Vinales & Team Suzuki Ecstar Front – Row At Mugello
Team Suzuki Press Office – May 21.
Maverick Viñales put his Team SUZUKI ECSTAR GSX-RR on the front row with second place for tomorrow’s Mugello MotoGP™ grid after an exciting final qualifying session at the Italian circuit, that saw team-mate Aleix Espargaró on the second-row in sixth.
Viñales, who has been consistently near the top throughout all practice and qualifying sessions, put in a stunning final lap in the all-important Q2 to claim second position with a time of 1’46.598, just 0.094-of-a-second from Pole. Espargaró also showed great form and consistency, and after having to progress via Q1 – where he finished second – put in his fastest time of 1’47.186 on his sixth and final lap, 0.682 from Pole.
The morning’s session was very different for both riders, however: While Viñales felt immediately confident with his machine, being consistently in the top part of the sheets, Espargaró had trouble with the feeling and had to struggle to find a proper set-up. He ended the morning session in 16th place and had to change the strategy with his crew chief to find a better performance for Q1.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager: “We are very happy with this afternoon because Aleix managed to recover a situation that this morning was very hard; it was already hard to qualify for the Q2 but he didn’t have enough and he took the second row, which is impressive. Aleix and his crew did a very good job. Obviously Maverick has been absolutely great, we got very, very close to the pole, as we are all racers we have a little bitter taste for having been so close without succeeding, but for sure the main feeling is the happiness with second place. We will try to get the best result in the race from this position. Maverick had a good pace in FP4 and he starts on the front row, but of course races are unpredictable; however, for the moment the feeling is that we can play it to the beat.”
Maverick Viñales: “Well it’s a great day, I did an incredible lap but anyway we have been performing for the whole weekend. I’m very happy for how the team supported me and finalised my machine. I’ve been feeling confident since the very beginning here and for the whole weekend so far and we took profit from that. I tested my pace in FP4 and we still lack a little bit, so I will try my best for a good start and hold the position and to fight with the leading group. This race will be very hard-fought and I want to stay in there.”
Aleix Espargaró: “I’m very happy with qualifying and the second row. I’ve been struggling since yesterday and this morning was very bad, as I classified 16th. I wasn’t expecting it but finally my crew found some positive solutions for the set-up that allowed me to feel much more confident. To go through the Q1 is never easy, but we did it and finally had a good performance in Q2 also. The good thing is that we tested the pace and we are very close to the leaders; tomorrow the temperature will be hotter and also in these conditions we are very performing. It seems that nobody has the pace to run away with the race and it’s going to be a pack race, therefore a good start will be crucial; and then I will try to exploit my good pace.”
Gran Premio d’Italia TIM Q2 Results:
1 Valentino ROSSI Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1’46.504
2 Maverick VIÑALES Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 1’46.598 + 0.094
3 Andrea IANNONE Ducati Team 1’46.607 + 0.103
4 Marc MARQUEZ Repsol Honda Team 1’46.759 + 0.255
5 Jorge LORENZO Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1’46.882 + 0.378
6 Aleix ESPARGARO Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 1’47.186 + 0.682
7 Dani PEDROSA Repsol Honda Team 1’47.218 + 0.714
8 Bradley SMITH Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’47.247 + 0.743
9 Danilo PETRUCCI OCTO Pramac Yakhnich 1’47.261 + 0.757
10 Scott REDDING OCTO Pramac Yakhnich 1’47.359 + 0.855