Suzuki riders Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales will both leave Malaysia in high spirits after making impressive progress at the second Sepang test. Espargaro was just over a second off Marc Marquez’s outright fastest time despite failing to get the best out of his new soft tyres and the GSX-RR’s performance over long runs was also cause for the Spaniard to feel optimistic.
“We are satisfied with today’s results, we ran a lot in hot conditions because yesterday we had some issues with those conditions with more than 50 laps. Today we ran a lot with 60° closing laps in 2.01. I’m very, very happy with the improvements on the pace. I’m missing the fast lap because with the two soft tyres I made a couple of mistakes. The bike is very improved, we worked a lot on electronic set-up and to find a better configuration of the traction control, which gave good results and let us cut one second off our time. We also worked on traction out of corners and it was important to verify the bike’s behaviour in hot conditions because they are similar to race conditions. We still have a lot of work to do but I’m confident and aware that I’m in a Factory team with a lot of people working hard to do the best job.”
Vinales continues to impress, lapping within three tenths of his highly-rated teammate, but the MotoGP rookie doesn’t feel he has reached anything like his full potential yet.
“I leave Sepang with a very good feeling and satisfaction and we did a very good job without any major issues. I managed to improve my times a lot, both in the fast laps and the overall pace. I’m learning more and more about the bike, we made some changes in terms of set-up and electronics and I’m learning how to exploit them. Today I tried to get a good single lap time, but didn’t want to push too hard like I did yesterday when I crashed, so we focused more on consistency and we worked on the pace; we also got very important feedback from the bike which we can work on. I’m still a rookie, so I still need to understand so many things about the bike, but I’m performing well and my performance is improving day by day.”