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APRILIA RACING TEAM GRESINI – MotoGP Valencia Friday

ALEIX ESPARGARÓ, RETURNING AFTER SURGERY ON HIS FRACTURED HAND, CLOSES OUT THE FRIDAY SESSIONS AT VALENCIA IN TWELFTH PLACE

THE HUNT FOR A TOP-TEN SPOT IS POSTPONED UNTIL TOMORROW

Aleix Espargaró finished in twelfth place with a time of 1’31.698 on the first day of free practice at Valencia in preparation for the race on Sunday which will close out the 2017 MotoGP season.
Aleix is back on the track after his accident in Australia that forced him to miss the Malaysia race and after surgery 15 days ago during which screws and a plate were applied to his left hand in order to reduce and stabilise the fractures of the fourth metacarpus and a finger.

Aleix took advantage of FP1 in the morning to get a feel for the conditions of his hand. In the second session, the Spanish rider tried to push with his Aprilia RS-GP, significantly improving in comparison to FP1 (almost a second faster) and he stayed among the leaders for the entire session but a crash just a few minutes before the end kept him from attacking for a top-ten spot. This was a result that seemed to be well within his reach, given the fact that his ideal time places him in ninth place. Now the Saturday morning session remains to get into the top ten and skip the first qualifiers.

Sam Lowes struggled to find the right speed on his flying lap and finished in 24th place with a time of 1’32.587. He also has FP3 to improve in view of the qualifiers.

ALEIX ESPARGARO’
“Today was not easy since I have not felt well since Wednesday and I have a bit of fever. Besides this and the pain in my hand, I was able to do a few good laps. We improved the settings in FP2, showing a promising pace. Unfortunately, in my last run I lost the front end and crashed but without any serious consequences. I hope to be in better condition tomorrow and to lower my time, aiming to go straight through to Q2.”

SAM LOWES
“I am rather satisfied because my race pace is already better compared to the tests. Unfortunately, at the end of FP2 I was unable to find a fast lap. I also slowed down when Aleix crashed ahead of me and on this track the tyres need a couple of laps to perform at their best. Between the morning and the afternoon we were able to improve the RS-GP, especially in terms of the rear, whereas at the front we are a bit at the limit since I am able to brake rather hard. We’ll work on that tomorrow. We have room to improve and I am working well, without making mistakes and maintaining a good feeling.”

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