Team Suzuki Press Office – October 14.
Alex Rins: P10 – 1’55.483 +2.014
Andrea Iannone: P11 – 1’55.617 +2.148
Today’s qualifying session saw Alex Rins and Andrea Iannone secure two solid places in the top 12. The Spaniard´s best time of 1’55.483 was worth 10th place on the grid, and the Italian is immediately behind in 11th place thanks to posting his best of 1’55.717.
The progress seen yesterday was confirmed in today’s sessions; Andrea Iannone and Alex Rins were both able for the first time to get direct access to Q2 after the third free practice session. The new aerodynamic fairing helped the riders to achieve a better feeling with the front end and their performance in wet conditions was fast consistently. In the morning Iannone was the third fastest of the session (1’55.499), giving him 7th place in the combined classification, while Rins ended in 6th thanks to the 1’56.139 that also put him in the 10th place in the combined.
More challenges came in the Q2 session, as the track was in mixed conditions, but not truly wet. The factory riders were not able to take advantage of all the lessons learned from the previous sessions. Despite consistently being at the top of the sheets for the majority of the session, they could not be as effective in the last laps, losing positions and having to settle for 10th (Rins) and 11th (Iannone) places. The fourth row start may necessitate a so called a recovery race, whereby the riders are forced to look for any opportunity to advance their position in the race, although the feelings of riders and of the team are confident.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“Honestly I was expecting a little more from this qualification after we managed to get the direct access to Q2. Both Andrea and Alex have a good feel for the bikes in wet conditions, but then those conditions became complicated because the track was not dry nor wet in the afternoon. Eventually some riders did also try the slick tyres, as confirmation that it was incredibly hard to interpret the track conditions. Also the tyre management in a fully wet weekend is not straightforward because of the number of allocated tyres. We have to be very judicious in their management. We will start from 10th and 11th, which is not so great, but I believe that if the race is run in fully wet conditions, as it seems it may be, we will have chances for a good result. It may become a fun race.”
“This has been my best qualifying so far in MotoGP, but more generally the whole weekend has been a good one. I was able to improve session by session and stay closer to the top of the classification. This afternoon was complicated by the mixed conditions on the track. We feel more confident with consistent conditions and in particular we proved to be competitive in full wet, like this morning. We have a good pace, and although the starting position is not the best one, I believe we can make make up some places and keep the pace with the group ahead.”
“Thinking apart from the result, I’m happy because today we have learnt something very interesting; the bike completely changed its behaviour from full wet to mixed conditions. I wasn’t expecting to have such a drop in performance with less water, without any changes to the setup. It’s very interesting and now we will investigate it with the engineers. Also, we must get ready in case tomorrow the conditions again prove to be so variable. Beside this, I’m very satisfied with our performances on the wet track. This morning I further improved the feeling that was already good yesterday, and the GSX-RR works really well. I believe that we can aim for a positive race tomorrow, especially if the weather will be as completely rainy as they say.”
GP of Japan – Qualifying classification:
1. Johann ZARCO, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – 1’53.469
2. Danilo PETRUCCI, OCTO Pramac Racing – 1’53.787 +0.318
3. Marc MARQUEZ, Repsol Honda Team – 1’53.903 +0.434
4. Aleix ESPARGARO, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – 1’53.947 +0.478
5. Jorge LORENZO, Ducati Team – 1’54.235 +0.766
6. Dani PEDROSA, Repsol Honda Team – 1’54.342 +0.873
7. Bradley SMITH, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – 1’54.872 +1.403
8. Pol ESPARGARO, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – 1’54.906 +1.437
9. Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati Team – 1’55.064 +1.595
10. Alex RINS, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 1’55.483 +2.014
11. Andrea IANNONE, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 1’55.617 +2.148
12. Valentino ROSSI, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 1’57.786 +4.317
13. Loris BAZ, Reale Avintia Racing – 1’55.862 (Q1)
14. Maverick VIÑALES, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 1’55.916 (Q1)
15. Cal CRUTCHLOW, LCR Honda – 1’55.952 (Q1)
16. Alvaro BAUTISTA, Pull&Bear Aspar Team – 1’56.292 (Q1)
17. Hector BARBERA, Reale Avintia Racing – 1’56.668 (Q1)
18. Sam LOWES, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – 1’56.771 (Q1)
19. Tito RABAT, EG 0,0 Marc VDS – 1’56.903 (Q1)
20. Karel ABRAHAM, Pull&Bear Aspar Team – 1’57.144 (Q1)
21. Hiroshi AOYAMA, EG 0,0 Marc VDS – 1’57.157 (Q1)
22. Scott REDDING, OCTO Pramac Racing – 1’57.787 (Q1)
23. Katsuyuki NAKASUGA, Yamalube Yamaha Factory Racing – 1’57.861 (Q1)
24. Kohta NOZANE, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – 2’01.730 (Q1)
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