Press releases from the 125 and Moto2 teams after practice on Friday at Jerez:
Strong wind doesn't hold Luis Salom (4th) back in Jerez
The second Grand Prix of the season is traditionally held on the beautiful Spanish circuit of Jerez. During the first two free practice sessions of the Gran Premio bwin De España RW Racing GP rider Luis Salom rode to a respectable fourth place.
In the first free practice session of the Friday morning, the track still had some wet spots from the rain which came down on Thursday night. The 125cc GP riders were riding with caution their laps and after 20 minutes, of the 40-minute session, the first fast lap times were set. Luis Salom didn't have a good rhythm and was with on the set-up of his Aprilia. The Spaniard ended the first session Spaniard on a somewhat disappointing fourteenth position.
The second free practice was held under sunny weather circumstances with a temperature of 27 degrees. The wind was much stronger than the in the morning session and many riders had problems with this strong wind. Despite the strong wind Luis Salom had a good session and manages in the last five minutes to climb at the timesheets to a third position. In the last minute compatriot Hector Faubel passed Salom and ended the RW Racing GP rider at a respectable fourth place.
Luis Salom (4th, 1:49.853):
"The first session didn't go well. I didn't feel comfortable and had trouble finding the right rhythm. We also struggled a bit with the suspension settings and I had to be satisfied with a fourteenth place. After this session me and my chief mechanic Hans Spaan studied the data trying to find a solution why I didn't go faster. You could see how much I lost in the turns compared to the test we had earlier this season at Jerez. With a few tips and a better set-up in the second session, we went much better. The wind was making it enormously difficult to keep your lines. Especially when you had to brake or accelerate out of the corners. So, overall we had a good day and I have confidence that we! can continue like this for tomorrow. I just want to perform well in my home country and go for a starting spot on the first two rows. "
Thomas Lüthi fastest on first day of practice at Jerez
Team Interwetten Paddock Moto2 rider Thomas Lüthi started the first European Grand Prix of a season with a bang and set the fastest time on the first day of practice at Jerez. His lap time of 1.43,528 minutes in the morning was quick enough to defend first spot in combination with the second session in the afternoon where the 24-year-old from Switzerland settled for fourth place with used tyres.
Thomas Lüthi – rider (1st in 1.43,528 minutes)
"We had a very good day. We started very well and set the fastest time, and this afternoon we were on the pace once again and took fourth place, just marginally behind the leaders. The increasing wind made it difficult to repeat fast lap times, and I also was on worn tyres, so this fourth place in the second session is nothing to worry about. Tomorrow we will continue our work, trying to find an even better set-up and aiming to run within the top group again. I am confident and in a good mood!"
Alfred Willecke, Crew Chief:
"We are on the pace, especially since we did our lap times in the afternoon with an old rear tyre that had almost completed a full race distance. We managed to improve rear grip in the afternoon session and we know which tyre to use in the race. The harder compound doesn't seem to work for us, but luckily, the softer one seems to last the race distance as well!"
Terrell Thien, Team Manager
"It's looking good. We completed our program for the day as planned and we only lost a little bit of time at the beginning of the afternoon session trying to evaluate our tyre choices. But when Tom then went out on this morning's rear tyre that had completed 15 laps already, he was immediately on the pace again. That makes us very confident for the race!"
NICO TEROL MAKES ANOTHER DOMINANT START, THIS TIME IN SPAIN
BANKIA Aspar rider fastest on combined sheets thanks to hot morning pace
The Spanish Grand Prix got underway for the 125cc class with a first free practice in perfect weather this morning followed by a wind-affected second session in the afternoon. The conditions meant that the majority of riders lapped faster in the morning than they did in the afternoon, with the standout riders from preseason and the opening round in Qatar again making their dominance felt. Nico Terol and Sandro Cortese were the two pacesetters today, using their experience as they prepared to fight it out for pole position tomorrow.
BANKIA Aspar Team rider Terol continued with his excellent early season form, clocking what proved to be the fastest time of the day this morning and lapping second fastest in the afternoon. The Spaniard's advantage over his rivals is not as significant as it was in Qatar but he is happy with his progress so far and knows he has room for further improvement. His team-mate Héctor Faubel went back to basics with the set-up of his bike after numerous problems in Qatar and he is also shaping up for a podium challenge on Sunday. Adrián Martín made similarly gradual improvements throughout the day and was one of the few riders to improve his lap time in the afternoon, despite the wind.
