Team SUZUKI ECSTAR riders Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales are eager to get out on-track for this weekend’s opening round of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship at Losail in Qatar.
The event marks Suzuki’s first official full-season return to motorcycling’s premier class after a three-year break, during which time the Japanese factory has worked hard behind-the-scenes to develop the brand-new GSX-RR.
Espargaro and Viñales have already given good feedback on their new machines following positive tests in Valencia in Spain last year, Sepang in Malaysia in February and at Qatar a fortnight ago; and both are comfortable with the GSX-RR chassis and their individual set-ups after working on refining the electronics and the power-deliveries of their machines.
“The right word to describe my feelings is that I’m excited! To start the new season with such a great team is incredible for me. There have been three years of hard work, the whole crew is amazing, the machine is performing well and everything is like a dream to me. I can’t wait to be on the grid waiting for the green light.
“During winter tests we had the chance to discover what’s good and what has to be improved on the bike. I feel confident with the chassis and set-up, and while we lack a little traction, this is the main issue we’re focusing on right now. We will spend the early two sessions of practice to finish the job we were going to do in the rained-off Qatar Test and then we will focus on finding a good pace for the race: especially on Friday, when I will try – if not a real race simulation – then at least a 12-15 lap-long-run.
“Fitness-wise I feel pretty good. My knee is getting better and better and my physiotherapy is giving me good results. Our main objective here is not to make any mistakes and to take things step-by-step. We know our potential, but we also know where we need to improve, so the important thing is to do the right things, get well into the points - hopefully within the top-eight - and then look at the season as a whole.”
“During the previous test in Qatar we have worked very well with the hard-tyre in order to get ready for the race. For sure we still have lots of room for improvement and we will try something new also in free practice tomorrow. Right now the time is short and the race weekend is very different from testing, but I feel enthusiastic in facing my competitors for the first time. In free practice we will mainly work to find a good pace, while we will work on a single fast-lap more in qualifying to gain the best position available.
“We have time to improve, now I have to get experience on the machine to understand the new class and new competitors, plus the MotoGP qualifying procedure is new for me. Therefore for this race my objective is to get into the points and to be as competitive as I can without compromising the development job we still have to do. We are making steps of improvement each time we ride, so I have a good feeling about our potential.
“Right now we can’t aim to win and we have to be realistic and to keep on with the approach plan that we have embarked upon. To me this will be a debut. I’m pretty young, but I have a strong team behind me so right now I’m not scared at all of this new adventure as I feel confident and excited to test my machine’s and my own capabilities in the races.”