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Difficult Qualifying for Team Suzuki Ecstar at French GP

Team Suzuki Press Office – May 20.

Andrea Iannone: P17, 1’32.844 (Q1)
Sylvain Guintoli: P23 1’34.082 (Q1)

The variable weather situation once again affected Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s performance in the French GP’s second day, with both riders struggling to find effective configurations in the full dry and warm conditions of the afternoon’s qualifying. Andrea Iannone classified as 17th for tomorrow’s race, while teammate Sylvain Guintoli will start from 23rd place.

The morning session started with some improvements for the Italian rider, but not enough to gain direct access to Q1, Iannone finishing 17th after FP3. In Q1, Iannone couldn’t do better than 1’32.844, nearly half a second out from access to Q2.

Guintoli had another day of apprenticeship, experiencing his first full dry conditions and warmer temperatures here in Le Mans, which turned out to be difficult conditions to best interpret the GSX-RR. His lack of experience with Suzuki’s machine resulted in his placing out of the Q2 and finishing in 23rd place on the grid.

Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“This has been a pretty weird weekend for us, affected by the weather conditions. Unfortunately we couldn’t get into the Q2 and this is a shame because with the time Andrea did in Q1, we could be in the third row. The weather gave us a lot of troubles, although that was a true of all teams, so this means that we didn’t manage to adapt quickly and effectively enough. Tomorrow will be a tough race for Andrea. We will try tonight to develop some solutions and tomorrow in warm up find a better setup to make him feel more comfortable. This was Sylvain´s first experience, so the weekend is positive so far for his part, since he managed to face quite variable conditions and adapt quickly. Tomorrow’s race will be important for him to get more experience and gain more confidence with the bike.”

Andrea Iannone
“This has been a very unusual qualifying day. The timesheet is a little tricky because many riders that were ahead of me after Q2 lapped slower than the time many of us achieved in Q1. These sessions have been complicated for me because we have never ridden in the rain and the conditions here were incredibly varied. We couldn’t demonstrate the competitiveness we are capable of. Our times were not that bad, with just a little more work and with more available time we could improve. It’s a shame to start that far behind, but my feeling for the race is positive. I think we can find something more tonight and in the warm up tomorrow and aim to have a positive race.”

Sylvain Guintoli
“It’s been another full day, with medium conditions this morning and a cold track temperature, while this afternoon the track was drier and warmer. I had to adapt quickly, and find a good pace. In the end the position is not very good, but the lap time is not that far off pace. For me it’s just track time that is missing, and hopefully we can do something better in tomorrow’s warm up and have a positive race.”

GP of FRANCE – Qualifying classification:
1. Maverick VIÑALES, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 1’31.994
2. Valentino ROSSI, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 1’32.100 +0.106
3. Johann ZARCO, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – 1’32.229 +0.235
4. Cal CRUTCHLOW, LCR Honda – 1’32.300 +0.306
5. Marc MARQUEZ, Repsol Honda Team – 1’32.493 +0.499
6. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, Ducati Team – 1’32.726 +0.732
7. Scott REDDING, OCTO Pramac Racing – 1’33.119 +1.125
8. Pol ESPARGARO, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – 1’33.399 +1.405
9. Karel ABRAHAM, Pull&Bear Aspar Team – 1’33.517 +1.523
10. Bradley SMITH, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – 1’33.629 +1.635
11. Jack MILLER, EG 0,0 Marc VDS – 1’33.756 +1.762
12. Loris BAZ, Reale Avintia Racing – Q1
13. Dani PEDROSA, Repsol Honda Team – Q1
14. Alvaro BAUTISTA, Pull&Bear Aspar Team – Q1
15. Jonas FOLGER, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – Q1
16. Jorge LORENZO, Ducati Team – Q1
17. Andrea IANNONE, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – Q1
18. Aleix ESPARGARO, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – Q1
19. Danilo PETRUCCI, OCTO Pramac Racing – Q1
20. Hector BARBERA, Reale Avintia Racing – Q1
21. Sam LOWES, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – Q1
22. Tito RABAT, EG 0,0 Marc VDS – Q1
23. Sylvain GUINTOLI, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – Q1