The Spanish Grand Prix marks another step forward in race development for Team SUZUKI ECSTAR as both the riders experienced a solid weekend close to the top and were therefore able to transfer back to the team plenty of precious feedback and data.
With Aleix Espargaro starting from sixth place on the grid and Maverick Viñales 14th, the team devoted the warm-up session to define the final set-up for the race and make a decision on which tyres to use. This was a decision which had not yet been made and it was one which was affected by the changing temperatures with race day being much cooler than the previous days’ afternoon practice and qualifying sessions.
When the red lights went out, Espargaro made a good start, getting to the first corner in fifth place, battling to keep his GSX-RR as close as possible to the front riders. This would prove to be difficult as his competitors seemed to have a slight performance edge. In the middle of the race he dropped to seventh place and finally took the chequered flag in that position, meaning another race finish in the top-eight with more important points scored in the championship.
Viñales in his race had to push hard from the very beginning to recover from 14th place on the grid. The crowded first corner saw him lose a couple of positions, but the positive feeling he had on his GSX-RR allowed him to stay close to the riders ahead and start gaining more and more positions as the race unfolded. As the performance of the tyres dropped, he could exploit the positive feeling he had with his GSX-RR’s chassis and keep a good pace, being able to fight for 10th position. The last few laps saw a flurry of overtakes between him and his competitors, with the series Rookie eventually finishing the race in 11th place; again very close to the top-10.
Satoru Terada – Team Director:
“I think the seventh place of Aleix is a good result, but everybody in the team feels that we can achieve better results. Of course we are new to this and we are gaining experience, but we are aware of our potential and we cannot say this result is fulfilling what our expectations are right now. Here we finally weren’t affected by the chattering problems we had in the USA and Argentina. We have brought some technical improvements here and apparently they gave us a good result, but tomorrow we will exploit the test day also to verify that we have solved the problem for real and it is not only a matter of the characteristics of the track. Maverick did a positive race in terms of his final result, but it was affected by his performance in qualifying: I believe that if he can start higher up on the grid he has the potential to end in the top-10 without major difficulties. Tomorrow we have an important day of testing here, we will work to verify the situation with the chattering, but also to make some improvements in both our electronics and chassis package to improve our traction, which could probably be the quickest way to find some more performance.”
“I’m not really satisfied with the result of this race, it is positive that I got again in the top eight and I gained important points to get closer to seventh place in the championship, but we all feel we have the potential to aim for higher results. At the moment we have to work more on traction, it is not a matter of pure power anymore; it is more a matter of delivering the power that we already have more effectively. We made huge steps forward with the chattering compared to previous races and now we have to deal with the rear wheel spinning. We have one very important test day tomorrow. We will test some new parts but mainly we have to work on the electronics to find improved traction. The team is doing an amazing job and really supporting me so it would be nice to reward them with better results because I think we deserve them for the potential that we have.”
“I’m happy to have ended the race almost in the top 10 but for sure I regret the mistake I made in qualifying. My pace in the race was good and I did a lot of overtakes, but unfortunately when you have to make so many passes it takes you a lot of time and I couldn’t reach the pace I felt I could make; which I believe could have been around a second faster. This is what happens when you start in the middle of the grid instead of nearer the front. I think we have the potential to legitimately aim for the third-row and starting from there would mean a much easier race for us. I need to improve my style and my approach to qualifying. I’m still a rookie with the softer tyres so it’s taking some time, but I feel confident that we are following the right path to improve.”
GP de ESPAÑA – FINAL CLASSIFICATION:
1. Jorge LORENZO, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - 44'57.246
2. Marc MARQUEZ, Repsol Honda Team - +5.576
3. Valentino ROSSI, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - +11.586
4. Cal CRUTCHLOW, CWM LCR Honda - +22.727
5. Pol ESPARGARO, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 - +26.620
6. Andrea IANNONE, Ducati Team - +27.021
7. Aleix ESPARGARO, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR - +35.445
8. Bradley SMITH, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 - +36.296
9. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, Ducati Team - +41.933
10. Yonny HERNANDEZ, Pramac Racing - +51.072
11. Maverick VIÑALES, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR - +51.674
RIDERS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP CLASSIFICATION (after GP de ESPAÑA):
1. Valentino ROSSI, Yamaha - 82
2. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, Ducati - 67
3. Jorge LORENZO, Yamaha - 62
4. Marc MARQUEZ, Honda - 56
5. Andrea IANNONE, Ducati - 50
6. Cal CRUTCHLOW, Honda - 47
7. Bradley SMITH, Yamaha - 36
8. Aleix ESPARGARO, Suzuki - 31
9. Pol ESPARGARO, Yamaha - 26
10. Maverick VIÑALES, Suzuki - 20