MotoGP GP of San Marino – Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli

The riders of Team Reale Avintia Racing had a positive first day of practice for the San Marino Grand Prix.

Xavi Simeon was impressed with the Ducati GP17 of his injured teammate Tito Rabat and ended the two Friday practice sessions very happy with the feeling for this bike, even though these good sensations don’t reflect in the classification yet. Simeon was 1.6 seconds behind the fastest guy on the track but is convinced that he can do another step tomorrow and that a starting position somewhere in the first five rows of the grid is within reach.

There was also excitement on the other side of the box which saw the MotoGP debut of Christophe Ponsson. Everything was new for Chris today and it made sense for the 22-year-old Frenchman to have a careful approach in the blue ribbon category of motorcycle racing. Rubén Xaus was by his side all day and provided him, alongside with the technical team, with the right advice at every moment, so he was able to progress significantly over the course of the day. Despite a lot of criticism about him learning to ride a MotoGP bike on an actual race weekend, the Frenchman achieved his first goal and finished the day within the 107 per cent time limit and passed the qualifying hurdle. In the same way as Simeon, Ponsson also expects to make another step on Saturday in order to be well prepared for the race on Sunday.

“I am very happy, because I felt really well on this bike. We didn’t touch anything on the base settings of Tito and I was comfortable from the first lap. I tried to ride as much as possible in order to get used to the bike and with every exit, we managed to improve our times. I finished 1.6 seconds behind the leader and it’s a long time ago that I was that close. The team is helping me a lot in order to do well. I believe tomorrow we can fight for a place within the top 15 in qualifying.”

“Today I had to learn many things in a short time, but I think we did a good job. What I find most difficult to get used to are neither the carbon brakes nor the engine power, but the stiffness of the bike. I rode many street bike derivatives in the past, which were softer and I’m struggling with this one because the chassis is so stiff that it transmits everything. I also never had a chance to compete on Michelin tires before, which made things even more complicated in the short time we’ve had. I need more kilometres in order to get used to the bike. The other riders or on the finish line of this season and are on an incredible level. The best thing for us is that I improved every time I went out on the track.”