Aleix Espargaro & Maverick Viñales take 5th & 6th at Jerez
Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s Aleix Espargaró and Maverick Viñales both put in spirited performances at today’s Jerez MotoGP™ World Championship race in Spain to finish in fifth and sixth positions.
Espargaró, who qualified his GSX-RR sixth on the grid, kept his position off the start of the 27-lap race around at 4.42km Jerez de la Frontera circuit, before moving to fifth and then hunting down the fourth-placed rider. His race-pace was solid and faster, and therefore he managed to get very close to the fourth place, even though this wasn’t enough to overtake. He finally settled for fifth, equalling his result at the previous race in Austin. His performance today also confirmed that he is finally finding his confidence back with the GSX-RR and the development work done so far has been effective.
Viñales slipped to sixth on the start, but rode a consistent pace throughout in what was a lonely race for the 21-year-old Spanish rider. His struggle with the rear grip continued, preventing him from being more competitive, but the weekend, overall, was positive although not quite as good as he wanted.
With four races of the 2016 MotoGP™ World Championship now run, both Team SUZUKI ECSTAR riders are setting themselves in good positions with Viñales now sixth and Espargaró seventh, with only one point between them; 33 to 32 respectively
Both riders will stay at Jerez de la Frontera tonight for a day of official testing tomorrow, where the team will have the opportunity to further investigate the rear grip issues and introduce some modifications in the set-up that will hopefully help the riders to find more efficiency.
“I’m happy, I was waiting for this GP because since FP1 in Argentina we have been making continuous steps forward; in every session in Argentina and Austin we registered improvements and I knew we were getting closer. Here we really focused on the preparation for the race, I suffered a little bit in qualifying because I wasn’t able to run fast with the softer tyre, but doing such a fast lap in qualifying with the harder tyre meant that we were ready and competitive for the race. In fact the race pace trials we did during the weekend gave me good feelings towards the race. I was very focused on the grid and I made a good jump, recovering immediately one position in the first corner and then another one right away. Then I tried to catch-up to fourth position and almost succeeded, but unfortunately towards the end of the race the rider in front of me could keep a faster pace and I settled for fifth. It’s a good result, after a slow beginning to the season, but I’m getting closer to the top with good results but, most-importantly, improving my feeling on the bike. Tomorrow’s test will be very important, we still have issues with the rear grip – especially in slow corners – but Suzuki is doing a great job to support us and deliver some solutions, therefore we already have some ideas that we’re going to test and hopefully these will be positive ones. We are not so far from the fastest, we can improve a lot yet; and this leaves me confident for further improvements.”
“Finally the result of the race is not bad, but it was very difficult as I struggled for the whole race with the rear grip and I regret we could have achieved an even better result. We are not exploiting the bike 100%, we still miss something in the set-up or in the tyre performance and this forced me to push very hard in race. We are making a lot of progress, the Suzuki Factory is giving full support to us, but now that we see we can be closer it’s a pity that we cannot get even closer. I think tomorrow’s test will be very important and we will work on the set-up to find better grip on the rear and try to be more effective.”