Open class rider improves on best time while factory teams continue to flounder
Aleix Espargaro continued to assert his dominance on the free practice session for the opening round of the 2014 MotoGP championship at the Losail International Circuit with the NGM Forward Racing rider leading the way ahead of fellow Open class rider Andrea Iannone on the Pramac Racing machine and GO&Fun Honda Gresini rider Alvaro Bautista maintained a spot in the top three times.
I’m really happy to close the second day here in Qatar on top of the time sheets.
Bradley Smith suffered a wicked highside during the third free practice session but nevertheless the Monster Yamaha tech 3 rider astonishingly proceeded to take his second machine on track and set the 6th fastest time of 1m 55.474s but while Smith will be very happy with his performance, there were no smiles on the face of Movistar Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo who is continuing to struggle on his YZR-M1and the new Bridgestone tires with a 1m 55.495s the best the Spaniard could achieve.
Espargaro was very happy with his performance today but remains focused on Sunday’s race and said, “I’m really happy to close the second day here in Qatar on top of the time sheets. We have a good race pace with the hard tyre and then we could make another step forward with the soft tyre. We have a good set up but we need to keep on working. Tomorrow we aim at the front row in order to fight for the podium on Sunday. We know that it won’t be easy as we loose a lot in terms of top speed on the long straight, but finishing on top for two days in arrow is already a fantastic result. Together with the team we are all very excited and motivated.”
Speaking after grabbing tray's second best time, Iannone said, "I'm very happy with how it went today , I never expected to go so well. Surely it is also thanks to all the guys who worked at home this winter . I am happy that I was able to take advantage of almost one hundred percent of my bikes potential. We still have to continue working to improve some small things on the bike to make sure that I am able to ride better for the race. I thank the whole team for the work done so far and I want to thank again Ducati for all the support they give me."
Tomorrow we still have one more free practice session to try to improve the situation, then we will give the maximum in qualifying to try to get a good starting position, even though it will be hard to beat the bike that can use the extrasoft rear tire, which offers an advantage of about 4 tenths of a second,” Bautista added.