9 October 2014
MotoGP: ‘Best week of life’ for Suzuki signings Espargaro, Vinales
"Everyone knows that the tests this year were not as good as they [Suzuki] wanted. Me, Suzuki and Maverick have the same goal and I hope we can arrive soon to the top level" - Aleix Espargaro.
2015 Suzuki MotoGP riders Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales were united in declaring Aragon and the days that followed as the best of their lives.
Both delivered landmark results in their respective classes in front of their home Spanish fans: Espargaro claimed his first ever MotoGP podium, while Vinales delivered a dream weekend with victory from his first pol in the Moto2 class.
Shortly after came the long awaited announcement that the pair have been selected by Suzuki for its 2015 MotoGP return.
“The last week has been one of the best of my life, especially the Aragon race,” said Espargaro, whose podium for Forward Racing also marked the first ever for an Open class rider.
“This year we were doing a couple of good races, for example at Assen, where we were in touch with the podium, but finishing second in Aragon was fantastic. A dream. Now we are looking forward to the next races and trying to finish this season in the best way and try to achieve another podium if we can.”
Looking further ahead to his Suzuki debut at the end-of-year Valencia test, Espargaro added: “It's really exciting this new project, this new adventure. It won't be easy because we know we have a lot of work to do with the bike but I feel that I'm in the best moment of my career. I feel that I'm ready for this new adventure.
“Also it will be a big responsibility to be part of Suzuki because it is a big brand. So I'll try my best. I'll try to develop the bike as fast as I can to achieve good results.”
Suzuki, which withdrew due to the financial crisis at the end of 2011, is returning with a new inline four-cylinder GSX-RR machine. The bike has undergone extensive testing at the hands of former MotoGP rider Randy de Puniet, but underwhelmed when on track at the same time as the current machines.
“I chose Suzuki because I think everyone in this paddock would like to be a factory rider. Also in 2016 there will be a lot of changes to the regulations and I think if you are in a factory team it will be easier to adapt to the new rules,” explained Espargaro.
“Now I am sixth in the championship, which is not bad. But if I change team it is to improve on this. I know it will not be easy, as everyone knows that the tests this year were not as good as they [Suzuki] wanted. Me, Suzuki and Maverick have the same goal and I hope we can arrive soon to the top level.”
Espargaro also had words of praise for his teenage team-mate Vinales, winner of the 2013 Moto3 title and currently third overall as a rookie in Moto2.
“For sure he is really talented. I've said a couple of times; he is the best rider in the Moto2 class. So Suzuki made a great decision to take him for the next two or three years. He says to me that he has no experience so I need to develop the bike, but he knows perfectly that he will be there after the first test!” Espargaro smiled.
“It is important also to have a team-mate with a good level because then this makes you quicker and faster every time. So I'm looking forward to starting this new, exciting adventure.”
Speaking of his move to MotoGP, Vinales said: “I am really happy. It was the best week of my life. I won the race, then they made it official that I'm joining Suzuki. I'm really happy to be in the Suzuki project because they trust in me and I'll try to show to them that I'm good and I'll do my best. But now it is time to concentrate in Moto2 because we have a really good chance to win more races.”
One of Vinales' main rivals for the 2015 MotoGP rookie of the year title will be Jack Miller, who is jumping straight from Moto3 to ride an Open class Honda.
“For sure I'm happy to have done one year in Moto2 because you learn a lot, especially with the tyres because it is so important at the end of the race,” said Vinales. “He [Miller] will move straight to MotoGP. He's good, he will learn and for sure he will make a good job.”
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