Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s Aleix Espargaro raced to his best position of 2015 in today’s 14th round of the MotoGP™ World Championship at Motorland, Aragon in Spain, recording sixth position on his GSX-RR as team-mate Maverick Viñales fought-back to 11th overall.
The morning session saw both riders find solid improvements in their pace, being consistent with the top riders. This, in fact, was the case in the race as well, where both set their own rhythm and kept it until the end, providing the proof of the good set-up they had found. Espargaro immediately was in the top-eight fight, exploiting his seventh position on the grid and keeping in contact with the top factory riders. His race was all about trying to get up to fifth place; even though he couldn’t achieve the result he finally ended the race close behind.
Viñales, however, had to struggle at the beginning of the fight with riders who were equipped with the softer tyre, therefore paying for it in the early laps and giving some positions away from the start and running in 17th place in the middle of the race. But his race-pace was very solid and this paid dividends in the second part of the event, where he gained a more-stable performance of his tyres and recovered many positions, finally netting 11th place.
Both the results are a positive improvement from the last few races; at which both riders couldn’t express their full potential. They are now happy to be back in a better-performing condition and it shows great promise for the next race, the GP of Japan - that is effectively a home race for the team – but home soil for Suzuki Motor Corporation.
Satoru Terada – Project Leader:
“It’s good to see that we have gone back to better positions at the end of the race, both riders did a good job and in particular Aleix could finally end the race in sixth, right behind the other factory riders. This shows that we could finally give him a good machine. Maverick had to struggle a little more with grip, he couldn’t find a proper feeling on Friday and finally also in the race he apparently lacked in acceleration since the rear wheel was spinning, but the 11th place, with much overtaking, must be considered a good result. Here we brought some improvements in the engine – not a new one, but one with some new specs – and it looks that they were effective. Of course we need to improve more, but even a little step-forward is a good first positive point. Now we head to Japan, the circuit is not so favourable for our machine, but the riders like it very much and moreover we will have many of our team from Suzuki coming to support us.”
“I’m very happy to be back in amongst the top positions. The last races were very hard for us and we weren’t where we deserved to be. In this race we could end in the positions that I think is more suitable for us and the only thing we have to do is to understand how to be this high-performing in every race. After Catalunya I think this was the most positive race in terms of feeling with the bike, assuming that we lost some acceleration in the straight it is very good that I was able to fight for the fifth place. I could also enjoy the race, I had very much fun because I felt comfortable. I must say thank you to my team because we really did make huge improvements and they put me in the best condition to exploit the materials that we have at this point.”
“Finally the result in the race is a little better than expected and I am happy that we could improve over the three days. Friday was really awful, so it is a great result to be as competitive as we were come Sunday. Of course we still have a lot to do, my team-mate took sixth so this means that the machine has a higher potential and we need to find the better way to exploit it. At the beginning of the race I did a good start and was preparing to overtake someone in the first corner, but unfortunately I had many troubles with the grip on the rear and I couldn’t accelerate enough to complete the move. Then I was in a group of riders using softer tyres, making them more competitive on the first laps, and I had to stay there and fight to keep my pace. Finally their performance dropped while my choice of tyres paid-off and I could overtake many of them. Being consistent is always the key for me and finally this race proved that it is true. We still have a lot to do, Japan won’t be easy, but we must be happy for the improvements we’ve made. It’s not easy to recover from a bad day such as Friday was but we did, and the 11th place is a good result.”
GP of Aragon – Race classification:
1. Jorge LORENZO, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - 41'44.933
2. Dani PEDROSA, Repsol Honda Team - +2.683
3. Valentino ROSSI, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - +2.773
4. Andrea IANNONE, Ducati Team - +7.858
5. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, Ducati Team - +24.322
6. Aleix ESPARGARO, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR - +24.829
7. Cal CRUTCHLOW, LCR Honda - +25.367
8. Bradley SMITH, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 - +25.503
9. Pol ESPARGARO, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 -+26.452
10. Yonny HERNANDEZ, Octo Pramac Racing -+43.889
11. Maverick VIÑALES, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR - +44.255
Riders World Championship classification after GP of Aragon:
1. Valentino ROSSI, Yamaha - 263
2. Jorge LORENZO, Yamaha - 249
3. Marc MARQUEZ, Honda - 184
4. Andrea IANNONE, Ducati - 172
5. Bradley SMITH, Yamaha - 143
6. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, Ducati - 139
7. Dani PEDROSA, Honda - 129
8. Danilo PETRUCCI, Ducati - 93
9. Cal CRUTCHLOW, Honda - 88
10. Pol ESPARGARO, Yamaha - 88
11. Aleix ESPARGARO, Suzuki - 76
12. Maverick VIÑALES, Suzuki – 74