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APRILIA RACING TEAM GRESINI – Jerez Friday

LOTS OF WORK AND STEPS FORWARD FOR ESPARGARÓ AND IANNONE
BOTH FACTORY APRILIA BIKES IMPROVE IN THE HUNT FOR A TOP-TEN SPOT
SMITH INVOLVED IN A CRASH WITHOUT SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES

Andrea Iannone and Aleix Espargaró took advantage of the outstanding conditions on the Jerez de la Frontera track to advance development on the Aprilia RS-GP. Both were able to improve their performance between FP1 and FP2, respectively just 767 and 812 thousandths of a second behind the top time.

Iannone used the first day of practice to compare two bikes with a slightly different configuration, finding a good feeling in the latter part of the day and, more importantly, identifying a promising base for his setup. There was a lot of work on Aleix’s side of the garage as well, with the rider busy doing a series of tests on the frame and electronics. Both riders (Andrea in the two sessions, Aleix in FP1) also tried out a new aerodynamic solution on the lower part of the bike.

In his second wild card of the season, Bradley Smith’s weekend is off to a solid start. An unfortunate crash toward the end of FP2 left the English rider a bit sore, but from initial checks, it shouldn’t compromise the rest of his race weekend.

ALEIX ESPARGARO’
I managed to maintain a good pace, doing competitive lap times, but we know that we need to work hard to be consistent over the long distance. On this first day, we tested different solutions on various fronts: frame, electronics and aerodynamics, even putting the deflector on the rear swingarm in the morning session. In the afternoon I lapped without it to give our technicians a chance to compare the data. The temperatures changed a lot during the day, so it will be important to work well in anticipation of the race tomorrow. Even in FP2, with high temperatures, grip on the track was good, thanks to the new asphalt.”

ANDREA IANNONE
“We’re working well. Today I compared the two bikes, which are set up differently, clarifying our ideas on a few aspects. We need to find the right compromise, but I found a better feeling than I expected to. Right now, it seems like we can do more, especially in braking. We need to slow the bike down better. It would be presumptuous to think we can close the gap in one day, so I prefer working on consistent improvements and I think that on this track, we can take a step forward.”

BRADLEY SMITH
“Unfortunately, I hit some debris that was left on the track after Abraham’s crash and that made me lose control of the bike. I was thrown by a high side and I fell right in the middle of the track. Fortunately, the other riders avoided me and nothing is broken, although both my ankles are sore. It’s a pity. I was doing a good lap. In any case, I’m pleased with the work done today. We are moving in the right direction and I think we’ll be able to keep going the same way tomorrow.”