4 August 2017
The weekend at the Brno GP is off to a good start for Aprilia as the second half of the season kicks off, nine races where the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini is called on to confirm the progress demonstrated by the young RS-GP. In order to make even more progress, Aprilia Racing brought a series of developments to the Czech Republic that range from the completely new gearbox (already tested in Barcelona) to a new airbox and exhaust system design.
On a day characterized by changing track conditions due to the weather (rain and wet track in the first free practice session, sun and dry track in FP2), Aleix Espargaró placed consistently in the top ten, both times in ninth place although obviously with very different times: 2’05.922 in the morning and 1’57.019 in the second session. This consistency in different situations provides high hopes for the rest of the weekend, where the asphalt should be dry on Saturday for the decisive sessions that define the starting order, but with a high risk of rain for the race on Sunday.
Sam Lowes lapped well in the morning, staying in the top ten and then finishing 17th with a time of 2’06.622. In the dry conditions of FP2, the English rider also showed his ability to continue improving on the performance shown in the recent races before the summer break, but a crash relegated him to 22nd place with a time of 1’58.638. More importantly, however, it resulted in an injury to his right foot which required 4 stitches in the Clinica Mobile. In any case, the English rookie will be on the track as scheduled tomorrow.
“I couldn’t wait to get back on the track. We had a lot of things to try. First of all, I need to thank the guys at Aprilia, because during the break they really worked hard to improve the RS-GP. The initial feedback is definitely positive. We were quite competitive straight away on a track where the engine counts for a lot. I am pleased with this first day. We got off on the right foot this weekend.”
“When I crashed I hit the footpeg with the outside of my right foot. They gave me stitches in the Clinica, but it won’t be a big problem for the weekend. Besides the fall, I am really pleased with the way we started. I was fast in both sessions. The team did a great job during the break. The package we have here is really a step forward. Only having done one session on the dry track, we still have room to improve. I did my best time with the medium tyre, but I crashed with the soft, so I can’t wait to get back on the track tomorrow.”