Team SUZUKI ECSTAR riders Aleix Espargaró and Maverick Viñales can’t wait to get back on their GSX-RRs at this weekend’s MotoGP™ opening round under the floodlights of the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.
Following positive winter tests, the machine has been improved with many new features introduced by the Suzuki Factory in the chassis, engine, gearbox and electronics areas which saw Viñales topping the Australian test and classified third overall in Qatar last week. There were also positives from Espargaró, who although couldn’t be so effective on the single lap, found good consistency in pace and improved his performance run after run.
The Losail International Circuit lies on the outskirts of Doha, the capital city of Qatar. The track itself is a flowing layout of 5.4 kilometres, surrounded by artificial grass designed to prevent sand from the neighbouring desert from blowing onto the circuit. The main straight is over a kilometre in length and there is a good mix of medium and high-speed corners, including a couple of quick left-handers which has proved particularly popular with the riders.
In 2008 Qatar celebrated the first night time Grand Prix in history, following the construction of permanent outdoor lighting. The switch to night time racing was a success and has continued to be so, with the Qatar event now established as one of the most spectacular on the MotoGP calendar.
“We finished the test with very positive outcomes and this makes me think that the first race will be a good one for us. It will be the first time we will be able to test the improvements we have done in a real race condition and this makes me very curious. Probably the good word for this first race will be ‘to enjoy’; we can enjoy the fact that the tests were positive and also enjoy the fact that it is going to be a good race. My objective for this is year will be to try to be consistently into the top six, but if we will work like we did in the test it is possible for something even better. The plan is easy to say; to work hard from the very beginning and to exploit all the potential we have. I’ve worked very hard during the winter to get ready for this first race and I definitely want to take Suzuki to the top.”
“I feel very motivated for this first race in Qatar and I can’t wait to see the red lights to switch off and start the fight. In general I’m not the kind of rider who likes the preparation work, I’m more into the racing side of the job. Moreover this year, I have suffered a lot in the winter tests. To be honest, I’m not so worried with the results of the test; already the last day here a few weeks ago we found a new set-up which made me more comfortable and I’m sure the adrenaline of the race will give us a further push to improve.”
Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 2015 Qatar Results:
Qualifying: 11th – 1’55.035
Qualifying: 15th – 1’55.246