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Team Suzuki Ecstar Aiming High for Qatar Race

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Team Suzuki Press Office – March 28  Team SUZUKI ECSTAR ended tonight’s final qualifying for the opening round of the 2015 MotoGP™ World Championship on a positive with team riders Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales fighting hard for a top-10 place.

Espargaro worked hard in Q2 after yesterday’s strong performance with fourth position on the timesheets aboard his 2015 GSX-RR and series rookie Viñales came close to the top of the Q1 qualification, but just lost-out on getting into Q2 by a fraction of a second.

During the FP4 session, both riders worked to finalise their set-ups with hard tyres, finally testing ‘used’ tyres to get ready to find a good race-pace. Qualifying saw both young Spaniards fight hard – even if their final positions didn’t reflect the promise they showed in the earlier practice sessions.

Espargaro will start tomorrow’s Qatar MotoGP in 11th place from the fourth-row with a best lap of 1’55.035 today – less than a second off the Pole Position – and Viñales is in 13th place and on the fifth-row with a best-lap of 1’55.246.

Davide Brivio – Team Manager:

“Well it’s time to start our championship! Tomorrow is race-day and we can’t wait. With Aleix in qualifying we had the potential to do better but sadly we couldn’t, but tomorrow we will deploy everything we have learnt so far; in testing and in the practice sessions. Maverick did improve a lot during the whole weekend and finally today using the soft tyre – with which he has very little experience – he scored what I consider a very good time. Now we can think about the race and we are confident as both riders proved to have a good pace. With many years out of MotoGP™, for us it is very important to take notes and learn as much as possible to continue our development process. At this point we are very interested to see what will happen tomorrow.”

Aleix Espargaro:

“I’m satisfied with the last free practice session. I found a confident pace while testing a hard tyre over a distance – which is even longer than the race – so I’m happy with that. However, I’m more disappointed with my performance with the soft tyre as I couldn’t find a proper feeling with it. I did make some mistakes in qualifying and this resulted in a poor lap. Of course it is important that we have a good overall condition for the race, so I’m looking forward to the green light come tomorrow.”

Maverick Viñales:

“I’m pretty happy with my performance, apart from not getting into Q2, but I managed to cut nearly half-a-second from yesterday, so we are quite happy overall. For tomorrow we need to work on pace with the hard tyre to cut some tenths off our time and be closer to the top. I’m curious to see how the race will be. I’m a rookie in this class and the other competitors are very tough, but we have clear idea on our objectives and we will stick to them.”

GP of Qatar – Qualifying Classification:

1. Andrea DOVIZIOSO – (Ducati Team) – 1’54.113
2. Dani PEDROSA – (Repsol Honda Team) – 1’54.330 +0.217
3. Marc MARQUEZ – (Repsol Honda Team) – 1’54.437 +0.324
4. Andrea IANNONE – (Ducati Team) – 1’54.521 +0.408
5. Yonny HERNANDEZ – (Pramac Racing) 1’54.675 +0.562
6. Jorge LORENZO – (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) – 1’54.711 +0.598
7. Bradley SMITH – (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) – 1’54.732 +0.619
8. Valentino ROSSI – (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) – 1’54.851 +0.738
9. Danilo PETRUCCI – (Pramac Racing) – 1’54.876 +0.763
10. Pol ESPARGARO – (Monster Yamaha) – 1’55.004 +0.891
11. Aleix ESPARGARO – (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) – 1’55.035 +0.922
12. Cal CRUTCHLOW – (CWM LCR Honda) – 1’55.123 +1.010
13. Maverick VIÑALES – (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) Q1 1’55.246 +0.152