6 May 2015
MotoGP: Espargaro hoping for home Suzuki boost
“I hope we can have something new in Barcelona regarding power and gearbox” - Aleix Espargaro.
Aleix Espargaro hopes that Suzuki will debut much-needed engine and gearbox developments for his home Catalunya round in June.
“I love Barcelona. Last year was one of my best races. Really close pace to the top guys and I hope we can have something new in Barcelona regarding power and gearbox,” said Espargaro, who finished sixth on an Open class Forward Yamaha last season.
The GSX-RR is struggling for acceleration and top speed relative to its rivals and will soon be the only factory machine without a seamless shift gearbox, following Aprilia's successful debut at Monday's Jerez test.
Until those developments arrive, Espargaro is trying to mitigate the loss by improving traction on corner exit.
Speaking after setting the fourth fastest lap time at Monday's Jerez test, Espargaro explained: “Obviously everybody knows what we need , but my feeling is that we can be more competitive with what we have, before more power.
“With Tom [O'Kane, crew chief] we had good ideas today. We tried a lot of different things to try to have more traction, to be more competitive at least at the exit of the corner.
“Because it looks like we are close with new tyres, but when the tyre grip drops the gap is a lot higher, so this is the area we need to improve. I think the problem is the geometry of the bike and also the electronics.
“The TC [traction control] is causing a bit of trouble. With the engineers we are trying to avoid this problem. We tried also with no TC during the test but there is a lot of spin.”
Espargaro, a frustrated seventh in Sunday's race, shot out of the blocks on Monday to lead the test timesheets until lunchtime.
“It was a pity about [the race]. We learned that I should have gone with the hard front tyre. I paid in the race. I had a lot of movement and no way to be faster,” he said. “This morning immediately I go with a '38s because I was a little bit angry! It was fantastic. All day the pace was much better. The feeling was better.
“We tried a different swing-arm that gave a little bit more stability with the throttle. Also different software, because for me with less power we have to have better acceleration than the rest of the riders, at least the initial touch of the throttle, and we are missing there.
“We didn't improve so much in this area but overall I'm happy because in the afternoon we did a lot of runs with more than 20 laps on the rear tyre and the pace was two to three tenths quicker.”
Between now and Barcelona will be upcoming events at Le Mans and Mugello. The #41 is braced for a particularly tough time at the stop-go French circuit.
“Le Mans very tough I think. It is not good for our bike, because all the time you accelerate from almost zero. This is the main problem because we need acceleration and we have no seamless. So we will suffer. Also because it is not my favourite track. I prefer the fast tracks. In tight corners I'm not really good. I need to improve this. We'll see what happens.”
By contrast, rookie team-mate Maverick Vinales feels it could suit him.
“Here we improved a lot on the brakes so we are quite happy and positive for Le Mans because there is a lot of really hard braking,” said the Spaniard, who was ninth quickest at the Jerez test.
“Also we are quite good in the slow corners, we just need to improve in the fast corners. So I think Le Mans will be a good track for us.”
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