With 10 races still to go, the 2018 MotoGP World Championship is about to begin its second half, and after a short break of only two weeks the riders and teams are even more motivated than usual to resume the season.
Andrea Iannone and Alex Rins took the two weeks after the GP of Germany to rest a little, but also to refresh their minds and to further improve their physical preparation. If confirmed, the hot weather expected in Brno for this weekend will test their endurance and fitness to the extreme.
Last year’s Czech GP was a tough one, with alternating dry and wet conditions throughout the whole of Sunday and a flag-to-flag race which created a lot of tension. Not to mention the frenzied bike swap that saw Iannone crash in the pit lane, thus losing a lot of time and the chance to properly compete for top positions.
The first part of the 2018 Championship marked a strong turnaround for Team SUZUKI ECSTAR, in terms of both bike and rider performances. This has given an extra boost of positivity for this second half of the season, with high hopes for even better results.
The GP of the Czech Republic will also see Sylvain Guintoli deployed as a Wild Card for Team SUZUKI ECSTAR. This will be his second GP of the year with the Factory supported Test Team after his first appearance at the GP of Catalunya – and it won’t be his last one as he will be racing as a Wild Card at the GP of Japan in Motegi in October as well. The Frenchman is also fresh from his experience at the Suzuka 8 Hours and some intense testing aboard the MotoGP machine for future developments.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“Last year in Brno we struggled a bit because of the adverse weather conditions and some bad luck in the flag-to-flag race, so for this year we hope things will be different. For sure we have different pre-conditions now; the bike is more competitive and also our experience has grown a lot. These holidays have been useful to clear our minds from the very unlucky race we had in Germany, we want to leave it in the past and just look ahead with clear minds. Also because August will be a very important month with three intense races, that will give an important determination to the rest of the championship, so it was important to take a deep breath and recharge our batteries before restarting.”
“Brno is a very funny track. We arrive in the Czech Republic in good shape after the first half of the season, and I remember that last year the Czech GP was very interesting for me. This year we approach this GP in much better condition, so I really hope for a good race.”
“After this break I feel a little more relaxed, but also very well trained, I haven’t stopped in my preparation for the races, and I feel good after this vacation. The circuit of Brno is a track I like, I have very positive memories from here and the layout is exciting. The good thing is that this year we have a technical package that allows us to positively approach any circuit, there are not any tracks that we ‘fear’, so I feel confident approaching any GP. I hope to start this second half of the season in a good way, and I am curious to see how we will be able to further improve. I believe we still have a lot to give, a big potential to express, that hopefully will bring good results in the remaining 10 races.”
“I’m just back from one month in Japan following an extensive testing program for the Suzuka 8 Hour race and two days MotoGP testing in Motegi. The race in Suzuka started very well, we were leading for a few laps and holding 3rd position at the first hour. Then unfortunately a backmarker ran me off the track and I had a small crash. From then we fought hard and came back from 60th to the top 10. Now I’m back in Europe and heading straight to Brno, I am very happy to go back to this great track and race in MotoGP again. Suzuki is doing a fantastic job with the development and I can’t wait to explore the new upgrades further this weekend.”
The challenges at the circuit in Brno include a number of elevation changes through forested hillsides, as well as fast and slow corners which test engineering and the rider’s talent to the limit. The track has a length of 5.4 km (3.36 miles) with six left and eight right-hand corners. Sunday’s MotoGP race will take place over 22 laps for a total distance of 118.9 km (73.9 miles).
Qualifying: 20th – 1’57.245 (Q1)
Race: 19th – +1’23.346
Qualifying: 13th – 1’56.460 (Q1)
Race: 11th – +33.290
Story issued by: Team SUZUKI ECSTAR