30 June 2018
Saturday at Assen smiled on Aleix Espargaró and his Aprilia RS-GP. Competitive from FP3, Aleix went straight through to the qualifying session that would decide the front rows, making it into the top ten (eighth best time at 1’33.825). In Q2, the number 41 rider did even better, with a spectacular final lap that had all the riders competing with very close times. Aleix finished with a fantastic time of 1’33.029 (just 238 thousandths from the pole!) which was the seventh best time to place him on the best spot of the third row of the starting grid. For the moment, this is his best result in qualifying of the season.
After improving the setup on his RS-GP, Scott Redding did a good Q1 session, lapping with decidedly better times than he had in the previous sessions and finishing with a 1’33.995 that places him on the sixth row.
“I am truly very happy. It is only the qualifiers, but the seventh spot on the grid, just two tenths from the pole position time, is a fantastic result. I had fun riding because after a difficult season start, we tried to approach the weekend with a little more serenity, trying to improve consistently session after session, and it worked. We did a great job yesterday and we continued today. We achieved a good race pace and in qualifying we also showed that we are on point. For tomorrow, we’ll have to maintain this approach. We all have a very similar pace and with a good start we have a chance to battle for important positions, but it will also be important to finish the race.”
“Today was a good day for us. We gained a bit of stability, which is what was missing yesterday. We focused on finding the tyre selections that will give me the most confidence, without making any radical changes but building up to the result step by step. As for pace, we are able to be consistent, whereas we are lacking a few tenths with the new tyre. In FP3 this morning we missed a reference point. On this track and with this wind, being behind someone really makes a difference. Tomorrow it will be important to stay in the group. The times are rather close, with the exception of some very fast riders. If we can manage not to lose any ground, we’ll be able to make a play in the finale.”