Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaró raced to fifth and eighth positions in the final round of MotoGP™ 2016, the Gran Prix... Maverick Viñales fifth and Aleix Espargaro eighth in final 2016 race at Valencia

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Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaró raced to fifth and eighth positions in the final round of MotoGP™ 2016, the Gran Prix de la Comunitat Valenciana in Spain this afternoon.

The last Grand Prix of the season ended consistently with both riders capable of fighting in the top positions, especially Viñales well into podium positions for several laps.

Fourth place on the grid and one of the best starts of the season saw Viñales recover positions and turn in third at the first corner and the positive set-up finalised during the weekend allowed him to hold third place for many laps. With the tyre drop, however, he had to give-up two positions and from then on wasn’t able to fight again to recover, although he held onto fifth place until the end.

Espargaró had a consistent race, from ninth place, although he had to give up a couple of positions at the beginning, but kept in touch with competitors to recover to ninth in a few laps, engaging a fierce battle for eighth and then chase seventh. His strategy to preserve the tyres for the last part of the race allowed him to keep his pace and close the race in eighth.

This was the last race in Suzuki colours for Espargaró and Viñales, who have been the protagonists of Suzuki’s comeback to MotoGP™. These two years have seen the machines, the riders and the crews grow very fast, catching-up the competitors in such a short time and now being able to fight with the best manufacturers.

Maverick Viñales:
“It’s been a hard race. Honestly I was expecting a little more, I thought the podium was achievable, but at the end of the race it was so hard to keep the pace. I tried my best at the beginning, but then I had to cease position and hold to the end. At the end my feelings are for these two years with Suzuki, we did a very good job, if I think all the struggles we had last year and now we’ve been fighting for podiums consistently in the last part of the season. It’s a good sensation, and also I’m leaving here some people with which we created a very good connection. I’m proud of the job we’ve done together.”

Aleix Espargaró:
“I had a bad start and then I had to recover some positions, but I struggled in doing it. It was really difficult to overtake, but also I didn’t want to take too many risks at the beginning of the race. Then the pace was good, but couldn’t do better than eighth; it’s not what I hoped but it’s ok. I really enjoyed the race, although my feeling with the front was not perfect. I’m proud of having been a part of the history that we’ve written with this team for Suzuki, the whole team was amazing with me and we really created a family. Also, the bike now is a really good bike, so I’m proud I gave my contribution. I feel I’m not leaving with a complete work, I missed the podium, but all in the team know that I’ve put my 110% every time I wore this blue leather. This weekend has been a really emotional one for me, I’m leaving some good friends and a project that has grown very positively.”

Source: Suzuki