Friday MotoGP Summary at the Qatar GP Suzuki Newfound Speed

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The tests are correct, but we finally have real, real data from a circuit on a real race weekend. The 24 bikes at the same time on the track to learn as much as possible in two short Sessions of 45 minutes. There is no separate race or attempt to understand how the conditions of the 8 lap race at 11 o’clock compare to the 12 lap race at 2 o’clock or the 7 lap race at 5 o’clock.

The first day in Qatar may have been a real competition, but the image was also spoiled by the schedule. With FP1 at 1:40 am in the heat of the day and FP2 just after sunset at 6 am, the conditions were completely different, the air temperature was 7 °C lower and the track 16 ° C colder.

“Well, now it’s certainly difficult to see who has a better rhythm than the other because we don’t have the normal daily routine,” Miguel Oliveira said after the first day.”The weather is not that different, but for the temperature and the wind, it changes a lot.”The temperature difference was a known problem, but at least the MotoGP riders didn’t have a lot of sand to deal with.

Usually the first day in Qatar is spent playing with the broom, sweeping up the sand that accumulates on the track and making it mobile. But the circuit had made a lot of efforts to clean up the circuit in preparation for the MotoGP weekend. “Perfect! Especially after being in Mandalika!”This is how Jack Miller described the mango. Usually, runners need to be careful in the first laps of Turn 1, because when running far it is easy to fall on a dirty track.

“I was a little scared because there’s always a little dust here on the first day, but the first laps that go into Turn 1 and go down deep, which usually means you have to put the bike in place and get off the track, but they did a great job cleaning this track.”

“And I also think that they haven’t had too much wind in the last few days because the track is phenomenal. Making these moments so early on the weekend is a surprise. I can’t complain.”

Alex Rins agreed. In previous years, he explained, they would continue to clean the track even after three days of testing on the track on the first day. Not this year. “Today was a good day in terms of dirt and dust,” said the Suzuki Ecstar rider. Hello also to the Suzukis. Rins was at the top of the charts in FP2, with Joan Mir being the third fastest. The bike was exceptionally fast on one lap, but it wasn’t just about cornering speed.

The GSX-RR also had a pretty decent speed turn in the front straight. Alex Rins crossed the radar trap at 355.2 km / h at the end of the straight, but Joan Mir was not far behind, reaching 354 km / h in a whole series of laps. “the biggest surprise for me was Suzuki,” Jack Miller said. “Playing Possum all winter and traveling at 355 km / h today, they clearly found ponies there in Japan.”The speed was a surprise, even for the Suzuki riders themselves. “It was amazing!”Says Alex Rins. “This has never happened in 5 years of MotoGP. In the afternoon, I repeat the speed.”This allowed Rins to overtake one of the Ducati Gresini in the front straight. This inspired a journalist, Joan, Rin’s teammate, to ask if Hamamatsu now has the same speed as Borgo Panigale.

“Borgo Panigale are great words!”he was joking. “But I am very happy. They know how to make Suzuki engines. Just a little work.”The speed has been the effect of the changes made during the year, especially in response to the requests from Rins and me during.

“As a driver, you always want to improve things. We have made a lot of efforts to improve aerodynamics. Since last year we have a new engine here, we have the level control device that we didn’t have last year.”The extra speed allowed them to relax a little without having to try to get the last drop of power from every inch of the track. “It helps us to breathe at least in a straight line. Before, there was more tension, now calmness.”

It was more of an evolution than a revolution, he told me. “It’s not like we’ve made a big step in the engine. OK, we have improved it a lot. But we compare ourselves to the bike without the device.”The combination of a new engine, revised aerodynamics and level regulation was a big step forward. “Last year I remembered that we had a lot of problems with speed and acceleration here. We do not use the device. We are doing a great job with the device and the engine at the end of last year.”

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