Maverick Viñales leaves Australia on top, Aleix Espargaro 17th
Three days of MotoGP™ testing at Phillip Island in Australia have seen Team SUZUKI ECSTAR rider Maverick Viñales consistently within the fastest riders, ending in top position in the combined classification due his lap of 1:29.131 scored yesterday.
The top time is a result of consistent improvements Vinãles has made during the tests, highlighted by second place on Wednesday and today. The young Spaniard not only topped the classification, but also completed an important job in the development of his 2016 GSX-RR, taking full benefits of the improvements unveiled in Malaysia and Australia by Suzuki’s R&D department in Japan; the new engine specifications, the seamless gearbox, chassis and electronics configurations.
The final day of testing was the third in a struggle for Aleix Espargaro, who in Australia suffered by not feeling physically fit and also the feeling with his machine. Although he gave crucial help to the team to better understand the grey areas of the improvements, he wasn’t able to be perform in terms of lap times, but the job he’s done will be useful in preparation for the next test at Qatar.
Phillip Island was also important for the Suzuki Factory and Team SUZUKI ECSTAR engineers to collect crucial information from Test Team rider Takuya Tsuda. His work never focused on the timesheets but rather on the machine development; his GSX-RR equipped with the new incarnation of the seamless gearbox, which will now be evaluated by the technicians to decide its final set-up and deployment on Factory Riders’ machines in the future.
Team SUZUKI ECSTAR will now head back home for a short time before heading to to Qatar, where on March 2-4th is the final IRTA test before the beginning of the 2016 MotoGP™ World Championship.
Ken Kawauchi – Technical Leader
“Today is a mix day of good and bad as on one side we had three crashes, one by Maverick and two by Aleix, but on the other side, we are happy to see the improvement overall. I believe that we still have to say that we are quite satisfied as Maverick keeps a very consistent and good pace. It was a little bit of a pity that he could not go out at the end of the session with his preferred bike for the time attack, but overall he found a good setting and performed very strongly throughout the sessions. Aleix unfortunately struggled a little during all three days to find a good pace, but we are still optimistic with him as we’ve got sufficient data and we know that he will be able to make it once he understands what the problems are. We’ll bring back all the data we gained here to Japan now, investigate them; and bring more new items to try at the upcoming test in Qatar. We still need to brush-up lots more before getting ready for the opening round in Qatar.”
“First of all I must say I’m ok after the crash this morning: I went out with a new tyre but probably the temperature was still too cold and I lost the front, but I didn’t suffer any injuries. Today has been another positive day, although I couldn’t improve my lap time, but we are aware of the reason why this happened. We focused on testing different configurations of the new chassis and this took us some time; maybe if I continued with the previous one I could have done a better time but it is important for us to us to work with a long term vision and exploit the tests for what they are. The development of the machine for the season is still a long way off and we still have much potential that we need to investigate. For sure I’m happy in how this test went overall, we made solid progress both in the single lap performance and for the consistency, even though the variable weather didn’t allow us to really test a race simulation. For Qatar it will be important to further investigate the electronics; it is still a field where we miss experience as it’s completely new, but we have already done much work for this and collected a good amount of data, which will be useful for us. Of course ending a test at the top is a good feeling that makes you comfortable for the future, but we must keep our feet on the ground and stay focused on the development plan we have set.”
“I am fine, despite the crashes and despite the fact that we couldn’t improve as I wanted to, but my feelings about the improvements are positive. We tried many different things on the bike, in geometry and electronics, but unfortunately my feeling didn’t change so much. This track is very different from the other circuits, it’s really fast and I struggled a lot to feel confident, for example it’s much worse than in Malaysia two weeks ago. Despite this I tried to push as hard as I could, this is also why I crashed twice, but honestly the result is that I want to clear my mind from this test and think ahead to Qatar. I know it’s strange to say because of the timesheets but I honestly really feel that the bike has improved, it is much better than last year for the engine, the seamless, everything actually is performing better. Suzuki did a great job during the winter and what they are delivering to us is a real step forward; I just need to put everything together and find back my competitiveness.”