Pol takes pole! Espargaro heads a front row covered by just 0.036
The Repsol Honda rider pips Bagnaia and Quartararo as hundredths split the top three over nearly 6km of Silverstone
Saturday, 28 August 2021
Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) is back in business! After a tougher time of late, the Spaniard has hooked it up so far at Silverstone and in Q2, the number 44 hit a landmark run to take his first pole position since joining the Repsol Honda Team. It was incredibly close at the top, with Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) just 0.022 back and Championship leader Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) locking out a top three split by just 0.036. Over a near 6km lap, it could hardly be any closer.
Q1 had a few fast faces looking to move through, not least of all 2019 Silverstone winner Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar). But after the first runs it was Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama) leading the way, with a couple of tenths in hand over Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing).
The key drama then also came from Bastianini as the Italian, on another hot lap, lost the rear but somehow didn’t quite highside, nevertheless sliding out and that bringing out the Yellow Flags – cancelling the laps of Rins and Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol). Bastianini was up and ok and the track went green again, leaving one final push for those behind to try and oust the Italian.
Zarco and Rins did just that, the Suzuki taking over on top first before the Pramac rider pipped him, both leapfrogging Bastianini’s best to deny him a place in Q2.
After the first runs, Quartararo led Bagnaia led Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing), but there was some drama left in the tank. The first rider setting red sectors was Pol Espargaro and he took over on top, but Martin was on an absolute stunner – and shaved nine tenths off the number 44’s best in one fell swoop. But gaining over a second in one sector seemed a lot, even for the rookie sensation, and it turned out to be too much: Martin had cut the track, and the laptime was cancelled. So Pol Espargaro completed his impressive weekend so far with a first pole position at Repsol Honda, bouncing back in style from a difficult two weekends in Austria to pip ‘Pecco’ by just 0.022.
Bagnaia was bumped back up to second as Martin’s lap was cancelled, with Quartararo completing the front row after losing a little ground on Run 2, not able to find the grip he was expecting but still within an infinitesimal 0.036 of pole. Martin, nevertheless, takes fourth – and is therefore also top Independent Team rider.
Pol Espargaro, Bagnaia and Championship leader Quartararo head up the grid, putting ‘Pecco’, the closest challenger, in a good position to try and deny El Diablo on Sunday. Martin heads up Row 2 ahead of Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), the eight-time World Champion beaten to it by just 0.012. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) completes the third row.
Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) had a tougher qualifying to line up seventh, 0.479 off the top, and the Aussie will be looking to make gains on Sunday. He’s joined by Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT) as the Doctor continues a good vein of form at Silverstone, taking P8, with Johann Zarco forced to settle for ninth.
That leaves Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins and Joan Mir down in P10 and P11, respectively, with the 2019 Silverstone winner and the reigning Champion looking for a classic quick comeback into the podium fight tomorrow. Austrian GP winner Brad Binder (Red Bull KM Factory Racing) is P12.
Then come Bastianini, Luca Marini (Sky VR46 Avintia) and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) in 15th.
Pol(e) position at the British GP
Pol Espargaro’s early weekend form converted into a sensational pole position at the British GP, his first on board the Repsol Honda Team RC213V. Marc Marquez will line up just behind his teammate in fifth on the grid, completing a very positive Saturday.
A typically gloomy British morning was waiting as the MotoGP World Championship rolled out of pitlane for Free Practice 3. The cooler conditions didn’t stop the quick lap times as all of the top 11 dropped into the 1’59s, Pol Espargaro and Marc Marquez kept up with the pace to earn direct passage to Q2.
There was no slowing down for Espargaro in Free Practice 4 as the #44 ended the session in second and once again took top Honda honours – a small crash at the end of Free Practice 3 having no major impact on his performance. With his trademark determination, Espargaro rolled out of pit lane for Q2 and got to work. A steady first run had him well placed but on his second set of tyres, Espargaro unleashed himself and set his best ever lap time around Silverstone – a 1’58.889. The time put him second in the session with just seconds to go of Q2. As the Repsol Honda Team rider rolled into Parc Ferme, he was promoted to pole position due to a track limits infringement for Martin.
