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Off to Jerez and the European Rounds on the Right Foot

Team Suzuki Press Office – May 1.

More than two weeks have passed since Alex Rins’ stunning victory at the GP of The Americas in Austin, and now it’s time for Team SUZUKI ECSTAR to head to Spain for the first in a long series of European races. This is when the game starts for real, given that the European layouts vary greatly from the first three rounds, and the battle for the Championship is really going to hot up, making this section of the season even more crucial. The GP of Spain will also be the 300th MotoGP race since the category was introduced.

The victory in Austin and the third place in the Championship standings (just five points from the title leader) have given extra motivation to Alex Rins – but the Spaniard is keeping his feet on the ground and staying focused on the work to do. His calm and meticulous work ethic has proven to be the right approach during the last races, and the results are a good motivation for keeping on this path. Indeed, if we consider the points gained since last year’s race in Motegi, Rins has been the top scorer with 116, followed by Dovizioso with 105 and Marquez with 95.

The team’s recent success has also given a boost to Joan Mir. The rookie was not happy with his result in Austin (out of the points due to a jump start and subsequent ride through penalty), but he is very eager to race again in his home country, and to continue his growing process with the GSX-RR.

Jerez is a circuit which will put the GSX-RR to the test, it’s a narrow track with tight and technical corners coupled with fast and flowing ones. In fact, Jerez is the narrowest track on the championship calendar, with an average width of 11 metres: less than the length of a Team’s container! It’s also a pretty slow circuit, as its fastest corner is only 170 km/h.

Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“We are still feeling very happy about the positive start to the Championship, and especially with the victory we had in Austin with Alex. But we are conscious that from now on the races will be very different from the previous ones. Jerez will be a tricky one due to the unusual configuration of the track, very narrow and with some very technical parts. Our formula is to approach every race with humility, without pre-conceived ideas, and to use our working method which is step by step. We have seen that our GSX-RR has a lot of potential, and that Alex and Joan are growing very fast, each one on his own path. But we are also aware of some areas where we can improve, and this is our main objective. Our goal is to get as close to the top as we can, and then play our cards in the race. Staying consistently in the Top 10 and Top 5 which will give us the chance to fight for some good results.”

Alex Rins
“I think Jerez can be a good track for us, it suits the GSX-RR’s characteristics pretty well despite the fact that it’s a very demanding layout. There are some hard braking areas which will require us to have a perfect set-up. There will be some patches with new tarmac, which may give us some extra benefit, although it will be the same conditions for everyone. I’m happy to go to Jerez and finally start the European rounds, which are very different from all the previous races: Qatar, Argentina and Texas are unique circuits, each one is sort of “one of a kind” and must be approached as such. But from now on it will be very important to be consistent and keep on one path. Also, the circuit is very narrow, so the fight will be very fierce in the race. I’m excited to get into ‘race mode’ in front of the home fans.”

Joan Mir
“One thing is for certain; I can’t wait to ride my bike again and prepare a very good race in Jerez! I want to immediately get rid of the bad memory from Austin. I made a small mistake which ended with a big penalty, and it was a shame because I had strong pace. However, I’m confident we can progress very quickly in the next races, because as a Team we have proven that our performance level is comparable to the top teams and bikes, and because I feel very confident on the bike and with my crew. We’ve progressed well already in these three early races, and for sure we have good potential for a consistent and high level performance at the next races. It will be nice to be back in Spain and see the fans too!”

TECHNICAL HIGHLIGHTS OF JEREZ
Frankie Carchedi – Joan Mir’s Crew Chief: “Jerez is very particular, and if you have any issues with your set-up, Jerez will expose them! For all the manufacturers it’s a very important track for that reason, because it’s a good way to check how good your set-up really is. Generally, if your bike works well at Jerez you’ll have a good year, because it will also work well at any other track. It’s a very flowing track with a lot of fast corners, which is usually good for our bike. But there’s also hard braking and it’s always very challenging.”