Team Suzuki Press Office – March 25. As a result of the treacherous track conditions, today’s FP4 and Qualifying sessions were cancelled and tomorrow’s grid for the opening MotoGP race of 2017 at Qatar will be decided by the combined classification from FP1, FP2 and FP3, which means that Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s Andrea Iannone will start from second place with his Suzuki GSX-RR and Alex Rins from 18th.
The heavy rain that hit Losail in the morning flooded the circuit for the entire day. Despite the efforts of the circuit’s personnel, it was impossible to have consistent conditions of the tarmac throughout the 5.4km, with many wet patches still affecting the grip by the time the FP4 session was planned.
Iannone´s fastest lap yesterday, which gave him second place in combined classification, turned out to be even better than expected; he is finally able to start from the first row for tomorrow’s race. His pace still has to be evaluated-more, but there will be time in tomorrow’s warm-up, which has been extended by 30 minutes because of today’s weather issues.
Rins had worse luck, as he couldn’t improve on the 18th position he scored in the combined classification. His progressive improvement yesterday led to higher expectations for today’s sessions, which would have allowed him to get at least a top-15 place on the grid. However, this will be another chance for him to get some solid experience.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager:
“We must be realistic, and we are happy for Andrea’s first row position, but at the same time it’s a shame that we couldn’t improve Alex’s position. Today we’ve lost a good chance to test and work on the bikes. Yesterday, with Andrea, we did a great performance, but we also needed to confirm it; it looks as if he got back some confidence with the bike, a good feeling, but we need evidence. Also, we need to transfer this feeling into the machine´s race configuration. We missed this chance and we will have to try to take advantage as much as possible of tomorrow’s warm-up. Also for Alex it is a pity, because we wanted to try to improve his starting position but there was no chance. Also, we need to do some small work to find that 100% feeling. On one side, we are happy for the first row position; on the other we missed the opportunity to improve on the position. It is what it is. We will try to take advantage as best as we can at tomorrow’s warm-up. We are positive for the race, if Andrea continues with a sense of the bike, he can have a good race starting from the second spot on the grid. With Alex, we are really curious to see how his first experience with a MotoGP bike will be.”
“I’m happy about starting from the first row of course, but at the same time we needed the session to work on the machine. Yesterday we were able to make many improvements and my feeling is positive, but it would have been better to have this time to make further checks and tests. We had some ideas to improve in some areas, and I believe this could have been useful for the pace, to gain two-or-three tenths – that is always welcome. Anyhow, the race is another business and I really can’t wait to start. The first row is a good opportunity for me. I will try to fully take advantage of it.”
“Tomorrow we will try to have fun overtaking! It was a bit of shame that the session was cancelled and there is no qualifying tomorrow due to track conditions. We will try in the warm-up to test all the stuff we have not been able to check today. Then, I think that in the race as we start so far back, if we are able to leave behind a number of riders, we can learn a lot. Today we had a good test plan with the front end of the bike which I did not feel very comfortable with, but I’m sure everything will be perfect for the race. I think with the 30-minute warm-up we will have time to make-up some of the lost time.”
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