august 05, 2018 - Suzuki Racing


Team Suzuki Press Office - August 4th

Andrea Iannone: 8th - 1:55.270 (+ 0.581)
Alex Rins: 9th - 1:55.431 (+ 0.742)
Sylvain Guintoli 21st - 1:57.037 (+ 1.499)

• Iannone strong on one lap pace and race pace.
• Rins’ hard work in FP4 and Q1 pays off.
• Guintoli improving despite lingering injury.

Saturday morning’s FP3 session was an important one with the track at near-optimum temperature and the riders keen to cement a place in Q2. #andreaiannone hovered around the Top 5 for the entire session, while #alexrins missed out on a Top 10 placing, despite being less than a second off the top time.

For Rins FP4 was a session of fine-tuning settings ready to push for a fast lap in Q1. Iannone, already into Q2, could instead concentrate on race set-up and simulation. The Italian used one set of tyres for the entire session.

An exciting and dramatic Q1 session saw a determined #alexrins push hard and take his place in the final qualifying session. Meanwhile, Sylvain Guintoli improved and closed Q1 in 11th, meaning a 21st place grid spot for the French Wild Card. The track temperature reached 51c for Q2 and the session was highly competitive. Iannone and Rins fought their way to the front row but were knocked down the order in the closing seconds. However, the pairing will start 8th and 9th respectively for tomorrow’s race.

Davide Brivio - Team Manager
“Today we were working very well with race pace, especially in FP4 where both Andrea and Alex had good pace, this is a very good sign for the race. Then in qualifying we wanted to do a little bit better, but anyway both riders are on the third row. Alex did a good recovery because he had to go through Q1, and he managed to qualify in 9th. The positions are not bad for the race because our pace is good, but of course lower grid positions require more effort at the beginning of the race. I hope we don’t lose too much time because I think we have the pace to stay in the top group. But let’s see tomorrow, it’s very hot and the conditions will be difficult. Sylvain also did a very good job, qualifying in front of many permanent riders despite carrying an injury he got at the Suzuka 8 hours last week.”

Andrea Iannone
“Qualifying was really difficult because the lap times were unbelievable and everybody was very fast and close on times. But in any case, I think we’ve worked in a good direction this weekend. In FP4 we rode really well with good pace and a good feeling with the bike. We just need to improve the rear grip a little for the race. But in terms of consistency I think we’re going in a good way. I hope tomorrow we can improve, but I’m happy and I will try my best. I think the race will be very close.”

Alex Rins
“It looks like our race pace is quite good. In FP4 we did a great job with the hard rear tyre, and I will race with this one. We definitely can’t race with the soft tyre. I feel confident with the bike, and I was able to make it to Q2 which was good news. Third row for tomorrow is quite good, we need to start well, manage the early laps, and try to overtake some riders. If I’m with the front group I can go with them, I will try to do an intelligent race.”

Sylvain Guintoli
“I’m happy with the weekend so far, we’ve been progressing every day. In qualifying I managed to put five guys behind me, so that’s quite good for me as I’m just doing a Wild Card appearance. Unfortunately I crashed during the Suzuka 8 Hour race last weekend and the pain has been quite bad. I did an X-Ray at lunchtime and I have two broken ribs so now I know why I have the pain. We’ll try to manage this, but I can’t recommend riding a GP bike with broken ribs! But everything else is going well and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”