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Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s Maverick Viñales raced to ninth place in a drama-packed Motul TT Assen MotoGP™ two-part race in the Netherlands today as team-mate Aleix Espargaró was a casualty of the treacherously-slippery conditions and slid-off in the restarted race after fighting to catch-up after running wide early on.

Torrential rain caused a red-flag after 14 of 26-laps on safety grounds with the race re-run over 12 laps for full championship points. The first start proved to be complicated for Viñales, resulting in him being 18th after the first lap; he struggled to be competitive but managed to recover some positions, resulting in 13th place at the red flag. Even with new tyres, in the restart he suffered pretty-much the same lack of confidence with the machine, but he managed to make some overtaking manoeuvres and finally close the race well into the points.

Espargaró had a very positive jump in part one of the race, being third at the end of first lap, but then progressively lost competitiveness and slid-back some positions. At the restart, a collision with another rider pushed him into the gravel at the first corner, resulting in him being in last position. The modifications to the set-up done by his crew during the idle time between ‘part 1’ and ‘part 2’ proved to be effective though and the confidence he found back allowed him to recover on the riders ahead, but his positive progression had been interrupted by a slide that took him out of the race.

Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager:

“For sure this has been a hard weekend for us. Maybe this is the typical Assen weather, but for us it’s not been a big deal. Until FP3, in the dry, we were going very well with both riders in Q2 and consistently performing among the top, especially Maverick with a very good pace. But after rain came, our troubles started to get bigger and we struggled to find good settings. In Sunday’s race we were taunted by the weather, and with the race split into two legs, we struggled in both as we couldn’t find proper set-ups. Here we have understood that our machine still needs to be investigated further to take the best out of it, it can be performing in any conditions if compared to other bikes, but we still have a lot to learn on how to take this good from it and take profit. I want to see the positive side of the weekend; today we have gained much experience and collected a lot of data, which will be very useful for the next time we have a wet race.”

Maverick Viñales:

“Unfortunately the rain was not a big deal for us, we lack in experience and today we paid the biggest price. We were pretty competitive in the dry, but when rain arrived we couldn’t find a proper set-up to have a machine that could make me comfortable. I suffered a lot during both legs of the race, and I’m sad for this because I felt we could have had a good chance in the dry. Unfortunately, we still have a lot to learn and grow when we are in rain conditions, we are all learning, but for sure this result is under our expectations; although being well into the points is a positive thing.”

Aleix Espargaró:

“It’s a pity because we did a real improvement and my feeling was good. After the first start I felt very uncomfortable on the bike, I couldn’t deploy the power to the ground and also had issues in turning, but in the time between the two legs of the race my crew applied some modifications that finally proved to be very effective. After the second start I had a collision with another rider at ‘Turn 1’ which sent me into the gravel, but I didn’t crash and I could re-join the race. After this the improvements to the bike allowed me to feel confident and recover to the riders ahead, but unfortunately I crashed. It’s a pity with the result, but I am finally satisfied for the job we have done and for this experience under the rain and it will be useful for the future in case of another wet race.”

Motul TT Assen Results:

1 Jack MILLER – Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS – 22’17.447
2 Marc MARQUEZ – Repsol Honda Team – 22’19.438 + 1.991
3 Scott REDDING – OCTO Pramac Yakhnich – 22’23.353 + 5.906
4 Pol ESPARGARO – Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – 22’27.259 + 9.812
5 Andrea IANNONE – Ducati Team – 22’35.282 + 17.835
6 Hector BARBERA – Avintia Racing – 22’36.139 + 18.692
7 Eugene LAVERTY – Aspar Team MotoGP – 22’40.052 + 22.605
8 Stefan BRADL – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – 22’41.050 + 23.603
9 Maverick VIÑALES – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 22’43.595 + 26.148
10 Jorge LORENZO – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 22’45.051 + 27.604
NC – Aleix ESPARGARÓ – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR

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MotoGP™ Championship Points: CLICK HERE