The 2018 Japanese GP took place under sunny skies in front of 55,000 passionate motorbike fans at Twin Ring Motegi.
Ahead of the 24 lap race the riders opted for the medium-medium tyre combination. From their second and third row grid spots, Andrea Iannone and Alex Rins were able to get good starts, with the latter slotting into 5th place on the first lap. Both riders set ‘fastest laps’ as they quickly joined the leading group. With ten laps to go, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s riders were holding 4th and 5th respectively. Meanwhile, Alex Rins took on the chance to fight for the podium, challenging Crutchlow for 3rd. With two laps to go, following a crash from Dovizioso, Alex was elevated to 3rd place and he crossed the line very close to 2nd. Sylvain Guintoli completed the race on the GSX-RR carrying some evolution solutions and collected useful data.
“I’m feeling really happy and so are the team, especially as Japan is the home race for them. We did a great race; I was able to overtake riders at the start, and have good race pace. After Andrea crashed I assessed the situation and thought Crutchlow might be too far in front, but I decided to try and catch him. But it was difficult to pass him because he was braking really hard. But finally we got 3rd and we’re so pleased. I’m still learning, and for sure it’s fun to fight with the other riders, even if it’s very hard. We’ll try to end this season with more podiums!”
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