Aprilia factory MotoGP rider Aleix Espargaro admitted he is quietly confident after securing a stunning fifth place start in Aragon.
The Spaniard found himself with a spot directly into Q2 after finishing just 0.033 seconds ahead of Alex Rins in combined free practice times and took advantage of that. Espargaro produced a 1:47.733 which was 0.724 seconds behind pole sitter Marc Marquez, but less than two tenths off the front row.
Espargaro called the day a great day for both he and Aprilia, whilst also confessing his quiet confidence at being able to produce a strong result.
“Without a doubt, this is a great day on a good track for me and for Aprilia,” said the Spaniard.
“I felt good from the very beginning in the various conditions. In qualifying I did a lap that was really at the limit. I pushed hard, taking some risks, but in the end, our starting position is very good.
“I am confident for the race. In the simulations, we improved wear of the soft rear tyre and that could help us in the second half of the race. With the exception of Marc, I think that there are a lot of riders with a similar pace.
“Staying in the lead group will be important to then have a go in the finale. A good result before the far east tour would be a nice morale boost for me and for all the guys who work on this project.”
Espargaro produced his best lap of the day whilst following Maverick Vinales and Marquez, whilst able to stick closely enough to the rear end of the Honda to be able to stick himself in the middle of the second row, Espargaro said that the corner speed the World Championship leader was able to carry was incredible.
“I did a lap behind him, but I had a lot of chattering at the apex because I really went a lot faster than in other sessions because I followed him. And in the apex of the corner, before he touches the throttle, the speed he is taking is incredible,” he said.