ALEIX ESPARGARÓ FAST ON THE FIRST DAY IN AUSTRIA

ALEIX ESPARGARÓ FAST ON THE FIRST DAY IN AUSTRIA

MotoGP

EIGHTH PLACE FOR THE SPANIARD IN FP2, SAM LOWES IMPROVING

Practice conditioned by the weather has by now become a constant factor of recent MotoGP rounds. Even in Austria, the first day began on dry asphalt but under looming clouds which obviously influenced the teams' plans.

Aleix Espargaró, not entirely at ease in the early laps of FP1, continued working on the setup for his RS-GP throughout the session, using only one set of tyres and without ever attempting the final time attack in view of qualifying as almost all the other riders on the track did. His fifteenth place time in FP1 therefore did not worry the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini, a sensation that was confirmed by Aleix's outstanding performance in FP2. After the rain, the Austrian track dried out progressively during the second session, allowing him to improve his time by almost one second. His 1'24.726 earned him ninth place in the combined standings and provisionally sends him straight through to Q2 tomorrow.

There was a lot of work for Sam Lowes, skilfully shaving off almost a half a second from one session to the next and eighteenth in the combined standings with a time of 1'25.270.

ALEIX ESPARGARO'
"I am happy with the way we finished the day, because this morning I did not have a good feeling with the RS-GP. Especially in braking, so much that we decided to try a big change in the geometry. Precisely for this reason, I did not use a soft tyre at the end of FP1, finishing quite far back in the standings. Fortunately, in the afternoon we had a dry track to work with, reconfirming the bike's improvements and gaining provisional access to Q2. I also tried the aerodynamic fairing. On this track, where wheelies are a problem, I found some benefits that we will continue to test."

SAM LOWES
"Things did not go too badly for the first day. I improved on the 2016 Aprilia times and that is a first important step for me. The first half of FP2 was a bit difficult because of the track conditions, but toward the end we had dry asphalt and a good temperature, continuing to do a lot of work on the bike. I had fun. At the end of the day we got close to the top ten times, so I am feeling optimistic about tomorrow."