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Iannone Second After Qatar FP3 as Rins Still Learning

Team Suzuki Press Office – March 24.

Andrea Iannone: 2nd – 1’54.848
Alex Rins: 18th – 1’56.179

A sensational penultimate lap at the end of the third free practice session allowed Andrea Iannone and Team SUZUKI ECSTAR to get second place of the session during the tonight’s MotoGP™ practice at Losail International Circuit in Qatar. His 1’54.848 lap-time, only 0.014s from the best in the session, is also the second best in the combined classification, granting him direct access to Q2.

This gives a quick injection of confidence for tomorrow’s qualifying, as it comes as the result of corresponding improvements in the machine’s setup after the difficulties encountered previously. The hard work done by Iannone and his crew, testing many different solutions, finally gave him the needed confidence to ride.

Alex Rins made improvements with regards to the feel of his bike, but couldn’t really improve yesterday’s lap time. Unfortunately, he found himself in some traffic during his last attempt of the time attack when he was improving on his best time. He ended the session with a best of 1’56.249 (15th of the session) but his place in the combined classification is 18th owing to the 1’56.179 time he posted yesterday.

Davide Brivio – Team Manager:

“At the end of the session, in the last lap, Andrea managed to put in a fantastic lap that got him second place. In a session where it was really hard to improve on yesterday´s times, he had an astonishing performance. I hope that although this was only a single qualifying-style lap, it is also a sign of a renewed feeling for the machine, and overall improvement of the whole package. Now we will have to confirm that we can also have a good pace in the race configuration, but maybe this is a good starting point. Tomorrow’s FP4 will be very important, as well as qualifying, but for the moment we are happy for the extraordinary performance of Andrea. We are pleased about the job done by the crew in finding some solutions after a situation that made yesterday really hard. Alex couldn’t improve his time because, once again, this is only our first GP weekend and he is still learning the riding technique for MotoGP. Tomorrow’s FP4 will be important for him to find a comfortable pace and then in Q1 he will give his best, so we’ll see what it brings.”

Andrea Iannone:

“Already in FP2 today we were able to improve a little the feel of the bike and things went better and better, little by little. At the end, we tried a new setting as a result of all the information we had gained and it proved to be effective. We are very satisfied with the result we achieved, but that´s it, because the most important thing is the race. We still have to work on finding a confident pace. With the soft tyre, now the machine is behaving well, I have a good feeling that it will pay off. We still have some little issues we can improve on and so we will work on these areas to prepare the race distance.”

Alex Rins:

“In the end it looks like we are struggling more than expected to find the pace. Every time I went on the track I gave 100%, but I have the feeling that I’m not yet taking advantage of the full potential of the bike and the tyres. Anyway, we are also here to learn and we are making steps forward with improvements. So, we are still very positive and tomorrow we will try new solutions with renewed enthusiasm.”

Combined Classification after Free Practice 3:

1. Maverick VIÑALES, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 1’54.316 – In FP1
2. Andrea IANNONE, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 1’54.848 +0.532 – In FP3
3. Marc MARQUEZ, Repsol Honda Team – 1’54.912 +0.596 – In FP1
4. Johann ZARCO, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – 1’55.008 +0.692 – In FP3
5. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, Ducati Team – 1’55.042 +0.726 – In FP3
6. Scott REDDING, OCTO Pramac Racing – 1’55.085 +0.769 – In FP2
7. Dani PEDROSA, Repsol Honda Team – 1’55.113 +0.797 – In FP3
8. Jonas FOLGER, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – 1’55.208 +0.892 – In FP2
9. Cal CRUTCHLOW, LCR Honda – 1’55.211 +0.895 – In FP3
10. Valentino ROSSI, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 1’55.414 +1.098 – In FP2
11. Danilo PETRUCCI, OCTO Pramac Racing – 1’55.435 +1.119 – In FP3
12. Jorge LORENZO, Ducati Team – 1’55.461 +1.145 – In FP3
13. Alvaro BAUTISTA, Pull&Bear Aspar Team – 1’55.581 +1.265 – In FP2
14. Loris BAZ, Reale Avintia Racing – 1’55.624 +1.308 – In FP1
15. Aleix ESPARGARO, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – 1’55.634 +1.318 – In FP3
16. Jack MILLER , EG 0,0 Marc VDS – 1’55.959 +1.643 – In FP2
17. Karel ABRAHAM, Pull&Bear Aspar Team – 1’56.003 +1.687 – In FP2
18. Alex RINS, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 1’56.179 +1.863 – In FP2
19. Tito RABAT, EG 0,0 Marc VDS – 1’56.368 +2.052 – In FP2
20. Hector BARBERA, Reale Avintia Racing – 1’56.725 +2.409 – In FP1

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