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APRILIA RACING TEAM GRESINI – Buriram Qualifying

MOTOGP IN THAILAND

SIXTH ROW FOR ESPARGARÓ, EIGHTH FOR REDDING

The final practice sessions on the Buriram circuit also had the riders and teams working on race settings, with particular attention on tyre wear which promises to be the critical element of the boiling hot Thai weekend. If, on one hand, the hardest compound seems to guarantee more consistency, the performance demonstrated by the soft tyre could allow a more sustained race pace.

The final decisions will be taken in the warm up session tomorrow morning, where Aleix Espargaró will continue assessments, aiming to further improve his feeling with the RS-GP. The Italian bike demonstrated good form on the second part of the track, the more flowing section, whereas it leaves a few tenths behind on the initial section, made up of abrupt accelerations and long straights. Despite his sixteenth spot on the grid, Aleix showed a race pace that places him in the running for the top 10.

For Scott Redding, the biggest difficulties arrived in qualifying. Rather consistent in his practice sessions, the British rider had problems braking when trying to increase his pace for the flying lap. This is a limitation that kept him from moving any farther forward than the eighth row on the starting grid.

ALEIX ESPARGARO’“The results are in line with what we expected. We knew that it would not be an easy track for us. Grip and acceleration are our weak points and, given the characteristics of the circuit, we struggle. To be honest, in terms of race pace, we are not far from the top 10. What we have trouble with is pushing on the flying lap because we do not have much margin. We saw that the gaps are rather close and rear tyre choice will be fundamental tomorrow. With the hard compound, you have better duration but lack performance, whereas with the soft tyre you can risk with some doubts on how it will hold up in the race. I think that, in light of our starting position, it makes sense to take the riskier path, managing tyre wear during the race.”

SCOTT REDDING“At the start of qualifying something must have happened with the saddle, because it was particularly slippery and on these bikes, you need grip to be able to ride. We also had some problems in braking. When pushing for the fast lap, the lever had to be adjusted practically on every braking section because the temperatures rise too high. Because of these two problems, I lost the first part of the session and then I was able to improve my time, but it wasn’t enough. I am focusing on the ride. The bike is performing well, but we are simply lacking a few tenths, especially when we try to push to lower the time.”