Aleix Espargaro plays down extra soft tyre advantage

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Forward Racing rider Aleix Espargaro has played down the benefit he could get from the use of an extra soft Bridgestone tyre in the new Open class in 2014.

The extra soft tyre has been pivotal in helping Espargaro spring the major surprise of winter testing, with the Spaniard not finishing lower than fourth in three pre-season appearances.

He topped the timesheets at the recent non-factory test under the Losail International Circuit floodlights in Doha and many think on tracks that the extra soft rear tyre has the endurance to last a race distance that Espargaro could be a dark horse for the rostrum.

The extra soft will certainly be a significant advantage in qualifying but Espargaro has already denied he can race that spec tyre in Sunday night’s opening encounter in Qatar.

At the recent Qatar test, the longest he could make the extra soft tyre last was three laps, and the season opening clash is run over 22 laps.

Espargaro told MCN: “For me it is not going to be a big advantage. It will be fun on Saturday if I am able to get on the front row but for that you don’t get any points. My feeling right now is I am not going to be able to use the soft tyre in many races and if you can’t use it then you have no advantage. I need to improve my feeling with the hard tyre and be faster on the race pace because in a lot of races with the big amount of power the bikes have, I will not be able to use the soft.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt