Team Suzuki Press Office – June 14.
Another positive weekend marks yet more steps forward in Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s journey in MotoGP™.
Today’s race at Montmelò for the GP of Catalunya saw Aleix Espargarò very competitive among the top riders, riding for most of the race in the top-five, but unfortunately he crashed towards the end while in fourth place. His team-mate Maverick Viñales enjoyed a very positive race as well, fighting for the whole 25-laps with the same pace of the top riders and finally finishing in sixth place, improving again his position from the last race in Mugello.
Both Team SUZUKI ECSTAR riders made good initial starts aboard their new GSX-RRs, but were overtaken by a pack of faster riders, which resulted in both of them being in the middle of the pack. This led to both of them losing a lot of time in having to make overtakes during the next few laps, but they both constantly improved their positions and finally were able to settle down into a pace similar to that of their higher-placed rivals.
The weekend proved to be very positive overall, not only for the historic 1-2 scored in qualifying, but because both riders made steps forward to close the gap with the top factory riders.
Satoru Terada – Project Leader:
“This weekend was positive for us. Of course I’m sorry for Aleix’s retirement, but we must consider that when he crashed he was in fourth place and fighting on the same pace of the other factory riders. This means that we have made some big steps forward and the excellent result in qualifying confirms this. Maverick, as well, had a very positive race, ending in sixth, improving his best result so far, and he proved to be very fast on the single lap but also consistent in race times. Even though we made this step forward we must continue working. The positive thing of the new engine-specs is that we haven’t only improved the top power but that we have a smooth and nice power delivery, which is very important. Saturday’s result was a success for us but also a reminder that we have in our hands a good base and we must continue improving. For the next test we will try some improvements in aerodynamics and also in electronics and we hope they will be profitable.”
“I’m happy about this result but at the end I’m also a little bit disappointed: being in sixth is an extraordinary result; it’s my best result so far and it is an improvement compared to Mugello, which means we are working positively. At the same time I’m disappointed because looking at the time-sheet I notice that I ran the same pace-time that other factory riders did, therefore maybe if I could be more effective in acceleration after the start I could be fighting for the podium. I got passed by so many riders in the first corner and I had to struggle a lot to overtake and recover. I finally ended in sixth place, for sure I’m disappointed and sad for Aleix’s crash, but I must say that at the end of the day the weekend has been very positive because we made some big progress.”
“It’s a pity on how the race went. I was so proud of being at the front of the grid but unfortunately what happens at the end of the race is what counts. I had a very good start, but here in Catalunya the first corner is very far from the start-line and we lack in acceleration: as soon as I clicked into second gear I started losing positions because of our normal shift, instead of the seamless shift systems used by our factory rivals. I got out of the first corner having lost a lot of positions but I knew I could count on a very good race-pace; therefore I started to push very hard. I made many overtakes and finally set-foot in the top-five, but unfortunately this effort led to the front tyre getting worn too soon.
“The crash was my mistake, maybe because of the rush of recovering all those positions lost at the start. When I crashed I was riding to the limit and I got slightly off the ideal line, probably by one metre, but unfortunately I got a bump and I lost the front. It’s a real pity and I’m sorry for the team - which is doing a great job - but we still need something more. It’s good to see that now we can fight at the same level with the top riders, except for maybe the factory Yamahas, but not being able to finish the race is something I don’t like.”
GP of Catalunya – Race Classification:
1. Jorge LORENZO, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - 42'53.208
2. Valentino ROSSI, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - +0.885
3. Dani PEDROSA, Repsol Honda Team - +19.455
4. Andrea IANNONE, Ducati Team - +24.925
5. Bradley SMITH, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 - +27.782
6. Maverick VIÑALES, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR - +29.559
NC. Aleix ESPARGARO, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR
Riders World Championship after GP of Catalunya:
1. Valentino ROSSI - Yamaha - ITA - 138
2. Jorge LORENZO - Yamaha - SPA - 137
3. Andrea IANNONE - Ducati - ITA - 94
4. Andrea DOVIZIOSO - Ducati - ITA - 83
5. Marc MARQUEZ - Honda - SPA - 69
6. Bradley SMITH - Yamaha - GBR - 68
7. Cal CRUTCHLOW - Honda - GBR - 47
8. Maverick VIÑALES - Suzuki - SPA - 46
9. Pol ESPARGARO - Yamaha - SPA - 45
10. Dani PEDROSA - Honda SPA - 39
11. Danilo PETRUCCI - Ducati ITA - 39
12. Aleix ESPARGARO - Suzuki - SPA – 31