MOTOGP – QUALIFYING AT JEREZ
APRILIA IMPROVES AND BAUTISTA JUST MISSES QP2 TWICE
The Aprilia RS-GP machines, after an encouraging season start, demonstrated progress in terms of pure performance in the first European round at Jerez.
The quickest to benefit was Alvaro Bautista, who just missed getting into QP2 twice. The first time was in the last practice session that decided the order (FP3) when he finished with the 11th best time at 1’39.935, just 48 thousandths behind the tenth place time which would have qualified him directly for QP2, and keeping the gap behind the front runner to less than 7 tenths. Then in QP1 Alvaro finished in third place (1’40.239), just missing out on the last spot that would have “promoted” him to QP2 by 24 hundredths of a second. His disappointed for the missed opportunity is mitigated by his spot on the fifth row of the starting grid (13th place), earned with the best qualifiers yet astride the Aprilia.
The other Aprilia Racing Team Gresini rider, Stefan Bradl, finished QP1 in eighth place (at 1’40.835), which places him on the sixth row. The very close ranking – both in qualifying and in free practice – also leave open excellent opportunities for a good race tomorrow.
“We have been working well since this morning both on the chassis and the electronics, also mounting the wings that we need, because in this category with such close gaps, every detail is important. Already in free practice this morning I was pleased and I came really close to qualifying for QP2. We tried the same changes in the afternoon, also testing harder tyres, and it went well again. We improved the overall sensation and our pace. In short, it was a positive day. Maybe in QP1 I could have done a bit better, but these are definitely my best qualifiers yet with Aprilia. The race will be difficult because tyre performance will drop, so we'll need to look after them well from the beginning, but this is my home race and I want to do well!”.
“Today we continued testing a lot of different things in the two morning free practice sessions, especially to improve the feeling with the hard front tyre that we'll need to use with these high temperatures. In the end we found a good setting for race pace. I'm confident because the situation is better than it might seem from the qualifying results. I can't say that I'm completely satisfied, because in QP1 I was unable to find a perfect lap. Obviously I would have liked to start farther forward, but our consistent performance makes me optimistic for the race tomorrow”.