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Q&A: Randy de Puniet and Aleix Espargaro

8 October 2012

Randy de Puniet and Aleix Espargaro lead the new CRT MotoGP class and both recently re-signed with the Aspar team for 2013…

Q:
How has the ART evolved since the first time you rode it?

Randy de Puniet:
The technical team, Aprilia and I have got to know the ART better each time out and we have done a great job with the suspension. We have worked to make it a much more comfortable bike.
Aleix Espargaro:
The most important thing is that the team and I have both got used to the machine, which has benefitted us when it comes to finding all of its potential. What's more, we have also improved front end performance a lot. In preseason we were suffering from a lot of chatter, and now this has been eliminated.

Q:
How have you matured in 2012?

Randy de Puniet:
This new project has made me mature a lot as a rider. We were starting from zero, so we had to make many decisions over the course of the year in order to make the ART a winning bike. Now that the bike has an excellent base, it's all about polishing my riding at each race, giving 100% and squeezing the most out of it.
Aleix Espargaro:
Now I am a little more mature -more cerebral. Thanks to the team and to Jorge I have learnt to be much more serene, which helps when solving setbacks.

Q:
Why are there such differences in MotoGP? What would you do to even things up?

Randy de Puniet:
Lorenzo, Pedrosa and Stoner have the support of the factories, they have the best bikes on the grid and a good team behind them. They also ride with a level of total confidence which, added to the fact that they are incredible riders, makes a big difference. The difference between the factory bikes and the rest of the field is huge, but it is logical that the best riders have the best machinery. We will have to wait until 2014, when supposedly we will all have the same electronics package.
Aleix Espargaro:
For me it is clear that Jorge, Pedrosa and Stoner have something more than the rest. But it isn't as much as you see on the track. There is a big difference in bikes and with electronics, so when this evens up the races will be much more fun –there will be more equality. What Dorna are doing is proposing to limit electronics and power via the spec ECU. This will help a lot for MotoGP in general.

Q:
What are the strong points of the ART? What more can you ask of the bike?

Randy de Puniet:
It is a very manageable bike. It is very balanced and you don't need to make big changes from circuit to circuit. We have found a base setting for the chassis that is very reliable –we just lack a little power. The ART is a well designed and well developed bike, and the proof of this is how it is the dominant CRT this year.
Aleix Espargaro:
It is a very agile bike, which helps when changing direction. Confidence with the rear allows you to brake very late. Our handicap is our power and electronics, which are not on a par with those of the MotoGP riders, but this is something that we were expecting. The electronics that we have work well, but they are not as sophisticated as those used by the MotoGP bikes. The differences can be seen under braking and in the rain.

Q:
You've renewed for another year with the Power Electronics Aspar Team... what would you ask for next season?

Randy de Puniet:
I hope that this year we can finish as the best CRT riders. Next year, with the experience that we have, I hope that we can be yet more competitive. I hope that the machinery improves and –why not?- that we can gradually get close to the official prototypes. I am confident that next year we will not have setbacks at any race. It will be tough, but we have to continue on top form.
Aleix Espargaro:
My wishes are simple. I only ask that we continue with the progress made this season. I hope to continue to enjoy myself as I have done up to now and I am sure that we will achieve great results.

Q:
Has anything about the Power Electronics Aspar Team surprised you?

Randy de Puniet:
No. I already knew the team with whom I worked this year and was aware that they are very professional. In fact, right from preseason we coordinated our ways of working to perfection.
Aleix Espargaro:
I love the professionalism of the team. What I most like is the presence of the Aspar Team. They have riders in all three categories, with the same objective of top success for everyone. It's also like a big family that looks after everyone in the team, which is very difficult to achieve.

Q:
What do you expect from the remaining races?

Randy de Puniet:
I am confident of working with the same intensity and getting to the finish as the best CRT rider. If things go sour one weekend, then you have to be savvy in order to concede as few points as possible. We are going to put all our effort into achieving this objective. I believe that the last four races will be very interesting and more competitive than ever.
Aleix Espargaro:
I expect to continue with the same rate of progress and to try not to make mistakes, because Randy and I are very close in the standings and I think that this will be the case right to the end. One has to work to be at the same level as Randy all the time, and I hope that we can fight for the best CRT honour at the last race in Valencia.

Q:
How do you imagine the CRT concept going in the future?

Randy de Puniet:
It is too early to say. I suppose that gradually the CRTs will be much more competitive bikes, more closely matched to the factory bikes.
Aleix Espargaro:
I don't think it will be much different to now. I suppose that our bike will be a little closer to the Factory machines. The important thing is that in the future the situation evens up for every rider in the premier class.

Q:
What has been your best race of the season?

Randy de Puniet:
The Czech Republic. I qualified well and kept up in positions fairly high up. Thanks to this, I could fight with the prototypes and with Aleix. In the end it was a calm race for me and I won the CRT honour.
Aleix Espargaro:
I have had many. In Barcelona I was able to break away at the end. In Aragón I also had one of my best GPs. In qualifying I put in a really fast lap, ahead of some satellite machines. In the race I fought with Abraham and De Puniet and got ahead of Barberá.

Q:
Did you expect there to be such a difference between you and your direct rivals?

Randy de Puniet:
No, I was expecting a little less from some riders. Honestly, Aleix and I have dominated the CRT category fairly comfortably. Sometimes we have had surprises, but in general we have been the lead CRT riders.
Aleix Espargaro:
Sincerely? No. There are some riders with a lot of experience, from whom I was expecting better performance. The Power Electronics Aspar Team have done a great job. Randy and I have finished the majority of the races ahead of the other CRTs, thanks to the work of the team.


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