You need to search through the various sessions of the Texan weekend between practice, qualifying and the race to “filter” the performance of Aleix Espargaró and his RS-GP from the extraordinary chain of adverse events that clipped the wings of his ambition.
Having started from the last spot on the grid for not having participated in the qualifiers on Saturday, Aleix found his pace after a few laps, catching up to 15th position. His times, improving decisively, even made a top-ten finish seem possible, something that would have been quite an undertaking. Instead, from the seventh lap, problems with the front end first slowed him visibly and then forced him to pit lane.
After changing the tyre and re-joining, without any more hope of a placement, Aleix lapped at a pace even better than the riders who were battling for tenth. This feedback and the times in the Sunday warm-up, the only positive notes on a weekend that was difficult like few others for Aprilia Racing Team Gresini, confirm the potential of the Espargaró-Aprilia duo.
Now it is time to head for Europe, with two days of testing at Mugello on Wednesday and Thursday. The goal is to pick up from all the positive that had been demonstrated in the first two rounds of the season.
“From the first laps I had a bad feeling with the front tyre. I kept losing it. I thought maybe it was because of the full tank, but things got worse lap after lap, so much that at a certain point I was no longer riding but just trying not to crash. Making a pit stop is always the last thought for me. It seems like a lack of respect for the work my team has done, but today I had no choice. When I re-joined with a new tyre, I lapped at my own pace without pushing, with the times we had expected. Now I want to forget this weekend quickly. In two days we will be on the track at Mugello to continue working and to be ready for the European races.”
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