Hard braking and strong acceleration will be theme of this week’s GP as Team SUZUKI ECSTAR head to the French circuit of Le Mans, which is a typical ‘stop and go’ layout. The historical track is well known for being technical and demanding, different from anywhere we’ve visited so far this year.
Alex Rins is approaching the French GP in a very positive mood after the two podiums in a row he achieved in Austin and Jerez. Crucially, he has also been boosted by the solid progress he has made aboard his GSX-RR in general, and the bike’s ever improving performance.
Joan Mir is in a similarly upbeat mood as he has made respectable progress and has been able to show some impressive pace. He is keen to turn around the recent results which have left him disappointed.
The Monday test in Jerez last week gave a lot of useful information to the Team in terms of improving the GSX-RR and finding improved set-up. The presence of Sylvain Guintoli and the test team gave further support to the engineers, who have spent the last 10 days reviewing data and finding new solutions.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager: “We arrive in Le Mans after a few races with strong results, the highlight being two podiums in the last two races, and this is a trend we would like to continue. The test in Jerez allowed us to collect important information, and also to finalise some ideas regarding set-up and electronics that I hope will be useful from France onwards. Alex looks to be in good shape, he has grown a lot with the GSX-RR and he has all the potential to stay consistently with the top riders, which is our main objective. Joan is also doing a good job, especially being a rookie, and he is learning very fast. Le Mans is a strange track where we’ve had a few struggles in the past, but I think it will be a different situation now as our bike has improved and we have a more experienced rider, which is a good combination to aim to better results.”
Alex Rins: “The latest results have been very positive, but we’ll stay grounded and not get carried away. We need to follow our path, which is to improve race by race. We know that Le Mans can be a tricky circuit for us as it is mainly ‘stop and go’, but at the same time the growth we’ve done with the bike compared to last year, and my increased experience could be two important factors for a good race in France. We know the points we definitely need to work on to improve further, one of them is qualifying. We must be aware that we have a competitive package and we need to keep the positive trend to place ourselves at the top.”
Joan Mir: “The most important thing about Le Mans will be to recover from the disappointment of Jerez, so finishing the race will be the priority and then after that we will evaluate the performance. Despite my recent results, I am pretty happy and we feel that we are following a positive path, with solid progress session after session.”
TECHNICAL HIGHLIGHTS OF THE BUGATTI CIRCUIT OF LE MANS
Manuel Cazeaux – Alex Rins’ Crew Chief: “Le Mans is a classic European circuit and it’s tricky from a technical point of view. 80% of the track is ‘stop and go’ with braking at angles and hard acceleration from low speed. You need good traction as the tendency is for the bike to wheelie. In the past it’s been a hard track for us, but every year is different, and we hope for a good result here.”