Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales both raced to points-scoring positions in Suzuki’s full-time return to the 2015 MotoGP series last night at Losail in Qatar; and the team is positive with its initial debut.
Espargaro finished 11th and series rookie Viñales 14th aboard their 2015 GSX-RRs under the floodlights of the night-race; and in front of 19,500 spectators. It was an important result for Suzuki after a three-year absence from motorcycling’s premier class of racing; and after much development from the Japanese factory and continued testing to develop the all-new GSX-RR.
Espargaro started from 11th place on the grid, after a weekend that saw him well-in the top 10, and was in the top-seven on the opening laps. Viñales, who started from 13th place on the grid, fought back throughout the 22-lap race to score his first-ever MotoGP series points.
Satoru Terada – Team Director:
“This has been a very important result for us. We have spent the last three years preparing for this debut and we have hit our objectives. Both the riders ended the race and got into the points. Developing a high-performance MotoGP™ machine is not an easy process; we’ve learnt that we have some strong points and some weak points. We have a good chassis, but we lack outright power and this prevented us from to be fighting further up the grid. We are all aware of that and we have engineers in Japan working hard to improve our performance. In fact, this result gives us a further incentive to give our best and push even harder as soon as possible. At the end of the day I’m proud of these results, I know I’m working with a full team of professionals and we will push-on to greater heights.”
“I can’t say I’m happy with this result as this is probably the worse position I’ve been in since last season and I honestly thought I would be higher-up in the classification. We had a few issues with the machine but we all know that the main problem now is the power. Engineers in Japan are working hard, I know, but unless we get some more horsepower, it will be very hard to get to the front. In any case I’ve also had good feelings from the race; I ended it and I got points, which was our objective. We are all fully focused on our development process and I’m sure we will get even better results soon.”
“It’s been an amazing experience! Racing with the top riders in MotoGP™ is something unbelievable and I’m so happy with the experience. The race has been strange; soon after the start I had some issues with the electronics and I lost some traction control, so I had to rely only on my wrist, but the machine was performing well so I decided to keep on and finally I ended the race and got two points. This was our priority, so I’m satisfied. We know where we need to improve and also what went wrong with this race, so we can work on it and hopefully be even more effective in the next race. ”
Grand Prix of Qatar – Final Classification:
1. Valentino ROSSI – (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) 42'35.717 2. Andrea DOVIZIOSO – (Ducati Team) +0.174 3. Andrea IANNONE – (Ducati Team) +2.250 4. Jorge LORENZO – (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) +2.707 5. Marc MARQUEZ – (Repsol Honda Team) +7.036 6. Dani PEDROSA – (Repsol Honda Team) +10.755 7. Cal CRUTCHLOW – (CWM LCR Honda) +12.384 8. Bradley SMITH – (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) +12.914 9. Pol ESPARGARO – (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) +13.031 10. Yonny HERNANDEZ – (Pramac Racing) +17.435 11. Aleix ESPARGARO – (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) +19.901 12. Danilo PETRUCCI – (Pramac Racing) +24.432 13. Scott REDDING – (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) +32.032 14. Maverick VIÑALES – (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) +33.463
Riders World Championship after GP of Qatar:
1. Valentino ROSSI - 25 2. Andrea DOVIZIOSO - 20 3. Andrea IANNONE - 16 4. Jorge LORENZO - 13 5. Marc MARQUEZ - 11 6. Dani PEDROSA - 10 7. Cal CRUTCHLOW - 9 8. Bradley SMITH - 8 9. Pol ESPARGARO - 7 10. Yonny HERNANDEZ - 6 11. Aleix ESPARGARO - (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) - 5 12. Danilo PETRUCCI - 4 13. Scott REDDING - 3 14. Maverick VIÑALES (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) – 2