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Viñales Takes Sixth Place in Australian GP 

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Team Suzuki Press Office – October 18.

The Australian GP has ended with a very positive sixth place for Maverick Viñales, who took his best result of the season and raced all of the 27 laps on a consistent pace which was pretty much as fast as the race leaders.

The race was a little harder for his team-mate Aleix Espargarò, who struggled to manage the rear tyre’s grip and ended in ninth.

The result summed up the whole, successful weekend for Viñales, who found a better feeling with his GSX-RR and the result was that he was up there with the fastest riders, both on Friday and Saturday. This was shown by his direct access to Q2 from FP3 and sixth on the grid in final qualifying.

The young Spaniard’s start was not one of his best and he lost some positions, but the good set-up his crew had found allowed him to overtake immediately at turns two and three and keeping in touch with the leaders. His progress in the following laps was impressive, lapping almost at the same pace as the race leaders. This was confirmed also by his fastest lap in the race that he scored on lap three, that equated to the fourth fastest lap in the race overall. His consistent pace between 1’29-high and 1’30-low meant he could stay very close to the top factory riders and finally make the overtake that gave him the sixth position at the flag.

It was more of a struggle in the race for Espargaro, although overall his weekend was also positive. The #41 had a very good start and could immediately recover some positions from his eighth place on the grid. Unfortunately in the race he could not find a proper feeling with the rear-end of his machine, suffering a lack of traction that prevented him being as competitive as he thought he could be. His improvements had been consistent throughout the whole of the Australian weekend, giving him and his crew a positive feeling after the weekend especially with his ninth position at the end of the race.

Ken Kawauchi – Team Technical Manager:

“This weekend we were stronger than the last few races and this is a positive improvement. This track was more suitable for our machine, Maverick in particular had a very good feeling with it and made a positive race competing with the top riders and finally he claimed sixth place, which makes us very proud. Aleix instead suffered some lack of grip, which is one of our weak points now, but he managed to end his race in ninth place, which makes the overall result of the weekend positive for us. At the factory we worked hard to find better traction and here we already did some improvements, we will continue this process to deliver even better configuration in the future.”

Maverick Viñales:

“Today I enjoyed it a lot: it’s one of the races where I had the most fun. It is the first track where I could feel that I am very competitive and the first where I felt the bike is really close to the top. We still lack something with the power but we could compensate with excellent performance from the chassis, meaning we were very competitive in many sectors. We did a really good job on the set-up, also myself I feel more calm and focused. We made a good step up in improvement after Aragon and another after Japan, which makes me feel confident. Finally I ended 6.8s from the winner, so this makes me very happy.”

Aleix Espargaro:

“This was a tough race, I had a good start and I could perform well during the early laps, keeping in touch with the leading group. Unfortunately, after five or six laps, the rear tyre dropped in performance and I had many struggles with wheel-spinning, preventing my bike from accelerating properly. It is a pity because, overall, the weekend was positive for us, we made many improvements after Japan and I hoped to be able to fight higher in the classification. Anyway it is also important that we found some new solutions and we will continue with this approach.”

GP of Australia – Race classification:

1. Marc MARQUEZ, Repsol Honda Team – 40’33.849
2. Jorge LORENZO, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – +0.249
3. Andrea IANNONE, Ducati Team Ducati – +0.930
4. Valentino ROSSI, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – +1.058
5. Dani PEDROSA, Repsol Honda Team – +5.062
6. Maverick VIÑALES, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – +6.800
7. Cal CRUTCHLOW, LCR Honda – +9.375
8. Pol ESPARGARO, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – +18.401
9. Aleix ESPARGARO, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – +20.039