Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro positively concluded the first day of the British Grand Prix as he took the first steps in setting up his Yamaha for Sunday’s round 12 fight. The Spaniard began by completing the opening shakedown in 6th and just over a tenth of a second back from third place. The confident start left the 25-year-old eager for the afternoon practice and when it commenced, he carried on as he took advantage of the dry session, with rain expected over the weekend. After completing 16 laps, his best time saw him finish in 11th and only 0.541 back from the quickest Factory Yamaha MotoGP bike. Now the top independent rider in this year’s championship standings fully intends to increase his pace further tomorrow in order to clinch a solid grid position for Sunday’s race.
Meanwhile, Alex Lowes undertook an impressive start to his debut MotoGP outing at Silverstone where he closed the day just over 1.2 of a second back from his teammate. The stand-in rider, who is replacing the injured Bradley Smith for this race and the San Marino Grand Prix, kicked off the day by using the morning practice to take the first steps in adapting to the Yamaha YZR-M1. The young Briton’s progress was significant and when the afternoon session began, he continued his efforts. Here, Lowes notably produced a lap that was 2.370 quicker than his personal best from FP1, which also left him right in the hunt with the satellite MotoGP riders in free practice 2. Tomorrow, the 25-year-old aims to make further advances ahead of his first MotoGP qualifying shootout.
Position: 11th - Time: 2'02.573 - Laps: 29
"Overall, the opening day at Silverstone has been a solid one and I am confident that I can climb the standings more tomorrow. We started pretty well and in FP1 I felt really comfortable on the bike. Then, we managed to improve quite a lot in the afternoon, however, we just missed out on the top ten at the end of the day. Therefore, this is a bit disappointing considering that the weather forecast for tomorrow morning is uncertain. Anyway, today the grip level changed a lot between the two sessions, and for some reason, I just didn’t have the same feeling. Now we will have a good look into the data and I am sure that we will find a solution to turn around this slight issue. The main area where we still have a margin of improvement to make is the corner speed. Moreover, we began to explore tyre options today, but it is too early to make a decision on which compound we will use on Sunday as the track conditions will continue to change. Even if it rains tomorrow, I am convinced that we can do a good job and hopefully, score a strong qualifying position."
Position: 19th - Time: 2'03.855 - Laps: 21
"I really enjoyed my first day and I am excited for tomorrow, with the main aim being to continue improving. Unfortunately, I made one small mistake this morning, and crashed in the last lap of FP1, however, due to the timing, it luckily meant that I didn’t lose any precious track time. Anyway, the team did a great job with fixing the bike, so I have to say thanks to them. FP2 went a lot better and I started to understand the bike more, which raised my confidence. I still have a lot more to learn but I feel that I made some big steps forward. Day one is out of the way so I’ll digest what has happened and I will think about some areas of improvement from my side for tomorrow. I am certain that we can be closer to the front in the next few days, and I want to get as near as possible to Pol. However, I have to stay realistic and I know that the faster you get, the harder it is. I think I did quite a good job today so thanks to the team for their great work and I’m looking forward to pushing more tomorrow."