With two podiums, one for each rider, already on the scoreboard in the first three races of the season, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR are ready to start the long European leg of the season, which will form a crucial part of this year’s Championship. With Alex Rins and Andrea Iannone able to score a third place each in Argentina and Texas respectively, it proved the improvements done during winter and the renewed competitiveness of the GSX-RR.
These positive signs early in the season also indicate that even better results are achievable, although the whole team is well aware that the European circuits are very different from the “fly-away” rounds across the oceans. Jerez in particular is quite a tight track, which last year proved to be very demanding for the Suzuki machine. However, this year the premises are completely different, given how much the rider-bike package has improved, and the extra level of competitiveness found.
Andrea Iannone had a good start to the Spanish GP in 2017; 5th on the grid after qualifying and finding himself in podium contention in the early laps of the race, but unfortunately he had to give up his dreams of glory when he crashed out with 18 laps to go. Alex Rins did not take part in the race, as he was still suffering with his arm injury, and test rider Takuya Tsuda took his place with the main objective of collecting data and information.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“After the two podiums in Argentina and Texas it will be interesting to see how our package is on a European circuit. With Jerez we will start the long European season, with many races in a short space of time, and it will be a crucial part of the season. I hope we will be able to confirm the good form we’ve shown in the winter tests and especially in the first three races. So far we proved to be able to be competitive at the first three circuits, so I’m curious to see how we can respond in such a different circuit like Jerez. We tested here last November, in a test that was crucial for the development as we were about to choose the actual package we’re using now, it will be interesting to make some real comparisons and back-to-back tests to check how much we’ve improved since then. Getting consecutive podiums, one each, I believe that both Alex and Andrea can do a good job also in Jerez, their competitiveness has increased and we will do our best to deliver them the best possible package to aim for a good result.”
“I hope it will be another positive race. Last year was not an easy one for us, we had to face some troubles, but yet we could still find some positives that allowed us to improve our knowledge. This year we arrive in Jerez in a totally different mood and condition, we did some solid improvements and we feel in good shape. I’m happy to get back to racing after the good podium in Texas, it has been a boost; a proof of the trust in me, and a reward for the hard work that me and my team have done. Seeing the progress we are making and the positive path we are on, I hope we will be able to be competitive again and score another positive result.”
“For me this GP will be a sort of ‘rookie experience’ as last year I missed the race and could only test here at the end of the year, however I feel much more solid this year. For a few races now I will lack the ‘GP experience’ because of my long injury time out last year, but we have established a positive working method which allows me to look at any race with confidence. My experience has improved a lot since last year, with many races already completed with the GSX-RR, which makes me feel confident towards this race too. The early signs of this year proved that we have taken important steps forward and that we can be competitive. I’m not expecting Jerez to be a friendly circuit for us, but thanks to the improvement we’ve done technically, and also in my riding, we can look at this round with optimism.”
Built in 1986, the 4.4km Circuit of Jerez, set in a valley in the south of Spain, features five left and eight right-hand turns that makes it a very technical circuit, assuredly suitable for the GSX-RR handling characteristics. It is also the narrowest track of the Championship, with its 11metre average width – which, by the way, is less than the length of a team’s container!
Qualifying: 5th – 1’38.744 (+0.495)