Maverick Viñales 1st & Aleix Espargaro 6th on opening day of German GP weekend
Maverick Viñales put his Team SUZUKI ECSTAR GSX-RR into a provisional Pole Position after topping the timesheets in this afternoon’s FP2 at Sachsenring in Germany ahead of this weekend’s ninth round of the MotoGP™ World Championship, as team-mate Aleix Espargaró put-in a solid sixth position.
The 21-year-old Spaniard mastered the cold weather conditions to score a 1’22.161 lap-time on his penultimate of 17 laps in the closely-fought session, 0.220 clear of his nearest rival. His performance is even more positive as he recovered after suffering a crash at turn 11 at the beginning of the session and fought back to put-in his fastest-laps aboard his second machine.
Espargaró was also strong throughout, lapping at 1’22.953 on his 15th of 19 laps, which was just 0.792-seconds behind Viñales, as less-than one second separated the top-10 riders. He still needs to find a proper feeling with the front end of his GSX-RR, but his progress throughout the session left him with a positive feeling.
The variable weather at the Sachsenring saw the morning session pretty useless for the team as light rain made it extremely difficult to determine a proper set-up and ride in safe conditions, so most of the riders decided not to take to the track. The cold temperature was also stressing the tyres, as it was hard to keep the right side at the correct operating temperature due to the few right-hand corners that make-up the circuit.
“Honestly I can’t explain the crash; I just lost the front without any evidence of the cause. Corner 11 here is always very tricky, I need to check the data to verify if maybe I was a little wider than normal, or there was something else different from the previous lap; but it may also be a matter of temperature: In corner 1 and 3 – the other right-handers – I was ok, but then corner 11 is very far away and it’s very hard to keep the right-shoulder of the tyre at the proper temperature. Anyway, the start has been good, the position is positive; but we still have some work to do. This track is very tight so we started from a set-up that guaranteed good agility, but now we have to find a good balance having a little more stability in some parts. It’s not ‘gonna be easy because as always, when you improve in one direction, you lose something in the other.”
“We improved a lot and found a good balance, but I still lack some confidence with the front end. The asymmetric tyre works well, but the problem here is that the circuit is tricky, especially on right-hand corners because there aren’t many, so we need to work to improve the set-up and help the tyre work. Our machine is very agile here, the chassis is giving me a good hand, but we still miss some finalisation of the settings. The cold hasn’t helped us, we hoped for some warmer temperatures, but we already have some ideas to try tomorrow that could help us to manage the conditions and find some more efficiency.”
Source: Suzuki Racing