21 April 2018
There was no time to relax on the first day of practice at the Austin circuit. The uncertain weather forecast for tomorrow forced the MotoGP riders to push hard straight away, looking for a top 10 time that (in the event of rain on Saturday) will guarantee direct access to the second qualifying session.
Aleix Espargaró succeeded in the undertaking, very satisfied with the performance of his 2018 RS-GP on a historically difficult track. The work done on the American circuit’s asphalt did not solve the problem with dips, but the Spanish rider was able to find good speed anyway and, with a ninth place time in the combined results, clinched a virtual spot in Q2. In the event that improving the times is not possible tomorrow, this is an excellent starting place for Aleix’s weekend.
Scott Redding struggled with his feeling on the bumps of the COTA, fifteenth in the combined standings. Not having fully capitalised on his soft tyre in the finale of FP2, Scott was unable to move up in the standings for a spot in the top 10, but in any case, he was only 3 tenths of a second off.
ALEIX ESPARGARO’ “I am very happy. I can consider this the best Friday practice since the season start. A year ago, this tracked proved to be the toughest one for me, whereas today we started off well, getting into the top ten straight away, and I am convinced that we still have margin for growth. This is further demonstration that the RS-GP is truly competitive, with clear improvements compared to last year’s version. I am convinced of this and I think that to demonstrate it, all we need to do is finish the weekend without obstacles. We found a lot of bumps on the track. I know they did work to reduce the dips, but I think that the only solution for the problem in the future is to resurface the track.”
SCOTT REDDING “This is the first time I’ve had to ride on such bumpy asphalt and that created some difficulties for me, but I can be satisfied with the way the day went. I think that I have the speed to get into the positions that will send me straight through to Q2, but I was unable to take advantage of the first soft tyre, so I dropped back a bit. With the soft tyre on the front, the bike moves around a lot, so tomorrow we’ll have to improve in this area and try a different tyre.”