Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after Sunday's thrilling races at Le Mans:
Race summary and results for Moto3:
The weather has finally turned at Le Mans, the track is wet, and though it is not currently raining, it could start at any moment. A wet track means new names at the top of the timesheets, with Jack Miller setting the fastest time in the wet, ahead of Miguel Oliveira and Miller's Racing Team Germany teammate John McPhee.
2013 Le Mans MotoGP Saturday Round Up: Of Exceptional Rookies, Real Race Pace, And What It Takes To Be Champion
Marc Marquez is just starting to let the mask slip. Asked in the press conference about the fact that he will start from pole at Le Mans, despite this weekend being the first time he has ridden a MotoGP bike at the French track, Marquez admitted he always has to play down his chances ahead of each weekend. "On Thursday, I always need to say something similar," he said.
His modesty is very becoming, and throughout the preseason and the early races, he has continued to dampen down overly-inflated expectations. Yes, pole is nice. Yes, winning is fantastic. No, he is not even thinking of the title yet. But everything about Marc Marquez screams ambition, the desire to win, to do what it takes to beat his rivals and prove to everyone what he believes, that he is the best rider in the world, a (self-)belief that motivates every top level athlete.
The last-corner lunge inside Jorge Lorenzo at Jerez will be cited as evidence, but more than that, the desperate attempts in the preceding laps were proof enough, if proof were needed. Is Marc Marquez thinking of winning the MotoGP championship in his first year, a feat previously only achieved by Kenny Roberts? No, it is not chief among his concerns. Is he trying to win as many races as possible, an objective that will bring him the 2013 title if he succeeds? Of course he is. He may not be thinking about the championship, but he is definitely trying to win it.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after qualifying at Le Mans:
Summary of qualifying and results for Moto3:
Tito Rabat has finally deposed Scott Redding from the top of the Moto2 timesheets, setting the fastest time in the final session of free practice at Le Mans. The Pons Tuenti HP 40 rider put in a late charge to sit at the top of the standings, with Redding closing in at the end of the session.
Redding ended the morning in second, just under three hundredths off the pace of the Spanish championship leader, after making life difficult for himself by crashing early in the session. He was one of several to go down - others included Thomas Luthi, Sandro Cortese and Jordi Torres - but was unhurt in the incident, going back out to better the times he had set before the off.
Nico Terol took third place, a tenth behind Redding, and just ahead of Takaaki Nakagami and Pol Espargaro, places three to five separated by just twenty two thousandths of a second.
A cold, damp track and bright sunshine greeted the Moto3 riders for their third practice session, in which young German charger Jonas Folger topped the time sheets. Maverick Vinales finished second, a tenth behind and some six tenths off yesterdays fastest time set by Spaniard Alex Rins, who ended FP3 in third place. Mahindra rider Miguel Oliveira finished in fourth while Niccolo Antonelli rounded out the top five.
The session was marred no less than eight crashes for the likes of Romano Fenati, Jakub Kornfeil, Niklas Ajo, Florian Alt, Matteo Ferrari, Brad Binder, Alessandro Tonnuci and Luis Salom. Jakub Kornfeil initially limped away from his crash but was eventually stretchered from the scene. The heaviest crash was for championship contender Salom, who ran wide at the final corner onto some damp articificial turf and highsided, consequently careering into an airfence at high pace. He was attended to by circuit medical staff and looked to be in some discomfort.
Efren Vazquez, who crashed heavily yesterday did not take part in the session and is believed to be undergoing collarbone surgery today in Barcelona. He hopes to return in time for Mugello in two weeks, but time could be tight.
2013 Le Mans MotoGP Friday Round Up: Of Four Fast Men, Improved Ducatis, Redding's Reign, And A Quota On Spaniards
So far, so good. That seems to be the story from the first day of practice at Le Mans. A full day of dry weather - except for the last few minutes of FP2 for the Moto3 class, where the rain turned briefly to hail, only to blow out again as quickly as it came - means that everyone had a chance to work on their race set up. With the top four separated by just 0.166 seconds, the top five are within a quarter of a second, and Alvaro Bautista, the man in ninth, is just over seven tenths from the fastest man Dani Pedrosa.
A good day too for the Hondas. Dani Pedrosa was immediately up to speed, as expected. Marc Marquez was also quick in the afternoon, which was less expected. Unlike Jerez and Austin, this was the first time he rode a MotoGP machine at Le Mans, and getting used to hauling a 260 hp, 160kg bike around the tight layout of the French track is a different proposition to riding a Moto2 bike with half the horsepower here. He took a morning to get used to the track, asked for a few changes to the base set up inherited from Casey Stoner, and then went and blitzed to second in the afternoon, 0.134 seconds off his teammate.
More important than Marquez' speed is his consistency, however. In the afternoon, he posted seven laps of 1'34, which looks to be the pace to expect for a dry race. Only two men did more, Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo having posted nine laps at that pace, with both men also consistently a tenth or two quicker than the Spanish rookie.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first day of practice at Le Mans:
Alex Rins ended an incident-packed FP2 session for the Moto3 class on top of the timesheets, in a session cut short by the weather. The Estrella Galicia rider just edged ahead of Mapfre Aspar's Jonas Folger, while Luis Salom took third spot half a second behind Rins, and just ahead of Maverick Viñales. British rider Danny Webb ended in fifth, ahead of Niklas Ajo and Webb's Ambrogio teammate, Brad Binder.
A change in the weather thwarted Viñales' forward progress. The Red Bull KTM rider had fallen on his out lap, taking his time to get going again once he had returned to the pits. Spots of rain started falling shortly after the halfway mark, becoming more serious with some five minutes or so left, sending everyone back into the pits. A number of riders crashed during the session, though most of them during the dry first part, rather than due to the rain, with Efren Vazquez coming off worst, being taken to the Medical Center with a suspected fractured collar bone.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams ahead of this weekend's races at Le Mans:
Dorna Sports issued the following press release on the acquisition of the broadcast rights for MotoGP in the United Kingdom for the next five years. More information and full commentary will be released soon, but there are a few key details which are already known. Firstly, for details on how to receive BT Sport, see the BT Sport website. Secondly, although the commentary team is as yet unknown, the names of Julian Ryder and Keith Huewen are circulating, though this could of course be wishful thinking. Thirdly, it seems almost certain that British Eurosport will no longer provided delayed broadcast of the MotoGP races, as that deal was tied up with the BBC contract.
Below is the press release from Dorna:
BT Sport to bring MotoGP™ to British audiences from 2014
Dorna Sports announces today an agreement with BT Sport for the exclusive broadcast rights to the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship, starting from the 2014 season, to be shown across all its platforms in the UK and Ireland.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after Sunday's races at Jerez: