Team Suzuki Press Office – April 2.
After transferring directly to Q2, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaró finally qualified respectively in 7th and 11th places for tomorrow’s race at the GP of Argentina.
The morning session saw both riders very competitive again on the tricky track of Termas de Rio Hondo, improving their lap-times and GSX-RR set-ups, being consistently in the top-10; and finally getting the Q2 direct access, thanks to the 1’40.796 for Viñales and 1’40.893 for Espargaró.
Qualifying was a little harder for the Team SUZUKI ECSTAR riders, as they struggled to find the same competitiveness as earlier. Viñales didn’t feel totally comfortable and therefore not able to perform as well as he did in previous sessions. But his best lap of 1’40.375 puts him on the third-row of the grid.
The positive improvements done by Espargaró throughout the weekend allowed him to find a good set-up to be faster than his 11th place, but the feeling with his machine is solid and the fourth row, where he will start from, will allow him to recover and get closer to the top.
Tomorrow’s plan will be changed with an additional warm-up session at the beginning of the day. Following an accident occurred with British rider Scott Redding, for safety reasons, Michelin decided to retire all the rear tyres actually deployed to the teams and to supply, for tomorrow, four tyres with a different structure and compound. These new tyres have been tested by none of the MotoGP™ riders, which makes the day interesting.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager:
“Towards tomorrow’s race, we still have some work to do and will have to see how to set-up the bike quickly for the new tyre that Michelin is going to provide us. Our riders have never tried them, but neither have the other MotoGP™ riders, therefore the situation will be equal to everyone. This track is already revealing to be very peculiar, due to its conditions, and these new tyres will add variables to our job: this is why we still need to stay focused and work at our best to deliver effective bikes to both the riders. However, the starting positions are not bad, Maverick is in seventh which is a good position that would allow to make a good race close to the top. Aleix made a very positive improvement, he got the direct access in Q2 and he starts 11th – which is not so bad if we manage to deliver him a good configuration as he will be able to catch the group and maybe recover. We now have to finalise a competitive package and hope for a good race for both.”
“The qualifying result is for sure not what we were expecting from this morning: In the afternoon I couldn’t feel confident with the set-up and this prevented me getting onto the first or second row, which in my opinion was possible. On the other hand I must recognise that if we don’t feel ok at all and indeed we are seventh, it’s not a bad result. The place on the grid is not so bad, as it is close to the top and allows a recovery, therefore if we manage to find a better set-up and find back my confidence, I’m sure we can still have a good race, as I feel good with the pace. I’m a little disappointed by the fact that in Qatar we were so fast to adapt and find efficiency, while here we are having more issues. Anyway, my team is doing a very good job, we can for sure improve and be faster, so I’m confident we can have a good race. The track conditions this year are very tricky, it is so hard to find the grip and anywhere outside the line is very slippery. This requires very wise riding and being aware of this we will have to find a perfect set-up to be effective on the line.”
“We have made a good step forward since Qatar and this leaves me very positive; I feel more confident with the bike and even though we are not close enough to fight for the Pole we are getting closer. On my side we have to work some more on the set-up to find even more confidence with the front and finalise a good set-up for the race. Eleventh place is not where I aim to be, but for the moment, it’s a good place and I believe I can recover some positions if I manage a good start and keep the touch with the front group.”
Argentina MotoGP Q2 Result:
1 Marc MARQUEZ – Repsol Honda Team – 1’39.411
2 Valentino ROSSI – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 1’39.786 + 0.375
3 Jorge LORENZO – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 1’39.944 + 0.533
4 Dani PEDROSA – Repsol Honda Team – 1’40.011 + 0.600
5 Andrea DOVIZIOSO – Ducati Team – 1’40.198 + 0.787
6 Andrea IANNONE – Ducati Team – 1’40.272 + 0.861
7 Maverick VIÑALES – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 1’40.375 + 0.964
8 Hector BARBERA – Avintia Racing – 1’40.524 + 1.113
9 Cal CRUTCHLOW – LCR Honda – 1’40.528 + 1.117
10 Pol ESPARGARO – Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – 1’40.654 + 1.243
11 Aleix ESPARGARO – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 1’40.708 + 1.297