Andrea Iannone lies second after the first two practice sessions at Assen in Holland, but his speed in practice has never been an issue. The problem is maintaining the same pace come race day.
“I'm pleased, we've worked well. I know that the bike works and works well with new tyres, we have good speed and great performance. We've improved in terms of braking, stability and corner entry, all important aspects. If they gave out points for Friday and Saturday, we'd be on target for the title".
There are other areas in which Iannone seeks improvement: "We're missing grip at the rear, we lose traction in acceleration. This is also what penalises us in the race. It's a pity because the bike has a good base, but we lose too much in acceleration and are unable to manage the race well, to be consistent. We soon start to slide and this penalises us a lot”.
There is no single element that is conditioning performance according to The Maniac: “It's a combination of factors i think, never just one thing. Of course, to improve, you have to work on all areas. There's room for improvement in terms of the electronics. The technicians can see that the traction control isn't perfect right now, that there's room for improvement. But when we'll get there, I don't know".
An element that can have a big impact come race day: "During a race, good traction control really helps when it comes to managing the bike, the tyre. It does a lot, keeping the bike more constant and making it move around less when the tyres drop. The bike moves less at the start of the race too, which means the tyre is working well, heats up less and suffers less wear. It's all connected to this”.
Despite apprehension regarding the tricky electronic management of the Suzuki GSX-RR, the race weekend has clearly got off to a good start for Iannone: “I'm pleased, this morning we were struggling then this afternoon we took steps forward and this is very important. Once we have the right package that allows us to be there for the whole race, we'll be able to do it. Right now, Alex (Rins) and I are competitive, we're strong. The bike is growing, we need to be patient and continue to work as we are doing”.
“At Mugello I fought for the podium throughout the whole race, we were right there. This year, I think we should be somewhere around fifth, sixth. But it's not easy, everyone's fast and very close this year. I was really disappointed at Barelona, because I didn't expect the race to go like it did. I really struggled, the bike was sliding around and I couldn't be effective".
The Iannone-Suzuki pairing did stand out in practice in Spain though: "We went well in practice, there too but then the race is always the race. In general, we start the race and suffer. At Mugello, it looked like I had a few tenths more than the other, and in the end I came fourth. It's clear that over the course of the race, we lose something, we need to understand why and work on this”.