Alex Espargaro qualifies 4th, Maverick Viñales 11th at Valencia
Warm and sunny weather has welcomed the Team SUZUKI ECSTAR riders today at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Cheste, near Valencia, for the last qualifying session of the 2015 World Championship. The day has been excellent for Aleix Espargarò who took fourth place on the grid with a brilliant performance in Q2. Positive improvements for his team-mate Maverick Viñales were made as well, as despite a crash in Q1 he classified 11th for tomorrow’s grid.
Espargarò worked hard through the morning to improve his time, after the good progress he made yesterday. Unfortunately his 1m’31.606s in FP3 wasn’t good enough to grant him direct access to Q2, being the 11th time in the combined classification. The job done by his crew granted him a positive feeling after FP4 allowing him to be immediately the fastest in Q1 and keep the lead until the end of the session. Q2 marked another step forward for the Spaniard, who improved his lap time lap-after-lap and could finally mark the 1’30.917 lap that gives him the lead of the second row of the grid.
The morning session saw Viñales struggle a little to find a good feeling with his GSX-RR, although his work in preparation for the race gave some positive feedback. His attempt to get direct access to Q2 failed as his 1’31.824 was the 13th fastest time, but the job done in FP4 led him to further improvements, delivering a basis for the race that he feels comfortable with. In Q1 things got a little more complicated when he had a crash; he didn’t suffer any major injuries but the highside was pretty big. Luckily, he could get back to the garage immediately and take to the track again with his second machine with which he gained access to Q2. His will to compete pushed him to overcome the pain and he could finally hit the 1’31.340 lap in Q2 that gave him 11th place.
“I’m really happy, maybe more that in Catalunya when I made the pole position, because I had to go for the Q1 I had no more tyres for the Q2, therefore for the time attack I went out with the hard tyre, which was the only new tyre I had. Incredibly, it performed better than the soft. It is good that I am in fourth place on the grid thanks to the same tyre I will use in the race and the same tyre that other top riders used. We have to be proud of it; it is a good feeling. Here we had some troubles with the soft tyre, but we tried to persist, because normally when the temperature goes up in the afternoon we always improve. This morning I felt very bad but I know that with the increasing temperature, it always gets better, but at the end the hard proved to be much more effective for our GSX-RR’s configuration. Now I am very happy for the day and I feel confident for the race, we still have the chance to get into the top 10 of the Championship and I would like to end the season with a positive race.”
“I am OK after the crash, I feel a little disappointed because I have the feeling that I could be between fourth and sixth position but finally I couldn’t push so hard because we had no tyres left. The most positive thing is that we did a very good job in FP4 and I feel very confident about the pace. We still can improve in some turns both in the machine’s configuration and in my riding, so we have some room for improvement. The strategy will be simple; to make a good start and try to catch up as soon as possible the positions in front of me. Again, the feedback we had from FP4 says that with a completely worn tyre my pace is still consistent and this leaves me comfortable for the second part of the race.”