Pol Espargaro will start the 2021 British Grand Prix from pole position, his first with the Repsol Honda Team and his third in the premier class. This is also the first time a Repsol Honda Team rider has started on pole since Marc Marquez lined up at the head of the field for the 2019 Japanese GP. Espargaro also becomes the first Repsol Honda Team rider other than Marc Marquez to take pole since the 2017 Malaysian GP.
Marc Marquez was rarely more than three tenths behind his Repsol Honda Team teammate throughout the course of Saturday in Silverstone. Tenth in Free Practice 3 and fourth in Free Practice 4, Marquez was continuing to show at the sharp end as he had done on Friday. Track limits during his first run of Q2 saw the eight-time World Champion’s lap times revoked. With it all to play for, Marquez produced a strong final lap to earn fifth on the grid, 0.197s behind his teammate. Together, Marquez and Espargaro have produced the Repsol Honda Team’s best Saturday of 2021.
Sunday is a new day, but both Espargaro and Marquez and determined to convert their practice pace into race pace and challenge for the top positions. The 20-lap race will begin at 13:00 Local Time, before the Moto2 race.
“Incredible. Just incredible. I almost can’t believe it. We arrived here in Silverstone after two really difficult weekends in Austria and this gave me a lot of motivation, a lot of fire to push this weekend. I have been feeling so good this weekend with the bike, the track, the grip and I am so pleased we were able to make the most of it today. I want to say a huge thank you to the Repsol Honda Team, to Alberto Puig, to Takeo, to Kuwata-san, all of them have helped me so much and continued to work 100% behind me no matter what. We have kept working all this time and we will keep working, but I just want to enjoy this moment for now.”
“My eye today is much better; it was not a big problem, but it was disturbing me a lot yesterday. My body still had some pain today after the 270km/h crash. I think our Qualifying was strong today since normally I feel some limitations there and we have achieved our goal of the second row. Let’s see what’s possible tomorrow in the race because the bike has been working well here since Free Practice 1. If we can continue in this direction we can have a good race and it’s important to keep closing the distance to the top guys. Also congratulations to Pol and to Honda for the pole position.”
Pecco Bagnaia secures a front row start at the British Grand Prix with the second-fastest time in qualifying. Seventh Miller will start from the third row in tomorrow’s race at Silverstone
Pecco Bagnaia will start second on the grid in tomorrow’s British Grand Prix, held at the historic Silverstone Circuit this weekend. After securing a spot directly in Q2, thanks to the sixth time overall at the end of FP3, the Italian rider continued to improve steadily over the course of the day by first finishing in third place in FP4 and then taking a front row start in qualifying for the fourth consecutive time this season. With a time of 1:58.911, Pecco closed Q2 in second place, just 0.022 seconds behind poleman Pol Espargaro.
On the other side of the garage, in qualifying, Jack Miller could not reap the benefits of the excellent work done together with his team during the first two days at Silverstone. As he was fast already after Friday’s free practices, the Australian rider closed FP3 with the fastest time overall, also showing to have a good pace for the race. However, Miller could not find the same feeling with the soft tyre in qualifying, ending Q2 in seventh place with the fastest time in 1:59.368 and securing the start from Row 3 in tomorrow’s race.
Francesco Bagnaia (#63 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 2nd (1:58.911)
“I’m delighted with my qualifying today. There’s a lot of harmony in my team, and together we’re doing an incredible job: we’ve made great progress with our bike, despite this not being a track particularly favourable for us. We got second place and the front row, and our pace in FP4 was also excellent. We’re still unsure about our tyre choice for the race, and we’ll have to evaluate the weather conditions tomorrow morning, but otherwise, I’m confident we can fight with the front guys in tomorrow’s race”.
Jack Miller (#43 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 7th (1:59.368)
“I’m pretty unhappy with today’s result in qualifying. After managing to post a great time this morning in FP3, I was obviously hoping for something more this afternoon. Unfortunately, in Q2, I didn’t feel completely comfortable with the new tyres. Tomorrow in the race, we will have to attack immediately to try and make up positions and not let Quartararo get away in the early laps. Even though we’ll start from seventh position, from the third row, I don’t think it’ll be difficult: in general, my feeling with the Desmosedici GP on this track is very good, so I’ll try to give my best in tomorrow’s race”.
