ALEIX ESPARGARO’ AND BRADLEY SMITH SATISFIED AND READY FOR THE FIRST GP OF THE SEASON IN JEREZ, SPAIN, 18 AND 19 JULY 2020.
Jerez de la Frontera (Spain), 15 July 2020 - The script called for high temperatures and high competitiveness from all the riders, and the first day of testing in Jerez definitely went as scripted. With the asphalt at 57°C in the afternoon, 16 riders were all within one second of one another in the combined rankings of the two sessions. In this setting, the Aprilia RS-GP continued growing and, in the able hands of Aleix Espargaró and Bradley Smith, confirmed the good signs shown during its first outings of the season.
There is still much work to be done, and the total shutdown in Italy due to COVID certainly didn’t facilitate the schedule for Aprilia, which is therefore putting forth no small effort on the track to prepare as best as possible for the first weekend of the 2020 MotoGP season, for the Grand Prix de España, Jerez Circuit, on 18 and 19 July.
Looking at the times, Aleix ended the day at 1'38.285 with the sixth best time, less than a half a second from the leader. The seventeenth best time went to Bradley (1'38.942), busying himself more with endurance tests, but increasingly faster astride the prototype from Noale.
ALEIX ESPARGARO' (bike no. 41): "I felt good in both sessions - maybe not super fast on the flying lap, but with a great pace. Especially at the time of day when the races are held, with 20 laps on the tyres, I was able to maintain a good pace.
This is rather comforting, because racing here in Jerez is never simple and we managed to maintain the same good feelings as we had in Malaysia and Qatar. The situation in Italy clearly slowed down our schedule, so we’ll have to work harder over the coming months, also in view of 2021.
We had a few small problems today, which is only normal, given the little time available to develop such a new project due to COVID. The temperatures are extremely demanding, but I must say that they did a great job on the asphalt. A lot of riders managed to go fast even with this heat and I personally appreciate the conditions that put my athletic preparation to the test."
BRADLEY SMITH (bike no. 38): "I'm happy to be riding again. Even with all the appropriate precautions, considering the weekend ahead, we were able to carry out the test programme, especially in terms of endurance performance. It was important for us to gather as much data as possible, given how young the project is. Now the techs will be able to analyze it between today and tomorrow in order to prepare for the race as best as possible.
There are obviously still some question marks, but at the moment, I'm satisfied. These temperatures put the tyres, riders and bikes to the test. I can guarantee that you feel every extra degree when you're on the bike!"