Results and summary of the Moto2 race at Valencia:
Results of Moto2 qualifying:
As we wrote yesterday in our Moto2 round-up story, the Moto2 silly season is in full swing, with so many rides up in the air and so many riders still chasing seats. One of the biggest logjams has been Kenan Sofuoglu, the 2010 World Supersport champion having been in demand with a large number of teams, especially after his astonishing debut at the rain-soaked round at Estoril last weekend.
But on Saturday, that logjam cleared, when it emerged that Kenan Sofuoglu had agreed to ride for the Technomag CIP team for the 2011 season. The signing came as something as a surprise, as Sofuoglu came close to signing a deal with the Gresini Moto2 squad to replace departing Moto2 champion Toni Elias, but the deal was called off at the last moment after Gresini came up with a list of additional demands. Sofuoglu's preference had been to ride a Moriwaki, which is why the Turk was talking to Gresini, but an intervention from Suter chassis maker Eskil Suter helped change Sofuoglu's mind. In the end, Sofuoglu elected to stay with the Technomag squad, who have welcomed him in as replacement to Shoya Tomizawa, who was tragically killed at Misano. The announcement was met with a round of applause in the Technomag garage as Sofuoglu entered this morning.
After a dismal start to the final round of Moto2 at Valencia, Andrea Iannone has finally found his feet. The Fimmco Speed Up rider set the quickest time of Saturday morning's FP3 session, putting nearly three tenths over the rest of the Moto2 pack. JIR's Alex de Angelis was 2nd fastest, just edging ahead of Technomag's Kenan Sofuoglu, the double World Supersport having similarly found his feet after a less promising start.
Fastest man yesterday Stefan Bradl could manage only the 4th quickest time on Saturday morning, finishing a little ahead of Julian Simon and Kenny Noyes, the American clearly more comfortable on a track that he knows well. The 2010 Moto2 World Champion Toni Elias is less happy, only managing the 9th fastest time during FP3.
Putting together a list of riders for the 2011 Moto2 season has proven to be a remarkably intractable task. Fear and uncertainty stalks the Moto2 paddock, not least because the full list of admitted teams was not released until last weekend at Estoril. The list contains 22 teams with space for 40 riders, though doubt remains over whether the teams will be able to fill all 40 seats.
Below is the information that MotoMatters.com has been able to glean from a range of sources so far. There are still a huge number of gaps as far as riders are concerned, as teams and riders scramble for cash with which to fund rides, and as teams weigh up their options in terms of riders. Even the names that are available are still not certain, and changes are expected all the way up to Sunday night, the eve of the first Moto2 test of the 2011 season. Sunday night seems to be a pretty solid deadline, however, as the teams are keen to test on Monday, and nobody will be testing without a contract.
Stefan Bradl continues his reign in the Moto2 class at Valencia, adding the best time in the second session to his lead in the first. The Viessmann Kiefer rider ended the session nearly two tenths of a second ahead of Mapfre Aspar's Julian Simon, the Spaniard under a lot of pressure to perform well at what is the team's home race. Just a couple of hundredths behind Simon came Karel Abraham on the Cardion FTR, while another couple of hundredths further back, Alex de Angelis took 4th spot on the JIR Motobi machine.
Stefan Bradl carried his good form over from his win in Estoril last weekend, topping the timesheets with a late charge in the first session of practice for the Moto2 class at Valencia. The Viessmann Kiefer rider looked like losing his spot to Cardion's Karel Abraham, the FTR rider going very quickly at the end of the session, but falling just short of Bradl's time. Forward Racing's Jules Cluzel set the 3rd fastest time, just ahead of the two men who enlived the 2010 Moto2 title race, Julian Simon and Toni Elias.
Results and summary of the Moto2 race at Estoril:
After heavy rain and high winds washed out qualifying at Estoril yesterday, the prospects for Sunday look a little better. The sun is making an occasional appearance during warmup, but there are also plenty of dark clouds about and the occasional smattering of rain. Most of all, the weather is changing constantly, driven by the very high winds which are still buffeting the Portuguese circuit, hardly a surprise given the track's location perched on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.
The track and its surroundings are still soaking from the storms which rolled over the area overnight. The after-effects of localized flooding had been mostly cleared on the way in to the track this morning, but the scars were still visible, with rocks and branches piled at the side of the road. The weather is expected to stay relatively stable - or perhaps reliably unstable is a better description - with rain showers blowing in fast, but blowing out again just as quickly. Today's races will take place on a wet track, with occasional spots of rain, but at least they are almost certain to take place without endangering the health of the riders.
Ant West finished an extended 30-minute warm up session for the Moto2 class at the top of the timesheets, the MZ rider ending just a fraction ahead of Technomag CIP wildcard - and 2010 World Supersport champion - Kenan Sofuoglu. The Turk was just six thousandths of a second slower than West, but suffered a nasty highside towards the end of the session. Vector Kiefer's Michi Ranseder set the 3rd fastest time, ending ahead of Marc VDS Racing rider Scott Redding.
Sofuoglu was not the only rider to crash. Just as yesterday, the crash truck was very busy, with riders dropping like flies on the wet and slippery track. Though the sun is out - more or less - at Estoril, the thin film of water on the track is making conditions treacherous.
The weather at Estoril has taken a turn for the worse, with driving rain leaving standing water on the Portuguese circuit, and high winds making riding dangerous. The 125cc qualifying session was postponed before it started, followed by the postponement of the MotoGP session less than an hour later. Currently, Race Direction is due to issue a decision on cancellation of all qualifying this afternoon at 2:30pm. Given that the weather and winds do not look like abeying, the afternoon looks like being lost to the weather.
If qualifying is cancelled, then the grid will be set on the overall best time set in the three sessions so far, as happened in Sepang. For MotoGP, that would see the front two rows of the grid start in the order they finished in FP2, with Jorge Lorenzo on pole, with Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi beside him on the front row.