The Ducati Lenovo Team riders will be back on track tomorrow at 9:30 am local time for the last 20 minutes of warm-up, while the British Grand Prix will get underway at 1:00 pm (2:00 pm in Italy) on a 20 lap distance.
QUARTARARO COLLECTS FRONT-ROW START IN SILVERSTONE QUALIFYING
Silverstone (UK), 28th August 2021
GRAND PRIX OF GREAT BRITAIN
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Fabio Quartararo secured 3rd place in today‘s Silverstone Q2 session, earning him an eleventh front-row start out of twelve Grands Prix so far this season. Cal Crutchlow used the second day to improve his race pace with the Factory Yamaha bike and will start the Monster
1’58.925 / 6 LAPS
2’00.217 / 7 LAPS
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Fabio Quartararo and Cal Crutchlow started Day 2 at the Monster Energy British Grand Prix event booking good progress in terms of race pace. However, both riders had hoped for more during their respective qualifying sessions. The Frenchman didn‘t quite have the right feeling with the soft rear tyre when pushing, but still ended Q2 in 3rd place. The Briton also saved his best for last in Q1 and ended the session in 19th place.
With the Silverstone Circuit being quite long, Quartararo was keen not to waste a second in qualifying. When the pit lane lights turned green for Q2, he soon set out on his first run and immediately posted a 1‘58.990s to take over at the top of the timesheets with a 0.350s lead. The Yamaha man set the first 1‘58s lap of the weekend, despite the left foot injury he sustained yesterday.
Satisfied with his first attempt but not so much with the feeling he had with the soft rear tyre, Quartararo returned to the pits with seven and a half minutes remaining. Two and a half minutes later he began his second run. At the time he had a 0.270s advantage, but the sting was in the tail of the Q2 session. With the pace picking up in the final stages, El Diablo had to push. On his sixth and last lap he produced a 1‘58.925s for third, finishing 0.036s from pole.
Crutchlow had made good steps in FP3 and FP4, making him all the more curious to see what he could do in the Q1 session. His 2‘03.011s banker lap put him in provisional seventh place. The live timing started flashing various red sectors, and the local hero joined in on the fun. His next 2‘00.440s temporarily moved him up to sixth, though he was in seventh place when he returned to the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP pit box for a change of tyres with six minutes left on the clock.
Following a quick stop and out lap, he had two more chances to improve his time. He was in ninth place and pushing, setting two personal best sectors, but a crash by Enea Bastianini in Sector 3 meant the number-35 rider had to roll off the throttle. It was now or never for the Briton. His final effort, a 2‘00.217s, was a nice improvement on his time. It ultimately kept him 9th in the Q1 standings and put him in 19th place on the grid.
Overall, the day was pretty productive, but we did expect more from this afternoon‘s Qualifying. I think Fabio really wanted to get pole position here, but his feeling on the bike with the soft tyre wasn‘t as good as usual. We will be investigating why this is, but the most important is maintaining and boosting the great race pace he showed today in FP4. Judging by that performance, we should be in for a nice race tomorrow. The same can be said for Cal. His results in both the FP3 and FP4 session were good. He improved in terms of race pace compared to the first day, so we will now work on making some further changes to the bike‘s setting to get him feeling as comfortable as possible for the race.
I‘m happy about the front row, but to be honest, I didn‘t feel so good with the soft rear tyre in Qualifying. Normally I feel much more grip with the soft tyre than I did today. Anyway, I‘m on the front row, that was our main aim. I‘m just a little bit disappointed about Qualifying. But the pace with the medium tyre is great, we‘re pretty fast, and that‘s the most important thing for the race. I will do my best tomorrow. I think we have great potential to fight for the podium and the victory, but we‘ll approach it step by step. I feel great and our pace is good, so let‘s see.
I feel good with the set-up of the bike and I’m riding in a good way, but I don’t feel comfortable at the moment. The bike was shaking a lot, and we’re trying to work out why. I went back to the setting I tested with many times, and that was better in the corners and on acceleration, but still on the straights it was exactly the same. We will look into that tonight. I did have a couple of good sessions. FP3 and FP4 were good. Just Qualifying was not. I made some mistakes, and on my fastest lap I got the yellow flag. That would have been a good lap, and I would have been right up there. My qualifying time was the same as the last time I rode here, so it shows I am still able to go fast, it’s just that everybody else is going faster.
