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APRILIA RACING TEAM GRESINI – Assen Friday

ANDREA IANNONE FAST AND SIXTH AFTER THE FIRST DAY OF PRACTICE

A COURAGEOUS ALEIX ESPARGARÓ IS BACK IN THE SADDLE LESS THAN TWO WEEKS AFTER HIS ACCIDENT IN BARCELONA

The familiarity between Iannone and his Aprilia RS-GP is growing. On the first day of practice in Assen, Andrea finished sixth with a time of 1’33.355 about seven tenths behind the leader. It was Andrea’s best placement of the day on his RS-GP and it came at the end of two sessions where the Italian rider found a good feeling with his Aprilia straight away, a condition that allowed him to show a clear improvement compared to recent race weekends.

However, the best result, from a sporting point of view, was seeing Aleix Espargaró back in the saddle. The Spanish rider was back on the track less than two weeks after the accident in Barcelona that left him with two fractures to the left leg. Complicating matters was a crash in FP1. In these conditions, the time of 1’34.537 – which gives Aleix a provisional 19th place – should be considered more than positive and a true act of bravery.

ALEIX ESPARGARO’
“To be honest, I had hoped to feel a bit better. Instead, in the high-speed direction changes where you have to use your body, I am struggling. My knee is in pain and I am unable to apply the right force. The crash in FP1 was also due to this. On a left-hander I was unable to lean as much as I should have, and I lost the front end. Tomorrow, things should improve. The first day is always the one where you struggle the most. Now I need to rest and try to recover.”

ANDREA IANNONE
“This was undoubtedly a positive day. I was able to find a good feeling straight away. It is an important result for me, for the team and for Aprilia. We did not change our approach, but we are continuing to work step by step. There is still margin for improvement. I am very fast in some sectors, whereas in acceleration from low speeds, we are still losing a few tenths. The crash at the end of the session kept us from improving further. With the soft rear tyre, the bike loses a bit of the good balance that we had with the hard. In any case, it is a nice way to start this weekend.”