Team Suzuki Press Office – February 23.
Alex Rins: 2nd – 1:55.159 (+ 0.108)
Joan Mir: 11th – 1:56.264 (+ 1.213)
• Alex Rins setting good times and trying new exhaust.
• Joan Mir creeping closer to Top 10.
• Both riders happy with progress on opening day.
With just fourteen days until lights out in Qatar, the MotoGP riders reconvened at Losail International Circuit for a three day test. Held in the evening and under the track’s famous lighting rigs, conditions were similar to those we’ll find on race day in a couple of weeks.
Alex Rins spent some of his session trying out a new twin exhaust, which the Spanish rider said could offer some further improvements. During the second half of the evening, Rins was able to prove his solid pace once again, holding first position for a substantial amount of time before closing Day 1 in 2nd place. He completed a total of 48 laps, setting his fastest time on lap 45.
Meanwhile, Joan Mir continued his learning curve and spent time building his confidence with the GSX-RR rather than focusing on parts. The Mallorcan put in 52 laps – one of the highest tallies of all the riders – and was 11th when the chequered flag came out – less than one tenth of a second behind the Top 10.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“We had a good start here in Qatar. Alex did a good job and we were able to go through all of our programme today, he showed strong pace and good lap times. We also saw improvements from Joan, he put together some nice laps and he also checked some parts. We’re trying to fine tune everything to be fully prepared for the first race, so we checked the new fairing again, and the new exhaust, as well as some small parts. Now we’ll look at all the details and try to take the best out of every part of the bike. We hope to continue like this for the next two days.”
“Day 1 has been very nice; my rhythm was good. We tried a few different things, as well as confirming what we worked on in Malaysia. The team and I are happy with the progress, but we’re still trying to improve further – in the electronics area and also on my fast lap. In general we haven’t changed anything drastically, but in every area we’ve made everything a little bit better. I tried a new exhaust, in terms of riding I didn’t feel too much difference but according to date it gives us a little improvement in top speed, which is always a good thing.”
“I’m quite happy about today, I’ve improved a lot since my first outing on the bike. I feel confident and good. Today I focused on my riding style a bit more, and it’s nice to ride the MotoGP bike here in Qatar. In Malaysia I did a lot of work, trying a lot of parts, so here we mainly focused on confirming and retry, in order to finalise the best package. For that reason we’re turning our attention to building my confidence and my knowledge of the bike, as well as working on lap times.”
QATAR PRE-SEASON TEST DAY 1 – Classification:
1. VIÑALES, Maverick Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 1:55.051
2. RINS, Alex Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 1:55.159 0.108 0.108
3. DOVIZIOSO, Andrea Mission Winnow Ducati 1:55.550 0.499 0.391
4. PETRUCCI, Danilo Mission Winnow Ducati 1:55.594 0.543 0.044
5. ROSSI, Valentino Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 1:55.604 0.553 0.010
6. RABAT, Tito Reale Avintia Racing 1:55.694 0.643 0.090
7. QUARTARARO, Fabio Petronas Yamaha SRT 1:55.772 0.721 0.078
8. NAKAGAMI, Takaaki LCR Honda IDEMITSU 1:55.943 0.892 0.171
9. ESPARGARO, Pol Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1:56.040 0.989 0.097
10. MARQUEZ, Marc Repsol Honda Team 1:56.167 1.116 0.127
11. MIR, Joan Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 1:56.264 1.213 0.097
12. ESPARGARO, Aleix Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1:56.358 1.307 0.094
13. IANNONE, Andrea Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1:56.447 1.396 0.089
14. MORBIDELLI, Franco Petronas Yamaha SRT 1:56.511 1.460 0.064
15. BAGNAIA, Francesco Alma Pramac Racing 1:56.738 1.687 0.227
16. ZARCO, Johann Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1:56.770 1.719 0.032
17. OLIVEIRA, Miguel KTM Tech 3 Racing 1:56.891 1.840 0.121
18. CRUTCHLOW, Cal LCR Honda CASTROL 1:56.921 1.870 0.030
19. MILLER, Jack Alma Pramac Racing 1:56.932 1.881 0.011
20. ABRAHAM, Karel Reale Avintia Racing 1:57.053 2.002 0.121
21. LORENZO, Jorge Repsol Honda Team 1:57.090 2.039 0.037
22. SMITH, Bradley Aprilia Factory Racing 1:57.137 2.086 0.047
23. SYAHRIN, Hafizh KTM Tech 3 Racing 1:57.459 2.408 0.322