RINS AND MIR TO START FROM FOURTH ROW IN 2019 DEBUT

Team Suzuki Press Office – March 9.

Alex Rins: 10th – 1:54.257 (+ 0.711)
Joan Mir: 11th – 1:54.390 (+ 0.844)

• Alex Rins struggles after two crashes at Turn 2.
• Joan Mir will make his MotoGP debut from 11th on the grid.
• Team SUZUKI ECSTAR ready to begin new season despite hoping for more.

A challenging second day at Losail International Circuit saw struggles for Alex Rins and Joan Mir. But, after the solid work put in on Friday, both riders secured direct passage to the Q2 session. This was especially crucial given how close the lap times have been amongst the field, and the deterioration of track conditions in the evening. After the Q2 session, the pair will start from 10th and 11th respectively on the grid tomorrow.

Throughout FP3 and FP4, Rins focused his efforts on trying to improve his feeling with the bike following grip issues yesterday. His progress was hampered after two small crashes at Turn 2 – a corner which saw many riders lose the front – but the Spaniard still managed to secure 10th spot on the grid when it came to Q2.

Mir had a more straight forward day, and continued finding his feet. The rookie put in some strong lap times throughout Saturday and he confirmed 11th place during a tricky Q2 session. He will therefore make his debut from the 4th row.

Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“We expected a bit more from this qualifying session, but the conditions were very difficult. Alex will start in 10th, and it will make the race a bit more difficult at the beginning, but I think he can have good race pace and feel comfortable. Joan did well to get straight to Q2 with Alex, and he’s qualified 11th – which is great for a first race. We’ve seen him progress. We’re looking forward to tomorrow.”

Alex Rins
“Today was a bit hard for me, I had two crashes – one in FP3 and one in FP4 – so it was hard to start Q2 with a clear mind, and the track conditions didn’t help me. Anyway, I was able to improve my lap time even when riding alone. We’ll focus on tomorrow’s race, I feel that I have incredible race pace and strong rhythm with a used tyre, so we’re ready to enjoy the race.”

Joan Mir
“Qualifying was difficult because I couldn’t find the right feeling to push hard, and I expected a bit more after my pace in FP4. But it was the first MotoGP qualifying session of my career, and it’s not a bad position to start in for tomorrow. I have consistent pace and we’ll see if we can learn from the top riders tomorrow and have a good race.”

GP of Qatar – Qualifying Classification:
1. Maverick VIÑALES Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 1’53.546
2. Andrea DOVIZIOSO Mission Winnow Ducati 1’53.744 0.198 / 0.198
3. Marc MARQUEZ Repsol Honda Team 1’53.745 0.199 / 0.001
4. Jack MILLER Alma Pramac Racing 1’53.809 0.263 / 0.064
5. Fabio QUARTARARO Petronas Yamaha SRT 1’53.946 0.400 / 0.137
6. Cal CRUTCHLOW LCR Honda CASTROL 1’54.095 0.549 / 0.149
7. Danilo PETRUCCI Mission Winnow Ducati 1’54.200 0.654 / 0.105
8. Franco MORBIDELLI Petronas Yamaha SRT 1’54.236 0.690 / 0.036
9. Takaaki NAKAGAMI LCR Honda IDEMITSU 1’54.239 0.693 / 0.003
10. Alex RINS Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 1’54.257 0.711 / 0.018
11. Joan MIR Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 1’54.390 0.844 / 0.133

12. Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1’54.917 1.371 / 0.527
13. Francesco BAGNAIA Alma Pramac Racing 1’54.472 Q1
14. Valentino ROSSI Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 1’54.537 Q1
15. Jorge LORENZO Repsol Honda Team 1’54.563 Q1
16. Pol ESPARGARO Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1’54.740 Q1
17. Miguel OLIVEIRA Red Bull KTM Tech 3 KTM 1’55.122 Q1
18. Tito RABAT Reale Avintia Racing 1’55.428 Q1
19. Andrea IANNONE Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1’55.464 Q1
20. Karel ABRAHAM Reale Avintia Racing 1’55.642 Q1
21. Johann ZARCO Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1’55.797 Q1
22. Hafizh SYAHRIN Red Bull KTM Tech 3 1’55.937 Q1
23. Bradley SMITH Aprilia Factory Racing 1’56.036 Q1

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