Maverick Viñales & Aleix Espargaro on 3rd & 4th rows of Indy grid
Today’s qualifying at Indianapolis Motor Speedway once again proved that the fight for the top positions in the MotoGP Championship is very tough as the top 12 riders in qualifying Q2 were all covered by just one second.
Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s riders Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaro both showed positive improvements in their performances, even though they were a little away from the top time with the single-lap performance; but they were, however, very consistent with race-pace.
Espargaro exploited the morning session to recover from the bad feeling he had yesterday, trying a number of changes in the set-up that made him feel more comfortable. In fact by the end of the session he improved his best time and with a lap of 1’32.914 he managed to get seventh place and direct access to Q2. Qualifying in Q2 was tough as well, with his final position being 12th with a lap of 1’32.814.
Viñales continued the plan that his crew started yesterday, finalising a good configuration that made him comfortable for the race. He attempted the quick-lap time attack with the soft tyre and he managed to be the third rider overall to get under the 1.33 bracket. At the end of the session his 1’32.998 gave him 10th place and direct access to Q2 for him as well. Final qualifying saw him consistently improving his lap times, exploiting the soft tyre with a one-shot lap that gave him ninth place on the grid with a 1’32.571 lap.
“I think it has been a very positive day, more than the result in qualifying shows. Our FP4 work was very good to prepare for the race: I ran with worn tyres and the times and feelings were positive. As I said we changed our working procedure this weekend and I must say that it is positive. I want to say thank you to the team because they did a very good job. Qualifying was pretty difficult because the track was slippery and we always struggle when we lack grip, but today we are ahead of my team-mate and this means that we could exploit at its best the potential of my GSX-RR. Tomorrow we will adjust the bike a little but I think we have a positive base. The strategy will require us to be patient because the race is very long and I must be wise in preserving the tyres. You get the points at the end of the race, so it wouldn’t make any sense to destroy the tyres at the start and then run out of grip at the end. I want to be wise, make a good start and then be consistent, just like we tested this weekend. If I am able to do that, I think we can aim for top six or seven.”
“It was a very hard qualifying for me, I haven’t been able to find good confidence the whole weekend. We have made some improvements since FP1 up to now but we are still far from the top. This morning we worked a lot with a full fuel tank and hard tyre to find at least a good set-up for the race. Yesterday I believed I could go for the race with the soft tyre, but at the end the hard offers a more consistent performance so we will have to evaluate the options more in warm-up. The race will be very tough, probably one of the toughest of the whole season, I could never find a proper feeling and I still don’t, but the runs we made in testing for overall pace have given positive responses therefore maybe we will be able to make a good race.”