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Silverstone, 28 August 2021
SECOND ROW FOR ALEIX IN THE SILVERSTONE QUALIFIERS
LORENZO FORCED TO STOP HIS WEEKEND
Saturday at Silverstone did not begin with good news: Lorenzo Savadori was forced to bring his weekend to an early close due to the injury he suffered during the Austrian race. The goal is to recover as best he can in order to be back in the saddle as soon as possible.
Aleix’s performance, on the other hand, brought smiles back to the Aprilia camp. Second in the morning FP3 session, the Spanish rider confirmed his good work from yesterday, qualifying to go straight through to Q2. In FP4, Espargaró and his team focused on getting ready for the race with a long run on used tyres.
In the crucial qualifying session, Aleix rode his RS-GP flawlessly, all the way to a time of 1’59.273 that earned him a spot on the second row.
“I’m fast here and I feel very good. Aprilia has given me the most competitive bike of the season. We have no obvious weaknesses and that makes me optimistic. In FP4, I took the tyres to 21 laps with good times, so we definitely have the pace. In qualifying, I could have done better but I won’t complain. At the end of the day, we are all rather close and the second row isn’t bad. There are times when you have all the right cards to make a play for it and I think tomorrow will be one of those times for us.”
“I’m disappointed, but unfortunately the pain and the condition of my ankle keep me from riding. Along with Aprilia, we took the decision to stop and continue my recovery with the goal of not compromising the situation and being able to get back on the track as soon as possible.”
ÁLEX MÁRQUEZ CONTINUES LEARNING
CURVE AT SILVERSTONE
28 August 2021 | British GP Qualifying
Álex Márquez will start the British Grand Prix from the sixth row following a tough day of qualifying at Silverstone on Saturday. After narrowly failing to secure automatic progress to Q2, the LCR Honda CASTROL rider was unable battle through a competitive Q1 session and had to settle for 17th position on the grid.
After a couple of falls on Friday, the Spaniard made a big step forward in FP3 and ended up in 14th spot as he got to grips with the English layout on MotoGP machinery. He mixed in the leading positions during FP4 – showing race potential as he ultimately took tenth position – but was unable to put together a fast lap in Q1 and will now look to make a quick getaway in Sunday’s race.
Álex Márquez – 17th
“As we know, Silverstone is a difficult track to learn with a MotoGP bike, today we made some changes to the set-up which were good and we made a lot of improvement in FP4 and FP3 also. We still have many things to improve, especially in the set-up area as I’m not comfortable, but that’s how it is and we knew there would be weekends like this when I have to learn the track. Unfortunately, in the qualy (Q1) it was not my best performance, I made a mistake that lost us two or three tenths. But tomorrow we’ll try to make a good start, we have Taka close to us as well, so we’ll do our best and make the best result possible.”
TAKA ON THE FIFTH ROW AT SIVERSTONE
28 August 2021 | British GP Qualifying
LCR Honda IDEMITSU rider Takaaki Nakagami could make the progress he was looking for during qualifying at Silverstone and will start Sunday’s British GP from the fifth row of the grid. Sitting 15th in the combined times overnight, Taka missed out on Q2 despite a big effort during a hard-fought Q1 session on Saturday afternoon.
The Japanese star found real improvement in FP3 – eclipsing his best lap from Friday by eight tenths – but was still outside the top-10 as he finished in 12th on the timesheets. He was then 19th in FP4 and, although he ducked under the 2’00 barrier in Q1, was unable to claim one of the top two positions in a hectic end to the session.
Takaaki Nakagami – 15th
“So, it was a tough session again in qualifying, I gave it my best but I did not have enough speed and the lap time was not enough. I ended up in Q1 and then in P5, so that means P15 on the grid for tomorrow’s race. We will try our best, we will try to make a good start and then 20 laps around here means we will have a lot of chance to make up places. I’ll do my best and then let’s see what happens in the race.”
