The Czech Republic Grand Prix in Brno ended on mixed feelings for Team SUZUKI ECSTAR with Aleix Espargaro not completely happy with his final position of ninth and Maverick Viales satisfied with his performance despite crashing out of the race.
The whole weekend was pretty hard for Espargaro, who again recorded some improvements that were positive, but not enough to make him feel totally comfortable with his machine. In the morning warm-up he tried some further set-up configurations which unfortuantely didnt prove so positive, therefore he decided to go onto the grid with a more solid and consolidated set-up. At the start he got away well, gaining a couple of places immediately after the first turn, and then he fought to overtake the riders ahead to get into 11th place. When he succeeded, his pace was fast enough to recover a little more and then settle into his final position.
Viales made a positive start, losing only one place off the line and managing to be competitive immediately in the early laps. He fought hard in the second half of the top-10, keeping a consistent pace that was always in the 1'57s bracket. Unfortunately his eagerness drove him to push harder and harder, and he pushed the front-end of his GSX-RR and crashed-out with only six laps to go. At that point his gap from the leader of the race was less than 20 seconds.
Satoru Terada Project Leader:
The final result with Maverick crashing-out and Aleix in ninth place is not completely satisfying to us, but overall the weekend gave us some positive feelings and we must be pretty happy overall. Aleix struggled to find the optimal feeling on his GSX-RR but he made some steps forward since the last race. Maybe we deserved a better result with him, but we are happy that we could make some improvements with the bike and he could find some good direction. Maverick had a very good weekend, his new approach to the race is proving to be effective and we were very proud to see him fighting for better positions than in his last races. Unfortunately he crashed out, but this is racing and he was pushing hard; in fact he was not so far from the race leaders and fighting for positions with other factory riders, which is very positive overall.
I cannot say I'm happy with the weekend because once again I struggled to find a good feeling with the bike. It is positive that we finished the race and I got into the points, but overall we still need to work a lot harder. I feel disappointed, not only for the result, which is under our expectations, but most of all because I cannot understand why we can't find the good confidence we had in the first part of the season any more. After six or seven laps, when the tyre drops in performance, I can't keep the corner-speed and the back-end slides a lot under acceleration. My pace was too slow and we must investigate and understand why we are not performing as we did before.
Of course on one side I am disappointed because I crashed and couldn't finish the race, but on the other side I am really happy because I was very close to the top, only less than 20 seconds from the leader with only six laps to go; and this is incredible and a big-step forward for us. We know how much we lose with the lack of horsepower and therefore the other aspects of the machine are performing very well. Today I tried to push very hard and finally crashed but these are things that happen in racing. I'm proud of the work I've done with my crew, I also want to thank all of them, because we are finding a very positive approach to the race that makes me feel totally comfortable. This is one of the reasons why I feel at ease in trying to push more, the first part of the season was devoted to get acquainted with the bike and now it's time to be more daring. I made a positive start, improving my performance in the early laps, and my race-pace was closer to what we deserve, finally fighting with other factory riders. The crash is all part of the game, luckily I had no injuries and it gave me some more points of reference for the future. Today I was pushing and I crashed, maybe the next time I will push again but without crashing. This has been the best weekend since my start in MotoGP, I have the feeling that we are becoming stronger and stronger and this gives me further motivation.
GP of the Czech Republic Final classification:
1. Jorge LORENZO, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - 42'53.042
2. Marc MARQUEZ, Repsol Honda Team - +4.462
3. Valentino ROSSI, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - +10.397
4. Andrea IANNONE, Ducati Team - +13.071
5. Dani PEDROSA, Repsol Honda Team - +15.650
6. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, Ducati Team - +15.725
7. Bradley SMITH, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 - +21.821
8. Pol ESPARGARO, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 - +23.240
9. Aleix ESPARGARO, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR - +43.784
N.C. Maverick VIALES, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR
World Riders Championship after the Czech GP:
1. Jorge LORENZO, Yamaha - 211
2. Valentino ROSSI, Yamaha - 211
3. Marc MARQUEZ, Honda - 159
4. Andrea IANNONE, Ducati - 142
5. Bradley SMITH, Yamaha - 106
6. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, Ducati - 104
7. Dani PEDROSA, Honda - 91
8. Pol ESPARGARO, Yamaha - 81
9. Cal CRUTCHLOW, Honda - 74
10. Danilo PETRUCCI, Ducati - 63
11. Maverick VIALES, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR - 62
12. Aleix ESPARGARO, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 53