Team Suzuki Press Office – November 7.
Grid positions for the European GP:
Alex Rins: 2nd – 1’40.475
Joan Mir: 5th – 1’40.704
The second day of action for the European Grand Prix saw treacherous conditions with wet weather throughout the day. However, Team Suzuki Ecstar approached Saturday’s sessions with confidence and care, building on wet setup and bringing their lap times down. They went on to achieve the team’s best qualifying of the season so far.
In FP3 no improvements were made by the field, but the hard work put in by Alex Rins and Joan Mir on Friday meant they held onto their places in the Top 10, and direct passage to Q2. As the pair headed into FP4 they began to show glimpses of their impressive pace despite the tricky mixed conditions, Mir took second and Rins 11th.
An intense and un-nerving Q2 saw several riders battling it out for pole position on the rain-soaked Ricardo Tormo circuit. Rins and Mir were quick from the get-go, feeling confident on their GSX-RRs. Rins went into provisional pole position early on and set about defending it, while Mir was close behind in third. On their final flying laps, both riders put in impressive times; a 1’40.475 for Rins, and a 1’40.704 for Mir, who lost a lap close to the end due to a yellow flag, but still managed a crucial fifth place grid spot. Rins narrowly missed out on pole, by just 0.041 seconds, but nevertheless took a front row with second.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager:
“I’m very happy because today was really difficult; the situation can be very complicated when you face these tricky conditions, but I want to congratulate Alex and Joan because they both did a really good job today in qualifying. Alex had a lot of consistency and did many great laps. Joan also improved – he’s building his experience in the wet, and we’re very pleased that he’s taken fifth. Let’s see if tomorrow will be wet or dry, it could be trickier in the dry because we haven’t had much track time, but it will be the same for everyone!”
“The conditions were so bad during qualifying, but I’m really happy and excited to start on the front row tomorrow in second place. It seems that we’ll have dry conditions tomorrow, so I hope in Warm-Up I can try a few things – at the moment the dry setup is like a mystery! But I’m sure we can find something and enter the race feeling good; at the moment I feel really strong. I’m aiming to get a good start and see how the race plays out.”
“So far we haven’t ridden in dry conditions, so it will be strange coming into tomorrow if the weather is good, and it could be difficult to find the setup. Anyway, I’m really satisfied with the work done today, the Team and I have done a great job to find a good feeling in the wet, which has allowed me to get a decent grid spot for the GP. I’m feeling confident and we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”
GRAN PREMIO DE EUROPA – Qualifying Classification:
1. P. ESPARGARO – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – 01:40.434
2. A. RINS – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 01:40.475 – +0.041
3. T. NAKAGAMI – LCR Honda IDEMITSU – 01:40.530 – +0.096
4. J. ZARCO – Esponsorama Racing – 01:40.577 – +0.143
5. J. MIR – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 01:40.704 – +0.270
6. J. MILLER – Pramac Racing – 01:40.893 – +0.459
7. A. ESPARGARO – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – 01:40.997 – +0.563
8. M. OLIVEIRA – Red Bull KTM Tech 3 – 01:41.328 – +0.894
9. F. MORBIDELLI – Petronas Yamaha SRT – 01:41.557 – +1.123
10. B. BINDER – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – 01:41.781 – +1.347
11. F. QUARTARARO – Petronas Yamaha SRT – 01:41.943 – +1.509
12. A. DOVIZIOSO – Ducati Team – 01:42.249 – +1.815
13. S. BRADL – Repsol Honda Team – 01:41.010 – Q1
14. A. MARQUEZ – Repsol Honda Team – 01:41.276 – Q1
15. M. VIÑALES – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – 01:41.310 – Q1
16. C. CRUTCHLOW – LCR Honda CASTROL – 01:41.311 – Q1
17. F. BAGNAIA – Pramac Racing – 01:41.395 – Q1
18. V. ROSSI – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – 01:42.039 – Q1
19. D. PETRUCCI – Ducati Team – 01:42.244 – Q1
20. L. SAVADORI – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – 01:42.532 – Q1
21. T. RABAT – Esponsorama Racing – 01:43.030 – Q1