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Viñales and Espargaró on Jerez MotoGP 2nd Row

Suzuki Racing_042316

Team Suzuki Press Office – April 23.

An exciting final qualifying session at Jerez de la Frontera in Spain this afternoon saw Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaró position their GSX-RRs fifth and sixth on the grid for tomorrow’s fourth round of the MotoGP™ World Championship.

Viñales, who was running 11th in the closing stages of Q2, put in a personal best-lap of 1’39.581 on his eighth and final lap to put the 2016 GSX-RR in the middle of the second row, while Espargaró sits beside him after his seventh and final lap-time of 1’39.588.

Today proved positive all round with both Viñales and Espargaró consistently strong in FP3, where they both earned automatic qualification through to the all-important Q2; and they showed a consistent feeling with their machines. The FP4 was also a beneficial and positive one as both riders focused on finding a good race-pace, which proved them to be competitive also.

Davide Brivio – Team Manager:

“Looking at today’s results we can be satisfied. We got access to Q2 with both our riders and then got them on the second row. Maverick did a very good job, he has been consistently fast in FP3 and the also in FP4 he found a good pace. Unfortunately he struggled a little more in qualifying, not being able to find good confidence at the beginning, but then he recovered excellently and got a good place from where to start from tomorrow. It’s good to see that Aleix finally got back to his competitiveness, he worked hard with his crew and finally we managed to deliver him a bike that more-suits his needs, plus he also made some steps forward with his riding style. It’s important for him to have found back some feeling and this second row is a good injection to his confidence, as well as giving him a good position to start from. His race-pace is solid and pretty fast, therefore giving us good hopes for his race.”

Maverick Viñales:

“The second row is a good place to start from, but I’m not completely satisfied. In all sessions I felt really comfortable, while in qualifying I struggled more. Finally I decided to put in a ‘do-or-die’ lap and I did it, but for sure we have some work to do. I’m still struggling with the rear grip, we lack in traction, which prevents me to from being even faster. Maybe the first row was reachable, although the first three in the classification did impressive times. The race-pace leaves me confident; we did several tests and I’m ok, so if I’m able to make a good jump, I really think I can stay in the pack and fight with the front riders.”

Aleix Espargaró:

“I’m totally happy that I finally found back the feeling with my GSX-RR. With my crew we are doing a massive amount of work and it is now paying off. I struggled with the softer rear tyre the whole weekend, not being able to set-up the bike properly for it. We did several tests but at the moment we cannot exploit it with our configuration. But this is also good: I did my qualifying with the harder tyre and I’m in sixth, which is not bad. Tomorrow I will need a good jump at the start and keep contact with the leaders; according to the race-pace I tested in FP4, I know can be competitive. We did a long-run simulation and I’m totally confident as I scored very interesting times that were very consistent.”

GP of Jerez Q2 Results:

1 Valentino ROSSI Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 1’38.736
2 Jorge LORENZO Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 1’38.858 + 0.122
3 Marc MARQUEZ Repsol Honda Team – 1’38.891 + 0.155
4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati Team – 1’39.580 + 0.844
5 Maverick VIÑALES Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 1’39.581 + 0.845
6 Aleix ESPARGARO Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 1’39.588 + 0.852
7 Dani PEDROSA Repsol Honda Team – 1’39.678 + 0.942
8 Pol ESPARGARO Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – 1’39.720 + 0.984
9 Hector BARBERA Avintia Racing – 1’39.742 + 1.006
10 Cal CRUTCHLOW LCR Honda – 1’39.881 + 1.145