Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s riders headed into the 16th race of the season keen to put on a strong performance in front of Motegi’s home fans. Joan Mir and Alex Rins opted for the medium-medium tyre combination in the cooler conditions and took steady starts off the line.
By the end of the first lap, Mir had already placed himself inside the Top 10, and his team-mate followed just a couple of laps later. From that point on, Rins began to carve through and before long he was up into 7th place. Mir, meanwhile, was firmly holding onto his spot within the Top 10.
With 10 laps to go, Alex had made a move on Miller for 6th spot and was looking to close down the Top 5. But as the complex race unfolded a new battle emerged between Morbidelli, Crutchlow, and Rins. Despite his desire to push on for a Top 5 finish, Alex crossed the line in 7th. However, with this result, he holds onto to third in the championship standings.
Mir lost time while battling for positions, but he was still able to finish one spot behind his team-mate in 8th place – another consistent result for the rookie who is building in confidence all the time.
“I lost out a lot off the start, I really made a bad get away. But it was like that and there was nothing I could do apart from try to recoup positions. I stayed calm and focused and I was able to improve and move up the order. I was fighting with Crutchlow a lot and I’m disappointed that I finished behind him, because I felt I had potential for Top 5 but in the end we ran out of laps. I’m pleased to hold onto 3rd place in the standings, and it has been fantastic to be in Japan. Thank you to Mr. Toshihiro Suzuki for being with us all weekend and giving us a lot of support.”
“I’m really happy about my weekend in general, and my race. Although I didn’t improve my position compared with Thailand, I feel I have taken another step in terms of performance. All weekend I’ve felt good with the bike and I know I’m getting closer to the podium and the top guys. I lost a lot of time today while I tried to pass Petrucci and that was a shame because I felt I could’ve done even better and closed the others. Anyway, it’s been amazing to be here in Japan for the first time as a Suzuki rider and to ride in front of the fans, and especially the President.”
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