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Historic 1-2 for Suzuki in Catalunya Qualifying

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Team Suzuki Press Office – June 13.

Team SUZUKI ECSTAR grabbed a historic result today during qualifying for the Grand Prix of Catalunya as they took first-and second places on the grid for tomorrow’s race with riders Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales.

Suzuki hasn’t been in pole position since 2007, when Chris Vermeulen took the top-slot at Assen and hasn’t had a one-two on the grid since Jerez in 1993, when Kevin Schwantz and Alex Barros achieved this feat at the Spanish Grand Prix.

The morning’s free practice saw both Suzuki riders consistently amongst the top positions again, with Viñales eventually topping the combined classification. The job done by the Suzuki development team in Japan seems to have paid back dividends, delivering an effective machine for Catalunya’s challenging curves. Overall, both riders have felt confident and have improved their lap-times at every session over the weekend, while also having a very positive race-pace.

Davide Brivio – Team Manager:

“Even if it’s only Saturday, for us this is almost a historic result; it’s only our seventh race and we have our riders in first-and-second-place after qualifying. I couldn’t even imagine such a positive result but it is well deserved. This comes from the huge job done by the riders who are putting a lot of effort in, but also from the contribution of our development team in Japan which is continuously working on improving the machine. In addition, it’s the work of the team here at the track, from whom we’ve asked so much, with many hours and long nights working and we will continue asking for hard work from them as the season goes on. It’s only a qualifying session but is very important for us because it’s a little prize for everyone as it helps team morale and pushes us to do better and better. Tomorrow the race will be another story, but I believe our pace is not bad and the objective will be to stay as close as we can to the top group in the race. We hope that tomorrow will be another step forward in our performance and now I’m curious to see how it will go.”

Aleix Espargaro:

“I’m very happy because making the Pole Position here in front of our own people is spectacular. It’s also good for Suzuki as they are working very hard and are consistently improving and supporting us, so to have two riders at the front of the grid is very rewarding. Once again we must keep in mind that it’s only Saturday and things are much-more important tomorrow. We need to stay with the front riders and to fight for the podium would be a dream, so we’ll see if we are capable of it. We have a good pace; in FP4 I ran many laps with a used hard tyre and my feeling with it was good.”

Maverick Viñales:

“It was amazing: We did a really great job both in the first free practice sessions and now in qualifying. Being on the front row means that our work is going smoothly and also that Suzuki is doing a good job. Today was perfect; this morning I was first and then in the second session, well honestly, I believed also that the Pole was possible for me but finally Aleix was faster by such a small amount, but I know this is also a very special event for him too, so I must be happy to be right behind him. I’m quite confident for tomorrow, my pace is pretty good; and I believe we can do a great race. Of course I will do my best to fight with the front riders and hopefully I will have many chances to make overtakes and enjoy a satisfying race with my GSX-RR.”

GP of Catalunya – Qualifying classification:

1. Aleix ESPARGARO, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 1’40.546
2. Maverick VIÑALES, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 1’40.62 +0.083
3. Jorge LORENZO, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 1’40.646 +0.100
4. Marc MARQUEZ, Repsol Honda Team – 1’40.754 +0.208
5. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, Ducati Team – 1’40.907 +0.361