Team SUZUKI ECSTAR heads to Italy for the sixth round of the Championship at the Circuit of Mugello this weekend, historically an exciting MotoGP™ race for the thousands of enthusiastic and passionate fans crowding the green hillsides surrounding the circuit.
Maverick Viñales arrives in Italy carrying the emotions of the previous race at Le Mans in France, where less than two weeks ago he scored his first MotoGP™ podium aboard the GSX-RR; Suzuki’s first since the team’s full-time return to the World Championship last season. The race showed the potential of both Viñales and also the machine, and where his crew were able to recover from a bad start to the weekend and deliver a more suitable bike. The event also left Aleix Espargaró with positive feelings as he managed to improve consistently during the weekend and only an issue with the front tyre in the race prevented him scoring a top-six result.
Last year in Mugello Team SUZUKI ECSTAR had a bittersweet weekend; the practice session was difficult for both riders as Espargaró had to go through the Q1, but recorded a positive fifth place on the grid. He struggled the whole weekend with pain at his right hand, recently operated on after the crash at Le Mans, and finally ended his race in the gravel due to a crash caused by another rider. Viñales, on his side, had a positive race to finish seventh, just 24-seconds from the race winner.
Mugello’s blend of slow and fast turns with sweeping curves, long straights and off-camber corners make it one of the most challenging circuits for the riders and engineers. Owned by Ferrari since 1988, the 5.245km track has been renovated to a high standard and has a growing reputation as one of the world’s most up-to-date, scenic and safest race circuits.
“I can still feel the emotions of 10 days ago in France, the first podium both for me and Suzuki was unbelievable and gave me even more motivation. The weekend hadn’t been easy at all, we struggled to find a good balance and efficiency, but finally with my crew, we found a new set-up for Sunday that allowed me to find some more confidence. It’s a good feeling, we keep on progressing day after day and this is a good reassurance. Of course we still need to work hard, we have so much potential to be exploited and we must stay focused. Mugello is a very nice track, so fast and technical, it should suit our characteristics. We have seen that by working hard we can fight and be close to the top; and this is still our objective.”
“Mugello is a very fast track were we can exploit some positives with our GSX-RR, therefore I’m curious to get there soon. Last year we arrived here with some worries because we lacked in engine power, but this year the situation is different and we can count on more efficiency. Recently we have been making many steps forward, we’re finding good solutions for the set-up and my positive feeling has increased a lot. I’ve found back my joy for riding. In France we couldn’t finalise a good result because I lacked in feeling with the front tyre, but the improvements we did were very positive. Mugello will be fun, there is always a lot of people there and you can feel their passion.”
GP of Italy in 2015
Qualifying: 5th – 1’46.854 – +0.365s
Qualifying: 9th – 1’46.934 – +0.445s
Race: 7th – +23.805s