Tough day for Team Suzuki Ecstar at Chilly Le Mans MotoGP

MGP-10-Joan Mir-31

Team Suzuki Press Office – October 10.

Grid positions for French GP:

Joan Mir: 14th – 1’32.187
Alex Rins: 16th – 1’32.757

A dry but extremely chilly Le Mans circuit welcomed the riders on Saturday morning, and it would prove to be a tough day for Team Suzuki Ecstar as the riders struggled for feeling.

It became clear that FP3 would be the ‘splitter’ session for passage into Q2 as everyone began improving on their Friday times in the French sunshine. However, attrition was once again high and Alex Rins suffered a crash at Turn 3 towards the beginning of the session. He was uninjured and quickly rejoined the track after a change of leathers. He made good progress up the order during the mid-part of the session and finished up 13th. Joan Mir spent a good portion of FP3 in the Top 5 and was third with just a few minutes to go, but a late crash cost him the chance to go directly into Q2 and he ended up 12th.

A disrupted FP4 saw Rins endure another crash, this time at Turn 9. And both riders would face an uphill battle in Q1. Mir began the session with a hot lap and placed himself in the Top 2, while Rins was close behind in fifth. Yellow flags cost both riders a final flying lap and they closed Q1 in fourth and sixth, meaning they will start from 14th and 16th for tomorrow’s Grand Prix.

Davide Brivio – Team Manager:

“It’s been a difficult day and we still haven’t managed to find the optimum feeling for the riders here. We have to think about how we can improve before the race. Alex had two crashes today, and Joan had one, so it was difficult for them to find their pace and get into a good rhythm. We’ll be working tonight and tomorrow in Warm-Up and we’ll enter the race as usual; trying our best and trying to pick up positions.”

Joan Mir:

“I’m struggling quite a lot, and it’s tough to be really competitive here. The weather conditions are extreme and the cold affects my feeling with the tyres a lot, especially on the front end. I struggle to keep the front tyre at best working temperature, and this means that it’s tough for me to get a good split in sector 1, in the left-hand corner 2 after the straight. The other sectors were not bad, but we’re always paying for what we lose in sector 1. We need to check the data tonight and try to find some good solutions. It’s going to be tough to recover so many positions, but the first priority is to find the right feeling that would allow me to get the best position possible at the chequered flag.”

Alex Rins:

“It’s not great to have two crashes before qualifying because it affects your confidence – but the positive thing is that we understood why they happened and it’s mainly a problem of keeping the temperature in the tyres. My pace isn’t that bad, I think it was good enough for Top 5, but the cold temperatures made it tough for us today. Tomorrow’s first lap will be key for the race; if I can be competitive at the beginning I believe we can still recover many positions and have a good race.”

SHARK HELMETS GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE – Qualifying Classification:

1. F. QUARTARARO – Petronas Yamaha SRT – 01:31.315
2. J. MILLER – Pramac Racing – 01:31.537 – +0.222
3. D. PETRUCCI – Ducati Team – 01:31.674 – +0.359
4. C. CRUTCHLOW – LCR Honda CASTROL – 01:31.686 – +0.371
5. M. VIÑALES – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – 01:31.719 – +0.404
6. A. DOVIZIOSO – Ducati Team – 01:31.722 – +0.407
7. F. BAGNAIA – Pramac Racing – 01:31.752 – +0.437
8. P. ESPARGARO – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – 01:31.795 – +0.480
9. J. ZARCO – Esponsorama Racing – 01:31.832 – +0.517
10. V. ROSSI – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – 01:31.889 – +0.574
11. F. MORBIDELLI – Petronas Yamaha SRT – 01:31.891 – +0.576
12. M. OLIVEIRA – Red Bull KTM Tech 3 – 01:32.009 – +0.694
13. T. NAKAGAMI – LCR Honda IDEMITSU – 01:32.179 – Q1
14. J. MIR – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 01:32.187 – Q1
15. A. ESPARGARO – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – 01:32.539 – Q1
16. A. RINS – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 01:32.757 – Q1
17. B. BINDER – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – 01:32.766 – Q1
18. A. MARQUEZ – Repsol Honda Team – 01:32.774 – Q1
19. B. SMITH – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – 01:32.833 – Q1
20. I. LECUONA – Red Bull KTM Tech 3 – 01:32.859 – Q1
21. S. BRADL – Repsol Honda Team – 01:32.861 – Q1
22. T. RABAT – Esponsorama Racing – 01:33.610 – Q1

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