Team Suzuki Press Office – November 21.
Grid positions for the Portuguese GP:
Alex Rins: 10th – 1’39.467
Joan Mir: 20th – 1’40.290
Team Suzuki Ecstar took to the highly technical and spectacular Autodromo Internacional Do Algarve in Portugal for the final Saturday of the season.
The morning’s FP3 was a crucial session for the riders as they worked hard to secure a place in Q2, a tough task due to the tight times set by the entire class. Alex Rins had a great session, leading the way at one point and finishing up in third with a 1’39.355. However, Joan Mir was unable to maintain his spot in the Top 10.
The pair used FP4, which went smoothly, for race simulations and to try tyre options ahead of what will be a tricky GP on the unfamiliar track.
Title holder Mir worked hard to try and get himself into the top two positions and progress into Q2, but he couldn’t capture the same good feeling he had on Day 1 in Portugal. Unfortunately, as he started to feel better, he lost a couple of laps towards the end of Q1. This meant he found himself down the order in 10th place at the chequered flag. However, he is feeling positive about his race pace.
In Q2 Rins set some good laps on both his exits, but in the tight session he struggled to set one hot lap. He closed the day in 10th place with a 1’39.467, and he is aiming for one of his usual strong starts to put him in contention for a top position in tomorrow’s Portuguese GP.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager:
“Today wasn’t easy. Alex had a good FP3 this morning but during the qualifying he couldn’t get higher than 10th. Joan suffered a bit with a lack of confidence in qualifying, because he didn’t have the same feeling with the bike as he had yesterday, when he felt really good. His grid spot is a long way back, but we know that with a good feeling he can still have a nice race and gain positions.”
“Let’s see what we can do tomorrow. I’ll start on the fourth row in 10th, and I think I can do something. My lap times and feelings have been good, and even though the track is quite tight and technical, I feel positive. Tomorrow morning’s warm-up will be important for testing my rhythm once again, because now we’re sure of the set-up, so the next thing is just to feel a bit more comfortable in my rhythm. I’ll try extremely hard to get the best position possible to end the season on a high with my Team and with the hope of the triple crown.”
“It was a really difficult day because I had some issues with the bike and I wasn’t able to get the same feeling I had yesterday. Once we discovered the problem it was too late to do anything about it and I’d already missed out on final qualifying. But in general I have been feeling good here, so I am confident that the Team and I can put everything together tomorrow to regain my good pace and have a strong comeback.”
GRANDE PRÉMIO MEO DE PORTUGAL – Qualifying Classification:
1. M. OLIVEIRA – Red Bull KTM Tech 3 – 01:38.892
2. F. MORBIDELLI – Petronas Yamaha SRT – 01:38.936 – +0.044
3. J. MILLER – Pramac Racing – 01:39.038 – +0.146
4. C. CRUTCHLOW – LCR Honda CASTROL – 01:39.156 – +0.264
5. F. QUARTARARO – Petronas Yamaha SRT – 01:39.199 – +0.307
6. S. BRADL – Repsol Honda Team – 01:39.204 – +0.312
7. J. ZARCO – Esponsorama Racing – 01:39.238 – +0.346
8. M. VIÑALES – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – 01:39.260 – +0.368
9. P. ESPARGARO – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – 01:39.284 – +0.392
10. A. RINS – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 01:39.467 – +0.575
11. T. NAKAGAMI – LCR Honda IDEMITSU – 01:39.531 – +0.639
12. A. DOVIZIOSO – Ducati Team – 01:39.587 – +0.695
13. B. BINDER – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – 01:39.390 – Q1
14. A. ESPARGARO – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – 01:39.762 – Q1
15. F. BAGNAIA – Pramac Racing – 01:40.019 – Q1
16. A. MARQUEZ – Repsol Honda Team – 01:40.049 – Q1
17. V. ROSSI – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – 01:40.058 – Q1
18. D. PETRUCCI – Ducati Team – 01:40.091 – Q1
19. L. SAVADORI – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – 01:40.174 – Q1
20. J. MIR – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 01:40.290 – Q1
21. T. RABAT – Esponsorama Racing – 01:40.427 – Q1
22. M. KALLIO – Red Bull KTM Tech 3 – 01:41.753 – Q1