The 2016 MotoGP™ World Championship heads to Jerez de la Frontera this weekend for round four and the first race in Europe, where it will remain until the end of September.
After early races overseas, the Spanish event will be the first chance for many European fans to see their favourite MotoGP™ riders as Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaró arrive hungry for continued positive results to follow-on from some strong performances in the opening fly-away races.
A day of private testing in Austin, Texas following last weekend’s third round, left them with good feelings that their GSX-RR machines are improving rapidly, and they now hope to be fighting for the podium.
Both the race and the test gave important direction to Suzuki’s R&D department in Japan for future development, but also provided the team engineers and technicians with important data regarding new potential set-ups which could be implemented in the near future. In particular, the feedback given by the two chassis’ available for the riders will allow them to rely on different configurations that could be more suitable for a variety of the circuits.
Built in 1986, the 4.4km Circuit of Jerez, set in a valley in the south of the country, features five left and eight right-hand turns that makes it a very technical circuit, hopefully suitable to the GSX-RR handling characteristics. In 2015, Espargaró had a positive weekend classifying sixth on the grid (best lap: 1’38.638 – +0.728) and finally ending the race in seventh; Viñales got stuck in the Q1, classifying 14th on the grid (1’39.603 his best lap) but recovered in the race to finish in 11th place.
“After the long travelling with the opening races it is good to get back to Europe and especially to be in Spain. I’m very positive and confident, we are working hard and the results are very close to coming; in Argentina I missed the podium because of a single, little mistake and in Austin we were pretty competitive for the whole weekend, although the final result in the race showed that our distance from the winner is still too great. We stayed in Austin for the test and we made steps forward in many directions; we now have different options for the chassis and set-ups, which we know are better, and also with the electronics we are getting more-and-more confident. The Jerez circuit will be good for our machines, last year Aleix performed really well here, so I hope we will make some further steps.”
“Jerez is a nice track and I think it may suit our GSX-RR’s characteristics. After a very bad start to the season, we have made huge steps forward, we still have a lot of work to do but it is important that we have made progress. At Austin my confidence in the race was positive, and finally with the private test we could verify some ideas we had and finally got some very important information about the direction to take. We are building-up our own knowledge all the time and for sure this will become a very important issue for any of the next races. I am aware that the technical package is performing, we just need to better-finalise the set-up and the machine’s configuration, and then the results will come.”
GP OF SPAIN – 2015:
Qualifying position: 6th
Qualifying Best Lap: 1’38.638 – +0.728
Race final position: 7th
Qualifying position: 14th
Qualifying Best Lap: 1’39.603
Race final position: 11th