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Viñales and Espargaro 3rd and 4th Row at Indy

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Team Suzuki Press Office – August 8. Today’s qualifying at Indianapolis Motor Speedway once again proved that the fight for the top positions in the MotoGP Championship is very tough as the top 12 riders in qualifying Q2 were all covered by just one second.

Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s riders Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaro both showed positive improvements in their performances, even though they were a little away from the top time with the single-lap performance; but they were, however, very consistent with race-pace.

Espargaro exploited the morning session to recover from the bad feeling he had yesterday, trying a number of changes in the set-up that made him feel more comfortable. In fact by the end of the session he improved his best time and with a lap of 1’32.914 he managed to get seventh place and direct access to Q2. Qualifying in Q2 was tough as well, with his final position being 12th with a lap of 1’32.814.

Viñales continued the plan that his crew started yesterday, finalising a good configuration that made him comfortable for the race. He attempted the quick-lap time attack with the soft tyre and he managed to be the third rider overall to get under the 1.33 bracket. At the end of the session his 1’32.998 gave him 10th place and direct access to Q2 for him as well. Final qualifying saw him consistently improving his lap times, exploiting the soft tyre with a one-shot lap that gave him ninth place on the grid with a 1’32.571 lap.

Davide Brivio – Team Manager:

“Well at the end we managed to make some improvements with both riders. Aleix did have some troubles this weekend to find proper confidence, but today the team was able to make some little steps forward and finally he could enter Q2. Unfortunately in qualifying he couldn’t do better than 12th but he also focused on the pace for the race and that gave positive results. Maverick was more confident from the very beginning and he constantly improved his performance. He entered Q2 and could qualify on the third row. He focused on being ready for the race and the feeling we have is positive. As usual we are getting more and more knowledge about our machines and our riders, the important thing is to continue to improve and today seems to be a good day in this respect. Tomorrow the race will be tough, both riders will have to be wise and try to recover positions initially, but there will be many laps and with the pace we found I think we can make a good race.”

Maverick Viñales:

“I think it has been a very positive day, more than the result in qualifying shows. Our FP4 work was very good to prepare for the race: I ran with worn tyres and the times and feelings were positive. As I said we changed our working procedure this weekend and I must say that it is positive. I want to say thank you to the team because they did a very good job. Qualifying was pretty difficult because the track was slippery and we always struggle when we lack grip, but today we are ahead of my team-mate and this means that we could exploit at its best the potential of my GSX-RR. Tomorrow we will adjust the bike a little but I think we have a positive base. The strategy will require us to be patient because the race is very long and I must be wise in preserving the tyres. You get the points at the end of the race, so it wouldn’t make any sense to destroy the tyres at the start and then run out of grip at the end. I want to be wise, make a good start and then be consistent, just like we tested this weekend. If I am able to do that, I think we can aim for top six or seven.”

Aleix Espargaro:

“It was a very hard qualifying for me, I haven’t been able to find good confidence the whole weekend. We have made some improvements since FP1 up to now but we are still far from the top. This morning we worked a lot with a full fuel tank and hard tyre to find at least a good set-up for the race. Yesterday I believed I could go for the race with the soft tyre, but at the end the hard offers a more consistent performance so we will have to evaluate the options more in warm-up. The race will be very tough, probably one of the toughest of the whole season, I could never find a proper feeling and I still don’t, but the runs we made in testing for overall pace have given positive responses therefore maybe we will be able to make a good race.”

GP of Indianapolis – Qualifying:

1. Marc MARQUEZ, Repsol Honda Team – 1’31.884
2. Dani PEDROSA, Repsol Honda Team – 1’32.055 +0.171
3. Jorge LORENZO, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 1’32.186 +0.302
4. Cal CRUTCHLOW, CWM LCR Honda – 1’32.208 +0.324
5. Danilo PETRUCCI, Octo Pramac Racing – 1’32.243 +0.359
6. Bradley SMITH, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – 1’32.269 +0.385
7. Andrea IANNONE, Ducati Team – 1’32.468 +0.584
8. Valentino ROSSI, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 1’32.511 +0.627
9. Maverick VIÑALES, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 1’32.571 +0.687
10. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, Ducati Team – 1’32.636 +0.752
11. Pol ESPARGARO, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – 1’32.670 +0.786
12. Aleix ESPARGARO, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 1’32.814 +0.930