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. NEXT RACE: 29-31 MARCH 2019 AT TERMAS DE RIO HONDO, IN ARGENTINA.
Doha (Qatar), 10 March 2019 – 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.
ALEIX ESPARGARO' (bike no. 41): "Not bad at all! Finishing in the top ten for the first race is definitely positive. Since I started well, I tried to stay up with the leaders. Our engine is now competitive, especially in the top gears, and I have good speed on the straight, but with the new tyre, I never had good traction.
Then, grip started to drop for everyone, I felt very competitive. It’s a shame that we lost a lot of time overtaking Miller, but when I did, I was also able to get past Morbidelli and finish in the top ten. We can build our growth on this good result."
ANDREA IANNONE (bike no. 29): "Overall, it was a positive race. On my début with Aprilia, we finished 14 seconds behind the leader and that means that we worked well. There was no lack of difficulties: on the first turn I lost the left winglet due to contact and that certainly didn’t help.
I am pleased, we improve every time we go out onto the track and a team of skilled people who believe in me has my back. These are fundamental ingredients that allow me to be positive. We are on the right path."
BRADLEY SMITH (moto n. 38): "Non è stato il finale di weekend che ci aspettavamo. Come già avevamo intuito durante le prove, dopo i primi 5 giri nei quali mi sentivo molto bene abbiamo iniziato a cedere terreno inesorabilmente. Nel corso degli ultimi giri ho cercato di aumentare un po' il ritmo ma sono scivolato alla curva 1. Dovremo analizzare bene questo comportamento, abbiamo già qualche idea a riguardo e inizieremo a lavorarci già dal prossimo test di Jerez".
Andrea Iannone’s facebook official page: The only thing I can say is that I am happy and satisfied ... Thanks Aprilia, thank you team, we are on the right track and I have never felt so important for anyone, for me you are special!