Team Suzuki Press Office – October 19.
Alex Rins: 11th – 1:46.600
Joan Mir: 12th – 1:46.616
Sylvain Guintoli: 21st – 1:49.186
• Alex Rins strongly fights through from Q1.
• Joan Mir improving steadily and ready to attack.
• Team preparing for positive home GP.
Saturday morning at the Twin Ring Motegi saw a soaking track as FP3 was delayed to allow conditions to improve. Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s riders did a great job despite the slippery surface; Sylvain Guintoli in 5th, Alex Rins 7th, and Joan Mir 11th.
For FP4 the Japanese track began to dry out and the riders were able to switch to slick tyres towards the end of the session. This was especially important for Rins as he prepared to challenge for a place in Q2.
The Q1 session was highly competitive and Rins had to fight hard to secure a place in the top two. The Spaniard fought back time and again to ensure his passage into final qualifying. Guintoli completed the session in 11th, this gives him 21st place on the grid for Sunday’s race.
Q2 got off to a good start for both Rins and Mir as the pair settled into a good rhythm, Alex going 2nd early on and Joan 7th. As the very pacy session began to hot up they struggled a little to bring their lap times down. However, they will start the team’s home race from the fourth row, 11th and 12th respectively. The riders are feeling confident for a competitive Sunday, with both finishing just over half a second from the front row.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager:
“It was a difficult day with the heavy rain in the morning and then a drying track in the afternoon. We hoped for a little bit more during qualifying, but Alex did a great job to come through from Q1 into Q2. Both Alex and Joan could have been in a better position, but we can manage a race from the fourth row as we have the potential to recover. Sylvain has also had a positive day, especially in the wet. Yesterday we had a misunderstanding in regard to the regulations which meant that we had to swap the engine on Sylvain’s bike this morning, the mechanics worked really hard to prepare for FP3. We’ll see what we can do tomorrow, and what we can improve on, we’ll give our best!”
“I’m a bit disappointed because I fought hard to come through Q1 and then I couldn’t fulfil the potential in Q2. I will start from 11th tomorrow and I will attack, ‘full gas’, to give Suzuki a good result at home. Tomorrow will be better conditions and during warm-up I will try some different tyre options and try to optimise my set-up for the race.”
“I wanted a bit more out of today, I knew I could do better. On the last laps in Q2 the track was drier, and my feeling was so much better, but then I went wide on my last flying lap and I lost some time. The team and I have worked really hard and I feel I can be closer to the top guys, but in the end I’ll start 12th. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow and I’ll give my all to fight with the front group.”
“FP3 in the wet was a really good session for me, I ended up 5th and I felt great, it was very positive. I found qualifying trickier due to the mixed conditions, I couldn’t quite get the feeling that I needed, especially from the front. But tomorrow is going to be dry, so we’ll continue to work hard and see how the race plays out.”
GP of Japan – Qualifying Classification:
1. Marc MARQUEZ Repsol Honda Team 1’45.763
2. Franco MORBIDELLI Petronas Yamaha SRT 1’45.895 0.132 / 0.132
3. Fabio QUARTARARO Petronas Yamaha SRT 1’45.944 0.181 / 0.049
4. Maverick VIÑALES Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 1’46.090 0.327 / 0.146
5. Cal CRUTCHLOW LCR Honda CASTROL 1’46.189 0.426 / 0.099
6. Jack MILLER Pramac Racing 1’46.337 0.574 / 0.148
7. Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati Team 1’46.410 0.647 / 0.073
8. Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati Team 1’46.427 0.664 / 0.017
9. Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1’46.558 0.795 / 0.131
10. Valentino ROSSI Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 1’46.558 0.795
11. Alex RINS Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 1’46.600 0.837 / 0.042
12. Joan MIR Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 1’46.616 0.853 / 0.016
13. Takaaki NAKAGAMI LCR Honda IDEMITSU 1’46.998 Q1
14. Francesco BAGNAIA Pramac Racing 1’47.594 Q1
15. Pol ESPARGARO Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1’47.654 Q1
16. Miguel OLIVEIRA Red Bull KTM Tech 3 1’47.894 Q1
17. Mika KALLIO Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1’47.979 Q1
18. Karel ABRAHAM Reale Avintia Racing 1’48.121 Q1
19. Jorge LORENZO Repsol Honda Team 1’48.492 Q1
20. Hafizh SYAHRIN Red Bull KTM Tech 3 1’48.522 Q1
21. Sylvain GUINTOLI Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 1’49.186 Q1
22. Andrea IANNONE Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1’49.243 Q1
23. Tito RABAT Reale Avintia Racing NTS