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MotoGP: Suzuki take test gains to Le Mans

Le Mans a memorable MotoGP venue for Suzuki
Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales will return to the scene of Suzuki's only four-stroke MotoGP victory this weekend.

That came at the hands of Chris Vermeulen during a wet race at Le Mans in 2007.

The Australian was riding the previous GSX-R machine, while this year's French Grand Prix marking the sixth race (including Valencia 2014) for the GSX-RR.

The new inline-four cylinder racer has achieved a pair of seventh places in the hands of Espargaro, but the Spaniard is certain much more is possible once engine performance is improved.

Until then the focus is on maximising traction, with gains made at the recent post-race Jerez test, which saw Espargaro set the morning pace on his way to fourth fastest lap time.

“I'm satisfied with the steps forward we have made in the last test in Jerez,” he declared. “We are looking for better traction which could let us better exploit the bike's potential. The electronics have made many improvements and we also tested some chassis parts on the rear that allowed us to make better lap times.

“We have also worked on geometry and set-up which finally gave us better braking, which also allowed us to enter the corners quicker and exploit the strong points of our chassis, which will be crucial for Le Mans.

“Personally my feeling with the French track is not the best, I prefer fast corners and I struggle on tight circuits, but this is not worrying me too much as I know the handling of my GSX-RR is good and I'm confident I will find a good feeling with the bike pretty quickly.”

Le Mans is a memorable circuit for premier-class rookie Viñales, who claimed his first ever grand prix win - in only his fourth start - in the 2011 125cc race.

“To me going to Le Mans is a good thing, I like this circuit and I am confident I will find a good feeling pretty quickly,” he said. “The circuit is tight with slow corners, which means you have to brake later and be as efficient as possible through the turns to have a good exit speed.

“The improvements we've made in the recent Jerez tests give me hope; the electronics and also the new set-up has proved to be effective both on lap-times and on improving my confidence in riding.”

Like his team-mate, Vinales has scored points in all four race so far, with a best of ninth in Austin.

Tagged as: Suzuki , Espargaro , Vinales

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Jack Mordino

May 12, 2015 12:26 PM

I'd really love to see a rider of champion quality (I mean "alien") on that Suzuki. It's been long since the Schwantz days of glory back in the early 90's. (Yes, I remember Roberts in 2000 - I consider this as a one-off in a transition period where the sport lacked really dominating riders).

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