Maverick Viñales 9th, Aleix Espargaro DNF in rain-hit Assen

 In Aleix Espargaro, Maverick Vinales, MotoGP, News

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Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s Maverick Viñales raced to ninth place in a drama-packed Motul TT Assen MotoGP™ two-part race in the Netherlands today as team-mate Aleix Espargaró was a casualty of the treacherously-slippery conditions and slid-off in the restarted race after fighting to catch-up after running wide early on.

Torrential rain caused a red-flag after 14 of 26-laps on safety grounds with the race re-run over 12 laps for full championship points. The first start proved to be complicated for Viñales, resulting in him being 18th after the first lap; he struggled to be competitive but managed to recover some positions, resulting in 13th place at the red flag. Even with new tyres, in the restart he suffered pretty-much the same lack of confidence with the machine, but he managed to make some overtaking manoeuvres and finally close the race well into the points.

Espargaró had a very positive jump in part one of the race, being third at the end of first lap, but then progressively lost competitiveness and slid-back some positions. At the restart, a collision with another rider pushed him into the gravel at the first corner, resulting in him being in last position. The modifications to the set-up done by his crew during the idle time between ‘part 1’ and ‘part 2’ proved to be effective though and the confidence he found back allowed him to recover on the riders ahead, but his positive progression had been interrupted by a slide that took him out of the race.

Maverick Viñales:
“Unfortunately the rain was not a big deal for us, we lack in experience and today we paid the biggest price. We were pretty competitive in the dry, but when rain arrived we couldn’t find a proper set-up to have a machine that could make me comfortable. I suffered a lot during both legs of the race, and I’m sad for this because I felt we could have had a good chance in the dry. Unfortunately, we still have a lot to learn and grow when we are in rain conditions, we are all learning, but for sure this result is under our expectations; although being well into the points is a positive thing.”

Aleix Espargaró:
“It’s a pity because we did a real improvement and my feeling was good. After the first start I felt very uncomfortable on the bike, I couldn’t deploy the power to the ground and also had issues in turning, but in the time between the two legs of the race my crew applied some modifications that finally proved to be very effective. After the second start I had a collision with another rider at ‘Turn 1’ which sent me into the gravel, but I didn’t crash and I could re-join the race. After this the improvements to the bike allowed me to feel confident and recover to the riders ahead, but unfortunately I crashed. It’s a pity with the result, but I am finally satisfied for the job we have done and for this experience under the rain and it will be useful for the future in case of another wet race.”

Source: Suzuki

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