Brad Binder leads the KTM charge with 12th on the grid for British MotoGP™ Grand Prix
MotoGP 2021 – Round 12 of 18, Silverstone (GBR)
Brad Binder will roll his Red Bull KTM Factory Racing RC16 onto the fourth row of the start grid at Silverstone and starts the Monster Energy British Grand Prix from 12th position. The South African was the fastest qualifier in chilly conditions in the UK for the twelfth round of the season.
– Binder proactive in Free Practice for Q2 direct entry and takes 12th on the grid
– Silverstone provides tricky and challenging test for round 12 of 2021 MotoGP
– Riccardo Rossi takes his KTM RC4 to the 3rd quickest time in Moto3™ qualification
– Remy Gardner 4th fastest ahead of Raul Fernandez in 5th for Moto2™
For the first time since 2019 MotoGP circulated the demanding course of Silverstone for a sold-out British Grand Prix and the twelfth round of the current season. Despite dry skies and occasional sunshine, a chilly breeze meant that set-up and tire choice became complicated for the tricky weave of 18 corners. The track demanded a constant flow and was a contrast to the hard braking and acceleration of the Red Bull Ring two weeks previously.
Winner of the last Grand Prix, Brad Binder, did not have to worry about damp asphalt and attacked the first Free Practice sessions with gusto to enter the top ten and secure Q2 standing during Friday’s laps. The 26-year-old pushed to reach the highest possible grid positions during the quick dash on Saturday afternoon but finally rested 12th.
Tech3 KTM Factory Racing’s Danilo Petrucci was next best in 16th. The Italian did not make it through Q1 but headed teammate Iker Lecuona in 18th and Miguel Oliveira in 20th. The Portuguese struggled to make the most of the decent traction offered by the Silverstone surface but is optimistic of a positive race come 14.00 CET on Sunday.
Brad Binder: “Today was OK, we started this morning a bit tough, a bit difficult, but I found a lap that pulled me onto the Q2 session. I gave my all in Q2 but there was not much more left for me. I did my best and 12th place will have to do. We’ll do our homework tonight and get in the mix tomorrow. I felt pretty good all weekend. I think in the race we can be stronger.”
Danilo Petrucci:“We managed to do a lap that is quite close to the others, even if the position still doesn’t look great. In terms of race pace, I think we are set up well and I hope we can fight tomorrow to stay in the points. The race will be very long here. I’m happy. We still have to understand, which tyre we will use tomorrow, but overall I’m satisfied about today.”
Iker Lecuona: “This morning I felt pretty good, although it was a shame that there have been so many yellow flags, so you always have to close the gas and I had no chance to go straight to Q2, after we have been so close yesterday. I think the potential was there, but in Q1 I was finally struggling a lot and did some mistakes. I don’t know what happened and I want to say sorry to my team for this. For tomorrow, it’s going to be difficult. My race pace is good though, so the first laps will be crucial.”
Miguel Oliveira: “Despite being the worst qualifying of the year so far I still feel there is a good chance to score some points tomorrow. This will be our goal and we’ll push to make some good laps for myself and the team.”
KTM GP Academy
Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Deniz Öncü was 9th quickest in Moto3 Q2 while the fastest KTM RC4 rider was young Italian Riccardo Rossi who classified 3rd and will start from the front row of the start grid. Championship leader Pedro Acosta launches from 22nd place.
In Moto2 Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Remy Gardner was just two tenths of a second away from the Pole Position time set by Marco Bezzecchi and the Australian was nudged away from the front row of the grid in the seconds of Q2. The Moto2 points leader was marginally ahead of teammate Raul Fernandez in 5th.
Races: August 29th, 2021 – Moto3 12.20 CET | MotoGP 14.00 CET| Moto2 15.30 CET
Results Qualifying MotoGP Monster Energy British Grand Prix
1. Pol Espargaro (ESP) Honda 1:58.911
2. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) Ducati +0.022
3. Fabio Quartararo (FRA) Yamaha +0.036
4. Jorge Martin (ESP) Ducati +0.185
5. Marc Marquez (ESP) Honda +0.197
12. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +1.088
16. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Tech3 KTM Factory Racing (Q1) 1:59.997
18. Iker Lecuona (ESP) Tech3 KTM Factory Racing (Q1) 1:23.825
20. Miguel Oliveira (POR) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (Q1) +0.856
Improving Petrucci 6th in Q1 – Lecuona 8th in Silverstone
Overcast Saturday at the British Grand Prix brought some steps in the right direction for both Tech3 KTM Factory Racing riders. Thereby, Danilo Petrucci went already 0.86 seconds quicker in FP3 this morning than on Friday and following a consistent FP4 the Italian managed to break through the 2 minutes barrier in Qualifying one. He concluded the important session in sixth with less than half a second to the top 2 and yet landed his best starting position to date this season.
