Team Suzuki Press Office - August 15th
BITCI MOTORRAD GRAND PRIX VON ÖSTERREICH
MotoGP Race Classification:
Joan Mir: 4th
Alex Rins: 14th
Threatening and leaden skies closed in around the Red Bull Ring as the MotoGP™ riders took to the grid, sending the nerves skyrocketing and changing the race strategies. A crowd of 86,000 were treated to the usual spectacular air display against the back drop of dark clouds, and the lights went out for the 28 lap race.
Team Suzuki Ecstar’s riders suffered a little off the start, with Joan Mir slotting 7th and Alex Rins back in 16th. The race had been declared dry and the white flag was flown on the first lap, but the rain stayed away for the first part of the race.
On the eighth lap of the race, as Mir was closing in on 6th and Rins closing on 11th, the rain flag flew around the Spielberg circuit. This appeared to dry quickly and the riders kept their heads down and continued fighting. Joan spent a few laps behind Jack Miller, before making a pass at Turn 6 and setting his sights on the leading group of five.
When the Suzuki pair were up to 5th and 10th, the race turned upside down as heavier rain began to fall. Alex dived into the pits with 5 laps left to make an efficient bike swop onto wet set-up. Just a couple of laps later, as the lead group - all on slick tyres - began to close up they also decided to make the important swop. Joan entered and left the pits with the front group of riders, and he proceeded to ride precisely and sensibly, carefully guiding his GSX-RR around the treacherous track and achieving 4th as those on slick tyres suffered. Meanwhile, Alex Rins, who admitted to pitting a little earlier than necessary, crossed the line in 14th.
Joan Mir maintains 3rd in the championship, but moves level on points with Pecco Bagnaia.
At first I thought I could win if I stayed out on the dry set-up, but that wouldn’t have been a sensible decision and I’m glad to bring home decent points and an important 4th place.- Joan Mir
“Today I completed my first ever bike swop in a race, and it was a really intense and crazy experience! I was trying to decide the best time to head into the pits, I was weighing up the risk versus reward of slicks or wets, and then all my closest rivals decided to go in so I went with them. It turned out to be a good choice, because the track became very wet and slippery. The last part of the race was quite funny and strange because I don’t think anyone knew the real results until after the flag. It was also a little scary because there were riders everywhere, all on different tyres, it was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. My feeling in the dry was OK, but I didn’t have as much traction as usual and we’ll need to analyse why. At first I thought I could win if I stayed out on the dry set-up, but that wouldn’t have been a sensible decision and I’m glad to bring home decent points and an important 4th place.”
“It was a very crazy race, at the beginning I wasn’t feeling very good and I was running around P12. Then when the rain came I anticipated the bike swop when following Miller, it was a shame because after that the rain stopped a bit, but it was impossible to know that. Turn 3 was bad but most of the track was OK at that point in the race. So in the end maybe I could’ve stayed with the slicks for longer. It seems that in the end it was a mistake to change early, but we were in a difficult situation. The main thing is that we got through these two races, got some points, and next we’ll move on to Silverstone - a track I love, and I hope to get a really nice result there.”
The main thing is that we got through these two races, got some points, and next we’ll move on to Silverstone - a track I love, and I hope to get a really nice result there.- Alex Rins
Shinichi Sahara - Project Leader and Team Director
“Finally, after this hard race, we made it through! I thought it would be a tough race for us because all our rivals had become more competitive following last weekend, they made a step in terms of bike set-up. We knew we could be competitive if our riders made good starts, but the grid positions didn’t help that and it was harder for Joan and Alex to get into the front group. However, both of them put in steady laps and improved their positions as the race went on. In the last part of the race the rain came down hard and it became a bit of a gamble, Joan timed his bike swop really well, Alex was perhaps a little early. But this situation is very difficult for everybody and it’s always impossible to know how much rain will arrive. Anyway, we feel good and we’re ready to move on to Silverstone.”
Ken Kawauchi - Technical Manager
“It’s been a strange race due to the weather conditions, but the end result could have been worse. Joan achieved fourth place, which is pretty good and it gives him useful points for the championship. Alex struggled a bit today, and we found that our bikes weren’t as competitive as last week. We’ll investigate everything, collect all the data, and prepare ourselves for the coming races.”