Portuguese GP - Day 1



Team Suzuki Press Office – April 22nd

Joan Mir: 3rd – 1’52.306 (+ 0.365)
Alex Rins:  21st – 1’54.327 (+ 1.413)

Far from the expected blue skies and sunshine at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, heavy rain and a track temperature of just 12 degress Celsius greeted the riders on Friday morning in Portugal.

With the first laps of FP1 looking treacherous the Suzuki pair of Alex Rins and Joan Mir exited the pitbox on soft wet tyres. Standing water meant caution was needed, and the riders also reported the need for more laps than usual in order to warm the tyres. After 8 laps both riders came in for adjustments and to gauge how the track conditions were developing. On his second exit, using the medium-soft combination, Joan Mir found improvements and he managed to gain places. He was able to top the session on his final flying lap and eventually finished 2nd. Meanwhile, Alex Rins continued to struggle under the relentless rain – closing FP1 in 20th.

The situation remained challenging for FP2 with downpours sweeping in sporadically throughout the session, with the track temperature climbing to a meagre 17 degrees. Joan set the fastest time after five laps but came in shortly after. Alex headed out for a second run with around 25 minutes of the session left, and for a time he was the only rider on track as ‘risk versus reward’ came into play. With Joan already into the provisional Top 10 and Q2 for tomorrow, he opted for one last brief exit just to test the feel of the bike. Alex stayed out but it was impossible to improve.

Joan Mir
“It wasn’t a difficult day, because I felt really good with the bike pretty much straight away, but it was sort of a ‘wasted’ day. It’s a track that I always enjoy and I’m pleased to already be feeling good with my GSX-RR, it was just a shame about the conditions, because that was the only bad thing. This afternoon especially it wasn’t possible to set a fast lap time, so I didn’t do as many laps because I couldn’t push. But I’m 3rd on combined times and in the Top 10 at the moment, which nowadays is even more important than ever, so let’s look ahead to tomorrow.”

Alex Rins
“With it being such bad conditions I found today quite tough, I didn’t have any confidence to try and push. It was strange for me because I was really excited to go out on track in FP1 but on the out lap I lost the rear a couple of times, and even after I got heat into the tyres I didn’t feel able to push and ride at much lean angle. We need to try and discover the way to gain the feeling for tomorrow, because I think it will be wet again and I need to have confidence. At the end of FP2 I was trying to gain some time but then the rain came down heavier and it was hopeless. For now, I just need my feeling to return and then I feel we can improve a lot.”

Livio Suppo - Team Manager
“It was a good day for Joan, he was very fast this morning. This afternoon the conditions weren’t good, which was a pity, but it was the same for everyone. On the other side of the garage, Alex is struggling more, we have to understand exactly why but he currently has a lack of feeling which means he’s reluctant to push – especially considering how many crashes we saw today. We’ll check the data tonight to try and find the best way to help him. Hopefully tomorrow the weather will be better, because today it was really bad.”