APRILIA RACING TEAM GRESINI – MotoGP COTA Qualifying hold up Aleix Espargaro, Secenth row for SAM LOWES


It will be an uphill race for Aleix Espargaró and his RS-GP tomorrow on the Circuit of the Americas. A series of unfortunate circumstances kept the Spanish rider from participating in the Q1 session where, after his promising performance in the first two races of the season, he was looking forward to tackling with the ambition of going through to Q2.
Instead, a technical problem stopped him right in the final stages of the last free practice session (FP4), where he finished in twelfth place with a minimum gap behind the top ranking spots. The diagnostics system switched off the engine and the team is currently investigating the cause of the fault, probably a simple problem, but enough to stop number 41’s RS-GP just a few minutes before of the decisive session. On his second bike, Aleix crashed during his first good lap, a fall without consequences for the rider, but one that denied him taking even one lap, relegating him to the last spot on the starting grid for tomorrow.

Sam Lowes finished with a time of 2’07.232 that earned him the twentieth spot and the seventh row on the starting grid.

“Today was perhaps the most difficult day of my MotoGP career: two crashes in FP3, a technical problem, and then another fall in qualifying. We have work to do. Our bike does not seem to handle the bumps well and this creates problems in all of the riding phases. Despite what happened today, I am confident that things will be different in the race tomorrow and, even starting from behind, my goal is to fight for a top 10 finish.”

“Let’s just say that one of the nice things about today is that tomorrow could go surprisingly well! The conditions were anything but easy. This morning the temperature was low and in the afternoon it did not improve too much. The different tyre options have a precise temperature range within which they perform the best, so understanding that and choosing the right one at the right time is essential. Given the time lost in the two sessions, I used the qualifiers as a practice session, staying on the track the whole time without coming in to change tyres. In any case, I am pleased with my pace. The RS-GP is probably the bike that performs the best on used tyres and that will help us tomorrow.”