"We made some rather significant changes to the bike and I must say that in FP4, we demonstrated outstanding pace, with a full tank and race tyres. The first run in qualifiers was also fast, but due to a technical fault, I was unable to use the same bike on the last run. Unfortunately, the second RS-GP is set up differently and I didn’t have the same feeling with it, so I was unable to improve my time. It’s a pity, because we’ll have to start from rather far back. Given our pace, I’ll have to take some risks in the early stages of the race."
On the second Saturday in a row at the Red Bull Ring, the overall performance of the Aprilia riders showed promising improvement, made less tangible only by a less-than-optimum qualifying session.
Bradley Smith improved his times consistently, continuing to focus on preparing for tomorrow’s race. A little hiccup in Q1 during his flying lap resulted in the sixth row on the starting grid, a position from which he’ll start his hunt for the points zone.
After the outstanding pace demonstrated in FP4, the session that was most representative of the values in race terms, Aleix Espargaró started the first qualifying session in good form. Unfortunately, a technical problem complicated his second run, keeping him from improving his time. This means that the Spanish rider will be starting from the seventh row.
"I am rather pleased today as well. We are continuing to improve. We are working in the right direction. My feeling with the RS-GP is increasing, especially in terms of race pace. It’s a pity about the qualifiers. In the last sector, I saw the marshals busy with Valentino’s crash and I slowed down. I could have improved by a few positions. In any case, I have a good pace for tomorrow. A good result in the race would be the right conclusion for this weekend."