Team Suzuki Press Office – May 28th
Joan Mir: 17th – 1’48.732 (Q1)
Alex Rins: 21st – 1’50.266 (Q1)
Team Suzuki Ecstar’s riders will start the Italian GP at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello from 17th and 21st on the grid after an extremely challenging Saturday in terms of track conditions and set-up.
Although they pushed hard during FP3 in the morning, Alex Rins and Joan Mir were unable to remain in the Top 10, despite Rins placing himself 6th close to the end of the frantic session. This meant work to be done for both riders before qualifying, but this was complicated by dark clouds closing in around the Tuscan track during FP4.
Rain began to fall with 15 minutes to go in the session, leaving a patchy, part-wet and part-dry surface to contend with. Alex was one of the first riders to venture on track to suss out the feeling, followed shortly by Joan.
This experience in FP4 should’ve set the pair up well for a wet Q1, but with conditions ever-changing it made qualifying extremely tough. The first exit was done on full wets with a drying track, but as soon as they switched to slick tyres it started to rain more heavily. Mir and Rins bravely pushed on, setting personal best sectors, but they were 7th and 11th at the line, placing them 17th and 21st on tomorrow’s grid.
“I felt that even if had been dry, I couldn’t have done much better today - but of course, these mixed conditions did make it tough. I’m still lacking the feeling with the bike in some places, and we’re working hard to find solutions. In some ways the rain did condition my performance because we were starting to find a better feeling just when the weather changed. However, I need to build my confidence up and then let’s see what will happen tomorrow.”
“We were unlucky today, I was doing well in FP3 and in the end I missed out on Q1 by almost nothing. Then I was giving everything in Q1 but it was very difficult to manage the conditions. I want to understand exactly what’s happening, and to learn, because we quite often suffer on Saturdays. I don’t know where I can finish tomorrow, and I don’t want to predict anything and put pressure on myself, so I just want to ride an intelligent race and enjoy it.”
Livio Suppo - Team Manager
“The conditions were very tricky today, although it’s the same for everyone. Today didn’t end up how we wanted or how we hoped, but the race is tomorrow and we have to keep our focus on that. It won’t be easy for Joan and Alex starting towards the back, but for sure they’ll give their best and so will we.”