Team Suzuki Press Office – March 17.
Alex Rins: 6th – 1:54.339 (+ 0.659)
Andrea Iannone: 11th – 1:54.619 (+ 0.939)
• Tricky conditions in early sessions
• Alex Rins on second row for tomorrow’s race.
• Andrea Iannone building in confidence.
Day 2 at Losail International Circuit brought difficult conditions with high temperatures and low grip in FP3, and strong winds and sand storms in FP4. Due to this, no rider was able to improve on their Friday times in these early sessions, which meant a direct passage to Q2 for Team SUZUKI ECSTAR, and allowed more time to finalise settings ahead of the opening race of the season.
Both Alex Rins and Andrea Iannone tried different configurations of aerodynamic fairing, with and without ‘wings’. Alex Rins has been strong throughout the weekend so far, and he was able to carry this form into a fast-paced Q2 session. When the chequered flag went out he held onto 6th place and a second row start – his best in MotoGP. He has hovered around the Top 5 all weekend and is feeling good for tomorrow’s race.
Despite having good pace, Andrea Iannone lacked confidence as Saturday’s final qualifying session drew to an end – suffering with lack of grip and front end feel. He takes 11th spot on the grid and hopes to find a little bit extra in tomorrow’s Warm-Up.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“It’s a good sign that we are a little bit disappointed about the results! We can’t complain, with Alex starting on the second row, and if we’re able to maintain the good pace that we’ve shown during these days I think that’s enough to try and stay close to the top guys and make some good results. Andrea struggled more in this qualifying – unfortunately only 11th – but I think his pace is not so bad. His first target will be to recover from this starting position and then see where he can finish. Anyway, the weekend has been not so bad so far and we’re looking forward to the race and hope to start the season well.”
“I’m feeling incredible, this is my best qualifying result in MotoGP, so I think that this weekend has been going really well, one of the best of my MotoGP career. I think tomorrow the race will be difficult, but I’ll try to give my maximum and try to make a good start and fight with the front guys. I think Top 5 is possible, we have nothing to lose, so I’ll try to learn from the fastest guys and give my best.”
“Today has been very different from the test because the conditions of the track changed a lot and this made me struggle a little more. I have good feelings with the rear, both with medium and soft tyres, but I don’t feel totally confident with the front; I was struggling from mid-corner to the corner exit and felt close to losing the front. Tomorrow we’ll try to solve this. I’m pretty happy with my pace, but I also recognise there are many riders all in good shape. Tomorrow’s race won’t be easy, my start position isn’t very good, and it will be a highly competitive field.”
Circuit: Losail International Circuit, Qatar
Air Temperature: 26c
Track Temperature: 26c
GP of Qatar – Qualifying Classification:
1. Johann ZARCO Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’53.680
2. Marc MARQUEZ Repsol Honda Team 1’53.882 0.202 / 0.202
3. Danilo PETRUCCI Alma Pramac Racing 1’53.887 0.207 / 0.005
4. Cal CRUTCHLOW LCR Honda CASTROL 1’54.072 0.392 / 0.185
5. Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati Team 1’54.074 0.394 / 0.002
6. Alex RINS Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 1’54.339 0.659 / 0.265
7. Dani PEDROSA Repsol Honda Team 1’54.368 0.688 / 0.029
8. Valentino ROSSI Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1’54.389 0.709 / 0.021
9. Jorge LORENZO Ducati Team 1’54.431 0.751 / 0.042
10. Jack MILLER Alma Pramac Racing 1’54.449 0.769 / 0.018
11. Andrea IANNONE Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 1’54.619 0.939 / 0.170
12. Maverick VIÑALES Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1’54.707 1.027 / 0.088
13. Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1’55.140 (Q1)
14. Franco MORBIDELLI EG 0,0 Marc VDS 1’55.169 (Q1)
15. Hafizh SYAHRIN Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’55.258 (Q1)
16. Tito RABAT Reale Avintia Racing 1’55.273 (Q1)
17. Scott REDDING Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1’55.380 (Q1)
18. Thomas LUTHI EG 0,0 Marc VDS 1’55.381 (Q1)
19. Karel ABRAHAM Angel Nieto Team 1’55.392 (Q1)
20. Bradley SMITH Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1’55.553 (Q1)
21. Alvaro BAUTISTA Angel Nieto Team 1’55.638 (Q1)
22. Pol ESPARGARO Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1’55.706 (Q1)
23. Takaaki NAKAGAMI LCR Honda IDEMITSU 1’56.401 (Q1)
24. Xavier SIMEON Reale Avintia Racing 1’56.545 (Q1)
Story issued by: Team SUZUKI ECSTAR.