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MotoGP Losail: Espargaro primed for 'crazy' qualifying bid

Suzuki's Aleix Espargaro ready to grasp his chance to put GSX-RR on front row during qualifying for the Qatar MotoGP
Aleix Espargaro is ready for a 'crazy' qualifying session in Qatar on Saturday as the Spaniard attempts to put the Suzuki GSX-RR on the front row of the grid.

Espargaro was fourth fastest in FP3 to secure his place in Q2, setting a best lap in 1m 54.994s as he finished only 0.172s down on Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez.

With the option of the soft rear tyre, Espargaro holds a sound chance of sealing a dream front row start for Suzuki at the Qatar MotoGP on the manufacturer's return to the premier class.

Asked about his prospects of a top-three finish in qualifying on Saturday, Espargaro said: “I will try, we will see. With the first lap I don't want to make a mistake like last year and we will make a safe lap, but with the second lap we will not use the head, we will leave the head in the box and it's going to be crazy!

“I think [Marc] Marquez will improve a lot of time from today but if he doesn't improve so much, then we have a chance.

“I need to be really, really calm. I already had this feeling last year in Malaysia but I made a big mistake; in the braking you need to be aggressive but if you make a mistake you can touch the rider.”

Espargaro is particularly pleased with the performance of the Suzuki on a full tank of fuel and is also making progress with the harder compound tyre.

“Obviously with the soft tyre we have a little bit of an advantage but at this track I don't feel really good with the soft tyre; with the hard tyre I feel better, especially after the second lap,” he said.

“With the hard tyre I feel better to ride the bike and I have to say with the full tank I feel fantastic; last year with my team the full tank was a disaster, the bike was moving and I crashed a lot. Here, I started with a full tank and hard tyre this morning and my first lap was 1m 55.8, so we have to be proud with the work we're doing.”

Turn 2 has claimed a number of victims with Marco Melandri, Loris Baz, Andrea Iannone and Alex de Angelis all ending up in the gravel trap, but Espargaro says the grip level has improved significantly over the past two days.

“Always in this track there are crashes at this corner [Turn 2],” he said. “It's difficult to say why but the track feels better than in the test and it's difficult to be really fast, but the grip is good.”

Tagged as: Espargaro , Marquez , Iannone , Angelis

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