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After securing a best result of the 2018 season here at MotorLand Aragon, it’ll come as no surprise that there was a quite rarer spring in the step of Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Aleix Espargaro as he returned to the paddock ahead of this weekend’s Gran Premio Michelin® de Aragon.
The Spaniard fought to sixth place in 2018 and there’s every possibility he can match or even better this season’s current best of ninth, coming at the Argentinian Grand Prix. All in all, Aleix was delighted to finally get the opportunity to give “the whole team a boost of positive energy” in what he describes as being “a disaster” of a season.
What makes it even more impressive is that Aleix went to check on his younger brother Pol (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) prior to qualifying getting underway. However, he was able to put that to the back of his mind and secure a best grid slot of the year; with a slight helping hand coming from poleman Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team).
“Very happy overall,” said Aleix. “I said before the weekend that I’d give 100% to do a good race here and to give the whole team a boost of positive energy because we are all struggling. It’s not a good year for us but if we can have a good race tomorrow, ahead of the overseas races, that would be very good for the atmosphere in the team.”
“With the first tyre I was already quite fast. With the second, I was behind Maverick in the last corner and then Marc overtook me and I thought ‘there’s no way I can follow him, he’s on a different planet this weekend’ but I was able to follow him. I did a perfect, perfect, perfect lap. I lost quite a lot on the straight behind him, he had a lot of traction and acceleration, but, apart from this, the difference was seven-tenths. So, a 47.7, we should be proud of this.
“There’s nothing to lose. Our season has been a disaster so far. I hope that I can do a good race and the most important thing for me is that when I come back into the garage afterwards all the faces of my team, all the people around me, are smiling because we need this. We need some positive energy in the garage ahead of the flyaway races because everybody is working hard yet the results aren’t coming.”
Why did Iannone only do one lap in Q2?
After withdrawing from his home Grand Prix at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli just a week ago, some thought Andrea Iannone (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) may well withdraw from the Aragon Grand Prix too. In fact, quite the opposite as the Italian reached Q2 for the first time whilst riding for the Italian factory.
“We need to improve tomorrow in order to have a good race. Aprilia have always been strong here in Aragon, they’ve always had really good results. I still have a lot of pain, it’s really difficult. It’s a good qualifying for us.”
The Italian factory fight will be desperately hoping both Espargaro and Iannone can fight towards a double ten tomorrow and finally bring smiles to their garage after what has been a season to forget.
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