Day one of the first official MotoGP test in Qatar is officially in the books, with Aleix Espargaro and Aprilia stating their intent loud and clear. 

Espargaro was mainly contending for P1 with Honda test rider Stefan Bradl throughout the day, and after moving to the top of the leaderboard in the penultimate hour, he remained untouched to claim top spot. 

On a relatively green track, the lap times were at a relentless pace with many of the riders under the race lap record set by Jorge Lorenzo

Understandibly Espargaro was happy with the bike's performance and the improvements that seem to have taken place from last year to this year.   

"It is now more stable, also on the aerodynamic side they did a big, big job and it is really different in acceleration. I feel like we made one clear improvement and the bike has a lot more downforce, so I feel it more physically than last season's bike," said Espargaro.

“The bike is more stable so it has allowed me to accelerate much better which is more than welcome. We still have to understand the bike and see the strong points and the weak points. 

“The bike sincerely suits me very well, and it means that we did a great job as we had one of the slowest bikes last year, but now we are in P1 with a very fast lap time on day one." 

While the potential seems to be there with Espargaro topping the times. The top speed was still down on most of the competitors including Ducati, who had an advantage of 15kph. 

Espargaro was asked about this and feels he is 'accelerating better than ever', therefore suggesting the bike is still lacking the top edge of Ducati and others. 

Espargaro added: "Well sometimes it is not just the engine. It is a bit more complicated than that with the new MotoGP era from four or five years ago, with all the aerodynamics involved it is more difficult. 

"I have to say that I am accelerating better than ever, but clearly the top speed we have to improve. Our top speed is lower than last year and we are losing 15kph compared to the Ducatis. 

"So there is room to improve there. But as I mentioned, the aerodynamics allow you to turn better or not, to accelerate more or less, and to make more top speed.

"Now we have to find the balance [between downforce levels and drag] and today I tried two different aerodynamic packages that we still need to understand."



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