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APRILIA RACING TEAM GRESINI – Catalunya Qualifying

DIFFICULT QUALIFIERS, BUT GOOD PACE FOR THE APRILIAS ON THE SCORCHING SPANISH ASPHALT

The grip conditions on the Spanish Montmelò track did not improve during the second day of practice, complicated by asphalt temperatures reaching 50°C in the afternoon. For the Aprilia riders, this meant working in anticipation of the race on tyre choices and the best setup for tomorrow’s 24 laps.

In FP4, the most indicative session from this point of view, Andrea and Aleix both started with used tyres, demonstrating a rather consistent pace over the long distance. Bradley, on the other hand, assessed the two solutions, soft and medium, in order to gather as much informations as possible.

Unfortunately, the results they had hoped for did not arrive in qualifying, with Aleix having to settle for sixth row and Andrea forced to abort his second outing due to a technical problem with the ride-by-wire on his RS-GP. So, it is looking like it will be a race from behind for the Aprilia trio, on the hunt for a top-10 finish.

ALEIX ESPARGARO’
“Today I gave everything I had, but it was impossible to do any more. Our starting position does not satisfy us, that much is clear, but in FP4 I was able to do a full 22 laps with the soft rear tyre, maintaining a good pace. If we are able to keep that pace in the race, we’ll be able to battle for the top ten again. It will be a difficult race for everyone, very physical, with low grip and high temperatures on the asphalt. In these conditions, I know that we’ll be able to be competitive in the finale, so I’ll be on the attack from the first lap.”

ANDREA IANNONE
“In today’s sessions I was able to find a good feeling, compatibly with our expectations. I got very close to Aleix, which is a point of reference, given his experience with this bike, especially in FP4 that was done in race configuration. Evaluating my pace, I think that today it would have been more reasonable to aim for the top 15 in qualifying – a position that would certainly have made life easier in the race. Unfortunately, hard luck reared its head. The bike switched off on pit lane and by the time I went out with the second bike, it was too late. We’ll have to battle tomorrow too. We’ll try to start well and make up as many positions as possible.”

BRADLEY SMITH
“From a performance point of view, today was a good day. The situation in terms of tyres is still a bit complicated. A lot of riders seem to be leaning toward the soft rear, but the choice is not so clear. We are still struggling in acceleration, especially when the asphalt heats up, but overall, I have a good feeling. Now we’ll analyse the data from all three riders. We already have a few ideas that we want to test in warm-up.”