The second day of track action proved challenging for Team SUZUKI ECSTAR. Mugello’s bright start on Saturday morning meant a highly competitive FP3 session, with many riders battling it out for direct passage to Q2. An early crash for Alex Rins at Turn 11 (Palagio) cost the Spaniard dearly, although he was luckily uninjured. The session was also tough for rookie, Joan Mir, who is still learning this very technical track, he finished 19th.
The team searched for improvements in the 30-minute FP4 session, keen to prepare an attack in Q1. Alex shot into 3rd place with a few minutes to go and closed the session in a decent 4th place.
Both Rins and Mir headed out for qualifying with the hard-soft tyre combination, and they quickly slotted in to 2nd and 5th places respectively. Joan tried hard to find his rhythm, but he will start from 20th on the grid. Alex held onto this 2nd place – which would have promoted him to Q2 – until the final seconds of the session, when he just missed a last flying lap, pushing him to 3rd in the session and 13th on the grid for tomorrow’s race.
“I lost some confidence after my crash, but I recovered it in the later sessions. For the final lap of Q1, I exited the pits at the same time as Rossi, he was behind me on the time sheets and I thought he would be pushing, so I intended to stay behind him on the track as it’s always easier here with a tow. But in the end the lap got messed up and I just lost out on Q2. Tomorrow I’ll try to put together a good race, there are many competitive riders at the front, and I’ll push hard to be up with them.”
“Qualifying was tough, I couldn’t manage to do a fast lap. I was trying to improve my lap time, but I was in a big group and I didn’t see the chequered flag, which was a shame because I felt I had good pace at the end of the session. It will be interesting to start this Italian Grand Prix from 20th place, I think it will still be a nice race because I feel that I’ll be able to get into a rhythm tomorrow. We’ll see what happens!”
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