Aleix Espargaro: "For Aprilia it’s a historic moment"

Fastest on Friday - it's a first for the Noale factory

Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) was one of the fastest men in practice for the Japanese GP, and a week later at Phillip Island sees him repeat the feat but go a few better as the fastest man on Friday.  Lowering his best laptime from FP1 by over a second in the afternoon, Espargaro was happy with another positive to add to his impressive performances across his Japanese GP weekend.

“I’m happy! It feels great, but it’s just Day 1,” smiles the Spaniard. “I think for Aprilia it’s a historic moment, this year we are doing important things and I feel super proud to be involved with this project, to be making history and it’s just the beginning. I think we are working quite well, and hard.”

However, Espargaro says there is still something to find – with one fast lap not enough, and some things to work on to improve his pace overall.

“Actually I didn’t feel today was my best day, in Aragon I felt a lot stronger,” explains the Aprilia rider. “But here I put one good lap together and we ended up P1 in tricky conditions which is fantastic. We need to improve the pace a little bit, and the front stability, as the bike is not turning as I want it to. We saw many crashes because the tarmac is tricky and I think if it rains tomorrow then it will be even worse. It will be important to have a good feeling for the race because it will be very long!”

There’s more time to refine that feeling on Saturday, with Espargaro currently leading the charge to Q2 – and qualifying underway from 15:10 (GMT +11).