There were great expectations for Andrea Iannone, especially after the speed he demonstrated yesterday, but the spoils after the qualifiers were limited to the seventh spot on the grid. Not bad anyway, since Andrea is not one to come apart at the seams. “We improved slightly today – he begins – That is always interesting. I am happy, although I’m not particularly satisfied with how qualifying went since we are very close to those ahead of us, so it would not have taken much to start from the front row instead of the third. In any case, that is the only negative note of the weekend. After FP4 we made a small change that made me lose traction. Maybe I lost that decisive tenth there, but I don’t want to make excuses.”
What continues to come through is the great improvement Suzuki has made compared to last year.
“I agree, but I think it is a combination of things. In terms of fine tuning, we have done a lot and our strategy is paying off. Since Austin, I am able to overtake better and here I found this improvement too.”
Now thoughts turn to the race, for which number 29 is confident, but without getting a big head.
“We’ll wait before saying that the podium is within reach. My pace is good, but there are three Hondas that are very fast and I also expect the Ducatis and Yamahas to be in it. We can be in the mix, but the race is 25 laps long, so we’ll need to look after the tyres and whoever manages to do that will have a little something more.”
The tyres remain a difficult question to settle: “It’s too early to decide which tyre to choose now. We are fast both with the hard and the medium and I think that more or less everyone will decide at the last minute tomorrow. The current conditions do not worry us. Only very high heat will make the bike slide around.”
Managing to do better than Iannone, although only by one position, was Alex Rins. The Spaniard is certainly not anything new this weekend, and he showed his speed on the fast lap. “Today we focused on the flying lap – he explains – and we are really all very close. In any case, we have to be satisfied. My pace is good and the grid position is good. We need to start from there.”
So hopes are high for number 42 tomorrow.
“We worked in the right way and the bike has great potential, so I am confident. We’ll see how the race plays out lap by lap and we’ll try to stay with the leaders. The tyres? It depends on the heat. If it is very hot, I’ll choose the hard on the front and rear, so I’ll follow what was done in FP4.”