Maverick Viñales: 4th. Aleix Espargaró: 9th.
Maverick Viñales will start tomorrow’s final Grand Prix of the season from the head of the second row following an exciting final qualifying for the Gran Prix de la Comunitat Valenciana in Spain today, as team-mate Aleix Espargaró was unlucky to slip-off in the closing stages.
Both Team SUZUKI ECSTAR riders continued their strong form of the weekend and were always in the top positions, both qualifying directly to Q2 from the morning’s FP3, where they finished second and seventh respectively aboard their GSX-RRs.
In the all-important 15-minute Q2, that saw the lap-record smashed, both riders continued their strong performances, with Viñales posting a best lap of 1'30.276 on his eighth and final lap. However, Espargaró was unfortunate to slide off as he was about to begin his sixth flying-lap and ran out of time to set a better position than the third row.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager:
“We can be happy today for the work we’ve done with both riders, especially Maverick who found a good pace in FP4 and also a good position in the grid. Maybe for the grid we could have aimed for something more, we had the potential to be on the first row. Unfortunately, Aleix had a crash when he was attempting an important improvement, but his position is not so bad and also his consistency on the distance. We believe tomorrow could be a good race. Both riders, Maverick and Aleix, are eager to close in a positive way this two-year adventure, and so are we.”
“The qualifying didn’t go as I was expecting, we had the potential for the first row but unfortunately we didn't take out all our best. We decided to try a new strategy, with three runs instead of the usual two, but it takes me some time to warm-up the tyre in the proper way so in the last attempt, with only one lap to go, I couldn’t improve as I wanted. Anyway, the day has been positive, this morning I could be fast and then in FP4 we tested a very good pace. I’ll have the chance of being in the front in the beginning if I’ll make a good start tomorrow, and then I’ll probably be able to exploit the positive pace I have.”
“I’m not satisfied with the position in qualifying, but overall the day was positive and my pace makes me feel comfortable. In qualifying I had a crash and so I couldn’t exploit the time attack at its best. I was using a soft rear tyre, which has a lot of grip that pushes the front in acceleration and I’m not very comfortable in this, so finally in a very fast change of direction, with full gas, I lost the front. Luckily I didn’t get hurt, but this prevented me the possibility of a better position on the grid. However, tomorrow’s race will be very long, and therefore very tactical; it will be very important to preserve the tyres, probably being a little conservative at the beginning, and keeping some performance for being more aggressive in the last part of the race.”
GRAN PREMIO MOTUL DE LA COMUNITAT VALENCIANA Q2:
1 Jorge LORENZO - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - 1'29.401 2 Marc MARQUEZ - Repsol Honda Team - 1'29.741 + 0.340 3 Valentino ROSSI - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - 1'30.128 + 0.727 4 Maverick VIÑALES - Team SUZUKI ECSTAR - 1'30.276 + 0.875 5 Andrea DOVIZIOSO - Ducati Team - 1'30.338 + 0.937 6 Pol ESPARGARO - Monster Yamaha Tech 3 - 1'30.392 + 0.991 7 Andrea IANNONE - Ducati Team - 1'30.420 + 1.019 8 Dani PEDROSA - Repsol Honda Team - 1'30.574 + 1.173 9 Aleix ESPARGARO - Team SUZUKI ECSTAR - 1'30.885 + 1.484 10 Bradley SMITH - Monster Yamaha Tech 3 - 1'30.949 + 1.548