Aleix Espargaro has been fastest at the end of a day before, in fact he’s been on pole on the old Forward Racing Yamaha CRT bike and on Suzuki but never before today had he been fastest on Friday on an Aprilia. In fact, never before in the MotoGP era has an Aprilia ended a day fastest. Go back to 2000 and Jeremy McWilliams put Aprilia’s V-twin on pole here at Phillip Island (he did it again with the Proton in ‘02, the last two-stroke pole) but this was a special day for the team.
It was also proof again that this great race track doesn’t punish a lack of ultimate top end but rewards the ability to carry speed through and out of a corner. Just the one hard braking effort helps too. In short, this is in my opinion, the best race track on Earth not just because of its breathtaking setting but because of how it repays rider and machine.
Colin Edwards tells me that Aleix Espargaro is one of the guys in the paddock he’d least likely to get in a fight with. Expect the elder Espargaro to charge tomorrow. Marc Marquez nearly caught him at the end of FP2 but is concerned the Honda is unstable in fast corners (there’s a first). The. Other championship contender, Andrea Dovizioso, doesn’t think he’s got the pace here. But he said that in Motegi, too.