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Positive Opening Day Despite Pain at Mugello

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Team Suzuki Press Office – May 29. The first day of MotoGP™ practice on the Mugello track in Italy was positive for both Team SUZUKI ECSTAR riders, despite difficulties for both.

Aleix Espargarò finally managed to bear the pain in his right hand and take to the track. The early laps of the morning session saw him simply testing his riding capabilities to evaluate his performance following the surgery on his hand. There was pain, but the feeling with the hand was good, so he decided to continue running out on track. The two sessions went smoothly, with the Spaniard testing different set-up combinations in order to give him consistency, but with comfort to counterbalance the pain. In the afternoon’s session he eventually scored a very positive 1’48.137s lap that places him in seventh place overall.

Maverick Viñales on his side of the garage worked hard to develop some set-up configurations to exploit his GSX-RR potential at its best. The advantage of the Suzuki chassis is more evident in handling, giving the young Spaniard an advantage especially in the middle sectors of the Mugello lap. His lap times got better-and-better every run, eventually ending the day in 15th place with 1’48.493, less than two-tenths from the top 10.

Davide Brivio – Team Manager:

“At the end this first day turned out to be very positive for us, all things considered. Aleix started this morning in very bad condition: the surgery went well, but he felt a lot of pain. He tried to see how he felt on track and finally he could do both the sessions, ending in seventh place. He has been great; honestly we couldn’t ask any more from him and we are very proud of his toughness and determination. I’m happy also for what Maverick did: The classification is a little bit misleading because even if he sits in 15th place he made a lot of improvements today and he is not far from the top-10. We didn’t have the best outlook before coming here but I must say that today has not been a bad debut. We’ll see tomorrow how it goes.”

Aleix Espargarò:

“I’m happy I finally could ride, I was very worried about my hand and I’m so satisfied that I could finish both of today’s sessions. It hurts a lot because the handlebar pushes on the ligament every time that I brake, and also a week without training is affecting my performance a little, therefore at the moment I can’t run more than three-or-four good laps in a row, but being in seventh place is something we must be proud of. According to my situation we worked a lot on set-up to find the best configuration for short runs. Of course tomorrow we will have to focus also on the race-pace and distance. For this we will work on the bike but I will also evaluate the options we have with the doctors. Today I decided not to take any invasive options for the pain, but I struggled a lot so maybe there is something the doctors can help me with.”

Maverick Viñales:

“It’s been a positive day. Despite the position in classification we did a good job and finally managed to improve our performance run-after-run. We are working to finalise a good set-up that can let me be confident with the bike, so far I feel very confident on the handling part of the track while we suffer on the main straight, but this is not news to us. The important thing is that my GSX-RR is performing in the high-speed corners and in the direction changes, I will exploit this as best I can. For sure tomorrow we want to get a better position for Q2 and also for the grid.”

GP of Italy – Combined classification after FP2:  1. A.DOVIZIOSO, Ducati Team – 1’47.479 15 2. M.MARQUEZ, Repsol Honda Team – 1’47.643 +0.164 3. J.LORENZO, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 1’47.852 +0.373 4. A.IANNONE, Ducati Team – 1’47.940 +0.461 5. B.SMITH, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – 1’48.038 +0.559 6. C.CRUTCHLOW, CWM LCR Honda – 1’48.124 +0.645 7. A.ESPARGARO, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 1’48.137 +0.658 8. S.REDDING, EG 0,0 Marc VDS – 1’48.164 +0.685 9. V.ROSSI, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 1’48.211 +0.732 10. P.ESPARGARO, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – 1’48.283 +0.804 11. Y.HERNANDEZ, Octo Pramac Racing – 1’48.304 +0.825 12. M.PIRRO, Ducati Team – 1’48.317 +0.838 13. D.PETRUCCI, Octo Pramac Racing – 1’48.419 +0.940 0 14. D.PEDROSA, Repsol Honda Team – 1’48.435 +0.956 15. M.VIÑALES, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 1’48.493 +1.014