Team Suzuki Ecstar Positive in Sepang First Day


Team Suzuki Press Office – February 1.  The MotoGP riders got back to work after the long winter break today at Sepang in Malaysia with Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales meeting with their crew and team for the first of a three-days of testing.

After the two-month break that followed the last test in November, the Suzuki engineers delivered many new parts and settings for the Factory GSX-RRs, including new specifications for the engine, new frame as well as the seamless gearbox that Viñales debuted at Sepang in November. The two riders had three machines in the pit garage; the 2015 GSX-RR and two 2016 bikes. At the same time, new tyres and new electronics have yet to be investigated over the busy test program that finishes on Wednesday.

First impressions from Espargaro and Viñales was positive, even though this first day was not focused on finding the time attack, but rather to lap as much as possible to verify and learn all the variables that has been introduced. It was important, in fact, to start recording the feeling of the riders with a step-by-step approach, in order to consolidate the processes.

Davide Brivio – Team Manager:

“It has been a tough but very useful day; of course the main focus was on the electronics to start finding a good way and configuration. We had to ask the riders to be patient today and bear with a demanding workload to understand and test the electronics. However, towards the end of the day we reached a nice level and during the day we were able to work in parallel on other new items we have available here. We have worked on the seamless gearbox, both riders managed to try the engine with new specs and both liked it. Let’s say it has been a hard day because it was very busy but yet mostly positive. The objective now is to finalise the electronics as much as possible so to be able to squeeze the best out of the new components that we have to select for the Championship.”

Aleix Espargaro:
Best lap: 2’02.539s.

“It was a really busy day, but I’m happy I met my team again and we started to work on the new machine. I was happy when I arrived here two days ago because I trained very hard last winter and I know that in Hamamatsu as well they’ve worked very hard, in fact they sent us much new material to try. Today we started our job and tried a couple of things and to me it seems we have a good potential. The first thing I tried was the seamless gearbox, I wanted to try it because in November I couldn’t be here for the accident I had; we still have some work to finalise it, we need to find some fine-tuning in its set-up but the improvement from the standard transmission is very important. I also like the engine with the new specs; to me it looks to have gained a good power distributed over all the curve, which is good for the riding feeling. As a matter of fact we verified this feeling lapping without the traction control for many runs and my impression is that this new spec is very positive. Of course here we also had the Michelin tyres, they’ve made a step forward since the ones we tested in Valencia and the feeling with the front has improved a lot. For the next days we still have many things to test, we can still further investigate many regulations and fine tunings, therefore allowing me to be confident about the room for improvement we still have.”

Maverick Viñales:
Best lap: 2m02.645s.

“Finally we got back on our bikes and I’m happy we’re back. The program we have is very busy because we have so many new things from Japan. Our first priority was to start the job from where we left off here at Sepang in November and the first runs were mainly to test the electronics and get acquainted with it. We still need to learn a lot, in fact we are using these tests to acquire as much information as possible to manage the data and finalise the machine properly. We have made some little steps forward but we still need to improve, keep working and I believe we will be more competitive. The difference between the standard transmission and the seamless is evident, even if we still lack in fine set-up and the improvements are sensible in the lap times. I’m also happy with the new specification engine, not only is it better and faster, but also gives me a positive confidence. This was also my third test with the new Michelin tyres, but honestly I already had good feelings in Valencia when I tried them for the first time; so here I can confirm I’m confident with that. I feel they have made a step forward compared to the last test, the only problem could be to be careful on the way you ride with the front tyre, but I believe this can be also helped by the improvement of my style.”

MALAYSIAN TEST – Day 1 Classification:

1. LORENZO, Jorge – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 2:00.684
2. ROSSI, Valentino – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 2:01.717 – +1.033
3. PEDROSA, Dani – Repsol Honda Team – 2:01.780 – +1.096
4. PETRUCCI, Danilo – Octo Pramac Yakhnich – 2:01.811 – +1.127
5. IANNONE, Andrea – Ducati Team – 2:01.912 – +1.228
6. BARBERA, Hector – Avintia Racing – 2:02.002 – +1.318
7. MARQUEZ, Marc – Repsol Honda Team – 2:02.278 – +1.594
8. REDDING, Scott – Octo Pramac Yakhnich – 2:02.338 – +1.654
9. ESPARGARO, Aleix – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 2:02.539 – +1.855
10. CRUTCHLOW, Cal – LCR Honda – 2:02.586 – +1.902
11. VIÑALES, Maverick – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 2:02.645 – +1.961