The winter holidays have now begun for Aleix Espargarò and Sam Lowes, having finished testing at Jerez a few hours ahead of schedule due to rain. The two riders do not yet have their new bikes, which they will ride for the first time at Sepang in late January, but focused on working with the 2016 RS-GP.
The two sides of the garage had different goals, and while the more experienced Aleix continued to work in preparation for 2017, rookie Sam focused on gaining experience. Unfortunately the three-day test was not an easy one for the Brit, still suffering after his crash at Valencia. Sam completed 50 laps without pushing (his best time a 42”312 compared to the 1’39”675 set by his team-mate).
The two riders' crew chiefs summed up this week's progress. Marcus Eschembacher, working alongside Espargarò, commented: “We are heading into the winter break with good sensations. Aleix confirmed what he demonstrated in Valencia, both in terms of performance and harmony with the RS-GP. We have identified a rather precise technical direction to accommodate his riding style and during the winter we will work on bringing a further advanced bike to the first tests at Sepang. The weather did not help us and we also had a crash, but we can look forward to the 2017 season optimistically."
Giulio Nava clarified Lowes' condition: "Sam is suffering from the after-effects of his crash in Valencia, but he put himself to the test anyway at Jerez to continue growing. We have a long season ahead of us, so for the moment it is important to rack up the miles in the saddle and get to know the mechanisms of the team. Despite his physical difficulties, I think these tests added another notch in the belt for Sam's apprenticeship. I'm sure that in Malaysia his potential will begin to show. We can't consider the times from these tests as any real indication."