Team Suzuki Press Office – October 23.
The Malaysian GP has started in typical weather conditions for the region, with lot of humidity and heat that required extra effort from both the riders during the first two sessions of practice, but both Team SUZUKI ECSTAR riders performed well throughout the day at Sepang International Circuit, registering important improvements from morning to afternoon.
Aleix Espargarò was the faster of the two riders, with a final seventh position from the 2’01.058s-lap he scored in Free Practice 2. His team-mate Maverick Viñales struggled a little more to find good confidence, but his lap times were well inside the top-10 for almost all the sessions, and only in the last part of FP2 he lost his place and was classified 12th in the combined times with a best lap of 2’01.796.
Today’s classification is a little unusual, as the top four riders are covered by 0.240s but then the classification is broken by a seven-tenth-of-a-second gap, with other riders from fifth to 12th by a further 0.7s. This is an indication of how tough today’s riding conditions were.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager:
“We are still working hard, but today we saw some encouraging things. First of all Aleix was good from the start, we could understand many things and improve his set-up, while collecting good information that shows us which direction to move forward in during the weekend. He was always in the leading group for the whole session and this is a good sign. Maverick instead struggled a little, but again we had some encouraging signs. For sure, we have to work hard but I am confident we can improve his situation for tomorrow. We know that this is a pretty hard track for us, but if we manage to exploit the potential we have at its best, we can try to improve even further.”
Aleix Espargaro: “I was expecting to struggle a lot on this track because it is very fast and has two very long straights but to be honest we are not as badly off as I thought. Of course, I cannot say it was an easy job, but I am happy to be in seventh place. We did a huge job in recent days to analyse the data from Australia and also from the test we had here in February and this gave us a lot of information. This morning it was harder to improve, I struggled to find good confidence with the front, as it lacked stability, but we did make many improvements in the afternoon even though my feeling is not much better. The acceleration is not so bad and we also have positive grip; we made some improvements both on the electronics but also on the overall geometry of the bike and this has paid us back so far. We still have a lot to do for tomorrow but I have the feeling that we are on the right path.”
Maverick Viñales: “I’m not so satisfied about this first day, I feel the bike is unstable and I can’t take the lines I’d wish to around this track. I also still lack some traction, I suffer a lot of spinning from the rear and we must now find the best way to get back some confidence. For other reasons the day has also been positive. We have started working with the hard tyre and the pace is not bad; at the same time, I have to recognise that when I went out with the softer tyre I found much traffic in sectors 3 and 4 and this probably prevented me getting a better result than 12th place overall. Anyhow, we have received a lot of information today and we can work on it all. Tomorrow we will try to perform better and to get a better feeling from the bike.”
GP of Malaysia – Combined classification after FP2:
1. Jorge LORENZO, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 2’00.246
2. Dani PEDROSA, Repsol Honda Team – 2’00.293 +0.047
3. Marc MARQUEZ, Repsol Honda Team – 2’00.472 +0.226
4. Andrea IANNONE, Ducati Team – 2’00.486 +0.240
5. Valentino ROSSI, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 2’00.915 +0.669
6. Cal CRUTCHLOW, LCR Honda – 2’01.039 +0.793
7. Aleix ESPARGARO, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 2’01.058 +0.812
8. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, Ducati Team – 2’01.127 +0.881
9. Scott REDDING, EG 0,0 Marc VDS – 2’01.218 +0.972
10. Danilo PETRUCCI, Octo Pramac Racing – 2’01.598 +1.352
11. Hector BARBERA, Avintia Racing – 2’01.616 +1.370
12. Maverick VIÑALES, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 2’01.796 +1.550