Positive Performances On A Day Of Very Close Margins

Team Suzuki Press Office – May 5.

Alex Rins: 6th – 1’37.984 (+ 0.331)
Andrea Iannone: 7th – 1’37.987 (+ 0.334)

• Big improvements for Alex Rins as he takes second row.
• Great pace from Andrea Iannone, especially in FP4.
• Both riders feeling comfortable and strong with the GSX-RR.

Saturday’s action provided a lot of entertainment for the vast Spanish crowds as extremely close margins and intense sessions dominated proceedings at the Circuit of Jerez – Angel Nieto.

The morning’s FP3 session was crucial as the riders battled it out to confirm their place in Q2. Andrea Iannone spent the majority of this session finalising his set-up and he showed strong pace throughout. Meanwhile, Alex Rins also made drastic improvements and dropped into the 1:38s. As FP3 drew to a close, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s riders found themselves close to the ‘drop zone’, but their hard work ensured their lap times were indeed good enough to give them direct passage into Q2.

In the FP4 session both riders were able to confirm again just how strong their pace is, with Andrea Iannone setting a 1:38.444 and Alex Rins a 1:38.820. These excellent laps gave Team SUZUKI ECSTAR a 1-2 at the top of the FP4 timesheet, this was the first time the team have had first and second in a session since 2015 (QP in Barcelona).

The afternoon’s Q2 session was predictably tight and frenetic, with very close margins between all the riders. Andrea Iannone chose to start on a medium-soft tyre combination, while Alex Rins opted for the hard-medium. Iannone showed his intentions early on with a very impressive 1:37.987 on his first flying lap, Alex Rins also put himself onto the provisional front row during the early part of the 15-minute session. After their final pit stop, the pair decided to stay with same tyre combinations they started with – with very few riders in the field selecting soft tyres. Iannone and Rins continued to push and set consistently quick laps, and as the chequered flag came out it would be a second row start with 6th place for the Spaniard, with his Italian team-mate just one place behind in 7th. Both riders were just three tenths of a second behind the pole time.

Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“We can be happy about today, because Andrea continued with his good feeling, the bike was fast this morning and he set the best time in FP4. The qualifying session was very close and in the end Andrea only finished 7th, but it was very tight and he was so close to the top. The good thing is that our pace is strong and I think we can have a good race. Alex made a big step since yesterday and grew in confidence this morning during FP3, where he was able to stay in the Top 10, then he also had very good pace in FP4 and he managed to qualify well. I think we can hope for a good race tomorrow with both of them, the grid positions could be better but they’re not so bad, so let’s see!”

Alex Rins
“Today has been really good, keeping up with the same work that we did yesterday. So, basically yesterday we focused on the set-up and today we focused on setting fast laps. It’s very close with many riders on a similar lap time, so the race will be interesting tomorrow and we have to see what we can do. We are working in a good way, the bike has a lot of potential, and I’m confident that I can be at my best tomorrow.”

Andrea Iannone
“I didn’t feel bad with the bike today, we improved a bit compared to yesterday – not a big step, but it’s always interesting to improve something. In any case, unfortunately qualifying didn’t go as I had hoped, the times were so close and there were many riders with very similar lap times, it was unbelievable! But we stayed with this fast group and we feel strong, so tomorrow we’ll try our best. I think all the brands are very close and I think tomorrow will be a great Sunday for the people watching at home or at the circuit!”

GP of Spain – Qualifying Classification:

1. Cal CRUTCHLOW LCR Honda CASTROL 1’37.653
2. Dani PEDROSA Repsol Honda Team 1’37.912 0.259 / 0.259
3. Johann ZARCO Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’37.956 0.303 / 0.044
4. Jorge LORENZO Ducati Team 1’37.969 0.316 / 0.013
5. Marc MARQUEZ Repsol Honda Team 1’37.977 0.324 / 0.008
6. Alex RINS Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 1’37.984 0.331 / 0.007
7. Andrea IANNONE Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 1’37.987 0.334 / 0.003
8. Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati Team 1’38.029 0.376 / 0.042
9. Danilo PETRUCCI Alma Pramac Racing 1’38.086 0.433 / 0.057
10. Valentino ROSSI Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1’38.267 0.614 / 0.181
11. Maverick VIÑALES Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1’38.281 0.628 / 0.014
12. Jack MILLER Alma Pramac Racing 1’38.522 0.869 / 0.241
13. Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1’38.389 Q1
14. Takaaki NAKAGAMI LCR Honda IDEMITSU 1’38.481 Q1
15. Franco MORBIDELLI EG 0,0 Marc VDS 1’38.544 Q1
16. Pol ESPARGARO Red Bull KTM Factory Racing1’38.598 Q1
17. Tito RABAT Reale Avintia Racing 1’38.610 Q1
18. Thomas LUTHI EG 0,0 Marc VDS 1’38.752 Q1
19. Mika KALLIO Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1’38.759 Q1
20. Alvaro BAUTISTA Angel Nieto Team 1’38.838 Q1
21. Bradley SMITH Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1’38.961 Q1
22. Hafizh SYAHRIN Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’39.135 Q1
23. Karel ABRAHAM Angel Nieto Team 1’39.146 Q1
24. Xavier SIMEON Reale Avintia Racing 1’39.708 Q1
25. Scott REDDING Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1’39.918 Q1

Story issued by: Team SUZUKI ECSTAR.

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