Finally rain proved to be beneficial for the Team SUZUKI ECSTAR riders at the Japanese GP. Andrea Iannone got 4th place at the end of the race, with his teammate Alex Rins immediately behind in 5th. This is also the best result of the season for both the riders and for the team. The performance was seen a gift to Mr. Toshihiro Suzuki – CEO and COO of Suzuki Motor Corporation – who joined the Team in the garage to experience the race from the inside.
Despite the warm-up session being shortened to only 15 minutes, Iannone and Rins immediately felt positive in the wet conditions which they had already encountered the previous sessions. With heavy rain falling, the Italian set himself in 8th place with 1’57.554, while Rins was even faster setting the third best time of the session with 1’57.215, less than half a second behind the session leader.
With the track still drenched, the configuration of the GSX-RR proved to be effective again, with both riders confident during the race and able to set a consistent pace.
Despite a good start, Alex Rins was not able to find the best line through the first corner; he was pushed wide by other riders and lost positions, forced back to 15th place.
However, the young Spaniard made the most of the progress made with his GSX-RR and quickly recovered, advancing through the field and regaining contact with the leading group. His consistent pace allowed him to fight until the end of the race, when only in the last few laps he had to give up the fight and settle for 5th place.
“I think it has been the best weekend of the season so far. The result is fantastic and the bike has worked pretty well in wet conditions the whole weekend. The race was very positive. I started a bit far back when in the first corners someone forced me to go wide and I lost some more positions, falling back to 15th. It took me some time to regain my position in the race, but I finally managed it and finished in 5th, so I’m very happy. I lost some time behind Zarco but the conditions of track were not easy. I can say I learnt so many things today and now we are facing the Australian race with more optimism.”
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