DISAPPOINTMENT FOR ALEIX WITH A CRASH INTERRUPTING HIS COMEBACK
In the first official race, held in extremely difficult conditions, the new Aprilia RS-GP put its first championship points on the board thanks to Bradley Smith, lacking in grip but skilfully maintaining concentration. His fifteenth-place finish does not do justice to all the hard work done in the Italian garage, but the many crashes, some even with serious consequences, confirm just how much the scalding Spanish asphalt in Jerez was at the limit. The English rider’s excellent start is worth a mention, gaining no less than 5 positions in just one lap.
Espargaró had started the race with his usual quality, aggressive straight away in the early stages of the race and comforted by a good feeling, especially in braking. It was precisely an extreme late braking manoeuvre, made even riskier by his full fuel tank during the third lap, that led to a sudden loss of grip, resulting in a crash. The disappointment of Aleix and his entire garage is understandable, attenuated by the fact that he will be back on the track in Jerez already in a few days for the second race of the season.
"I am deeply sorry for Aprilia, the fans and for myself. I felt good from the start. I was faster than the riders ahead of me and, in fact, I was overtaking when I lost the front end. Unfortunately, with a full tank, it’s difficult to push, but my desire to take the RS-GP to a good result was very strong. Fortunately, we’ll be back on the track in just a few days. To be honest, I wish we were racing again tomorrow, because I think that an important result is within our reach. Next weekend, we’ll need to get off on the right foot straight away from Friday. Clearly, we’ll have clearer ideas so we can aim for better qualifying first and then for a solid race."
"The goal today was to do all 25 laps of the race in order to gather fundamental data on the reactions of this new bike. I started very well, but staying in the slipstream of a lot of other riders straight away created quite a few problems for me. The tyre temperature and pressure was off the charts and I didn't have much grip at all. This will have to be our main focus for our work next weekend. We don’t have any experience with this bike, but every time we go out, we learn something new and I have full confidence in the guys at Aprilia."