Aleix equals his best result with Aprilia: “I’m super happy”

Spaniard earns Aprilia’s best result of the season with P6 in Aragon

Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) had another Sunday to remember at the Gran Premio Movistar de Aragon after achieving his and Aprilia’s best result of the season in sixth - a repeat of their 2017 finish in Aragon. 

It’s been a tough year to say the least for the Italian factory with only three top ten finishes to their name, but recent personnel changes on his side of the garage have seemingly paid off: “Yeah this year has been a super difficult year for us, we are working very hard, everybody in Aprilia, myself, we are trying everything, every single week and we are testing and testing new items and trying new items but nothing is working for the moment.

“On the last race we changed the crew chief and we started working in a different way, we changed the balance of the bike. We worked in a different way from F1, thinking more for the race, we suffered a lot in qualifying because I started in 15th place which wasn’t really my position because we were stronger but all weekend we worked with a full tank and race tyres. Finally, it paid off in the race, we did the right choice with the tyres and we were strong from the beginning to the end, so I’m super happy.”

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini, Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón

The Spaniard got a blistering start to propel himself up into P6 on the opening lap, right behind Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa: “At the beginning I thought I was stronger than Dani and I overtook him two times to catch the Suzuki’s but Dani was at least 10kms quicker than me on the straight so every time he overtook me on the straight,” explained Espargaro, who then had to try and make time up on the brakes to battle back.

“I had to risk a lot on the brakes to overtake him again so I decided to wait a little bit because at the end I knew it would be more difficult. In the middle of the race I was still there and the chance was not impossible but again I lose a lot of time in the straights so it was difficult to arrive on the brakes to overtake Dani. But when I saw I was opening up a bigger gap to Petrucci I decided to just finish in sixth because it’s obviously the best result of the season and I think it’s good enough.”

Good enough is certainly an understatement for the number 41 rider who admits that keeping motivation levels up this season has been difficult, with results not coming for the team despite trying everything they can to close the gap to the quicker bikes:

“Unbelievable, you can’t imagine how difficult it is to maintain the motivation with these results. I’m trying everything, I’m working more than ever in my life, with the team and the bicycle here, we made a lot of meetings. In the last two months I’ve been in my home for 20 nights, every GP we do a test and nothing was improving. So it was very difficult, I was very upset and difficult to find the motivation so I hope that this result will help myself as you said and also the people around me.”

Can Espargaro and Aprilia now kick on and have a string of positive results to end a disappointing 2018? 

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