Team Suzuki Press Office – June 27.
The Dutch TT of Assen is hoped to be a sort of recovery race for Team SUZUKI ECSTAR after the struggles of Montmelo. This magical circuit in Denthe province is a masterpiece amongst the technical circuits with its tight turns and changes of direction, which can often be a good area for the handling capabilities of the GSX-RR.
Andrea Iannone arrives in good spirits, even though the latest results may not seem the best harvest from his hard work, his performances are consistently fast and in line with the top riders, which gives both him and the team positive energy. Last year at Assen he struggled in finding the ideal confidence, but with a totally different situation in terms of bike performance this year his hopes are high.
Alex Rins will finally have the chance to start riding at a circuit he has already seen before on a MotoGP bike. Last year’s Dutch TT marked his return to racing after the Texan injury, this means that from now on he will be able to take advantage of greater experience and more solid data. The test in Catalunya last week was a very intense and in-depth one, with many laps ridden and many options tested, which hopefully will allow him to have a better knowledge of the machine and start the weekend with the right steps.
The two factory GSX-RRs will also be equipped with a new spec engine that has already been tested and debuted in a race by test rider Sylvain Guintoli at the last Catalunya GP, this new spec is designed to give a slightly better performance in terms of top speed.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“The last race in Barcelona was a difficult one for us, but luckily the test we did on Monday was positive and this allowed us to recover some confidence. We know that Assen can be a complicated place in terms of the weather conditions and last year we struggled at this circuit, but the positive first part of the 2018 season and the improvements done in the recent tests make me believe that we will be capable of a good weekend. At the GP of Catalunya Sylvain Guintoli debuted a new engine spec and his feedback was positive; also from our side we saw that it can give us better performances in terms of top speed. Our plan is to equip the two factory GSX-RRs of Andrea and Alex with the same evolution engine, hopefully giving them improved performances.”
“The last race and test in Barcelona gave me a positive feeling that I hope I will continue and confirm also in Assen, although I would like to get a better result in the race. This is one of the things we have to face in this moment: we are very competitive in all practice sessions but then we struggle in the race distance, we cannot rely on a consistent performance over more than 20 laps. We will focus more on this, also on the preparation of the race, to try to get good position and good points. I think the layout of ‘The Cathedral’ is very nice, pleasant to ride, and can suit the characteristics of our machine. We have big potential, we have to keep on working and stay focused on the things that make us struggle more.”
“Assen has always been a special place for me, especially from last year when it represented my comeback to MotoGP races after the arm injury. I like the track because it has fast corners and it’s very technical, they call it ‘The Cathedral’ with good reason!”
The circuit, known as “The Cathedral” because of its historic significance to Motorcycle World Championship racing, is the only circuit to have hosted a race every year since its creation in 1949. Assen is quite a technical track, very narrow and it has several rapid changes of direction that could be favourable to the handling capabilities of the GSX-RR machines. With a
total length of 4.555 km (2.82 miles), it has a very short straight (only 487m – 1597.77ft) and a majority of right corners: 12, versus six left-handers.
Qualifying: 16th – 1’47.649 (Q1)
Race: 9th – +37.166
Qualifying: 17th – 1’47.804 (Q1)
Story issued by: Team SUZUKI ECSTAR.