Team Suzuki Press Office – September 24th
Alex Rins: 18th – 1’56.656 (Q1)
Takuya Tsuda: 21st – 1’57.787 (Q1)
The momentous final Japanese GP for Team Suzuki Ecstar will be a tough one after a torrid qualifying day left both riders down the order, but Alex Rins has stated his intentions to pull together a great race on what promises to be a dry Sunday.
FP2 on Saturday took place in the middle of a storm, with lightning flashes and heavy rain rattling around Motegi circuit. Alex and Takuya used the utmost caution in the conditions, ensuring they made it through the session without harm, and also using it to build upon wet settings.
The weather got worse as the day went on, with frequent downpours adding to the large amount of standing water already saturating the Japanese track. For this reason, MotoGP’s FP3 session was severely delayed and eventually cancelled. Rins and Tsuda had to go directly into the Q1 session with conditions far from optimum, and although Alex set several improving laps, his last laps on track were once again halted by yellow flags. He will start the team’s home GP from 18th on the grid, with Tsuda in 21st.
“In qualifying I did one long run, as did everybody, and I was beginning to feel better in the conditions. I slowed up a little bit to allow the tyres to cool before a final push, but in those final laps there were yellow flags and it cost me the chance to get further up the grid. However, despite starting from 18th, I will do what I know I can; I’ll try to get a strong start and use my good dry pace to come through and make passes, I want to reward the amazing fans by giving my absolute all.”
“I haven't had much experience in rain conditions with the GSX-RR, so I tried to learn how to best to ride in the wet following advice from the team. I feel I made a step in the right direction, and I'm quite happy with my performance. It sounds like the weather will be better tomorrow, so I'll try to show the best performance possible and enjoy my last home race with this great team.”
Livio Suppo - Team Manager
“Today has been difficult for everyone. This morning Alex struggled to find a good feeling in the wet, and the rain stayed around all day. FP3 was cancelled and the conditions were bad coming into qualifying, but we know that Alex has very good pace and can be fast in the dry, so we are optimistic that tomorrow’s race will be better because we know Alex will give his all. Tsuda did very well considering everything, his lap times were getting stronger and with very little track time this is quite impressive.”