Team SUZUKI ECSTARs Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viales put-in strong performances to finish ninth and 11th respectively at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone during their first time in full-wet conditions this season.
The 12th round of the MotoGP series was heavily affected by the weather from the very beginning today, with the starting procedure having to be repeated due to the light showers that arrived during the sighting lap. In these tricky conditions both Team SUZUKI ECSTAR riders did a good job, considering this was all-new territory for them aboard their 2015 Suzuki GSX-RRs.
The morning warm-up gave the riders first experience of a damp track, with both Espargaro and Viales trying to find as much information as possible to prepare for the race as the weather forecast was still uncertain if the race would be held in dry or wet conditions. Finally rain started to pour as the riders were on the grid, increasing in intensity just before the start. This forced Race Direction to stop the procedure and start again, declaring the race as fully wet.
The rain and also the first corner heavily influenced the race for the riders; Espargaro being hit by another rider and Viales being forced to go wide to avoid a crahed bike in front of him. This lost both a lot of time and they had to recover many positions. However, both young Spaniards lap-times were consistently-fast enough throughout the race for them to get well into the points; and importantly new important data and information aquired for the team.
Satoru Terada Project Leader:
Finally we have had our first race under rain conditions and I believe this experience was positive. We have absolutely zero experience racing in wet conditions with this new GSX-RR machine, so it was crucial for us to get some information. Now we have much data to analyse and use so we are ready in case we will find ourselves in these conditions again. Besides this I think the race ended with a positive result for us; Aleix ended in the top-10 showing good pace during the race, but most important was that during the practice in dry conditions he found some feeling-back that he was missing in previous rounds. Maverick as well had a positive race, he had to fight hard to recover after the incident he had in the first corner, where he had to avoid another bike that was crashing in front of him. His pace in the race was very good, so good that he recovered from last to 11th place. Now we have plenty of information to analyse. In the meantime we start to think about next race in Misano where we will try to exploit the information we have collected.
After today’s race I can’t say I’m happy but I am satisfied. This morning during the warm-up we found a good solution in set-up, which gave me some confidence, and we were pretty ready for the rain. Unfortunately I was hit by another rider in the very first corner, this made me lose some time and positions and I had to recover. I felt some strange noises coming from the back of my machine but its overall performance was not bad, so I could recover some positions and be consistent with lap-times for nearly two-thirds of the race. Unfortunately the back tyre started to suffer a drop in performance and I had to give-up pushing hard. I had a pretty-good advantage on the rider behind and I decided that it was more important to finish the race and collect information. We have never raced in the rain so every single piece of data is crucial for us. It was not bad as a wet-race debut, we can work a lot on it; but overall I’m happy.
Unfortunately the first corner affected my whole race. I saw another rider fall in front of me after having hit Aleix and I had to brake very hard not to crash into his bike and go wide in the turn, leaving me in last position. I tried to push hard to recover and I could make fast and consistent laps: Probably if I could have kept my starting position from the very beginning I could be very competitive and closer to the top-six. The important thing is that we had our first race in the wet and my feelings were very positive; for sure we have a lot of things we can improve, which is understandable.
GP of Great Britain Final Classification:
1. Valentino ROSSI, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 46’15.617
2. Danilo PETRUCCI, Octo Pramac Racing – +3.010
3. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, Ducati Team – +4.117
4. Jorge LORENZO, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – +5.726
5. Dani PEDROSA, Repsol Honda Team – +11.132
6. Scott REDDING, EG 0,0 Marc VDS – +25.467
7. Bradley SMITH, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – +26.717
8. Andrea IANNONE, Ducati Team – +29.393
9. Aleix ESPARGARO, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – +38.815
10. Alvaro BAUTISTA, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – +41.712
11. Maverick VIALES, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – +44.776
Riders World Championship Classification (after the GP of Great Britain):
1. Valentino ROSSI – 236
2. Jorge LORENZO – 224
3. Marc MARQUEZ – 159
4. Andrea IANNONE – 150
5. Andrea DOVIZIOSO – 120
6. Bradley SMITH – 115
7. Dani PEDROSA – 102
8. Danilo PETRUCCI – 83
9. Pol ESPARGARO – 81
10. Cal CRUTCHLOW – 74
11. Maverick VIALES (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) – 67
12. Aleix ESPARGARO (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) – 60