Aleix Espargaro 4th in #AragonGP, Maverick Viñales 18th
Another race with the best, from the first to the last lap, and a podium just barely missed. By now, Aleix and Aprilia are no longer a surprise. The RS-GP in the hands of the Spaniard confirmed that it is capable of battling consistently for the podium.
On the friendly Aragòn track, warmed by a decidedly summer climate, the leading group maintained an extraordinary pace. Espargarò started well from the second row, managing his position in fourth place during the early laps and even getting a taste of the podium. Only a drop in the finale kept him from launching the decisive attack against Joan Mir, but fourth place is still an extremely important result, also in terms of the championship: in fact, Aleix is now seventh in the rider standings with 96 points.
Finishing his first race for Aprilia, Maverick Viñales achieved the goal for the weekend, which is still to gain experience astride a new bike and on a new team. The Spanish rider’s feeling improves with every outing and the 23 laps today represent an extremely important set of information and experience, especially in preparation for the 2022 season.
In the race today, the pace was out of this world, especially at the front, and even physically I can’t remember too many Sundays that have been this demanding. I’m pleased with the position, but more than anything, with the consistency we’re demonstrating, which is still my primary goal for this season. Considering the fact that in the finale, since overtaking Mir for third was impossible and I had a good gap ahead of Miller, I increased the pace a bit, I was still able to keep up with the riders who were making the difference over the rest of the grid. This means that we can battle with anyone and on any track, which is a huge step forward for me and for Aprilia.
I’m satisfied with the weekend overall. We knew that the position wouldn’t be our primary objective. In fact, I used a slightly different setup in order to continue experimenting with this new bike and gather information. I started well – that’s the first positive note – and in terms of tyre management, I must also admit that the situation is good. Maybe if we had started a bit farther forward, we’d be talking about a different race, but the flying lap in practice is a question of confidence and that will come with time and miles. We are at a point that requires great effort and work, but I know that we’ll be successful in the end.