The Monster Yamaha Tech3 team rider Pol Espargaro ignited his San Marino GP campaign with a highly positive start aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1 after completing the first day of action at the top of the field. The 25-year-old got straight into action in the opening shakedown and after commencing his set up work, he impressively concluded the practice in second but only a mere tenth of a second behind the leader. The afternoon session began with the weather conditions still being perfect and Espargaro carried on from where he left off. His lap times progressively improved before he blazed across the finish line to post a scorching lap time of 1’32.769 which left him 0.069 clear of the next rider. The outstanding performance marks the perfect comeback from an unfortunate crash at Silverstone, where he was lucky to escape any serious injury and he will look to continue the momentum tomorrow by seizing a top tier grid position.
On the other side of the Tech3 pit box, Alex Lowes impressed once again by ending FP2 in 15th as he stands in for his compatriot Bradley Smith. The young Briton commenced his first outing on the YZR-M1 at the San Marino track with a solid run to 18th in the morning as he continued to gather experience. The confident 25-year-old outlined his determination to succeed by completing more laps than any other rider in the session that saw 16 competitors covered by one second. After midday, he proceeded to make further strides forward and eventually sped to his personal best that was notably only just half a second from top ten. The British star now aims to carry on his progression by clinching a strong qualifying position tomorrow for Sunday’s 28-lap sprint.
Position: 1st - Time: 1'32.769 - Laps: 40
"It’s a great feeling to end the day in first, even if it is just the beginning of the weekend and with the plans that we have for tomorrow, we hope to continue progressing. Today the bike ran really well and I felt very comfortable on it at the Misano circuit. In addition, the tyres that Michelin brought here have allowed me to ride my Yamaha more in a way that I want to. The rear hard compound has a lot of grip and performed well whilst braking. The end result is a small trophy but the important work starts tomorrow, so tonight we will check some data to improve a bit because there is not much of a gap between the other riders. Another positive from today is that my physical condition after the nasty crash in Silverstone is not affecting my riding whilst on track. Therefore, I look forward to getting back on the Yamaha and I will do my absolute best to get a solid grid position for Sunday’s race."
Position: 17th - Time: 1'34.154 - Laps: 43
"I have really enjoyed my first day on the YZR-M1 at Misano and I feel that we are certainly making steps forward. In all honesty, riding this bike at this track is fantastic, plus it’s so different to the other motorcycles that I have used here and I mean that in a very positive way. I am increasing my knowledge and the faster I go, the more I have to change my style step by step, but I think we are getting closer to the mid-pack riders. The good thing is, I know what I have to do to advance which is improve my smoothness on the bike in terms of body position, plus I also need to keep building my confidence on corner entry. With a good rest tonight, I will be able to digest all the new information which will set me up for tomorrow’s qualifying. All in all, I have to say that I really liked riding the Yamaha at another track and the sun was shining too which is always good, so I am fired up for the rest of the weekend."