Aleix Espargaro equalled Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s best MotoGP™ qualifying result thanks to a P4 finish in Q2 at the Monster Energy Czech Republic Grand Prix.
The last time an Aprilia machine started this far up a premier class grid was at the 2017 Japanese GP, Aleix Espargaro finishing just 0.044 off the front row on that occasion. On Saturday in Brno, Espargaro was again less than a tenth shy of securing Aprilia’s first front row start but if the team can build on this result, that crown jewel is surely going to come sooner rather than later.
After what is described by the 41 as a “disaster” in Jerez, where Espargaro crashed out of both races, he and the RS-GP are looking more comfortable at the Czech GP – somewhere he admits he and the machine have struggled in the past.
“Very happy, starting P4 is a good help and advantage for tomorrow’s race. I’m happy with my performance over the entire weekend, not just the P4, because we showed during all sessions,” reacted Espargaro.
“The Aprilia is working well in Brno, I never expected that because in the past we suffer a lot here, but after the disaster of Jerez we changed the balance of the bike, to the preseason test settings. I felt better all weekend, tomorrow is the important session. I will try to be close to the top guys and let’s see if I can last.”
The race tomorrow looks set to be a very intriguing one for the premier class. The tyres have been dropping off quite quickly throughout the weekend and on a slippery and bumpy Automotodrom Brno, Espargaro is wary of how important preserving the rear tyre – no matter what compound – will be heading into the last quarter of the 21-lap battle.
“The track is very slippy and very bumpy. To do a lot of laps isn’t going to be easy, also the rear tyre drops a lot so to manage everything tomorrow will be tough. But it’s the same for everybody so let’s see how we can finish.
“The important thing is to try and follow the leaders, but the most important thing is to not destroy the rear tyre. We know the tyres are dropping a lot on the soft, medium and hard so we have to be a little bit conservative on the riding style at the beginning so let’s see if at the end of the race we have some tyre left to fight for a good position.”