Strong start for Maverick Viñales & Aleix Espargaro in Argentina
Team SUZUKI ECSTAR riders Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaró both showed strong podium pace in today’s opening Free Practice sessions at round two of the 2016 MotoGP™ World Championship in Argentina.
At the end of the day the timesheets saw Viñales put his GSX-RR into third position with a time of 1’42.047, as team-mate Espargaró moved up to eight with a 1’42.576 lap-time.
The day started with both riders determined in the heat of Termas de Rio Hondo, where the track was very dirty and very hard to ride: The lines had to be cleared by the MotoGP riders before lap-times dropped. But Viñales and Espargaró both managed to make solid progress, exploiting the improvements introduced on their GSX-RRs; and their performances improved lap-after-lap.
The hot temperatures reached the circuit in the early afternoon, with the track temperatures measuring more than 55°C, which made their physical performances even harder. Despite the usage on-track, the dirty conditions of the asphalt didn’t improve much, and this finally resulted in both riders incurring three crashes; two for Espargaró and one for Viñales, fortunately without major injury and damage to the riders and machines.
The positive note, under tough conditions today, is that both riders rode consistently in the top-part of the classification, showing their performances were solid and that the progress-path is moving forward.
“I feel we did a good job today, we did many steps forward and according to the conditions of the track we settled with a good pace. The crash was my fault, I went a little wide in a corner and I found some dirt on the ground; it was a minor crash and with the track in these conditions it was very easy to incur such a mistake. The job we have done today is very important; we settled a good pace and also the fast-lap is not bad. We tried two sets of tyres and I feel confident with the feeling I have both on worn and on new tyres. We still need to work a lot, the track conditions are a little tricky because it’s like walking on eggs, therefore all riders may do big steps forward. Also, the weather is uncertain for tomorrow, it’s a matter to wait and see if it will rain and if the grip on asphalt will improve. We have to be ready to adapt quickly, but for the moment, the progress we have made makes me feel comfortable.”
“I am very, very happy because finally the feeling with the bike is awesome! I had two minor crashes but they were probably due to the enthusiasm, because finally after a very hard weekend in Qatar, I found my confidence back with my GSX-RR. I have a lot of confidence with the rear tyre, the grip is very good, but we still need to work on the front. As said, I like to brake hard and plunge into the corners fast; we made improvements on this from Qatar, but still we have some room for improvement. The track today was very bad, so dirty and slippery, which doesn’t allow us to really compare the data with last year. Because of this, I am also a little worried for tomorrow because if it will rain, the track will become really difficult with all this dirt. However, we are doing a very good job, I’m so happy I found the feeling back and I can’t wait for tomorrow to continue the improvements.”