Team Suzuki Press Office – November 15.
Andrea Iannone – 7th.
Alex Rins – 21st.
The 2017 MotoGP™ season kicked-off today at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia, Spain with the first test of the season held right after the season finale at the Spanish circuit.
Team SUZUKI ECSTAR revealed their new riders Andrea Iannone and Alex Rins, who joined the crew to have a first taste of the Suzuki GSX-RRs. The main purpose of the opening day of the two-day official test allowed the riders to get their first feelings with their machines, starting from actual set-up as a base to start working on for the future.
Today started slowly, with a very cold temperature at the track and the need to understand the new bikes before starting to push for real. Under these conditions, Iannone took advantage of his experience and after a first run of adaptation he could start to apply some modifications in the set-up and electronic configuration, progressively improving his performance. He incurred a crash in middle of the afternoon, without any injury, during this process of improvement and he still remained in the top-part of the timing sheets for the whole day, ending in seventh position.
MotoGP™ Rookie Rins had to start feeling the Factory GSX-RR’s behaviour without electronic controls, and then to start using them to understand how they change the potential riding characteristics and today has been a step-by-step approach, allowing him to take all the time he needed to get acquainted with the bike.
Together with Suzuki’s new 2017 Factory riders, Japanese Suzuki Test Team Rider Takuya Tsuda flew into Valencia to start testing various improvements that may be applied to the Factory machines in the future, if their effectiveness is confirmed in this and further tests.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager:
“I’d say this has been a good start of the 2017 season with both our new riders. Of course they had a different schedule and working plan, as their experience is very different. Andrea wanted to see how our machine is performing and find a comfortable position and base set-up, but also we were curious to hear his comments and first impressions. We were happy to hear that he liked the machine, he said he felt at ease on it, and he has already given us some areas on which we will have to work to improve. We will, of course, try to follow his feedback.
“Rins had a different objective: His priority was to get the first feeling with a MotoGP machine, him being a debutant in this class, and we are very happy because he is learning the process needed to ride such a kind of bike; he’s making the right steps, so we start with him a path that we will bring on. We have plans for tomorrow to explore some more options, he’s a very smart guy, very focused, and he seems to be quick in learning. It’s been a positive start with both riders; it’s only the first day so we will continue tomorrow with the scheduled working plan.”
Marco Rigamonti – Iannone’s Crew Chief:
“This has been a positive first day for us, it was mainly intended to get the first feeling with the machine, to start knowing the mechanics of the new crew and to get a first feeling on the potential of the machine. Andrea reported to me very positive feelings, we’ve worked intensively with hard-tyre testing, also how the bike reacts with the tyres dropping; and in fact, the best time came with pretty-worn tyres.
“Andrea started with winglets to have a first touch of the machine as it was – and then we took them away, as they are forbidden in 2017. The first runs were to get to know the machine, but he could immediately appreciate the effectiveness of the project and then already start to give us and the engineers some areas to work on. The good thing is that all the improvements he saw as possible are little steps, as the base-setting made him already feel confident and comfortable.”
“This day has been a very emotional one for me. My priority, as agreed with Suzuki, was just to get a first taste of the machine, which is obviously very different from any machines I’ve ridden before. The most impressive thing, in my opinion, is the acceleration, which is really impressive. Today we started with the basic set-up and our plan was to start without any electronic control so that I could understand the machine’s performance without any filters. Then we gradually introduced some traction control and anti-wheeling, so that I could start to understand how the electronics-settings worked. The team gave me total support; everything is new and at a top level and I’m really enthusiastic of this first experience.”
Classification of Day 1 at Valencia Test:
1. Maverick VIÑALES – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 1’30.930
2. Valentino ROSSI – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 1’30.950 + 0.020
3. Jorge LORENZO – Ducati Team – 1’31.052 + 0.122
4. Marc MARQUEZ – Repsol Honda Team – 1’31.102 + 0.172
5. Andrea DOVIZIOSO – Ducati Team – 1’31.131 + 0.201
6. Cal CRUTCHLOW – LCR Honda – 1’31.156 + 0.226
7. Andrea IANNONE – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 1’31.165 + 0.235
8. Scott REDDING – OCTO Pramac Yakhnich – 1’31.242 + 0.312
9. Hector BARBERA – Avintia Racing – 1’31.286 + 0.356
10. Dani PEDROSA – Repsol Honda Team – 1’31.306 + 0.376
11. Jack MILLER – Marc VDS Racing Team – 1’31.477 + 0.547
12. Alvaro BAUTISTA – Pull & Bear Aspar Team – 1’31.674 + 0.744
13. Michele PIRRO – OCTO Pramac Yakhnich – 1’32.068 + 1.138
14. Aleix ESPARGARO – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – 1’32.177 + 1.247
15. Loris BAZ – Avintia Racing – 1’32.315 +1.385
16. Jonas FOLGER – Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – 1’32.450 +1.520
17. Johann ZARCO – Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – 1’32.462 +1.532
18. Tito RABAT – EG 0,0 Marc VDS – 1’32.578 +1.648
19. Pol ESPARGARO – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – 1’32.613 +1.683
20. Bradley SMITH – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – 1’32.806 +1.876
21. Alex RINS – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 1’32.811 +1.881
22. Eugene LAVERTY – Aprilia Test Team – 1’32.935 +2.005
23 17 Karel ABRAHAM – Pull & Bear Aspar Team – 1’33.231 +2.301
24. Sam LOWES – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – 1’33.359 +2.429
25. Takuya TSUDA – Suzuki Test Team – 1’34.110 +3.180
26. Francesco BAGNAIA – Pull & Bear Aspar Team – 1’36.940 +6.010