Team Suzuki Press Office – August 8.
Grid positions for Czech Republic GP:
Joan Mir: 9th – 1’56.512
Alex Rins: 11th – 1’56.571
The Czech Republic Grand Prix looks set to be another unpredictable and thrilling race, with tight times and drama dominating Saturday’s action at the track.
The morning’s FP3 session was crucial as ideal track conditions provided the perfect opportunity for riders to improve. As the session progressed times became very close; by the end, the entire field was covered by just 1.532. Both Joan Mir and Alex Rins entered laps in the high 1’56s and both were within three-tenths-of-a-second from the top of the time sheets. Mir confirmed his passage to Q2, while Rins narrowly missed-out on the Top 10.
FP4 saw Rins and Mir head straight on track, working hard to gauge the feeling with tyre options and to fine-tune the best settings to deal with degradation and the slippery circuit. Both showed good pace with Rins taking a confidence-boosting fourth and Mir seventh.
Rins did a brilliant job in Q1 despite struggling with shoulder pain. He chipped away to bring his lap down to a 1’56.230 and secure a great top spot in the session.
Both riders entered the final Q2 session with confidence and determination: Mir will start from the third row in ninth place, with Rins close behind in 11th.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager:
“We expected a little bit more in some ways, but we did a good job, nevertheless. Joan will start from the third row and that’s not bad from the point of view of the race. The bike is working well so it will be a question of making the right tyre choice so that he feels comfortable in the race, I think he can do well. Alex was amazing because this weekend is still very difficult for him with his shoulder; he did a great effort in Q1 and he will start from 11th place. I think both riders can manage a good race, it will be long and difficult, but we have good pace.”
“I feel good today because we made some steps forward in regard to race pace and my set-up is nice. I know that qualifying is not exactly our strong point at the moment, but I think starting from ninth I can still manage a good race. The race will be hard tomorrow, and consistency and tyre preservation will be key. I’ll try to get a good start and recover positions.”
“I struggled a lot with my shoulder today. FP3 was good but I missed out on Q2 by a tiny amount, which was a pity because I really gave my all to get directly into Q2 to save myself one session and try to conserve my shoulder a bit. In FP4 I worked hard to forget about the pain and concentrate on my lap times and consistency. In Q1 I gave absolutely everything to make it into final qualifying, and despite the bad pain I managed some good lap times. Tyre life tends to drop at this track, so it will be important to be careful and manage it. I hope I can get a good result and I feel that 11th isn’t a bad place to start.”
MONSTER ENERGY GRAND PRIX CESKÉ REPUBLIKY – Qualifying Classification:
1. J. ZARCO – Esponsorama Racing – 01:55.687 – Q2
2. F. QUARTARARO – Petronas Yamaha SRT – 01:55.990 – Q2 – +0.303
3. F. MORBIDELLI – Petronas Yamaha SRT – 01:55.998 – Q2 – +0.311
4. A. ESPARGARO – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – 01:56.074 – Q2 – +0.387
5. M. VIÑALES – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – 01:56.131 – Q2 – +0.444
6. P. ESPARGARO – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – 01:56.142 – Q2 – +0.455
7. B. BINDER – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – 01:56.299 – Q2 – +0.612
8. D. PETRUCCI – Ducati Team – 01:56.454 – Q2 – +0.767
9. J. MIR – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 01:56.512 – Q2 – +0.825
10. V. ROSSI – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – 01:56.515 – Q2 – +0.828
11. A. RINS – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 01:56.571 – Q2 – +0.884
12. C. CRUTCHLOW – LCR Honda CASTROL – 01:56.797 – Q2 – +1.110
13. M. OLIVEIRA – Red Bull KTM Tech 3 – 01:56.328 – Q1
14. J. MILLER – Pramac Racing – 01:56.352 – Q1
15. T. RABAT – Esponsorama Racing – 01:56.695 – Q1
16. I. LECUONA – Red Bull KTM Tech 3 – 01:56.764 – Q1
17. T. NAKAGAMI – LCR Honda IDEMITSU – 01:56.822 – Q1
18. A. DOVIZIOSO – Ducati Team – 01:57.034 – Q1
19. B. SMITH – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – 01:57.438 – Q1
20. S. BRADL – Repsol Honda Team – 01:57.573 – Q1
21. A. MARQUEZ – Repsol Honda Team – 01:57.606 – Q1