Team Suzuki Press Office – April 6 After the long journey from Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina to Austin in Texas, Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaró are both looking forward to the back-to-back race for the GP of the Americas in the USA.
The third round of the 2016 MotoGP™ World Championship this weekend will see both riders aiming for just-reward following a bitter-sweet Argentinian GP, where they both incurred crashes that prevented a potential podium-position for Team SUZUKI ECSTAR.
In Argentina, Espargaró slid-off in the early laps, damaging his GSX-RR that was not big, but was enough to compromise the performance after he remounted in the two-part race. Also, after the bike-change at the mid-way point of the shortened 20-lap event, his feeling was not as good as his No. 1 GSX-RR, so he raced for getting World Championship points, rather than risking another slip-off; and this paid off as he came home in 11th position.
Viñales, too, suffered major disappointment in Argentina; he put-in a brilliant race with a consistent pace that saw him in fourth and then third for the whole race, finally losing his challenge for second in the closing laps when he went too wide on his line, hit a wet-spot and slid off.
The race at the Circuit of The Americas is one much-awaited by the riders, as the track is very challenging, but also a great one to be ridden: It’s a mixture of technical and fast parts, where the set-up will play a crucial role. Last year here, the weekend was a fierce one from the start. While Espargaró entered Q2 directly from the free practice, Viñales has to enter Q1 and final qualifying saw both Spaniards in eighth and 12th on the grid in Suzuki’s first full season back in the premier class of motorcycle competition. However, the race itself saw Team SUZUKI ECSTAR improve and score eighth and ninth (Espargaró and Viñales).
The Circuit Of The Americas is the first purpose-built Grand Prix facility in the U.S.A. near Austin, Texas, with a 5.513km track-length and a capacity for 120,000 fans. Construction of the impressive 1000-acre facility was completed in late 2012, with MotoGP lining-up at the track for the first time in 2013. One of its more distinctive features is near 41m-elevation change with an impressive incline at the end of the home-straight followed by a sharp left. The circuit is one of the most varied on the GP calendar, with a mix of fast straights and tight hairpins, with most sections mirroring at least some part of a famous track around the world. It was designed by well-known German architect and circuit designer Hermann Tilke. The driving direction is counter-clockwise and has a total of 20 corners with 9 right turns and 11 left turns. Sunday’s race will be run over 21 laps for a total distance of 115,8 km (72 miles).
“I can’t wait to go to Texas and get rid of the bitter taste that the race in Argentina left me. I’m so sorry for all the work we have done that has been wasted by a single small wet spot, but, however the race and the weekend in overall gave us the confirmation that we are going in the right direction and we can fight and challenge for the top. The circuit in Austin is very challenging, so technical and yet so fast in some parts. Let’s hope for a good weather, which would allow me to enjoy the weekend even more. I like the track and I’m definitely in the mood of riding again as soon as possible, as I’m eager to get to some deserved results.”
“In Argentina we still had some problems, but the step forward we made after Qatar is evident, so I hope we will also be able to do the same step from Argentina to Austin. We finally found an effective direction towards we which we are now working very hard. The Argentina race was ruined by the crash and I’m sorry for that, but we took many positive things forward from there and we can look ahead. The Circuit of The Americas is a nice track, not easy at all; and this is a challenge that motivates me even more. However, we must be able to find good confidence immediately that will allow me to be competitive, as we need to get to the results we deserve.”
Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 2015 Argentina Results:
Qualifying: 8nd – 2’02.869
Race: 8th – +19.025s
Qualifying: 12th – 2’03.754
Race: 9th – +38.570s