Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaro on the pace as final round gets underway
Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaró put in a strong showing in the opening day of Free Practice at the Gran Prix de la Comunitat Valenciana in Spain putting their Team SUZUKI ECSTAR GSX-RRs into third and sixth positions.
In the ‘cold’ opening morning FP1, with track temperatures of just 12 Degrees, Viñales was sixth with a time of 1’31.926, with Espargaró a fraction behind in seventh (1’31.942). But as track temperatures rose to 27 Degrees in this afternoon’s FP2, both riders’ times improved; Viñales setting a 1’30.775 and Espargaró 1’31.186.
Both Spaniards spent the sessions, at the final MotoGP™ race of the season, testing a variety of settings, including different electronics configurations, and are looking forward to finishing 2016 on a positive note.
“Today I felt really good with the bike and third place is a good result for the first day. We are already lapping with a strong pace also this is a good feeling. We are proving that our performance is getting to the top, we consistently improve and we are consistently within the top riders. We still have some fine-tuning that can be applied. The Valencia circuit is very different from the Malaysian one where we were for the last race: Here the layout is a lot tighter and with tight corners, where the machine needs to be quick in turning and acceleration. We still need to find a better efficiency on this, as our machine prefers fast and smooth corners, but we have room for improvement, and we are also already within the fastest.”
“I’m happy with this top-six position, it’s a good feeling and makes me confident. This morning we had some issues with the rear-grip, but finally we made some improvements to the set-up for the afternoon and I felt much more confident. We can still improve something on the front, the softer compound of the tyre can be better exploited, so we also have room for improvement. It’s a good feeling to be close to the top; also, I am confident that we can improve further tomorrow.”