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Team Suzuki Ecstar 2nd & 3rd Rows at Mugello

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Team Suzuki Press Office – May 30.

Qualifying in Mugello brought good news for Team SUZUKI ECSTAR, with both riders well in the top-10, eventually qualifying on the second and third row for tomorrow’s MotoGP™ grid.

Aleix Espargarò did an extraordinary job to overcome the pain in his right hand, finding a comfortable set-up that let him improve his lap times constantly during the morning session. Unfortunately he couldn’t get directly into Q2, but his exploits in Q1 finally granted him a place in the final fight for the top 12 positions on the grid. The qualifying session was an amazing battle between all the riders, with times dropping every lap. In the end, Espargarò got a 1’46.854s lap that gave him fifth place on the grid.

Today saw a positive performance also from Maverick Viñales, who dropped his times lap-after-lap in FP3, gaining a 1’47.557s lap that sent him directly into Q2. In qualifying his feeling with the GSX-RR set-up got better and better, especially in sectors two and three where he had been the fastest many times. At the end of qualifying he sits in ninth place on the grid with a brilliant lap of 1’46.934s.

Davide Brivio – Team Manager:

“It’s been a very good day for us and both riders did a great job. Aleix is incredible: despite the condition he is in, he always succeeds in finding out that little bit more about himself and the bike. He did an excellent job in Q1 where with only one shot he assured himself a place in Q2, and then in Q2 he got the second row on a track where we know our machine is a little bit weak in acceleration. Maverick as well put in an excellent performance constantly improving his feeling with the bike and finally putting his machine on the third row. We must remark on our machine’s performance in the handling part of the track: the circuit is very peculiar, with uphill and downhill sections, but both riders are some of the fastest in these central sectors where handling is more important. This is positive for us and gives us further incentive to try to further improve our situation.”

Aleix Espargarò:

“I can’t be anything else than very happy. Only a few days ago I didn’t even know if I could ride and now I’m on the second row. It’s the first time in many years that I didn’t feel like pushing at my best in qualifying, because I was worried to crash again and hurt my hand further, thus preventing us to make a positive weekend. For sure the race will be tough because it’s hard for me because I feel pain when I do more than three or four laps, but my pace is pretty good, our main objective is to get into points and to take the best out of this difficult condition.”

Maverick Viñales:

“Going directly into Q2 is a good sensation for me. It’s very important for us to have found an effective set up that allowed me to constantly improve my lap times, finally getting on the third row. I feel confident with that, in the last races I’ve had to struggle to overtake riders in the middle of the pack, so maybe this time it will be easier for me to make my own pace. Of course the race will be very hard, we suffer a little on the straight, but I’m excited by how the GSX-RR behaves in the middle sectors; it is so easy in direction changes and also the braking performance is very positive. I’m very satisfied for qualifying, now I’m eager to race and see how it goes.”

GP of Italy – Qualifying classification

1. Andrea IANNONE, Ducati Team – 1’46.489
2. Jorge LORENZO, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 1’46.584 +0.095
3. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, Ducati Team – 1’46.610 +0.121
4. Cal CRUTCHLOW, CWM LCR Honda – 1’46.657 +0.168
5. Aleix ESPARGARO, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 1’46.854 +0.365
6. Michele PIRRO, Ducati Team – 1’46.870 +0.381
7. Dani PEDROSA, Repsol Honda Team – 1’46.875 +0.386
8. Valentino ROSSI, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 1’46.923 +0.434
9. Maverick VIÑALES, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 1’46.934 +0.445