Espargaro Encouraged As Gap Closes To Leaders


Aleix Espargaro has been impressed by the consistent improvements being made by Suzuki as they continue to close the gap on the leading manufacturers. The Spaniard was ninth fastest on day two at Sepang although he trailed Marc Marquez by just half a second and still sees areas where the GSX-RR could be improved in the hotter conditions.

“I’m happy about the day, especially about the first part of the day. I found a good feeling from the very beginning and we immediately made good lap times. It is important to see that after five days here we are getting closer and closer to the top.  In the second part of the day we struggled a little with hotter conditions and we encountered some issue with the grip on the back so we need to work more on this. With my riding style I open the throttle early and when the tarmac gets hot we lose grip, so we need to fix it. The first part of the championship will not be in extremely hot weather conditions so we have time to find out a solution.  We tried a race simulation, we had planned 17 laps in a row, but I had to give up a little earlier because my knee still hurts and I’m not at my 100%. However, the long run gave us important data. We still have two days to test, so we have time to work on the issues we are finding out.”

Teammate Maverick Vinales was three tenths further back in twelfth and despite suffering a slight accident, the rookie continues to grow in confidence.

“It was another positive day. I did many laps and I’m becoming more-and-more familiar with the bike and the setting opportunities. I had a little crash but it wasn’t bad, I’m ok and so is the bike, I simply slid off. My main objective is still to find out the most effective riding style, even if we are introducing new technical modifications in every run to let me understand how the machine reacts to them. I also tried a small race simulation, just to start approaching the long runs, but tomorrow we will do more testing on this side.”