Toughest MotoGP conditions so far in Doha

MGP-2-Joan Mir-24

Team Suzuki Press Office – April 3.

Grid positions for Doha GP:

Alex Rins: 8th – 1’53.745
Joan Mir: 9th – 1’53.785

The Losail Circuit brought the toughest conditions so far for Saturday afternoon’s FP3 session where strong winds blew sand and dust across the track, making for poor visibility and challenging circumstances for riders and teams alike.

This made it impossible for anybody to improve their lap times for the combined classification. Team Suzuki Ecstar’s riders, Alex Rins and Joan Mir, utilised the session to fine-tune their GSX-RR machines for the rest of the day, closing FP3 in second and third respectively.

This work continued after night fall and into FP4 where the riders tried the different tyre options and improved their feeling ahead of the all-important qualifying sessions. Mir was third and Rins sixth.

For the second week in a row, Mir did a brilliant job in Q1, setting his quickest lap of the weekend to secure top spot and move through to Q2.

In the final qualifying session, both Suzuki riders focused on fast laps and improved their times once again. This allowed them both to step up once place on the grid compared to last weekend, with Rins taking eighth place and Mir ninth.

Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager:

“Of course it would be better to be a bit higher up the grid, but the third row isn’t bad and we trust that our riders can fight for the podium from there. Once again Joan did well to recover and come through from Q1, and Alex also did well today. Both riders improved one step on the grid. I’m looking forward to seeing the race tomorrow.”

Alex Rins:

“Today was a good day, but a bit difficult to find a fast lap because the conditions were very bad with so much sand, so it was hard to improve, but in the end I was still able to get a better grid position than last week with P8. So I think, and I hope, that the race will be even more competitive this time around, and we can have a good battle in the lead group. I’m ready for it.”

Joan Mir:

“It has been a positive day and I’m happy with how everything worked out. We managed to graduate from Q1 to Q2 and I improved my lap time on the fresh soft tyres. We still need to work on qualifying; I need to ride in a different way to usual because it doesn’t come naturally to me to push for fast laps, I usually do better doing longer runs of consistent laps. But I’m happy with my grid position, and I was actually close to the second row, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s race.”

TISSOT GRAND PRIX OF DOHA – Qualifying Classification:

1. J. MARTIN – Pramac Racing – 01:53.106
2. J. ZARCO – Pramac Racing – 01:53.263 +0.157
3. M. VIÑALES – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – 01:53.267 +0.161
4. J. MILLER – Ducati Lenovo Team – 01:53.303 +0.197
5. F. QUARTARARO – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – 01:53.469 +0.363
6. F. BAGNAIA – Ducati Lenovo Team – 01:53.654 +0.548
7. A. ESPARGARO – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – 01:53.705 +0.599
8. A. RINS – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 01:53.745 +0.639
9. J. MIR – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 01:53.785 +0.679

10. F. MORBIDELLI – Petronas Yamaha SRT – 01:53.794 +0.688
11. S. BRADL – Repsol Honda Team – 01:54.224 +1.118
12. M. OLIVEIRA – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – 01:55.096 +1.990
13. L. MARINI – SKY VR46 Esponsorama – 01:54.228 – Q1
14. A. MARQUEZ – LCR Honda CASTROL – 01:54.261 – Q1
15. P. ESPARGARO – Repsol Honda Team – 01:54.402 – Q1
16. T. NAKAGAMI – LCR Honda IDEMITSU – 01:54.481 – Q1
17. D. PETRUCCI – Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing – 01:54.528 – Q1
18. B. BINDER – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – 01:54.555 – Q1
19. E. BASTIANINI – Esponsorama Racing – 01:54.632 – Q1
20. I. LECUONA – Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing – 01:54.731 – Q1
21. V. ROSSI – Petronas Yamaha SRT – 01:54.881 – Q1
22. L. SAVADORI – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – 01:55.823 – Q1

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