Team Suzuki Press Office – May 15.
Grid positions for French GP:
Joan Mir: 14th – 1’43.422
Alex Rins: 15th – 1’43.523
A wet and cold Saturday greeted the riders at Le Mans Bugatti circuit in northern France, and despite it being impossible to improve on yesterday afternoon’s times.
The FP3 session was useful for Team Suzuki Ecstar’s riders as they tried different tyre options and both reported feeling confident in the rain.
The circuit warmed up a little in time for the afternoon’s FP4 action, but the only chance to use slick tyres came right at the end of the session; Alex Rins demonstrated Top-3 pace for much of the session, ending it in second. Meanwhile, Joan Mir was firmly in the Top 10, closing FP4 in seventh.
Suzuki’s pair wasted no time in Q1, heading immediately out with wet tyres and staying on track with no pitstops scheduled. Both Mir and Rins did a superb job of stringing quick laps together, with their times steadily improving. Their first three flying laps placed them in first and second places, but towards the end of the session, a yellow flag cost Mir one lap, and Rins also struggled to improve. Despite a decent flying lap from Mir at the end of Q1, in the final moments both he and Rins were pushed to fourth and fifth in the session. That means that they will start 14th and 15th on the grid for tomorrow’s GP.
Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager:
“Unfortunately, due to the difficult conditions in FP3 this morning, our riders couldn’t improve which meant that they had to fight through Q1. Le Mans is always very hard to deal with – it’s very unpredictable and changeable – and even though our riders had good settings in both dry and wet conditions and good feelings, we just missed out on Q2. It’s a pity that we’re quite far back on the grid, but the race is a different matter and we’ll see what we can do tomorrow using the riders’ good pace.”
“Overall it hasn’t been a bad day, but this isn’t the best track for us, and I feel that 14th place on the grid is not showing my real potential – I felt quite strong in both conditions, in wet and dry, and my pace was quite nice. I lost a couple of laps at the end of qualifying, I think maybe I overcooked the tyres or something because the track dried out quickly. But anyway, it’s all useful experience and lessons that I will use in the future, and I am pleased because I’ve already improved my performance in the wet compared with last year. The team have done a really great job with the bike. Starting 14th on the grid is manageable as long as I stay focused; it’s not so different to other recent grid slots, so I’m optimistic.”
“It’s been a difficult day ‘at the office’ and I have quite a bad grid position for tomorrow. I made a mistake with my strategy; I chose the medium front and soft rear tyres to start, and I think with the medium rear I would’ve been able to push more and then maybe my grid place would have been better, but there was no time to stop. Let’s see what the weather is like tomorrow, we could have wet, dry, or mixed conditions and for sure it will be a big show. If the race is dry I think I have a chance for the podium because I feel good in the dry and my base settings and confidence are good. If it’s wet or mixed I will flow with the bike, work with a good strategy – prepared for all scenarios – and give my best.”
SHARK GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE – Qualifying Classification:
1 Fabio QUARTARARO Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 1’32.600
2 Maverick VIÑALES Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 1’32.681 0.081 / 0.081
3 Jack MILLER Ducati Lenovo Team 1’32.704 0.104 / 0.023
4 Franco MORBIDELLI Petronas Yamaha SRT 1’32.766 0.166 / 0.062
5 Johann ZARCO Pramac Racing 1’32.877 0.277 / 0.111
6 Marc MARQUEZ Repsol Honda Team 1’33.037 0.437 / 0.160
7 Takaaki NAKAGAMI LCR Honda IDEMITSU 1’33.120 0.520 / 0.083
8 Pol ESPARGARO Repsol Honda Team 1’33.150 0.550 / 0.030
9 Valentino ROSSI Petronas Yamaha SRT 1’33.391 0.791 / 0.241
10 Miguel OLIVEIRA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1’33.867 1.267 / 0.476
11 Lorenzo SAVADORI Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1’34.258 1.658 / 0.391
12 Luca MARINI SKY VR46 Avintia 1’34.265 1.665 / 0.007
13 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1’43.418 Q1
14 Joan MIR Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 1’43.422 Q1
15 Alex RINS Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 1’43.523 Q1
16 Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati Lenovo Team 1’43.530 Q1
17 Danilo PETRUCCI Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing 1’43.857 Q1
18 Iker LECUONA Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing 1’44.324 Q1
19 Alex MARQUEZ LCR Honda CASTROL 1’45.146 Q1
20 Tito RABAT Pramac Racing 1’45.590 Q1
21 Brad BINDER Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1’45.911 Q1
22 Enea BASTIANINI Avintia Esponsorama 1’46.123 Q1
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