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New Team SUZUKI MotoGP riders Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales made steps forward on the final day of the MotoGP test at Valencia, with Espargaro setting the fastest ever lap time for a Suzuki machine at the Spanish track.
The 25 year-old Spaniard, who finished seventh in the 2014 MotoGP™ Championship this year, put in a best lap of 1’31.973 on his 34th lap of a total of 41 laps on Wednesday, shaving off more than 0.3s from Monday’s ‘Day 1’ time in his first ride aboard the 2015 Suzuki GSX-RR.
That Wednesday lap left Espargaro and Suzuki exactly one second behind World Champion Marc Marquez who topped the test timesheet.
Espargaro’s new teammate Maverick Vinales also got to grips with the extra power of the GSX-RR, to finish in 18th position with a time of 1’33.216.
Espargaro explained, “I'm really happy with our first test. Unfortunately, due to the rain we missed the second day completely, but we learned a lot about the bike.”
“The first day was just for understanding the bike and finding the right position, but on Wednesday we could try to go to the limit of the bike, and I found that the frame is really good. It turns and handles really easily. We also made big steps with the electronics-side and we made good improvements on the traction control and engine braking. I'm quite optimistic with the package we have and it was good that I could make lap times that were not so far from the top guys. Now I'm really looking forward to the next test and further development.”
Viñales added, “I'm very happy overall with the test and quite satisfied that I could make plenty of laps as it was very important for me to learn the feel on the MotoGP bike. I found better grip on the bike with the hard tyre and could set the same lap times I made on the first day when I rode with a soft tyre. I have learned a lot about the bike and I had so much fun riding it! I look forward to the next test in Jerez, as we have lots more to try there.”
Team Manager Davide Brivio commented, “I'm pleased with this test, and now I'm really looking forward to working with our new riders next year. We received a lot of feedback and comments from both riders which were very interesting to hear, especially Aleix with his MotoGP experience, while Maverick, who was riding a MotoGP bike for the first time, had made a softer approach, trying to avoid any risks.”
“Of course, we still have some areas which have to be improved, such as the engine performance and the electronics, and we will test more in Jerez at the end of the month. Hopefully we will be able to conclude 2014 with another positive test and will be able to start 2015 with a fully sorted bike at the start of the season.”
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