ALEIX IN THE TOP TEN STRAIGHT AWAY AND WITH A NARROW GAP BEHIND THE LEADERS
ANDREA MAINTAINS A GOOD PACE AND EARNS HIS FIRST POINTS WITH APRILIA
BRADLEY, STOPPED BY A CRASH, CONCLUDES A WEEKEND OF HARD WORK ON THE RS-GP
The first round of the season in Qatar ended up being a good weekend for Aprilia Racing Team Gresini, rounding out three days of constant growth with a positive race.
Aleix Espargaró, who had an excellent start in the race, tried to stay with the leading group, but struggled to find grip with the new tyre. Settling in behind the leading group, he gradually improved his performance, maintaining a narrow gap behind the leaders and moving up through the positions, winning the battle for tenth with Morbidelli just on the last lap, containing the gap behind the winning time to just over nine seconds. This is an outstanding result that rewards him for the good race he rode.
For Andrea Iannone, the Qatar race was actually his first “long run” astride the new RS-GP. Andrea, penalised by his seventh-row spot on the starting grid, was unable to stay close to the leaders but, once the group spread out, he settled into a pace worthy of the best placements, moving all the way up to thirteenth. The duel he lost to Lorenzo on the final straight gave him fourteenth place which, in any case, earns him is first championship points and, more importantly, confirms his trend of consistent improvement, precisely the top priority for him and his team at this stage of the season.
Bradley Smith’s race ended early due a to a harmless crash two laps ahead of the chequered flag. This was the first race for the English rider and the test team, and the weekend produced a large amount of data and results from the many tests completed. This data will be valuable material for the next steps in the growth of the 2019 RS-GP, a bike that demonstrated outstanding potential in the Qatar night.