Team Suzuki Press Office – April 2.
Alex Rins: 8th – 1’53.713 (+ 0.568)
Joan Mir: 13th – 1’54.012 (+ 0.867)
For the second week in a row, Team Suzuki Ecstar took to the Qatari track on Friday for the first practice sessions of the Doha GP.
The FP1 session was similar to that of last week, with the riders getting to grips with the sandy and hot track ahead of an important evening FP2 session. Both Alex Rins and Joan Mir made decent progress and put in some strong laps, closing the session in second and eighth respectively.
With sundown and FP2 came added pressure as it seems highly likely that lap times will not improve in tomorrow’s FP3. This meant that the riders needed to secure a place in the Top 10 for provisional passage to Saturday’s Q2. This proved a tough task as the times became extremely tight; the top 17 riders were covered by just 1 second throughout the session.
Rins was able to find good feeling with his soft-soft tyre combination, and he quickly moved up the rankings into third place with just a few minutes to go, although he slipped to eighth in the final moments. Mir was pushing to come up the order and get into the crucial Top 10, but as the clock ticked down he went in for a fresh set of tyres but ran out of time to get them up to best temperature. He closed FP2 in 13th place – although just a 10th-of-a-second from the Top 10 and +0.867 from the top.
Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager:
“After the race last weekend we already had our base settings, so in FP1 we just fine-tuned the bikes. Then we turned our focus to FP2 where our target was to set quick lap times and get into the Top 10. Alex managed to do this, but unfortunately Joan missed out by just one tenth of a second. We’ll work tonight and see how we can improve ahead of tomorrow.”
“I’m feeling quite good, and I’m happy to be provisionally in Q2. Everyone was so close on times and the track conditions were tricky – it wasn’t very grippy. Anyway, I was able to do some fast laps and I’m pleased about that. My pace, even on used tyres, was good and I’m feeling confident for tomorrow. I think the pace will be even higher, and everyone will be very competitive. We’re working hard to have another strong weekend and I hope to enjoy a good qualifying tomorrow.”
“My feeling is pretty good, but I’m disappointed that we missed out on direct passage to Q2. We lost some time in the first run of the session and then we made some adjustments to the settings, but when it was time to get out for the time attack I could only do one good attempt, which prevented me from getting the tyres and brakes to the optimal temperature: That would have made that tenth of a second difference that kept me out of the Top 10. I feel that my pace can be better because there’s margin to improve, but it will be very hard to come through from Q1 if I have to. Of course I’ll give my best to try and get the best grid position possible.”
TISSOT GRAND PRIX OF DOHA – Combined Classification after DAY1:
1. J. MILLER – Ducati Lenovo Team – 01:53.145
2. F. BAGNAIA – Ducati Lenovo Team – 01:53.458 +0.313
3. J. ZARCO – Pramac Racing – 01:53.537 +0.392
4. F. QUARTARARO – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – 01:53.583 +0.438
5. J. MARTIN – Pramac Racing – 01:53.593 +0.448
6. A. ESPARGARO – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – 01:53.646 +0.501
7. F. MORBIDELLI – Petronas Yamaha SRT – 01:53.699 +0.554
8. A. RINS – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 01:53.713 +0.568
9. M. VIÑALES – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – 01:53.872 +0.727
10. S. BRADL – Repsol Honda Team – 01:53.914 +0.769
11. M. OLIVEIRA – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – 01:53.944 +0.799
12. D. PETRUCCI – Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing – 01:53.969 +0.824
13. J. MIR – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 01:54.012 +0.867
14. V. ROSSI – Petronas Yamaha SRT – 01:54.112 +0.967
15. T. NAKAGAMI – LCR Honda IDEMITSU – 01:54.127 +0.982
16. A. MARQUEZ – LCR Honda CASTROL – 01:54.148 +1.003
17. P. ESPARGARO – Repsol Honda Team – 01:54.205 +1.060
18. B. BINDER – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – 01:54.237 +1.092
19. E. BASTIANINI – Esponsorama Racing – 01:54.516 +1.371
20. L. MARINI – SKY VR46 Esponsorama – 01:54.680 +1.535
21. L. SAVADORI – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – 01:54.971 +1.826
22. I. LECUONA – Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing – 01:55.369 +2.224