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Third Row for Both Iannone and Rins in Sepang Qualifying

Team Suzuki Press Office – October 28.

Alex Rins: P8 – 1’59.992 +0.780
Andrea Iannone: P9 – 2’00.119 +0.907

The Malaysian heat has been blazing down on the Sepang circuit today, forcing riders to make great efforts to race. In these challenging conditions, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR riders Andrea Iannone and Alex Rins had some success today. They both classified for the third row for tomorrow’s grid. The young Spaniard set his GSX-RR in 8th place, while the Italian is in 9th.

In the dry session in the morning, both Iannone and Rins were able to handle their bikes well and set a fast pace and lap times; the Italian made it into 8th place (2’00.394 his best time) which gave him direct access to Q2. The young Spaniard instead took more time to get acquainted with the GSX-RR on the difficult Malaysian circuit, coming in 11th with his time of 2’00.746 only 0.051s behind the top ten. Nearly the same time (2’00.768) took Rins up to 3rd place in the afternoon’s FP4 where he set with a solid pace. Meanwhile, Iannone encountered a few more difficulties, ending in 13th with 2’01.233.

With a good feeling from the two previous sessions, Rins took to the track for Q1 and immediately clocked fast laps. He was finally able to take advantage of the second tyre for the 2’00.138 that rewarded him with first place and gave him the 11th place slot for the Q2 session. The top 12 qualifying was hard fought, with Alex and Andrea battling fiercely. As lap times began to drop in the very end of the session, Rins put together a brilliant lap under two minutes, one of only eight riders capable of pulling it off. Indeed, his final 1’59.992 converted to an 8th place finish. Iannone missed breaking the 2’ barrier by only 0.119s, classifying in 9th at 0.127 behind his Spanish team mate.

Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“We are happy because we have both riders in the third row, so it’s not too bad. We are pretty close to the top riders, so we´ll try to have a good race. Today Alex was brave because he had to do twice the work with Q1 and Q2. He did a good job improving his race pace. Regarding Andrea, maybe he couldn’t take make use of the qualifying like he wanted, but he is 9th in the grid, and if he is able to make a good start he could have a good race tomorrow.”

Alex Rins
“It was a bit hard throughout the sessions because the heat was incredible on the track. I struggled a bit, but I’m really happy because, in the beginning, we were suffering until FP3. During FP4 I worked alone to try to get a good race pace and I got it. I was trying to push it to the limit to get into Q2. Finally we achieved it and I’m happy because it is my best qualifying of the season. We will have to wait and see what the weather conditions look like for tomorrow.”

Andrea Iannone
“In general we are not at 100%. I can’t ride as I would like. We have some problems and I suffer a bit with the lack of grip. Until FP3, the situation was more or less not so bad, but then we had an issue during FP4. There was a problem that affected qualifying. So, it was complicated. We did our best with the situation we had, maybe gaining one tenth. The race is tomorrow, so now it’s time to decide the race tires. At the moment it is quite difficult to know which ones are the best for the race.”

GP of Malaysia – Qualifying classification:
1. Dani PEDROSA, Repsol Honda Team – 1’59.212
2. Johann ZARCO, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – 1’59.229 +0.017 / 0.017
3. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, Ducati Team – 1’59.236 +0.024 / 0.007
4. Valentino ROSSI, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 1’59.498 +0.286 / 0.262
5 Maverick VIÑALES, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 1’59.538 +0.326 / 0.040
6. Jorge LORENZO, Ducati Team – 1’59.622 +0.410 / 0.084
7. Marc MARQUEZ, Repsol Honda Team – 1’59.694 +0.482 / 0.072
8. Alex RINS, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 1’59.992 +0.780 / 0.298
9. Andrea IANNONE, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 2’00.119 +0.907 / 0.127
10. Cal CRUTCHLOW LCR Honda – 2’00.181 +0.969 / 0.062
11. Jack MILLER, EG 0,0 Marc VDS – 2’00.326 +1.114 / 0.145
12. Pol ESPARGARO, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – 2’00.770 +1.558 / 0.444
13. Danilo PETRUCCI, OCTO Pramac Racing – 2’00.351 (Q1)
14. Scott REDDING, OCTO Pramac Racing – 2’00.451 (Q1)
15. Alvaro BAUTISTA, Pull&Bear Aspar Team – 2’00.469 (Q1)
16. Bradley SMITH, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – 2’00.718 (Q1)
17. Loris BAZ, Reale Avintia Racing – 2’01.050 (Q1)
18. Sam LOWES, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – 2’01.207 (Q1)
19. Tito RABAT, EG 0,0 Marc VDS – 2’01.228 (Q1)
20. Hector BARBERA, Reale Avintia Racing – 2’01.413 (Q1)
21. Karel ABRAHAM, Pull&Bear Aspar Team – 2’01.570 (Q1)
22. Michael VAN DER MARK, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – 2’02.376 (Q1)

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