First of two back-to-back races in the second-half of the MotoGP™ World Championship sees Brno in the Czech Republic host the 11th of the season this weekend.
Team SUZUKI ECSTAR riders Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaró approach the HJC Helmets Grand Prix Ceské republiky race with different feelings: While Viñales will try to repeat – and hopefully improve upon – his 2015 performance where he fought very close to a podium position, Espargaró will have to overcome the injuries suffered last Friday at the Red Bull Ring race in Austria, where he fractured his left hand.
Overall, the previous race was a positive one for the team; although Espargaró’s crash worried everyone, the improvements showed by both riders gave the Suzuki engineers added enthusiasm and more valuable data to work on.
Brno’s challenges include a number of elevation changes through forested hillsides as well as fast and slow corners, which test the rider’s skills and also engineering technology to the limit. The track has a length of 5.4 km (3.36 miles) with six left and eight right-hand corners.
Sunday’s MotoGP race will take place over 22 laps for a total distance of 118.9 km (73.9 miles).
“I’m curious to go to Brno because it’s a track I like and last year I had a positive GP here. It is a fast circuit and yet technical, I think the GSX-RR can suit the circuit with its good-performing chassis and also the improvements we have done with the engine and the seamless; and compared to last year, I think this can give me further help for a positive weekend. Of course we still have some issues to face: The traction is not performing as well as I’d like, we are making some progress but it is not quite enough yet. The set-up will be crucial, but also the electronics will play an important role. My goal will be to work as hard as possible from the very beginning on Friday, and try to transform the positive feeling I have about the track into a positive result in Sunday’s race.”
“The race in Austria was really tough for me, unfortunately the finger hurt a lot and I couldn’t keep proper grip on the handlebars when the tyre-drop started to make the bike move. This resulted in a retirement and it’s something I never like when it happens. I really tried hard until the very last lap because I wanted to finish the race, but it was impossible and I had to give up. We only had a couple of days of recovery before this Brno race, but I tried to work hard to recover as much as possible and I hope I will be in good condition for this weekend. The Brno track is a nice one, last year Maverick had a very good race and this year our technical package is even better, so I’m confident for a positive result. In Austria we made some improvements and steps forward with the machine, being competitive all weekend, so we will try to exploit that positive path we’ve found.”