Team Suzuki Press Office – September 2.

Alex Rins: 14th – 1’32.365 (+ 0.848)
Kazuki Watanabe: 25th – 1’36.019 (+ 4.502)

An air of excitement filled the Team Suzuki Ecstar pitbox on Friday morning as Kazuki Watanabe, substituting for the injured Joan Mir, made his MotoGP debut at the Misano World Circuit. The Japanese rider took a steady approach to the first session of the day, while Alex Rins showed strong early pace as he jumped into second place. The times were tight at the top as always, and Rins closed FP1 in eighth place, just half a second from first place.

Warmer conditions in FP2 meant the session was prime for good performances, but with everyone pushing hard, crashes were almost guaranteed. Rins was hampered by an off at Turn 15, just when he was getting into his rhythm at the half-way point of the session. He quickly returned to the track for a last push but missed the Top 10 by a small amount; less than a 10th of a second. Nevertheless, he felt positive about the early feel of his GSX-RR in San Marino.

Kazuki Watanabe improved his time by more than a second compared with the morning session, and this boost put him within 105% of the top time, the necessary ‘cut off’ to be allowed to continue and race. Both Watanabe and the team were proud of this achievement on the opening day.

Alex Rins:

“Today was a good day and I was unlucky with the crash because it dropped my confidence and then I didn’t really have time to push again. Before that I was getting quicker and feeling pretty good, especially my pace. When I had my crash, I had an incident with a marshal because he grabbed me and it set my airbag off, and I’ve already been to apologise, but I’d like to say again that I’m sorry for him. Let’s hope the weather stays dry tomorrow and we hope that in FP3 we can make the cut for qualifying.”

Kazuki Watanabe:

“In the beginning it was a real debut, it’s practically the first time I’ve ridden this bike or this track, so it was a strange feeling but a great one. Lap by lap, I got used to the bike more and gained confidence in FP2 – which was more difficult in FP1 because it was all a bit overwhelming; everything on this bike is extreme compared with the superbike. Towards the end of today I really started to enjoy riding, so I’m ready to try again tomorrow.”

Livio Suppo - Team Manager:

“Alex was doing a good job in FP1 and the beginning of FP2, but unfortunately, he had a crash when he switched onto the hard tyre and he lost a bit of confidence and time - which meant he couldn’t get into the Top 10. But, despite the crash, he’s had a good start to the weekend. I’m very happy for Kazuki, he’s improving step by step, it’s not easy to get into the 105%, and he’s already achieved this target so we’re feeling good.”


1 Enea BASTIANINI Gresini Racing MotoGP 1'31.517
2 Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati Lenovo Team 1'31.631 0.114 0.114
3 Jack MILLER Ducati Lenovo Team 1'31.702 0.185 0.071
4 Johann ZARCO Prima Pramac Racing 1'31.837 0.320 0.135
5 Fabio QUARTARARO Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 1'31.843 0.326 0.006
6 Maverick VIÑALES Aprilia Racing 1'31.882 0.365 0.039
7 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia Racing 1'31.929 0.412 0.047
8 Jorge MARTIN Prima Pramac Racing 1'32.166 0.649 0.237
9 Marco BEZZECCHI Mooney VR46 Racing Team 1'32.191 0.674 0.025
10 Franco MORBIDELLI Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 1'32.242 0.725 0.051
11 Pol ESPARGARO Repsol Honda Team 1'32.301 0.784 0.059
12 Miguel OLIVEIRA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1'32.330 0.813 0.029
13 Brad BINDER Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1'32.358 0.841 0.028
14 Alex RINS Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 1'32.365 0.848 0.007
15 Alex MARQUEZ LCR Honda CASTROL 1'32.418 0.901 0.053
16 Takaaki NAKAGAMI LCR Honda IDEMITSU 1'32.566 1.049 0.148
17 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO Gresini Racing MotoGP 1'32.656 1.139 0.090
18 Michele PIRRO Racing 1'32.673 1.156 0.017
19 Luca MARINI Mooney VR46 Racing Team 1'32.749 1.232 0.076
20 Andrea DOVIZIOSO WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team 1'32.894 1.377 0.145
21 Stefan BRADL Repsol Honda Team 1'32.978 1.461 0.084
22 Raul FERNANDEZ Tech3 KTM Factory Racing 1'33.200 1.683 0.222
23 Remy GARDNER Tech3 KTM Factory Racing 1'33.559 2.042 0.359
24 Darryn BINDER WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team 1'33.608 2.091 0.049
25 Kazuki WATANABE Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 1'36.019 4.502 2.411

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For more stories about Alex Rins, Click Here. For photos, Click Here.

For more stories about Kazuki Watanabe, Click Here. For photos, Click Here.

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