Team Suzuki Press Office – April 17.
Grid positions for Portuguese GP:
Alex Rins: 2nd – 1’38.951
Joan Mir: 9th – 1’39.398
Saturday’s sunshine brought ideal conditions for the FP3 session in Portugal that meant Friday’s times were dropping and the riders had to fight for direct passage to Q2. Team Suzuki Ecstar’s riders were on good form, putting in some quick laps. Alex Rins was able to finish the session inside the Top 10 with fifth, and Joan Mir was a few tenths of a second behind in 12th.
FP4 saw the usual plan; the Suzuki pairing trying the tyre options and putting in race simulations. They closed this session with Mir in 10th and Rins in 12th.
Mir did a brilliant job in Q1, bringing his lap times down and holding onto a crucial second place to allow him into final qualifying. This last session of the day saw tight times and plenty of drama and Rins and Mir were determined from the get-go, feeling strong with their GSX-RR machines.
On Rins’ final flying lap he got himself into an excellent front row position with third, meanwhile Mir was in 10th. But in the final moments of qualifying Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia had a lap cancelled due to a yellow flag infringement and this promoted the Suzuki riders to second and ninth – their best qualifying of the season so far and the first front row start since the European GP last November.
Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager:
“Today Alex continued with his good pace and good rhythm, and this meant he could set a strong time in FP3 and go straight into final qualifying where he managed to get the front row, which makes us very happy. Joan struggled a little bit in FP3 so he had to fight through from Q1, but he did a very good job as usual. The third row for Joan isn’t perfect, but we’re satisfied that he can have a good race tomorrow, as can Alex.”
“It’s always important to start as far up the grid as possible, but of course the front row is the best and I’m happy to be here in 2nd place. I pushed really hard and I felt great on the bike, and this encourages me for tomorrow because I feel that I can get a good start and be with the front group from the start. The race won’t be easy, because Fabio and the others have a lot of pace, but I’m ready for it.”
“Being outside of the Top 10 always makes it tougher because you have to come through from Q1 and for sure that’s not ideal because you have one less tyre available. We had good speed and I felt good, but it’s harder when you’ve already used up one tyre. Anyway, my race pace is strong and I feel confident for tomorrow, but it’s the same story as always; I’ll have to work hard at the start to recover positions. I’ll do the best job I can and I’m excited to race here.”
GRANDE PRÉMIO 888 DE PORTUGAL – Qualifying Classification:
1 Fabio QUARTARARO Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 1’38.862
2 Alex RINS Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 1’38.951 0.089 / 0.089
3 Johann ZARCO Pramac Racing 1’38.991 0.129 / 0.040
4 Jack MILLER Ducati Lenovo Team 1’39.061 0.199 / 0.070
5 Franco MORBIDELLI Petronas Yamaha SRT 1’39.103 0.241 / 0.042
6 Marc MARQUEZ Repsol Honda Team 1’39.121 0.259 / 0.018
7 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1’39.169 0.307 / 0.048
8 Luca MARINI SKY VR46 Avintia 1’39.386 0.524 / 0.217
9 Joan MIR Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 1’39.398 0.536 / 0.012
10 Miguel OLIVEIRA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1’39.445 0.583 / 0.047
11 Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati Lenovo Team 1’39.482 0.620 / 0.037
12 Maverick VIÑALES Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 1’39.807 0.945 / 0.325
13 Alex MARQUEZ LCR Honda CASTROL 1’39.530 Q1
14 Pol ESPARGARO Repsol Honda Team 1’39.710 Q1
15 Brad BINDER Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1’39.776 Q1
16 Enea BASTIANINI Avintia Esponsorama 1’39.855 Q1
17 Valentino ROSSI Petronas Yamaha SRT 1’39.943 Q1
18 Danilo PETRUCCI Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing 1’40.202 Q1
19 Iker LECUONA Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing 1’40.408 Q1
20 Lorenzo SAVADORI Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1’40.444 Q1
30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI LCR Honda IDEMITSU