Team Suzuki Press Office – November 12.
Alex Rins: P4 – +13.567s Andrea Iannone: P6 – +14.516s
A brilliant final race of the season gave Team SUZUKI ECSTAR some deserved satisfaction, with Alex Rins reaching fourth place in today’s GP de la Comunitat Valenciana and Andrea Iannone not far behind in sixth. Sunday started with fireworks in this morning’s warmup, as both riders found a very good feel with the bikes and set fast paces. Indeed, Rins clocked the second fastest time of the session (1’31.448 / +0.185s) and Iannone the third (1’31.548 / +0.285s). The riders felt comfortable aboard their GSX-RR´s, able to be consistent over several laps. Despite a difficult start, Rins was fast to recover the focus and not to lose too many positions from his 10th place in the grid. Passed in 13th place at the end of first lap, the young Spaniard set a very fast pace that allowed him to quickly recover many positions. He kept on overtaking until the 24th lap, when he settled into sixth place. With a clear track ahead he was able to lap in 1’32”, the same pace as the race leaders, until he crossed the finish line in 4th place.
This was his best result of the season and is a clear proof of his potential. An effective jump when the red lights went off allowed Iannone to keep up with the leaders in first lap. Despite having a good pace at the very beginning, he had to progressively concede positions as the tyres got worn, with fading confidence with the front of his GSX-RR. However, the Italian did remain steady in the top ten and finished the race in 6th place, with only a 14.516s gap from the race winner. The 2017 World Championship sees Andrea Iannone end in 13th place with 70 points and Alex Rins in 16th with 59. Suzuki is 4th in the Constructor World Championship while the Team SUZUKI ECSTAR is 6th. Our warmest congratulations go to the 2017 MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez, together with runner-up Andrea Dovizioso, and 3rd place finisher Maverick Viñales. Congratulations also to Moto2 World Champion Franco Morbidelli and Moto3 World Champion Joan Mir.
Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager
“I have to say that finally, at the end of the season, this has been a good race. We have been competitive for the whole weekend until the warm-up session. Honestly, we were expecting to set some better pace with both riders today. We struggled a little more than expected, but at the end we can consider ourselves happy. Finally the season is over and its positive how the riders have become more and more competitive and how the GSX-RR has improved. For sure we are still pretty far from the lap time and overall performances of the top five, so we have to develop further. Tomorrow we start the new season with the test and we have many things to try out that we are confident will allow us to be more competitive. I want to thank you all, the team and riders, for this season.”
Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“I’d call this race in Valencia a good end to the season. This season has been pretty tough for all of us, although in the last five or six races we have been able to become more competitive. Since Japan, we have done what we had the potential to do since the very beginning, which is somehow comforting for the new adventure of next season. I really want to say a big thank you to everyone, the crews, the engineers, and the whole team. It’s never easy to keep your head up when things get hard, but we did it as a team. We kept calm, we stayed focused, and finally we recovered. Let’s take all of this and use it to our advantage in the new upcoming season.”
“Overall it has been a good weekend. We have been improving in each session and we qualified directly to Q2. In the qualifying I expected to get a better position, but otherwise it went well. We had a good pace in the warm-up and I was convinced that I could have a good race. At the start I made a mistake and lost positions, so I had to push from the first lap and try to recover. I think it’s a good way to close the season. Now I’m thinking about the training on Tuesday to start working for next year”
“It has been a very positive race and we managed to finish within 14 seconds of the winner, and that’s not so bad. This means in the last races we made some good improvements. It’s been a pity to be in front at the beginning of the race and then lose some positions because I couldn’t push the brakes to the maximum. In this category, when you are not able and get the best from the braking, you suddenly lose three or fourth tenths per lap. I’m very enthusiastic now because we restart on Tuesday. A new season when we will surely have new expectations, a new bike, and, I hope, things to make us better.”