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MotoGP Australia: Espargaro pleased with focus on race pace

Aleix Espargaro expects a close race come Sunday after a tightly-contested first day of free practice at Phillip Island.
Aleix Espargaro showed a glimpse of his best form on the opening day of practice in Philip Island with the Spaniard setting the pace in FP1 before eventually ending the day second fastest.

Espargaro, who was recently confirmed as a Suzuki rider for 2015, looked back to his form of earlier in the year in the opening session with his confidence on the bike clear to see but it was his work in the second session that Espargaro wanted to focus on afterwards

"In the first session the track was a little quicker and I could have gone a little bit quicker," said Espargaro. "In the afternoon we focused on our race pace and we did a lot of laps, 23 laps on the rear tyre, and the pace was fantastic.

"It won't be easy tomorrow because on the front we are on the limit and the asymmetric tyre, with the 32 on the right side, is difficult and I tried it at the end with a new rear tyre and I couldn't improve. We're at the limit with the front grip and we'll see tomorrow but today was really positive and the pace was really close today so it could be really close in the race."

The use of Bridgestone's new asymmetric tyre has dominated discussions so far in Australia and even though he was strong today Espargaro admitted that the new tyre is not one that he envisions being used during the race.

“With a cold wind blowing onto the circuit today some riders had problems getting the right side of the tyre up to temperature and for Espargaro the biggest issue was that the softer right shoulder of the asymmetric tyre was too hard to be viable for use at Philip Island.

"The 32 on the right is too hard, the left side is working but the right is too hard. The grip this weekend is really low but at least Bridgestone have tried something new to make it safer for the riders but unfortunately it's not enough. The 32 is too hard on the right side because when I was trying to brake on the right the tyre was not working and it was too cold.

“The problem is that the 32 is usually a really soft tyre so it's strange what is happening and the safety commission will talk about it. I'm happy because Bridgestone have worked a bit but it's not enough."

Tagged as: Yamaha , Espargaro , Forward

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