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APRILIA RACING TEAM GRESINI – Jerez Qualifying

SIXTH ROW FOR ALEIX ESPARGARÓ IN THE JEREZ QUALIFIERS

ANDREA IANNONE VICTIM OF A BAD CRASH

BRADLEY SMITH ON THE SEVENTH ROW

A tenth of a second kept Aleix Espargaró from gaining direct access in FP3 to the second qualifying session today, a tiny gap that bears witness once again to how competitive the MotoGP starting grid is on the Jerez de la Frontera circuit. The Spanish rider then went through Q1 boldly, finishing with a time of 1’37.625 that earns him the first spot on the sixth row.

His garage mate, Andrea Iannone, had a bad crash on turn 11 in the early stages of FP4. Although X-rays showed that there were no fractures, the rider was declared unfit to race due to severe pain to his left foot. The situation will be assessed and updated with a check-up tomorrow morning.

Bradley Smith will start from the seventh row tomorrow, doing his best time ever on the Jerez track while continuing his usual development work on the Aprilia RS-GP again today.

ALEIX ESPARGARO’
“This morning, we worked hard with the goal of going through to Q2, missing it by just one tenth of a second, after which I gave it my all in Q1 as well, but finishing in the top 12 just wasn’t in the cards. We cannot be satisfied with our starting position, but in compensation, during FP4 we found some good solutions for the race, both in terms of setup and in terms of tyres. Tomorrow I will try to start well and maintain a good pace all the way to the finish with the goal of getting into the top ten. We expect higher temperatures tomorrow, so I will probably put on the harder compound tyres which I feel better with.”

BRADLEY SMITH
“Yesterday evening we did everything we could to relieve the pain and it was good to get back on the back feeling almost none. Having said that, we did not want to take too many risks today. In any case, my time in qualifying is the best I’ve ever done here at Jerez, so I am pleased even if I would have liked to have gotten below 1’38”, and we had the potential to do it. In the warm up session tomorrow we’ll try to use a mix of two different configurations we tested today in order to keep improving for the race, where we’ll be able to battle for points.”