"I'm happy with how the entire weekend has gone and not just because of the performance today. Yesterday we were consistently competitive even in the wet. This morning in FP3 I crashed right in the final moments. I raced back to the garage and with the second bike I managed to do the ninth time and go through to Q2, so that is positive and very important. Then, in qualifying I struggled on the first turn, but despite this, we finished just three tenths behind the pole position time. My RS-GP worked well both in the wet and on dry asphalt. We have a good pace and that makes me confident for the race, but I am also happy with the many indications that we are gathering in view of the tests next week and for the 2019 bike."
ESPARGARÓ GOES STRAIGHT THROUGH TO Q2 AND TAKES HOME A SPOT ON THE THIRD ROW WITH THE EIGHTH BEST TIME
The Valencia qualifiers on Saturday confirmed the progress made by Aleix Espargaró's Aprilia RS-GP, already demonstrated yesterday in the wet. In different conditions, from rain tyres in the morning during the decisive FP3 session and dry in qualifying, Aleix was consistently with the leaders, even filing away a nice fourth place time in FP4.
Crashing just at the end of FP3, a rather heated session to get into the top ten and therefore Q2, Aleix changed bikes and, finding the right confidence straight away, pulled out the ninth best time that put him through to Q2 right on the final lap. Among the best, he distinguished himself by finishing eighth with a time of 1’31.630, just three tenths behind pole, earning the middle spot on the third row of the starting grid where he will start the race tomorrow, during which rain is forecast.
After yesterday when he had shown signs of competitiveness, Scott Redding ran into some difficult qualifiers and in the end had to settle for the eighth row with a time of 1’35.171. However, given his pace in the wet, the conditions forecast for tomorrow could put him in play for a good placement.
"In the wet we were able to find a bit of improvement, but with the track drying out, I didn't have the same good feeling as yesterday. In the grip changes, the bike gets twitchy and I lost confidence, which is a factor that limited me quite a bit in qualifying. The race should be in the rain and that could help us, although it won't be easy starting from behind."