Maverick Viñales to start Australian GP from 6th on grid, Aleix Espargaro 8th

 In MotoGP, News


The qualifying day at Phillip Island brought some positive news for Team SUZUKI ECSTAR, whose riders Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargarò finished in sixth and eighth places respectively after major improvements in both their performances.

The morning session saw both riders work hard to finalise their set-ups according to the feedback they had from yesterday. This meant they could be very competitive in many sectors of the track, keeping both riders consistently in the top part of the timing classification. The most important job was on the riders’ overall pace and this saw both riders find a consistent good feeling that gives the team great hope for tomorrow.

The most outstanding result of the day is the sixth place of Viñales in qualifying, after he got the direct access to Q2 at the end of FP3, thanks to the 1’29.715s lap that set him in fourth position in the combined classification. His improvement was impressive also in FP4 when developing the set-up for the race, when he could set a significant pace.

In qualifying, he exploited the most from the soft tyre and while enjoying today’s riding he could set a 1’28.932s lap that put him in sixth place and on the second row of the grid, one of the only six riders who could lap faster than 1m29s in this Australian Grand Prix so far.

Espargarò made similar good progress, with a solid race-pace finalised in FP3 but he wasn’t able to gain direct access to Q2, so he had to run also in Q1. His fast lap in Q1 was second quickest, which put him in the fight for the top 12. In Q2 the #41 lacked tyres having taken part in Q1 and could exploit only one set, which got him eighth place on the grid with a best lap of 1’29.015s

Maverick Viñales:
“It was a good day and we did a very good job. I’m really happy for the FP4 performance, probably one of the best of the season so far, where we were very competitive and did a good job. For qualifying I need to apologise to the team because I probably still missed some tenths of a second as I feel my lap could have been even better but I couldn’t push at my 100% even though I am in a good position. For tomorrow I think that will be crucial to make a good start and to keep the advantage in the very early laps. If I can do this, I think I could fight for fifth or sixth place. I think we would deserve this position because we did a very good job this weekend. We know what we still lack, so we can work on it to improve even more.”

Aleix Espargaro:
“I’m satisfied with the improvements we’ve made since yesterday my pace with the hard tyre is much closer to the top. Unfortunately, this morning I missed direct access to Q2 by very little, I couldn’t exploit the softer tyre at its best, and so I had to use one more set for the additional session. The machine has improved really a lot and probably if today we had another set of tyres we could have been very closer to the top. I’m happy, it’s good to see that we improved: I feel better on the pace, better on the time attack, I have a good feeling and we are in a good starting position to make a positive race tomorrow.”

Source: Suzuki Racing

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