Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaro line up 6th and 8th on German GP grid
Team SUZUKI ECSTAR will start from the second row of the grid at tomorrow’s ninth round of the MotoGP™ World Championship at Sachsenring in Germany after yesterday’s pole-setter Maverick Viñales put his GSX-RR into sixth position.
Team-mate Aleix Espargaró will start from the middle of the third row in eighth place after significantly-improving his lap-time in the hot and dry conditions this afternoon; a complete contrast to yesterday’s mixed cool and, at times, wet conditions.
Both Suzuki GSX-RR riders have been in the mix for the front positions from the start today; both qualifying directly to Q2 with Viñales third with a time of 1’21.820 and Espargaró seventh on 1’22.593.
In the final Q2 – to determine the top four-rows of the grid – their progress continued with both of them in, or around, the top four-or-five positions, but Viñales didn’t quite make the front row, although his and Espargaró’s lap-times were their best of the weekend: Viñales lapped at 1’21.784 on his final ninth lap and Espargaró 1’21.883 on the same lap.
“I’m not really satisfied, honestly, as I was expecting much more. It’s still one problem we have to find a solution for: Very fast on Friday, then slower on Saturday; and finally struggling in Sunday’s race. Here, the weather conditions changed a lot also, yesterday was colder and rainy, while today there was sunshine. When temperatures get higher we always struggle, the traction is our main issue and also here we suffer. We did many tests, the improvements are solid, but we still need more competitiveness. Anyway, we are working on the info we collected, we just need to stay calm and focused and try to finalise a good machine for the warm-up. Hopefully tomorrow is going to be a little colder and this could help us.”
“The truth is that I am very happy, especially in FP4 we made a great step forward, we tested the tyre performance over the race length and the lap-time was not affected so much, so this means we did a good job with the set-up. Unfortunately, in qualifying I couldn’t find even a clean single lap, every lap I made a little mistake in ‘Sector 3’ and couldn’t find an effective solution, but we are very close; with a couple-of-tenths I would be P2. For tomorrow I am feeling positive, there’s only one rider much faster than the others and I think it’s ‘gonna be a group race; I think we made solid improvements and we can have a good race performance. The start will be very important, as well, as to stay close with the leading group.”