Team Suzuki Press Office - November 20.

Combined practice times:

Joan Mir: 6th - 1’39.732 (+ 0.315)
Alex Rins: 17th - 1’40.213 (+ 0.796)

The first day of action at the Algarve International Circuit in Portimao provided thrilling footage and close times as the riders adapted to the rollercoaster-style track in southern Portugal. The sessions were extended to allow more time for the riders to get to grips with the complex circuit.

The vast majority of FP1 was spent adapting to the track and learning its unique undulations and demanding layout. Both Joan Mir and Alex Rins got on well during the session, and the pair put in long runs on their way to seventh and 11th places respectively.

As all the riders started to get used to the circuit, the times began to plummet in FP2. Rins had a small crash at Turn 8 at the beginning of the session and he was thankfully uninjured. Amazingly, as time went on, the Top 18 riders were covered by one second - making for a very exciting but tricky afternoon. Mir and Rins continued to learn, working with different tyre options and settings to try and optimise the set-up ahead of tomorrow’s all important qualifying. With a few minutes to go in the session, both Team Suzuki Ecstar riders were in the Top 10 but as times came down further, Rins got bumped down the order to 17th on combined. However, Mir held on to a provisional place in Q2 with sixth on combined.

Davide Brivio - Team Manager:

“It’s been an interesting day being at a circuit we’ve never competed at before. We’ve been collecting a lot of information and data, and the riders have been familiarising themselves with the track. Joan put in some good lap times and had strong pace. And despite having a small crash, Alex also did a good job of collecting information and getting plenty of laps in. We’ll be working tonight to see what we need to change for tomorrow, and then we’re ready to get back out there and try our best.”

Joan Mir:

“Considering it’s the first day at the track, I feel pretty good. We’ve worked a lot on the settings and the electronics. It’s quite difficult to adjust the bike to suit a circuit we’ve never been to before; finding the correct settings took a lot of work. But by the end of the day I felt comfortable and I found good pace, so we’re satisfied with this first day. It’s the same for everyone, so it’s important to be quick as soon as possible and learn fast. I feel quite strong in several places on the track, but there’s always a margin for improvement and I hope to put in a good performance tomorrow.”

Alex Rins:

“This track is very demanding, but it’s really nice to ride. You have to concentrate really hard because the track has so many different elements, with ups and downs and different cambers and corners, there’s no time to breathe! You need to stay focused and manage it all well. After the crash I felt a bit of pain on my ‘bad’ shoulder, but luckily nothing that some treatment won’t fix. I’m looking forward to riding again tomorrow, and I’ll continue to work hard to find the best settings to fight at the front.”

GRANDE PRÉMIO MEO DE PORTUGAL - Combined Classification after DAY1:

1. J. ZARCO - Esponsorama Racing - 01:39.417
2. M. VIÑALES - Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP - 01:39.536 - +0.119
3. A. ESPARGARO - Aprilia Racing Team Gresini - 01:39.645 - +0.228
4. F. QUARTARARO - Petronas Yamaha SRT - 01:39.692 - +0.275
5. B. BINDER - Red Bull KTM Factory Racing - 01:39.697 - +0.280
6. J. MIR - Team SUZUKI ECSTAR - 01:39.732 - +0.315
7. A. DOVIZIOSO - Ducati Team - 01:39.741 - +0.324
8. P. ESPARGARO - Red Bull KTM Factory Racing - 01:39.783 - +0.366
9. J. MILLER - Pramac Racing - 01:39.820 - +0.403
10. F. MORBIDELLI - Petronas Yamaha SRT - 01:39.888 - +0.471
11. S. BRADL - Repsol Honda Team - 01:39.909 - +0.492
12. T. NAKAGAMI - LCR Honda IDEMITSU - 01:39.939 - +0.522
13. M. OLIVEIRA - Red Bull KTM Tech 3 - 01:39.946 - +0.529
14. C. CRUTCHLOW - LCR Honda CASTROL - 01:39.966 - +0.549
15. F. BAGNAIA - Pramac Racing - 01:39.977 - +0.560
16. L. SAVADORI - Aprilia Racing Team Gresini - 01:40.085 - +0.668
17. A. RINS - Team SUZUKI ECSTAR - 01:40.213 - +0.796
18. A. MARQUEZ - Repsol Honda Team - 01:40.338 - +0.921
19. D. PETRUCCI - Ducati Team - 01:40.547 - +1.130
20. T. RABAT - Esponsorama Racing - 01:41.256 - +1.839
21. V. ROSSI - Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP - 01:41.279 - +1.862
22. M. KALLIO - Red Bull KTM Tech 3 - 01:41.826 - +2.409

Portugal MotoGP Image Gallery: CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS

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

For more stories about Joan Mir, Click Here. For photos, Click Here.

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