Moto GP

Maverick Vinales still searching for better grip after COTA test

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Maverick Vinales still searching for better grip after COTA test
Team Suzuki Ecstar‰Ûªs Maverick Vinales and Aleix EspargarÌ_ stayed in Austin for one more day after the GP of The Americas to test updates for the factory GSX-RR machines and to review the data from the first three races.

The first three 2016 MotoGP events provided plenty of feedback to the Suzuki factory race department in Japan, resulting in some updates in terms of set-up and electronics. The main focus has been on the new 2016 chassis, exploring different options in set-up, plus further developments in the electronics package.

Light rain in the morning restricted track time, but both Vi̱ales and EspargarÌ_ were able to take advantage of the exclusive Team Suzuki Ecstar test session and both riders reported positive progress at the end of the day.

After three races it was important to re-evaluate the progress to date in a non-race, low-pressure environment and although the riders‰Ûª impressions and feedback differed in some respects, they agreed on the future direction to provide the most rapid improvements.

‰ÛÏToday we tried some more configurations with the 2016 chassis to compare with the one we tested in pre-season and the one I‰Ûªve been using in the first three races and we are happy to have discovered that, on this track, these new configurations could have seen a more positive result in the race. Vinales explained.

"After this test, I maybe now have a little regret at my initial choice, but this is normal - all aspects have positives and negatives and you need time to go in depth with the investigations. Sometimes it takes more time, so it‰Ûªs good that we made this test because we could go really in depth of these two sides of the same coin and now know better the potential of both the chassis‰Ûª. This gives us a double option and I don‰Ûªt exclude that we might decide to adopt one or the other according to the specificity of the different tracks.

"Basically what we are looking for is some more traction and also more effective hard braking, which again has to do with the rear grip. The modifications in set-up we have done here proved to be effective, as my lap times were pretty good, and this is something that makes me very happy. We also made some steps forward with the electronics - it‰Ûªs another thing that could help us, and it‰Ûªs good to see that we are continuously improving.

"Testing here was very important - it‰Ûªs good to review the situation after three races and to see where we are, so that now we can have a clearer idea which direction to take.‰Û
Maverick Vinales still searching for better grip after COTA test
After his best result of the season with a 5th at the COTA Aleix EspargarÌ_ also got down to some much needed testing.

‰ÛÏIt‰Ûªs good that we had this opportunity to test here because we were missing some information and now we have a clearer idea of where we are," EspargarÌ_ said.

"We focused mainly on the chassis, where we had some new set-ups to be tested on the 2016 version so we could compare with the configurations that we tested in the winter and also on the 2015 chassis we have been using since the Qatar race. We started from the set-up we used in Qatar qualifying and moved on from there.

"The differences between the 2015 chassis and the new configurations of the 2016 are not that big, but their strong points are different and this gives us more options to exploit when it comes to better adapt from one track to another. Today my confidence improved, as well as my lap times, and this makes me happy after the tough three races so far.

"I‰Ûªm still working on my riding style to make it more suitable to the Michelin tyres, and also for this we tried some little variations in my position on the bike. The electronics have been another area that we tested - we still need to go deeper to understand it better and any change is good for us to learn more. It‰Ûªs good that we did this test - it helped me to re-evaluate my ideas and to re-focus on our path," EspargarÌ_ concluded.

For Suzuki, the Team Suzuki Ecstar project is an important investment and the continued improvements are testimony of the company‰Ûªs trust and emotional involvement in the ongoing MotoGP project.

Main Photo: Maverick Vinales
Maverick Vinales still searching for better grip after COTA test
Maverick Vinales

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