Having snapped at the heels of the slowest manufacturer bikes during March's Jerez pre-season test, Randy de Puniet and Power Electronics Aspar team are looking to revive that form after a disappointing CRT race debut in Qatar.

The CRT man to beat in winter testing, de Puniet was surprisingly forced to settle for second best, behind Colin Edwards, for much of the Losail weekend. Twelfth and 13th at the end of the grand prix, Edwards took the chequered flag over twelve seconds clear of de Puniet, who lost time - and places - in the early stages.

But de Puniet finished March's Jerez test with a whopping 1.5sec best lap time advantage over the Texan's Suter-BMW and was just 0.022sec from the Ducati of Karel Abraham.

The Frenchman thus has a excellent chance to restore Aprilia CRT honour on Sunday - and potentially become the first CRT rider to be classified in front of a manufacturer bike in a MotoGP race.

de Puniet believes the new specification Bridgestone front tyre will also help his cause.

"We had some good tests with the CRT bike here in the winter and our objective this weekend is to be the first of the new bikes home," said former Kawasaki, Honda and Ducati rider de Puniet.

"I was lacking a little confidence in Qatar, mainly because of the characteristics of the track, but it should be a different scenario at Jerez. I even think we could be very close to some of the factory MotoGP guys and the new Bridgestone front will definitely help us.

Last year's Spanish Grand Prix was a damp event and a repeat could be on the cards judging by weather forecasts for this weekend. "If it rains I won't be bothered because our bike is easy on the wet tyres," said de Puniet.

Team-mate Aleix Espargaro was close to de Puniet in Qatar qualifying, but 25sec behind in the race.

"I am very motivated for this weekend. I left Qatar feeling disappointed that we'd been unable to make progress all weekend and didn't achieve anything in the race," said the Spaniard, who will be riding in front of his home fans.

"Bridgestone have the new 'tyre 21' for us here, which should solve our chattering problem completely. We were faster than our rivals at Jerez during the IRTA tests so we'll be looking to confirm that this weekend."

Espargaro was one place, but one-second, behind de Puniet at the Jerez test.


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