MOTOGP AT ASSEN - STEFAN BRADL RIDES HIS APRILIA RS-GP TO AN EIGHTH PLACE FINISH, ALVARO BAUTISTA CRASHES WHILE BATTLING FOR FIFTH. ALBESIANO: “IMPORTANT SIGNS OF GROWTH FOR APRILIA"
The Sunday that just ended at Assen was a hard one, with the MotoGP race suspended due to heavy rainfall and then restarted with 11 laps to race. There was no lack of excitement for Aprilia, with Bradl and Bautista's RS-GP machines shining in both parts of the race and with yet another top ten finish in the end.
After the first start on a wet track, the two Aprilia Racing Team Gresini riders maintained focus despite the difficult conditions, further worsened as the rain fell more intensely, conditions that forced Race Direction to suspend the race during lap 14. Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl occupied tenth and eleventh place respectively, positions that they maintained on the second starting grid.
At the restart Alvaro and Stefan picked up where they had left off, riding cautiously on decidedly treacherous asphalt, as the many crashes that began straight away proved. With a good pace and taking advantage of the riders who dropped out, Alvaro moved up to fifth place before Iannone overtook him, in any case without pulling away. On the final lap, when he had completely closed the gap, the Spaniard attempted to take the inside line to move back into fifth place, but he fell victim instead to a crash.
Stefan Bradl, forced to use the second RS-GP, had a bit of difficulty finding the right feeling with the bike and the track, opting for a cautious race, in the end bringing home a well-earned and promising eighth place.
ROMANO ALBESIANO - APRILIA RACING MANAGER
"A difficult weekend but positive for us in many ways. For example, our ninth place in warmup, with Bautista less than a second behind the leader, signs of growth that are important for us. In the race the riders did well. It was not easy to stay focused and it's a pity about Bautista's crash. In any case, Alvaro did well to try. Fifth place was within his capabilities and it would have been an incredible result. Stefan had some fuel problems at the second start; otherwise he would have been able to improve his already strong eighth place".
"In the first part of the race I was riding well, despite the difficulties. At the restart I stayed calm, trying to figure out the track conditions lap after lap and setting my pace. I felt good, even when Iannone overtook me, opening up a little gap, I managed to close it back down. In the last lap I was very close to Andrea. His line went slightly wide on a turn and I moved in to overtake him. Unfortunately I fell, but in those situations the rider's instinct is always to aim for the best possible result. I'm sorry, first of all for the guys on my team and for Aprilia. Now the only thing to do is to look forward and keep on growing".
FAUSTO GRESINI - TEAM MANAGER
"I consider this to be a positive day. We defended well in the wet and if Bautista hadn't crashed on the last lap we could have taken our best result of the season. In any case, Alvaro did very well. He believed and tried all the way to the end and even if he didn't bring home the points, that is the right attitude. Stefan also rode an excellent race, bringing home another top ten finish in conditions which were definitely not easy. We still have a long way to go to improve, but we can be satisfied with this weekend".
"It was definitely a race that will spark a lot of discussion. Race Direction took the right decision. The track was really getting dangerous. I was riding with confidence and I felt good in the saddle even if it was definitely not easy to go fast. Unfortunately, once I was back in the garage, we had a small electronics problem so I had to restart with the second bike. The geometry was slightly different and the feeling was not perfect, so I managed the race, in any case bringing home an important result. This is a good calling card for my home race at the Sachsenring".