ALEIX ESPARGARÓ IS BACK IN THE TOP TEN IN A RACE RUINED BY THE RAIN. CRASH FOR SAM LOWES
ALBESIANO: “WE HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO STAY IN THE TOP FIVE”
Aleix Espargaró is back in the points, finishing tenth in the Assen GP. This is certainly a positive result that ends Aleix's streak of zero point finishes, but the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Spaniard's race should have ended with a much different result.
Just after the mid-race point, the Espargaró-Aprilia package demonstrated its full potential. After a cautious start without forcing his pace too much, Aleix moved up from fifteenth to seventh, joining Crutchlow's group. An even more significant statistic is that during that part of the race (16th and 17th laps) he had lapped with the second best time and his gap behind the leader was less than seven seconds. In short, all the conditions were right for an excellent race finale, on the hunt for a top-five finish. Instead, raindrops began to fall and the altered grip conditions (Aleix had the hard tyre on the rear) ruined his pace completely. Aleix dropped back position by position to the end, in any case managing to defend a top-ten finish.
Notwithstanding, the Aprilia RS-GP confirmed once again in this race that a top-five finish is definitely within reach of a project which has made clear progress in terms of performance over recent months.
Sam Lowes, who had started from the fourth row for the first time thanks to outstanding qualifiers, crashed out in the ninth lap while lying fifteenth. There were no consequences for him and he can take comfort in a weekend where he demonstrated the biggest improvement of his rookie year in MotoGP.