Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s Maverick Viñales scored his best MotoGP™ result with fourth position on the 2016 GSX-RR at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, as team-mate Aleix Espargaró impressed with a similar, spirited ride to finish right behind him in fifth after starting a row behind.
Both riders have been within the leading group of riders during Free Practice, Qualifying and also Warm-Up, but in the race, they had two different progressions: Viñales had some trouble at the start and was 10th into the first corner, and having to recover many positions. From that point though, his progress was solid and consistent, with lap times dropping lap-after-lap, which allowed him to recover, but a drop in performance of his rear tyre prevented him to continue his progression and get closer to the top-three, but his fourth position was a solid and impressive one.
It was a different race for Espargaró, who really put his mark on the race from early on, jumping from ninth on the grid to sixth position on the first lap and then keeping the pace close to the fastest riders. And when he got caught-up by Viñales, the two Spaniards fought together in an exciting Suzuki GSX-RR battle that saw him pull back ahead and moving into fourth at one stage.
Both riders and the Team will now stay in Austin for a day of private testing at the Circuit of The Americas, tomorrow. The main objective will be to work on the set-up to test some solutions that have been diagnosed to improve the traction.
Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager:
“Finally, we are happy for the result, but we are not completely satisfied for how the race went. Our pace throughout the weekend has been good, but finally we are still missing something to get the podium. In Argentina, Maverick could fight for the podium position before he crashed, which is a part of racing, but here we weren’t at the same podium-pace and the final positions also came from some crashes, which happened ahead of us. Also, this is racing, some days you are lucky, others you are not, so we can be satisfied for the result but we definitely need to improve to get back into the top-three fight, as the 20s-gap from the winner. We will have a day of private testing here in Austin tomorrow with a tight plan of solutions to try, together with the investigation into what we need to get the podium.”
“Unfortunately we had some troubles with the grip at the rear tyre, I felt confident until almost half of the race, already thinking to be able to recover on the third place, but then the performance dropped dramatically and made the recovery impossible. At the end I decided to take the fourth and get to the finish. The result is positive, being fourth is my best result since I’ve been in MotoGP™, but after the positive weekend it is a pity that we couldn’t finalise an even better result. We have a day here to test and find some more solutions for the future, especially with the rear grip.”
“Finally this has been a very positive race, a good recovery from the bad feeling we had in Qatar and Argentina. I managed to make a good start and to find a fast pace. I tried to keep it and the final result is good. For the whole weekend we worked hard to finalise the set-up with the softer tyre and I knew that my advantage would have been at the beginning of the race; and this is why I tried to start very fast and take as much advantage as I could in the early laps. Then the performance dropped, which was normal, and we finally managed to get a fifth place; which is a good result. Of course I would like to get even better, but we have made important steps forward and we still have the chance to improve. With Tom, my Crew Chief, we already have some ideas about the set-up to try to find a better traction, which at the moment is our biggest issue. Tomorrow, we will try to work on them.”
GP of Americas Race Result:
1 Marc MARQUEZ Repsol Honda Team - 43'57.945
2 Jorge LORENZO Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - 44'04.052 + 6.107
3 Andrea IANNONE Ducati Team 44'08.892 - + 10.947
4 Maverick VIÑALES Team SUZUKI ECSTAR - 44'16.367 + 18.422
5 Aleix ESPARGARO Team SUZUKI ECSTAR - 44'18.656 + 20.711
6 Scott REDDING OCTO Pramac Yakhnich - 44'26.906 + 28.961
7 Pol ESPARGARO Monster Yamaha Tech 3 - 44'30.057 + 32.112
8 Michele PIRRO OCTO Pramac Yakhnich - 44'30.702 + 32.757
9 Hector BARBERA Avintia Racing - 44'32.537 + 34.592
10 Stefan BRADL Aprilia Racing Team Gresini - 44'38.156 + 40.211
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MotoGP Championship Points: CLICK HERE