Team Suzuki Press Office – May 14.
French GP Day 1:
Alex Rins: 11th – 1’32.762 (+ 1.015)
Joan Mir: 13th – 1’32.908 (+ 1.161)
As is often the case when visiting northern France in Spring, weather dominated proceedings on Friday for the MotoGP™ World Championship’s opening day in Le Mans.
A damp and chilly start in FP1 gave way to a dry and dramatic FP2 session in the afternoon.
Team Suzuki Ecstar’s riders, Alex Rins and Joan Mir, were straight out on track in the morning and they used their time in FP1 to get to grips with the surface while on wet tyres, and to begin work on fine tuning their GSX-RRs. Mir had a small technical problem on his bike which caused a warning light to appear on the dashboard, therefore opting to safely park his bike up at Turn 8. However, this didn’t cost him much time and he was still able to finish FP1 in third place. Rins tried slick tyres at the end of the session but found conditions still too tricky; he took ninth.
The track temperatures were very variable in the afternoon, with some sectors as low as 14°c. Fast laps were needed early on as dark clouds closed around the Bugatti Circuit, and Suzuki’s riders headed out on soft slicks. The majority of the session went well, with Rins and Mir both looking strong and placing well into the Top 10, but the crash-strewn session became more-tricky as lap times dropped: Rins had a small crash at Turn 3 with four minutes left on the clock, and Mir was also in the gravel shortly after at Turn 8 while on a flying lap. Despite both riders promptly rejoining the session, they ended up in 11th and 13th respectively.
Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager:
“FP1 was held in wet conditions, and both riders felt quite good. The beginning of FP2 was also going well, and our lap times were not bad – both riders were fast and consistent. But in the last moments of FP2, Alex and Joan both crashed, luckily they are both fine but it’s been a bit of a tough day for us. We’ll check all the data tonight, and try again tomorrow to improve.”
“It was a good Friday for us despite being knocked out of the Top 10. For sure tomorrow I will have to fight in Q1 because we’re expecting a lot of rain tonight, so I think FP3 will be wet. But anyway, I was feeling quite good in the mixed conditions and also in the dry; the grip was good, I felt strong on used tyres and I was pretty consistent. I had a crash at Turn 3 when I lost the front, so I dropped to 11th place. But let’s see what I can do tomorrow, it won’t be easy but I’m ready to give my all.”
“It wasn’t a bad day, although it was quite unpredictable, but we still have work to do in dry conditions. My feeling overall is not the best, so there’s margin to improve, but I don’t feel too bad – especially in the wet. At the moment we are out of the Top 10 due to the crash I had at the end of FP2 when I lost the front while pushing. We need to work overnight but I think we can do a good job tomorrow and we’ll try to solve everything and become a bit more competitive in dry conditions.”
SHARK GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE – Combined Classification after DAY1:
1. J. ZARCO – Pramac Racing – 01:31.747
2. F. QUARTARARO – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – 01:31.842 +0.095
3. M. VIÑALES – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – 01:32.136 +0.389
4. P. ESPARGARO – Repsol Honda Team – 01:32.137 +0.390
5. F. MORBIDELLI – Petronas Yamaha SRT – 01:32.279 +0.532
6. M. OLIVEIRA – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – 01:32.296 +0.549
7. J. MILLER – Ducati Lenovo Team – 01:32.361 +0.614
8. M. MARQUEZ – Repsol Honda Team – 01:32.632 +0.885
9. V. ROSSI – Petronas Yamaha SRT – 01:32.669 +0.922
10. T. NAKAGAMI – LCR Honda IDEMITSU – 01:32.711 +0.964
11. A. RINS – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 01:32.762 +1.015
12. F. BAGNAIA – Ducati Lenovo Team – 01:32.800 +1.053
13. J. MIR – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 01:32.908 +1.161
14. A. ESPARGARO – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – 01:32.946 +1.199
15. I. LECUONA – Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing – 01:33.040 +1.293
16. B. BINDER – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – 01:33.117 +1.370
17. A. MARQUEZ – LCR Honda CASTROL – 01:33.204 +1.457
18. T. RABAT – Pramac Racing – 01:33.361 +1.614
19. E. BASTIANINI – Avintia Esponsorama – 01:33.536 +1.789
20. L. SAVADORI – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – 01:33.985 +2.238
21. L. MARINI – SKY VR46 Avintia – 01:34.147 +2.400
22. D. PETRUCCI – Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing – 01:34.520 +2.773