Team Suzuki Press Office – April 4.
The GP of the Republic of Argentina will mark the first long travel for the MotoGP riders this season, with more than 14 hours of journey time to get from Europe to the western region of Santiago del Estero. This long trip will require Andrea Iannone and Alex Rins to adapt quickly to the new timezone, and recover and conserve their energy.
The Termas de Rio Hondo circuit is a relatively new track which brings together some of the characteristics from the best historical European venues, yet it has its own character which the riders really appreciate. This year some sections have been resurfaced, which will mean an initial question mark in terms of tyre performance and longevity.
Team SUZUKI ECSTAR head to Argentina with positive feelings after the GP of Qatar, where there were many positive indications in regard to performance. Iannone and Rins’ achievements have been positive, setting the team on a good path for future development.
Last year’s race was a hectic one for the team: Iannone took 13th place in a rainy qualifying session, and he was feeling confident for the race, but a very small mistake on the grid – a jump start – took away his dreams of glory as he had to complete a ride through penalty. Starting only his second ever MotoGP race was tough for the Spaniard Alex Rins, who was struggling with an injury to his foot. However, he fought fiercely in the race, but was forced to stop before the chequered flag as the pain became unbearable.
“Argentina represents good memories for us, especially if I go back to 2015 and 2016, but we had some tougher times here last year. Alex arrived with an injured foot which made riding pretty tough for him, while Andrea had a ride through which complicated his race and also we started there to suspect some issues with the machine which we had to start facing. This year I believe we can approach this second race with more confidence, in Qatar we had positive outcomes from both riders and the GSX-RR is showing to be more competitive. It will be interesting to check further where we stand with the performance, our competitiveness and potential will become clearer and clearer with each race. I believe for Alex it will be important to be consistent with the performance he did in Qatar; staying close to the top riders both in practice and the race. Also with Andrea we can be competitive, he took positive experience from Qatar and we can improve his performance. It will be an interesting race, we are still at the beginning but it could be a good opportunity to assess our performance for the rest of the season.”
“I head to Argentina with positive feelings, as I remember that last year we could perform quite well here. The circuit is one I like and the GSX-RR is well suited to the layout. Last year my feelings were good, unfortunately we had to do a ride through penalty in the race which took me out of contention for the top positions, but the performance and the pace were very competitive. I’m expecting good team work to help me improve session by session, together we’ll work on all the small things that once they are put together they can make a good performance overall. The first races are always important to give the right direction to the rest of the season, I want to try to seize this GP at 100%.”
“I’m positive about going to Termas de Rio Hondo because the circuit is something special and I like it. I remember that last year I came to Argentina with an injury on my foot, and despite this I have good memories of the track – so that means it’s really nice! Another good thing about this place is the people: the fans are really close to us and the whole location turns into a big party when welcoming the MotoGP people.”
The Termas de Río Hondo Circuit is located 6km from the city of Rio Hondo, in the Province of Santiago del Estero. It was built on a 150 hectare plot and was officially inaugurated on May 11th 2008, during the visit of Argentina’s Touring Car Racing Championship. In 2012 the reconditioning, enlargement and modernisation of the circuit began, with the purpose of turning it into Latin America’s most modern, safe and vibrant circuit. It is 4,8km in length (2.99 miles) and has five left-hand corners and nine right-hand turns. The longest straight measures 1076 m (3530.18 ft) and the race will be run over 25 laps; a total distance of 120.2 km (74.8 miles).
Qualifying: 12th – 1’50.725 (+3.213)
Race: 16th – +46.219
Qualifying: 23rd – 1’52.340 (Q1)
Story issued by: Team SUZUKI ECSTAR