With a brilliant third free practice session in Brno, Aleix Espargaró rode his RS-GP directly through to Q2. He did it with the seventh best time of 1’55.871, just 5 tenths behind the leader, Marquez. This was another top-ten placement that brings the performance of Aleix and his Aprilia closer and closer to that of the top riders. It was the cherry on top of two very positive days of practice where he was consistently among the protagonists.
But in the session that decides the starting grid order, Aleix crashed out right on the final turn of a lap where his time would have placed him somewhere on the front two rows. The crash greatly compromised his position on the grid. He will therefore start from the fourth row with the 11th best time (1’56.355), a time he did on the second lap of the final session, before attempting the decisive time attack.
“The track was very slippery today due to the high temperature and the imperfect asphalt, a bit like Jerez or Barcelona. Our biggest problem is that when I release the brake, I struggle to find grip on the front. In FP4 we tried a few changes to the geometry, but without finding any benefits. In qualifying I gave 100%. I was finishing a good lap, but I crashed right at the last corner. Despite everything, our pace is good. I think that there is very little difference between the riders from fourth to tenth place and that is a sign that it will be a very hard race. Managing our strategy well will be important tomorrow. If it is a dry race, the final laps on worn tyres will be crucial, whereas if it is wet, anything could happen. Personally, I would prefer the first option, but we did not do too badly with the rain either.”
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