After what seemed like a long winter break for the riders, it was finally time to get back on track at Sepang International Circuit for the first pre-season test of the year.
Extremely high temperatures made for a challenging opening day in Malaysia, with track temperatures peaking at 65 degrees Celsius in the afternoon, and air temperatures around 31ºC, meaning most of the fastest laps were set in the morning.
Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s three riders got the 2019 GSX-RR on track and reported good feelings despite the heat. Alex Rins completed 61 laps – the second highest number of the day – he spent some time topping the time sheets and placed 2nd when the chequered flag came out, one of only four riders under the two minute mark with a 1:59.880. MotoGP rookie, Joan Mir, was pleased to get reacquainted with his bike, which he said had improved during winter. He put in 55 laps, and was 23rd at the end of the session. Meanwhile, Sylvain Guintoli focused his time on new components, totalling 58 laps and finishing 22nd.
The riders will be back on track tomorrow for another full day of testing.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager: “Today was a positive day because we went through our programme and we tried different settings. We’re working on the 2019 bike and trying to find the best base setting as well as trying to improve the package overall, using different combinations of parts. So far so good, Alex set strong lap times, not just one isolated ‘fast lap’, but many good quality laps. We were able to get helpful comments and feedback from him. Joan was restarting again with the bike and he is still gaining experience, but he did some useful testing, gave us good feedback and told us his impressions. Everything went smoothly today, let’s continue to work tomorrow.”
Alex Rins: “My first impressions are very good. We have a lot of new parts here to try, aiming to build on our 2019 bike. The lap times and race pace already felt strong today, so I feel we have a lot of potential. I’m aiming to start the year in the best way so I can put together a strong and consistent season from the very beginning. I feel good about what we’ve achieved today.”
Joan Mir: “It was a hard day with a lot of work, but we made good progress, and we’ll also be trying a lot of other things in the next couple of days. I feel like a fully-fledged rider now, and the focus today was on the bike, but I will also be focusing a bit on myself tomorrow and Friday so that I can gain more experience and knowledge. I felt an improvement in the bike since I last rode it in Jerez, I really like how the bike is now, and I think everything’s going in a good direction.”
Sylvain Guintoli: “I’ve been with the team for a few days of testing ahead of this official test, but it feels great to be back on track with all the riders. It’s been a very good and productive day for us. We’re trying some new components for the 2019 package and they were very good, and we made some useful discoveries. In the next days, Alex and Joan can try these things too. I think I set my best ever time in Sepang today, and the rhythm was good as well, it’s been a nice day of work, I did 58 laps and the feeling is positive.”