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Both Team Suzuki Ecstar riders Alex Rins and Joan Mir enjoyed a successful Friday at the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana, finishing P6 and P7 respectively at the end of FP2.
The second Free Practice session was particularly impressive for Mir, the rookie briefly sitting P2 before a handful of riders also set their personal best times. In the end, Rins would also get the better of his teammate by just half a tenth, with the GSX-RR duo – so far – safely in the automatic Q2 places.
MotoGP™ FP2 in Valencia: Who will top Day 1?
“We felt quite good. FP1 and FP2 were good for us,” said Rins, reflecting on his Day 1 in Valencia. “We changed the setup a little bit compared to FP1 and we made a step forward, so I’m quite happy with the work done. For tomorrow we still need to improve a little bit, but we are in a good way.”
There are fast riders ahead of the Suzukis though, and that podium fight is looking like it will be intense on Sunday. The main problem this year for the Hamamatsu factory? Qualifying well. And Rins is wary of a few riders that will be hard to beat on Saturday afternoon in Valencia.
“For the qualifying time, rivals to mention are the Yamahas, Marquez, Dovizioso, Miller… they can be very fast. We need to improve a little bit our race pace to be a bit more constant and faster.”
For Mir, Valencia is a welcome return to cooler temperatures after suffering with the physicality of Malaysia: “Yeah I feel especially good at this track. At the last race in Malaysia I struggled physically, and here it looks like, with the cold weather, I’m able to breathe better, to feel better, to be 100%. The team is working really well, the bike is really nice. We need to work, continue working but ok, we’re on a good line.”
Two strong looking Suzukis will be hoping they can carry their Friday form into Saturday, but will that one-lap pace come back to haunt them one last time in 2019? Rins and Mir will certainly hope not as the former goes in search of his second-consecutive Valencia rostrum on Sunday.