Viñales 2nd in Rain-Hit Phillip Island Opening Day


Team Suzuki Press Office – February 17. Mixed weather conditions hampered the first day of MotoGP™ testing at Phillip Island in Australia today with alternate dry and wet conditions leaving many teams unable to find a proper set-up to lap consistently, which delayed the testing program.

Yet despite these hard conditions Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s Maverick Viñales put-in 20 laps aboard his GSX-RR, tried to test a few new things, in particular some electronics set-ups and recorded second on the timesheets.

Viñales and team-mate Aleix Espargaro have been joined at the test by Suzuki Test Team rider Takuya Tsuda, who worked hard yesterday in more consistent conditions to test mostly the new electronics. The objective of the Test Team in Australia is to continue the initial program with the new electronics and also the new seamless gearbox in order to finalise its development so that it can be transferred to the Factory Team riders.

Davide Brivio – Team Manager:

“Unfortunately the weather is totally uncertain and today’s conditions were too hostile to make a proper test. Since the introduction of the new tyres and new electronics all teams desperately need to further investigate the issues and these hard days make us lose many precious chances. However, this morning Maverick could make some laps in the wet which was very helpful for us to verify some things in the electronics and this will help us to find the best direction both tomorrow and for the upcoming season. He also made some laps in dry conditions, even though they were mainly to prepare for tomorrow’s work.

“Aleix, on the contrary, was very unlucky: He wanted to wait for dry conditions in order to lap in good conditions but he could only do a couple of laps before more rain. For him, today was a wasted day, but we hope for better conditions tomorrow and he will probably take advantage also of the information coming from Maverick today. Here in Phillip Island we also have our Test Team which is supposed to bring on crucial work for the development of the machines. I really hope that the weather will get more stable for the next two days as the riders are very keen to ride and all our engineers need data and feedback to work on.”

Maverick Viñales:

“Today was very difficult conditions, but we managed to ride some laps and this was positive. We didn’t really test anything specific, we just wanted to verify some set-ups in the electronics, mainly to take some advantages for tomorrow. I feel more confident now than last year, the 2015 season was really helpful for me to grow and also become more focused and sharp when it comes to giving feedback to my engineers and asking for modifications. This new electronics are putting all riders under pressure, we still have so many things to learn before we can manage it properly, but this is also something that is renewing the enthusiasm. I spent all the Winter training to get fit, now it’s time to focus on the machine. In Sepang we had some positive improvements which gave me positive feelings, but now I’m really curious to continue the development and get closer to the top.”

Aleix Espargaro:

“Today was too hard to predict the set-up, the weather conditions were not either fully-wet or dry which prevented us finding a proper direction. Honestly, if rain came seriously I would have been happy to try in full wet as it could have been useful information for the season, when of course we will have some rainy races. But in these variable conditions we preferred not to risk anything and wait for the upcoming days. I was curious to test the new intermediate tyres because they will be helpful in some races or qualifying, but of course when conditions are not consistent you can’t control the electronics properly; and then it’s very hard to test the tyres’ performances.”

IRTA TEST – AUSTRALIA: Classification after Day 1:

1. PETRUCCI, Danilo – Octo Pramac Yakhnich – 1:31.764
2. VIÑALES, Maverick – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 1:32.483 – +0.719 – Lap 20 / 20
3. SMITH, Bradley – Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – 1:32.590 – +0.826 – Lap 27 / 27
4. REDDING, Scott – Octo Pramac Yakhnich – 1:32.864 – +1.100 – Lap 33 / 41
5. CRUTCHLOW, Cal – LCR Honda – 1:32.948 – +1.184 – Lap 21 / 21
6. ROSSI, Valentino – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 1:33.088 – +1.324 – Lap 26 / 27
7. ESPARGARO, Pol – Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – 1:33.126 – +1.362 – Lap 20 / 20
8. HERNANDEZ, Yonny – Aspar MotoGP Team – 1:33.841 – +2.077 – Lap 6 / 6
9. MILLER, Jack – Marc VDS Racing Team – 1:33.992 – +2.228 – Lap 6 / 6
10. IANNONE, Andrea – Ducati Team – 1:34.049 – +2.285 – Lap 7 / 9
11. RABAT, Tito – EG 0.0 Marc VDS – 1:35.273 – +3.509 – Lap 28 / 29
12. MARQUEZ, Marc – Repsol Honda Team – 1:35.354 – +3.590 – Lap 18 / 20
13. ESPARGARO, Aleix – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 1:35.584 – +3.820 – Lap 2 / 2
14. LAVERTY, Eugene – Aspar MotoGP Team – 1:35.679 – +3.915 – Lap 5 / 10
15. TSUDA, Takuya – Suzuki Test Team – 1:36.166 – +4.402 – Lap 6 / 6
16. LORENZO, Jorge – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 1:39.825 – +8.061 – Lap 14 / 24
17. PEDROSA, Dani – Repsol Honda Team – 1:40.138 – +8.374 – Lap 15 / 15