Team Suzuki Ecstar began the seventh round of the MotoGP™ World Championship with just one rider after Alex Rins suffered a cycling accident while training on the circuit on Thursday morning and went to hospital to undergo surgery, ruling him out of action.
Solo rider, Joan Mir, set to work in the morning’s FP1 to try and find the best feeling with his GSX-RR around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Mir was very strong at the Catalan track last year where he achieved second place, and he and the team are setting sights high again in 2021. He completed the incredibly close session – where the entire field were covered by 1.3 seconds – in eighth place.
Consistently sunny weather in FP2 meant a chance to try settings and tyres in hotter conditions, and all the MotoGP™ riders improved despite most reporting a lack of grip. Mir kept strong pace over several laps as he got his bike dialled in, holding the Top 10 for the majority of the session. However, he struggled a little with one-lap pace and pitted in before the end of the session due to lack of front feeling; he then found himself slipping down to 16th at the close of play. The aim for Saturday will be to secure a place in Q2.
Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager:
“Unfortunately we only have one rider here this weekend, which is a pity because it’s a home race for both our riders. But we’ll give our best with Joan, who is confident at this circuit and has good results in the past. In FP1 he managed to find good settings and the bike worked quite well. But in FP2 the feeling was a bit different and the hot lap pace was outside of the Top 10. But we will use FP3 in the morning to try and get the best feeling ahead of qualifying.”
“I felt pretty strong on this first day, despite the track not being very grippy. I was quite competitive in both sessions, but when I switched to the soft-soft combination at the end of the session I had a little problem with the front of the bike and I didn’t feel very comfortable with pushing for a fast lap, so I decided it was better to come into the pit. I knew I couldn’t get close enough to my previous best time and I preferred to be safe instead of over-pushing. I had a nice race pace, with lots of consistent laps, but I need to work on setting some fast laps. My team will try to discover how best to deal with the problem I encountered today and we’ll be ready to go again tomorrow.”