In the meantime, Iker Lecuona, who first had to learn the Silverstone Circuit aboard a MotoGP machine, upgraded as well. In Qualifying one he went 0.282 seconds quicker than in FP2 on day one and missed out on his teammate by just 0.134 seconds. He ended up eighth, which means he will line up in the sixth row of the starting grid tomorrow at 13:00 local time (14:00 CET), when the red lights switch off for the 12th race of 2021.
“It was a good lap time. For sure, we are still far from the top, but at least for once, we managed to do a lap that is quite close to the others, even if the position still doesn’t look great. In terms of race pace, I think we are set up well and I hope we can fight tomorrow to stay in the points. The race will be very long here. I’m happy. We still have to understand, which tyre we will use tomorrow, but overall I’m satisfied about today.”
“This morning I felt pretty good, although it was a shame that there have been so many yellow flags, so you always have to close the gas and I had no chance to go straight to Q2, after we have been so close yesterday. I think the potential was there, but in Q1 I was finally struggling a lot and did some mistakes. I don’t know what happened and I want to say sorry to my team for this. For tomorrow, it’s going to be difficult. My race pace is good though, so the first laps will be crucial.”
PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team’s Valentino Rossi will start his final BritishGP from the third row of the grid, after ending Qualifying eighth. Jake Dixon will start his debut MotoGP race, and home Grand Prix, from 21st.
A strong performance in FP3 saw Rossi hold onto his top-ten place overall for the majority of the session. Improving his time to 1min 59.553secs, only 0.265secs off the top, the Italian ended FP3 seventh and secured a place in Q2 for the fifth time this season. Valentino continued this good form, posting the fourth fastest time in the early stages of Qualifying. Setting a 1min 59.531secs lap on his final flying lap, Rossi ended Q2 with the eighth fastest time – his second best qualifying result of the year – to secure a third row start for tomorrow’s race.
Dixon had a good start to FP3, immediately lapping within two tenths of his best time from yesterday. Unfortunately a Turn 16 crash kept him off track for 20 minutes of the session. Unable to improve upon his Friday time, Jake ended FP3 21st. The Brit continued to impress in his first MotoGP Qualifying session, reducing his lap time from yesterday around the Silverstone Circuit by nearly two seconds. Ending Q1 with a 2mins 0.869secs lap, Dixon will start his home race from 21st.
Rossi and Dixon will be back out on track for Warm Up tomorrow at 9.30am local time (4.30pm MYT), with lights out for the 20-lap MotoGP race at 1pm local time (8pm MYT).
I have a better pace here, compared to Qatar where I was fourth on the grid, as I was inside the top-ten throughout Free Practice today. I feel good with the bike, so now we just need to make the right tyre choice for tomorrow’s race. It’s hard to predict what the feeling will be like in the race, as sometimes you can be strong during practice but slower in the race. Hopefully I will continue to feel good tomorrow. Recently my starts have not been the best, so we need to work on that and make sure I stay in the pack during the opening laps. We will then see what our pace is like; I’ll give my maximum though and try to stay inside the top-ten.
It is difficult because you can’t take your time to get used to the bike, like you could at a test, and there’s a lot to learn in a short amount of time. I felt good today though. In FP3 I unfortunately crashed and had to use the second bike, which didn’t have the same settings. It wasn’t too bad and I knew that I had more pace than what I’d shown. In FP4 I made another step forward, so I was really happy with that. In Qualifying I was able to reduce my time by another 1.3 seconds. I think I could have done more but I made some mistakes on one lap. The race will be difficult because I’m still learning every lap, but I can’t wait. The crowd is incredible out there and the support is unbelievable – it’s just so nice to be doing this at home.