Press Release from Suzuki EcstarE: Team Suzuki Ecstar riders Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaró scored sixth and 13th places under difficult weather and track conditions during the Shell Malaysian MotoGP at Sepang today.

Following a 20-minute delay on the start because of a heavy tropical storm, making racing too dangerous, Viñales – who was fastest in the morning’s ‘dry’ warm-up – and Espargaró both had good jumps on the start, moving up into the leading places. Espargaró was in the fight for fourth position until running wide and dropping down to 13th, so spent the race trying to catch-up, while Viñales lost some places at third-race distance before gaining some after a couple of riders slipped off.

Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager:

“It was a very disappointing race because in the dry sessions, like FP3 and also this morning’s warm-up, Maverick was very fast and also Aleix was very strong, so I was looking forward to the race in dry conditions. Unfortunately, rain came to ruin our plans; in the wet we struggled a lot, the only positive thing is that both riders finished the race without crashing, but this isn’t enough for us. We still struggle in the wet conditions, we managed to find some ways to improve, but still not enough. This will be our priority; we want to have a machine which is top-performing no matter what the conditions, both in the dry and also the wet. The next race will be the last race with Aleix and Maverick, so I really want to get well-prepared and have a positive race to end of our two years together.”

Maverick Viñales:

“Although sixth place is not so bad, I’m disappointed with the race result. We had a very positive weekend and I performed very fast in the dry, I really had hopes for a podium and also for a victory, but unfortunately in wet conditions we are not competitive yet. We struggle to find a good configuration with the electronics, which makes my riding very hard, in particular when it comes to acceleration. I can’t feel confident with the traction control, therefore resulting in me riding very carefully as I didn’t want to incur a high-side that could prevent me finishing the race. We have made many improvements on the machine and now we have reached a positive competitiveness in dry conditions, but the progress we’ve made in the wet is not enough. This result also proved the positives of the last three races; they were at three completely different circuits and we’ve proved we can adapt and be strongly competitive in any kind of layout. Now the objective is to have the same competitiveness no matter what the weather conditions.”

Aleix Espargaró:

“I’m disappointed with the final result because the weekend overall had been positive, but then in the race I couldn’t feel competitive. I decided to go with a soft rear tire, hoping the conditions of the track would stay wetter, but at the end this proved to be the wrong choice. From the very beginning I realized that my performance was not good and I lost the feeling with the grip right after four-or-five laps. I also made a couple of mistakes, and doing them at the very beginning of the race, when all the riders were still packed together, meant I lost many positions and then it was really hard to recover. It’s a pity, we’ve made a lot of progress in the last few races and I felt very competitive in dry conditions, but we still need to improve our capability to have the same performance also in the wet.”

SHELL MALAYSIA MOTORCYCLE GRAND PRIX RACE RESULT:

1 Andrea DOVIZIOSO – Ducati Team – 42’27.333
2 Valentino ROSSI – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 42’30.448 + 3.115
3 Jorge LORENZO – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 42’39.257 + 11.924
4 Hector BARBERA – Avintia Racing – 42’47.249 + 19.916
5 Loris BAZ – Avintia Racing – 42’48.686 + 21.353
6 Maverick VIÑALES – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 42’50.265 + 22.932
7 Alvaro BAUTISTA – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – 42’53.162 + 25.829
8 Jack MILLER – Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS – 43’00.079 + 32.746
9 Pol ESPARGARO – Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – 43’01.037 + 33.704
10 Danilo PETRUCCI – OCTO Pramac Yakhnich – 43’01.613 + 34.280
11 Marc MARQUEZ – Repsol Honda Team – 43’03.813 + 36.480
12 Eugene LAVERTY – Pull & Bear Aspar Team – 43’03.971 + 36.638
13 Aleix ESPARGARO – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 43’04.230 + 36.897