Repsol Honda’s Pol Espargaro endured another challenging Friday as he languished at the back of the MotoGP times at Aragon.
Despite the Motorland circuit being a local favourite of the 31-year-old, tyre issues and an aborted hot-lap prevented Espargaro from showing his true potential on the RC213V, leaving him 23rd in the combined times after FP2.
“Yeah, obviously it was not a good day,” Espargaro admitted on Friday evening. “But anyway not as bad as it shows.
“In the time attack in the last run, I did some big mistakes in the two pushing laps and I need to cancel the time attack on the soft tyre so that's why we are very back on the pace.
“I mean, we could not be very, very on top anyway, but we should be around 10 to 15 position. But honestly, I didn't feel comfort today, struggled quite a lot with the rear grip, also with the front - it’s closing all the time. Nothing looks like it's working at the moment so we will try to improve it tomorrow.
“Hopefully the grip improve a little because today the grip was quite weak and I normally suffered quite a lot with it. Together, in the afternoon it was a little bit hotter temperature and also it makes that the grip is lower. Anyway, it's the same thing for everyone so we'll try to hit the track tomorrow in a better way and try to do better lap times.
“We feel quite confident with the medium front, but on the time attack it was not really, really good,” he continued on his Friday woes. “I had quite a bit closing and not good performance and on the rear, the soft tyre, at the end of the day it was a preheated tyre that we had from another weekend so also it was not performing very well. That's why I think I did so many mistakes.
“So tomorrow we will see, it's going to be the day to make our fast lap time and then also FP4 so we'll set up a good day hopefully.”
Friday brought confirmation of the final place on the MotoGP grid for 2023 and Espargaro’s teammate in the newly re-branded GasGas Factory outfit, Moto2 rider Augusto Fernandez.
“It's good. I'm very happy,” he said of next year’s partnership. “From all the guys on Moto2 grid I think he's one of the top guys at the moment. He's one of the fastest. Also physically he's quite strong so I think he would be able to manage this step into MotoGP in a very good way. He's a friendly guy also so I think the atmosphere inside the pitbox will be very good and hopefully we can push each other to the limit to try to be the fastest KTM group and the best GasGas.”