Aleix Espargaró, in his race début with the Aprilia RS-GP, rode the Italian bike to a sixth place finish after a long battle with... Strong start with Aprilia for Aleix Espargaro with 6th in Qatar

Aleix Espargaró, in his race début with the Aprilia RS-GP, rode the Italian bike to a sixth place finish after a long battle with Pedrosa for fifth, a position that he had even taken three laps from the end.

It was a stellar performance because the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Spaniard – penalized by a starting position on the fifth row, also due to the qualifying sessions being cancelled yesterday because of the wet track – demonstrated a race pace worthy of the podium, registering the third best time in the race.

This is the best performance yet for the Aprilia RS-GP, also in terms of the gap behind the winner, contained to 7.6 seconds. Aleix, who did not have the best start, did some fast laps, moving up position by position with an impressive comeback that took him to fifth place, just behind Marquez, before yielding the spot to Pedrosa.

ALEIX ESPARGARO
“I am really very happy for myself and for Aprilia. This result comes after a lot of hard work over the winter. I did not hold anything back and, beginning with my physical fitness, I tackled this project with great motivation from the start. In the second half of the race, my RS-GP was spectacular. I had much more traction than my rivals and I was able to overtake easily. We knew that we could have an advantage in poor grip conditions. The bike looks after the tyres well and even if I was unable to be as incisive as the others in the early laps, my overall pace was very good. It was a pity about the starting position. Having to make up so many positions kept us from earning an even more surprising result, but it’s all good. We got off on the right foot and now we want to continue.”