‘It’s unbelievable how much the bike has changed; it was difficult to set up the bike’ – Aleix Espargaro

Aleix Espargaro was fourth in the first free practice for the Japanese GP at Motegi. The Aprilia man was 0.068s off leader Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati), but was far from having an easy day.

In his daily meeting with the press, the Spaniard commented on his Friday like this: ‘It wasn’t bad. Honestly, we had some difficulties in the first two exits because the bike was so far off in terms of electronics, in terms of power delivery.’

Even though he confessed that he was not happy with the initial situation, Espargaro acknowledged that the changes in the bike and performance have been considerable since his last appearance at Motegi, which made it very difficult to configure the RS-GP in an ideal way:

– I was very angry with the engineers, but they told me they tried to adapt as much as possible the information from 2019 to 2022. But it’s unbelievable how much the bike has changed, how much we’ve increased the power. The horsepower was a big problem in 2019. In the last FP2 here in 2019, which I think was dry, the top riders rode in the high 1m44s and I did 1m45s high. Today I did 1m44.5s. So everybody went down half a second and we went down almost 1.5s. So it was difficult for them to set up the bike. But in the final part of the session the bike was very good.

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