Despite the long white plume of smoke that came from his Suzuki GSX-RR and left him stranded during FP4, Andrea Iannone seems more positive than usual in Austria: “We are not quite sure what happened - the team Ecstar rider explains - The bike switched off. We haven’t figured out if it was a problem with the engine or something else. In any case, in race configuration we were not looking bad. We had a good pace.”
However, Andrea makes no secret of the remaining difficulties with the bike: “We have our limits - Iannone admits - We lose a lot on the straight and in acceleration we struggle with spinning. Choosing the right tyres will be important for tomorrow. We still don’t know which between the medium or hard tyres, but the choice will be fundamental. In qualifying, the soft tyres did not have grip, so tyre choice will really be important.”
What happened with Marquez? You had a little chat on the track…
“Maybe he thought that I could be fast on the flying lap too, staying behind him and using his slipstream. Instead, I simply told him to carry on. After all, I had my problems.”
Yesterday you said that this was the best start of the season. Do you confirm the bike’s progress?
“Like I said before, we at Suzuki are not looking too bad, but we are losing on the straight, so it will be difficult to overtake in braking. It will be important to maintain a good pace throughout the race. I am expecting a rather tough Grand Prix.”
Last year you won with the Ducati, taking a gamble on a different tyre. Will you have any peculiar strategies tomorrow too?
“Last year I was in rare form here. In fact, my record in qualifying still stands, but 2016 was different for me. After Brno I regained confidence on the GSX-RR. I think I am moving in the right direction. I am waiting for some technical upgrades from Japan and I hope that something important arrives already this year so that we can be ahead of the curve in 2018.”
For the race, do you like Ducati or do you think that Marquez will be able to beat them all?
“Marquez is fast, but the Ducatis are even faster: I won here last year, setting the record on the last lap. This year’s Desmosedici is even better, so I think that the Ducatis will still be ahead tomorrow.”