Aleix Espargaro is confident the Assen TT circuit will favour his Suzuki GSX-RR machine and sees no reason why his team cannot challenge like it did in Catalunya two weeks ago.
The Spaniard fought his way to the sharp end of the field during the free practice sessions in Barcelona then stunned everyone when he and team-mate Maverick Vinales locked out the top two grid slots in qualifying as Espargaro took his second career MotoGP pole.
His first came 12 months ago in the Netherlands while racing for the open class Forward Yamaha squad, albeit in wet conditions, and the 25-year-old says he will be targeting the front again this weekend.
“The Cathedral is one of my best tracks and I think that our machine will be very nice to ride here,” Espargaro said. “The circuit is tight with lots of changes in direction, which is perfect for our machine thanks to its chassis and set-up. I feel positive about Assen, we have a competitive package and the track is favourable.
“At Catalunya we had our first taste of how high we can be when we are ok and being first and second on the grid was unbelievable and gave us an incredible boost.”
Despite the positive progress made Espargaro has failed to finish in the past three races – his joint-worst run in his premier class career – which is something he wants to put right this weekend.
Esparagaro also says he will be hunting improvements during the practice sessions at Assen, focusing on engine setup, which he began at the mid-season test at Catalunya but were curtailed by the stormy conditions.
“Of course we still need to work a lot to fill certain gaps,” he added. “We still need to refine the new engine specs and to find even more effective set-ups, which is why we made the tests.”