This just in:
ESPARGARÓ FORCED TO RETIRE WHILE MAKING ONE OF THE BEST COMEBACK RIDES OF THE SEASON
POSITIVE RACE FOR SAM LOWES WHO EARNS HIS FIRST CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS
In the midst of an exciting comeback ride that had taken him from the 18th spot on the starting grid all the way to eighth place, Aleix Espargaró was forced to throw in the towel just five laps from the end due to a breakdown – currently being investigated by the team – that shut down the V4 on his RS-GP.
It was a race that, even with the unlucky outcome, confirms all of his value and that of his Aprilia that had never had a similar problem in two seasons and that had served him so well, allowing him to catch up position by position and lap at increasingly interesting times. As has happened in the past, the second half of the race was becoming the hunting grounds for Aleix, motivated to reap those results that had seemed to be within reach on several occasions in this first part of the season. Even in the morning Warm Up session, Espargaró had ridden an RS-GP that seemed more and more convincing just behind the leaders.
And so it was Sam Lowes who brought home points for Aprilia Racing Team Gresini, finishing thirteenth after a race that fully confirmed the progress the English rider had demonstrated throughout the French weekend.
“It was a difficult race. Starting so far back does not make things easy. Battling for the top 10 demands maximum concentration. I have to give 100% the entire weekend. In the race I was competitive. After overtaking Miller I was making up ground on Lorenzo and lapping very fast but unfortunately the engine failed just a few laps from the end. A real disappointment. We are working much better than our position in the standings would lead to believe. Unfortunately, this is part of racing. The team and I will continue to give 100% and to work nonstop as we have up to now.”
“Besides the position today, the gap from the top 10 is important, as it has narrowed compared to the last races. Obviously we need to keep improving. The difficulties were foreseeable because we are in MotoGP, but things are moving in the right direction. I felt good in the race. Only toward the end did I feel the tyre wear since I had to stress it more that some of the other riders who were ahead of me. With the tests next week, where we will have a lot to try, I hope that I’ll be able to take another step forward before Mugello, a home race for Aprilia.”
ROMANO ALBESIANO – APRILIA RACING MANAGER
“The performance was definitely positive. Aleix was catching up steadily even if we paid the price in the race for less than brilliant qualifying. We need to improve this aspect as well as performance in the first part of the race. Overall, we had good performance here too and now we need to solidify that with results that are clearly within our potential. Sam did well, riding a good race this time in the mix with the others, demonstrating consistent progress throughout the weekend.”
FAUSTO GRESINI – TEAM MANAGER
“Aleix was really riding a great race, decidedly solid. Unfortunately, he started too far back because of practice being conditioned so much by the weather and that kept us from being out front straight away. But he was doing a really important comeback ride. We have never had a problem like this, but these things happen in racing. Now we need to react because we are truly not far at all from the leaders.”