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Viñales & Team Suzuki Ecstar Second-Row at Catalan GP


Team Suzuki Press Office – June 4.  Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s Maverick Viñales will start tomorrow’s Catalan MotoGP™ from the second-row of the grid after putting his GSX-RR into sixth position in this afternoon’s Q2, as team-mate Aleix Espargaró will start from row five after just missing-out on the final session to determine the front four-rows.

The track’s layout was modified today as a security measure to assure riders’ safety after yesterday’s crash, when Moto2 rider Luis Salom lost his life. The revised layout required Viñales and Espargaró extra effort to learn new lines and revise the machines’ set-up, but the day was hard for them also for the emotions they carried following their friend’s departure.

The first two sessions of the GP of Catalunya saw both Team SUZUKI ECSTAR riders work with various chassis options that were introduced last week in Valencia. The evolution chassis work done in the early part of the season has been useful for Suzuki’s R&D in Japan to consolidate a standard chassis that has been developed following feedback from both riders after the Winter tests. Following Valencia, however, the standard chassis configuration was developed further into two various directions; both of them preferred for different reasons by Viñales and Espargaró because of personal reasons and riding styles. These two evolution chassis were brought to Catalunya so that both riders had one bike equipped with the standard chassis and another with the new evolution chassis.

Davide Brivio – Team Manager:

“Today we had to restart our work on the track in some way, although the atmosphere was pretty different after what happened yesterday to Luis Salom. We tried to think as normal, and we had two different situations. With Maverick we managed to be performing, the morning was very positive; and in the afternoon he had some small issues, but was only 22-thousands-of-a-second from the first row, which is good because in the race it doesn’t make too much difference to start on the first or second row, assuming that we will be able to improve his setting and allow him to find the right pace. On the other hand, Aleix missed the Q2 by very little and so he will need to make a recovery race. We still have some options; we will try to find a better feeling on the front and a solid pace to allow him to have a positive race.”

Maverick Viñales:

“This has been a hard day from the emotional side, because of what happened yesterday. I was very close to Luis and today was pretty hard to get on the bike. However, from the sporting side, the weekend has been positive so far, as I managed to be among the fasted for all of the three free practice sessions, even though I am disappointed with the qualifying. The second row is not that bad, but I’m sad that when the temperatures get higher we can’t find a good feeling with the bike. It’s a problem we have already had – when it becomes hot, we lack in traction and grip – and this affected my performance in qualifying. However, although I’m sixth I’m not far from the first row, which means I still have some room for a good race. The new layout of the track is not that good for us, but assuming it has been done for safety reasons, we will adapt to it.”

Aleix Espargaró:

“What happened yesterday touched me deeply and it felt really, really hard to get back on the bike today. To be honest, yesterday after I heard the news, I was thinking about not racing, but then with all the other riders we decided not to stop the event and commemorate Luis with a good race. The new layout is very hard for me, I struggle to find a good set-up that allows me to be effective in sector ‘4’ and we lack a lot on grip. The most worrying is the tyre performance; it drops very fast and the difference between new tyres and worn tyres is nearly two seconds, which is a huge drop, and which will make the race very interesting. My position on the grid is not so good, but the pace is not bad; the race will be very long, therefore we still have good hopes for a positive home race.”


1 Marc MARQUEZ Repsol Honda Team 1’43.589
2 Jorge LORENZO Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1’44.056 + 0.467
3 Dani PEDROSA Repsol Honda Team 1’44.307 + 0.718
4 Hector BARBERA Avintia Racing 1’44.322 + 0.733
5 Valentino ROSSI Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1’44.324 + 0.735
6 Maverick VIÑALES Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 1’44.329 + 0.740
7 Cal CRUTCHLOW LCR Honda 1’44.366 + 0.777
8 Andrea IANNONE Ducati Team 1’44.458 + 0.869
9 Danilo PETRUCCI OCTO Pramac Yakhnich 1’44.911 + 1.322
10 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati Team 1’45.029 + 1.440
13 Aleix ESPARGARO Team SUZUKI ECSTAR SUZUKI 1’44.914 – (Q1)

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