Team Suzuki Press Office – April 18
Following Alex Rins’ podium in Argentina ten days ago, it is with a lot of positivity and excitement that Team SUZUKI ECSTAR head to the USA, and the Circuit of the Americas, for the third round of the 2018 MotoGP Championship.
This Texan track is very demanding for tyres and bike performance; it boasts the longest straight in the Championship (1.2 km), and its very abrasive surface makes tyre longevity a crucial part of success. The layout is held in high regard by the riders, and both Andrea Iannone and Alex Rins are confident that it could suit the GSX-RR’s particular strengths.
Alex Rins will be able to take all the emotions and memories of his Argentina podium and counter them against the bad memories from Texas last year; he arrived in Austin still recovering from an ankle injury, and things went downhill rapidly for the Spaniard when he broke his arm during Friday’s free practice session – an injury which caused him to miss 5 races in 2017. The young rider has grown a lot in experience since then, allowing him to face this third round of the championship with more maturity and strength, especially given all the progress he has made during the pre-season and the first two races.
There is an optimistic feeling for Andrea Iannone too, as the Circuit of The Americas is where he scored his first points with Suzuki; taking 7th in 2017. The GSX-RR is now better suited to his riding style and requirements, and this meant he could show steady improvements in the first two races and build a positive path heading into this weekend’s GP.
“We go to Austin with a good mood, of course, after Alex’s podium. I also think that COTA is a track which could suit our GSX-RR. We are in good form after a good race in Qatar and the podium in Argentina, we are finally able to show our competitiveness. We have a weekend of work ahead, to continue to grow with Alex and also to find even better solutions to further improve Andrea’s feeling. Little by little our results are becoming better, and so to is the overall feeling of the riders. This means we are on a positive path, and we can continue to work in this way.”
“Texas is one of my favourite tracks, unfortunately last year we had a very bad time there – firstly I arrived with the ankle injury, and then things got even worse with the crash that broke my arm and took me out for 5 rounds. But this year we arrive with a totally different mentality and mood. I have more experience, I have a better bike, so I believe we can write a totally different story. After the podium in Argentina, and after all the work we are doing in general, I feel that we have a really good bike with a positive setup. We have to continue working this way; the performance is getting better and better.”
“Last year I had good feelings at this circuit, the race was positive and it was one where I made a good recovery; I classified 11th in qualifying but then in the race I came up to 7th place, without a big gap to the winner. This year for sure we are more competitive, the GSX-RR has been improved and also my riding is more efficient.”
The Circuit Of The Americas (COTA) is the first purpose-built Grand Prix facility in the U.S.A and it is located close to Austin, the capital of Texas. The circuit is 5.513km in length and has capacity for 120,000 fans. Construction of the impressive 1000-acre facility was completed in late 2012, with MotoGP lining up at the track for the first time in 2013. One of its more distinctive features is its variation in elevation, with a 41m difference from the highest to the lowest point, and an impressive incline at the end of the home straight, followed by a sharp left. The circuit is one of the most varied on the GP calendar, with a mix of fast straights and tight hairpin turns, with most sections mirroring or taking inspiration from parts of other famous tracks around the world. It was designed by well-known German architect and circuit designer Hermann Tilke. The riding direction is counter-clockwise and the track has a total of 20 corners with 9 right turns and 11 left turns. Sunday’s race will be run over 20 laps for a total distance of 110.3 km (68.6 miles).
Qualifying: 11th – 2’05.741 (+3.000)
Race: 7th – +15.491
Story issued by: Team SUZUKI ECSTAR.