative because he had a new tyre on and I didn't. I put the new tyre on this afternoon and could have gone even quicker. So far this is the closest we have been to the MotoGP bikes and we're improving every session. The only thing is that we only have two units of the new front tyre, which solves our chatter problem, so we have to work on the older stuff for the rest of practice. It focuses all your work into just a few laps and today I managed to find six tenths of a second with it."
14th Randy de Puniet (1.39.586, 19 laps):
"It was a really heavy crash with Colin. I was on a flying lap and came up behind him by surprise. He wasn't on the line but I braked hard and lost the front. I was hoping against hope that neither of us got hurt. I was lucky not to break anything but it hurts my chest when I breath so I don't think I'll be 100% but I'll do what I can. I am disappointed because it happened when I was on a new tyre. Everything went perfectly this morning but the things we tried this afternoon didn't work and when we went back to the standard setting I crashed. My objective for tomorrow is the same as ever: to be the first CRT."
5 years ago