Espargaro Takes Confidence From Strong Start


Aleix Espargaro says he feels much more confident about his race prospects after finishing a fine third in Thursday’s opening practice session in Qatar. The Suzuki rider set his quickest time on the softer tyre but it was his performance on harder rubber which gave him the most satisfaction this evening.

“It’s been a positive day. I found a lot of confidence with the hard tyre but I’m very satisfied with my single lap with a soft one, since I’m up with the top riders. We wanted to recover some of the time we lost in the last test here in Qatar so we focused on finalising traction control and electronics. We had very important feedback that gives us many indications for the work we need to do next. Tomorrow I need to try a long run to evaluate the situation in terms of race-pace, but for the moment the work-plan is going smoothly.”

Teammate Maverick Vinales finished his first MotoGP practice session down in seventeenth after technical problems on his GSX-RR but the Spanish rookie was taking everything in his stride.

“The day could have been better but unfortunately we had some issues with the electronics on my number-one bike, so I had to switch to bike two. They had different set-ups that we planned to test, but the last one was not so effective so at the end of the day this session has been somewhat wasted. I’m not worried, these are things that happen in racing, we will recover time in tomorrow’s sessions and continue to develop the set-up in order to find a good feeling for the race.”