Team Suzuki Press Office – September 3rd
Alex Rins: 12th – 1’33.438 (+ 1.539)
Kazuki Watanabe: 23rd – 1’36.289 (Q2)
Saturday saw Suzuki’s riders get into their stride in San Marino, with Kazuki Watanabe continuing to improve his pace, and Alex Rins running a great FP3. The Spanish rider pushed hard in the closing stages to set the 6th fastest time in the session. He was later promoted to 5th after another rider had a lap cancelled.
Rain drops fell at the beginning of FP4, leaving the track with mixed conditions and making for an uncomfortable session. Kazuki was unlucky when a crash at the formidable Turn 15 caught him out at the very end of the session, but he and the team were quick to prepare for Q1 and the stand-in rider did an admirable job in the tricky conditions of the first qualifying session, ending Q1 in 13th and therefore 23rd on the grid.
In the final qualifying session of the day, as rain continued to fall on and off, Alex started to struggle with his feeling. Almost the entire field, including Alex, took their first exit on full wets, but it quickly became clear that the track was a little bit too dry and a change to slicks was executed with 9 minutes to go. Alex then stayed out for the remainder of the session, setting personal best laps, but he unable to progress higher than 12th.
“Today was not the best day in the office, I was trying hard and I gave my maximum in the qualifying, improving each lap, but it wasn’t enough. My feeling in those conditions wasn’t the best; I knew I had slick tyres and with the rain falling on my visor I didn’t feel very comfortable to push more. I need to recover a few positions on the start tomorrow, and then I’m hopeful that I can do a good race.”
“At the beginning of the day, in FP3, I felt better on the bike, and I improved the lap time. I have been building my speed lap by lap and I was enjoying it. Then in FP4, I lost the front when trying to follow Alex. These things can happen, and luckily I’m fine and I was able to go straight out in Q1. Tomorrow will be a good day, I’m very excited.”
Livio Suppo - Team Manager
“We are looking at the positive side of things; Kazuki had a crash, but he’s not injured - which is the most important thing - and he did a good job, improving with each session and qualifying well despite the crash. We’re happy with his work. Alex has good race pace as always, but in these conditions he didn’t have the confidence to really push, so the position isn’t the best, but we know he’s capable of strong starts so let’s look forward to tomorrow.”