"I am satisfied with this first day. We were more competitive compared to last week. The gaps are obviously very narrow, but the improvement is clear. In the afternoon with the medium compound, which is not my favourite, I was able to lap in the low 32 range. The bike has improved, especially in terms of electronics. Tomorrow we’ll try to go through to Q2 using the soft tyre. I get the impression that there will be ten riders within a tenth of one another, so we’ll need to grit our teeth and maybe stretch out our arms like they do in cycling sprints!"
INTENSE DAY FOR BRADLEY SMITH
It sounds strange to call them the "opening practice sessions", since this is the second weekend in a row, not to mention a full day of testing, on the same asphalt. In any case, references must be recalculated, given the high competitiveness of a championship that comes down to the details.
Therefore, the work in Aleix’s garage focused not only on performance, which is very good in any case, considering his thirteenth time in the combined standings with ninth in FP1, but also on evaluating choices in view of the race. The 5-tenths gap behind the leader, without a true time attack in the afternoon, indicate outstanding solidity from the Spanish rider and his Aprilia RS-GP.
For Bradley, the first day was dedicated to verifying a few things, not only in terms of different components, but also concerning the reactions of a "fresh” engine. In any case, recalibration of the setup, chassis architecture and electronics is proceeding as scheduled, which will allow Bradley to find his pace tomorrow.
"We arrived at the level of the tests and that is a positive aspect. We also tested a few changes that we weren’t able to assess on Tuesday. Using a new engine, I found different sensations today with respect to my base, but I'm confident that we’ll be able check the data and set it up correctly for tomorrow. The situation got steadily better already in the afternoon, but everyone was extremely fast straight away, including Aleix. We’ll need to work hard tomorrow to recover a few tenths which we seem to be lacking at the moment."