POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar Riders Tackle Setbacks In Qatar
Randy de Puniet experiences gearbox issue and Aleix Espargaró encounters lack of grip in opening race of 2012 season
A 10pm start opened a new era in MotoGP. The Losail International Circuit hosted the first 1000cc race for the World Championship, hot on the heels of Spanish victories in Moto3 (Maverick Viñales) and Moto2 (Marc Márquez). Jorge Lorenzo would make it a Spanish treble for the night, as he caught up with –and subsequently overtook- Casey Stoner. Dani Pedrosa also got in front of the Australian in an exciting final four laps in Qatar. It ended with Lorenzo first, Pedrosa second and Stoner third.
The POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar riders had a difficult first race of the season, with a number of unexpected setbacks halting their progress on Sunday. Randy De Puniet and Aleix Espargaró both fought with all they had over twenty laps in order to get a positive finish in Qatar. De Puniet had been affected by two crashes in practice, but his big problem was a gearbox issue that almost caused him another fall at the end of the home straight. He gradually regained places, placing thirteenth at the chequered flag.
On the other side of the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar garage, Aleix Espargaró continued to experience chattering issues with his bike. The Spaniard would not be beaten by the problem, however, and concluded his return to the premier class in a creditable 15th place.
13th Randy De Puniet: “In general, this weekend has been rather strange. I crashed twice and I ended up with a bike that didn’t behave as well as in Jerez –I suppose that was due to the lack of grip on this track. These small things made me lose my confidence a little and I started the race with doubts in my mind. However, the situation turned around in the race. After the opening laps I started to make a comeback through the field and began to catch Edwards, but then we had an unfortunate issue with the gearbox and at the end of the straight I was unable to move down gears. That meant that I began to lose time again and I had to regain more positions. Right at the end I began to note the lack of grip on the rear, which probably means that we made a mistake with the suspension configuration. The positive thing is that we adapted to everything that was thrown at us and placed second out of the CRT bikes –thirteenth overall. I think that this is a good result, but we have to keep on going in the same way in order to ride as fast in Jerez as we did in the tests.”
15th Aleix Espargaró: “I gave my all in the race and got a positive result, but I leave Qatar disappointed because we weren’t able to solve all the chattering problems that plagued us this weekend. It is strange, but we’ve been here four days and we looked to have got an idea as to which direction to take things, but we weren’t able to overcome our adversities. This is a situation that hurts your confidence a little, but I’m not going to get downhearted and I know that this is a long season. We are going to turn this around, we have all worked extremely hard and we will carry on doing so when we go to Jerez. We have two weeks in which to find solutions and get our motivation back up to maximum.”