After the Christophe Ponsson controversy, Reale Avintia Ducati must have been relieved by the competitive pace of Jordi Torres during the Aragon weekend.

'To sum it up, he did a great job,' declared the team's post-race press release.

Like Ponsson, Torres had never previously completed a MotoGP lap and also spent the weekend at the bottom of the timesheets, but had put the two-year Ducati within 0.6s of team-mate Xavier Simeon by qualifying.

The former Moto2 and WorldSBK race winner went on to finish the race 20th and last, but just half-a-second from Simeon (riding the injured Tito Rabat's newer GP17) and three seconds from Tech3's Hafizh Syahrin.


Torres, who had been out of grand prix since 2014 and usually races (with steel brakes and Pirelli tyres) for MV Agusta in WorldSBK, said: "To complete my first Grand Prix in the MotoGP class was a very emotional experience. A dream came true and I enjoyed every moment of it.

"It helped me to understand tyre wear, how the bike changes over the distance and how you have to adapt your riding style to the decreasing fuel load. But to be honest, not a lot of this sank in and every time I saw myself getting closer to the front, I made more mistakes.

"I tried to stay cool during the race and to concentrate on my riding position, but I’m still too rigid on the bike. I would have liked to stay with another rider in the race, but nevertheless, I am very happy.

"Now we’ll have to wait and see if Tito will fly to Thailand or not. I am prepared for whatever is needed."

Rookie Simeon, who like Thomas Luthi (Marc VDS) is yet to score points this year, said:

"This weekend was much more difficult than I expected, as I really thought I’d be able to finish higher up in the classification. But we had a lot of traction problems over the whole weekend.

"In the race, the last laps were especially difficult. Even though the bike turns very well, I couldn’t get the power down in the moment of opening the throttle. The only positive thing is the additional experience with this bike.

"Now we have to concentrate on the next race in Thailand where I expect to make another step forward.”

Avintia confirmed that, should Rabat – who suffered multiple leg fractures at Silverstone – be unable to take part in next weekend's inaugural Thai round, then Simeon will have a third opportunity with the GP17 and Torres will make another stand-in appearance.