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Espargaro and Viñales Head to Home GP

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Team Suzuki Press Office – June 10.

This weekend’s GP of Catalunya will be an emotional home race for Team SUZUKI ECSTAR riders Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales as both are born and bred in Catalunya and will be surrounded by a huge number of fans and friends at the Montmelò circuit.

Espargaro’s right hand is now much better following his practice crash in France. Surgery was required on the resulting ligament damage that made for a hard and painful weekend in Mugello two weeks ago. His feeling is getting better and he is hoping to make a positive weekend after the tough time he had in Italy, which culminated in a race crash following a collision caused by another rider. He will also wear a special edition helmet this weekend which he will be presented with before Sunday’s race.

Viñales is also eager to meet the huge crowd of fans in the magical surroundings of Montmelò. Many of them will also be celebrating the very positive result that the young Spaniard had in Italy, with his seventh place finish, which is also his best result of the season so far. He is showing consistent improvements in his riding style and his capabilities of managing the weekend from session-to-session, achieving better results each time out on the bike.

The Circuito de Catalunya in Montmelò, Spain, is one of the most historic circuits of the Championship. Opened in 1991, it started to host the GP of Catalunya in 1995. It has very fast corners that will test the stability and precision capabilities of the chassis and set up of the GSX-RR and will be very demanding for the tyres. With five left-hand corners and eight right-hand corners it will require the machines to be equipped with asymmetric slicks with harder rubber on the right shoulder.

Aleix Espargarò:

“Catalunya will be magic for me; it will be my home race and I’ll have a lot of support from friends and fans. I come from a hard weekend in Mugello that needs to be reset and cancelled: I struggled in many sessions and finally I couldn’t even put my race plan into action as I was taken out at the very beginning. My GSX-RR has proved to be performing well during this early part of the season and my feeling is that we still didn’t get the results we deserved. In Barcelona we will get some new parts and I’m very curious to see how the machine will be improved, I know that in Japan our engineers are working very hard because we fully believe in the project, so I’m looking forward to do my best and make a positive weekend.”

Maverick Viñales:

“I’m feeling very good for going to race at my home circuit for the first time as a factory rider; it will be a unique emotion. I’m coming from a positive series of results and every time I take the track with my GSX-RR I feel better and better and the last race in Mugello gave me a lot of satisfaction. I’m pretty confident that I will enjoy the Circuito de Catalunya on the Suzuki, it’s a fast track and our machine proved to be very good to ride thanks to its chassis. Plus we will get improvements for the engine of our machine, I’m really curious. I’m aware that I still have a lot to learn, in particular my team and I are working on the management of the sessions and the tyres, to improve the pace but also to be more effective in qualifying and to enter Q2 to have a good position on the grid. This will be key for the future.”