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Sepang Testing: Iannone: This year we have a good chance

Andrea Iannone resists the temptation to post a fast lap on soft tyres on Wednesday; instead focuses on race pace and is more than content with the results.
Wednesday's timesheets suggested Andrea Iannone did not scale the heights of what had gone before, but the final day of testing at Sepang gave the Italian assurances that Suzuki's GSX-RR can “stay at the top, all race” long.

Rather than chasing a lap time on soft rubber, Iannone persisted with used tyres throughout Wednesday, working on race pace in an attempt to further improve Suzuki's electronics package.

He ended Wednesday tenth fastest, 0.677s off pace setter Maverick Viñales. However, his fastest time from Tuesday was enough to place second overall on the combined time sheets, a feat that also underlined the bike's potential for one lap pace.

“I have a very good feeling for these three days,” said the Italian. “I'm very happy about yesterday, today. Yesterday we ride a little more fast. We pushed for the lap time.

“Today we didn't use the new, soft tyre to improve the lap time. We focus on the race pace and we improve a lot in this area. Also with the used tyre we have a good pace. I'm very happy because after yesterday, this was the priority. Today with a small change we improve a lot.

“For sure we want to improve more the electronics, all the package. But I think we have a good chance, a good potential always with this package. For sure we can improve in this area.

“The bike has a good step in front. I'm waiting and I believe a lot in the group, the team, in Suzuki, and I think that this year we have a good chance.”

While continuing to fine tune bike settings rather than testing new components, Iannone did encounter a front-end vibration that was a hindrance in slow turns.

The Italian experienced a slow get-off at turn one early into Wednesday, and admits that this is a problem they need to eradicate in the coming weeks.

“Unfortunately I lose the front because I have a small vibration in the slow corners. In the fast corner the bike is perfect. There is no vibration, no chattering.

“But in the slow corner, especially in turns four, nine, 14 and the last corner, we have a small vibration at maximum lean angle. It's a little bit difficult to manage this situation.

“When the tyres in front have dropped this situation is worse and is very, very difficult to control. I think yesterday we tried some parts on the bike, which improved this area.

“Today unfortunately it was not possible to continue using it. But for the Australia test we will have it for all of the days and all of the year.”

On his pace throughout the final day, Iannone had seen enough to suggest he can fight at the front. “It was OK. With the used tyre we have a good pace. I didn't compare with the other riders but I think for all the race we will stay on the top.”

Tagged as: Iannone , Viñales

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February 02, 2017 3:18 PM

Iannone will win races this year. The Suzuki will be harder to crash than the Ducati and I think it will suit him. Shaping up to be the best season for a while particularly with some fast new riders around and bike changes too.

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