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Brivio on Qatar race: "We were on the best pace possible"

Team Suzuki Ecstar Team Manager spoke to MotoGP™ pitlane reporter Simon Crafar during FP1 in Argentina about the opening round of the season

Team Suzuki Ecstar Team Manager Davide Brivio believes Alex Rins "could have gone" in the opening MotoGP™ race in Qatar if it wasn’t for riders at the front slowing the pace to conserve tyre life. Speaking with MotoGP™ pitlane reporter Simon Crafar during FP1 of the Gran Premio Motul de la República Argentina, Brivio admits "a strategy to slow down" from other men in the fight for the lead cost the factory Suzuki rider.

Jose Manuel Cazeaux, the Argentine engineer in the paddock

However, he still remains pleased with the efforts of both Rins and rookie Joan Mir after fourth and eighth place finishes respectively in Doha: “We were happy. Not super happy because we didn’t get onto the podium but I’m very pleased, very happy. With Alex we had the target to continue the trend of the last five or six races of last season where he’s always been able to fight in the top positions and get on the podium a few times."

Rins challenged at the front for the vast majority of the race in Qatar before eventually finishing fourth but Brivio says the result could’ve been different on another day: “Actually, I think if there wasn’t a strategy to slow down the tyre by somebody we could have gone, probably. But anyway, we were on the top, we were on the best pace possible so that’s good.”

The factory manager was also pleased with the performance of former Moto3™ World Champion Mir on his first outing on a MotoGP™ bike: “With Joan, I didn’t expect such a start. We told him before the race try to stay with somebody else, try to learn from other riders, stay in the group but I didn’t expect that group. But it was a fantastic experience for him."

Chapter 1: Déjà Vu

“We kind of knew he was capable so we decided to stay with the soft tyre just because it was the first race, we wanted him to have a good pace for most of the race and then we told him before you might struggle at the end. Thinking now he could’ve started on the medium tyre and do even better but it’s a good start.”

Eventual race winner Andrea Dovizioso’s Mission Winnow Ducati was noticeably quicker than the Suzuki of Rins down the long start-finish straight in Qatar but Brivio is confident the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit is much-better suited to the Spaniard's GSX-RR: “We were very fast on all the rest of the circuit. Everybody knows we suffer on the straight. Especially in Qatar, it’s probably one of the worst tracks. Even in Austin we don’t suffer that much. It’s very encouraging to see how competitive we are in most of the circuit and this gives us hope going forward that maybe starting from here we can use the strong parts of our bike.”

Rins was just under a second adrift of FP1’s quickest man Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) in ninth place whilst Mir ended nineteenth on the timesheets after a small tumble early in the session. Both will be hoping to close in on Marquez when FP2 gets underway at 19:05 local time (GMT-3).

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