1st Nico Terol 1.48.384 (32 laps): "It was more hard work this afternoon than this morning - the wind picked up and in the fast corners it was practically blowing us off the track. That is why the pace was quite slow and I almost crashed a couple of times. Anyway, we started out with a good set-up this morning and my pace was good so I am satisfied with that. It was great to dominate and to win like I did in Qatar but I knew things would be different here and everything would be much closer. I am happy because we are working in the same way as at Losail and everything is working so far but we have to keep it up tomorrow."
4th Héctor Faubel 1.49.539 (31 laps): "Today we changed quite a few things with respect to Qatar and it all seems to have worked. At the end of the day the lap times were good despite the fact the bike still isn't running 100% down the straights. This afternoon's session was spoilt by the wind but I am happy with the result today and I think we've made a good start on preparing our bike to challenge for the win on Sunday. Tomorrow I will grit my teeth and go for it because I want a front row start."
14th Adrián Martín 1.50.788 (25 laps): "I am satisfied because we have improved quite a lot from one session to the next. The wind bothered us a lot this afternoon and it was a particular problem for me because of my weight and size but also because of my riding style, which is quite aggressive and probably could do with being smoother. I lost the front in a few places this morning but we have worked well and improved little by little. We have taken a small step but we still have a lot of room for improvement."
KALLIO AND REDDING BACK ON FORM AT WINDY JEREZ
Marc VDS Racing Team riders Mika Kallio and Scott Redding roared back to form at a wind-hit Jerez circuit in Spain today.
After a tough start to the 2011 Moto2 World Championship in Qatar last month, Kallio and Redding bounced back in superb style to finish the opening day of free practice in ninth and 12th position respectively.
Kallio immediately showed more of his true potential on the Suter MMXI machine, the Finnish rider's confidence helped by Dunlop making available the same tyres he was able to set a fast and consistent pace on during winter testing at the Jerez circuit.
Kallio was fifth fastest this morning and although he slipped down the rankings to 13th in hotter conditions this afternoon, he was able to significantly reduce the gap to the leading bunch compared to Qatar, as the 40-strong Moto2 field fought out another typically closely contested practice. Gaining more confidence with the front-end of his machine, Kallio finished just over 0.2s away from third place having set a best time of 1.44.158. He's confident he can maintain his impressive form for the remainder of the weekend to challenge for his first points finish in the colours of the Marc VDS Racing squad.
Redding brilliantly demonstrated his disappointing result in Qatar has done little to dent his confidence as the 18-year-old finished eighth fastest in both sessions. The British rider made numerous set-up modifications to help cure a front-end issue that hindered him throughout the Qatar weekend. The set-up changes instantly restored his confidence and he ended with a best time of 1.44.316 to finish only 0.058s behind Kallio.
Mika Kallio #36 - 1.44.258 - 36 laps - 9th
"Today was much more like what I expected and it was important to come here and immediately show more of my true potential. I knew I would be in better shape here than in Qatar as soon as I saw the tyre allocation sheet. Dunlop has the same tyres I used in the test at Jerez earlier this year, so this was a big confidence boost. The tyres in Qatar were much too hard for me and that made it a very difficult weekend. I feel much more confident, although I can still improve the turning of the bike in the middle of the corner. Compared to the first race it is not a big problem and the other big positive today was the gap to the front was a lot less than in Qatar. It was difficult to get close to the top ten in Qatar, so to be only a couple of tenths away from the top three reflects how much happier I am on the bike."
Scott Redding #45 - 1.44.316 - 33 laps - 12th
"I've felt much happier and confident on the bike today and the changes we made to improve the front have made a huge difference. It was really important to come out strong and bounce back quickly from the disappointment of Qatar and I've done that, so a big thanks to my Marc VDS Racing crew. The changes have given me back the confidence I had with the front-end last year and it was actually quite difficult today just to get a feel for how much I could push the front again. I just had a lot more feedback, though we can improve in a couple of areas still with the front feeling. Today wasn't about banging in a fast time and being up the front. It was about solving the front-end issues and we've done that while still being able to post some really competitive and consistent times. I can look forward to the rest of the weekend now with a lot of confidence."
Pete Benson - Scott Redding Crew Chief
"Today was all about restoring Scott's confidence with the front-end and we've obviously made some big progress, which is really satisfying. Scott is not a crasher but he's crashed on the front-end three times in quick succession, so we've had to give him back the confidence he had last season. We were making quite a few changes to the bike to help with the front-end while we also concentrated on the rear tyre and working out a plan to increase tyre life for the race. Scott didn't do a long run but we are confident our race set-up is already looking strong, and we can improve it again tomorrow."
TAKAHASHI ON THE PACE DESPITE CRASH THIS MORNING
Winds of 40km/h battered the Jerez circuit this afternoon but Yuki Takahashi sliced through them to set the third fastest time in the Moto2 class despite suffering a crash in this morning's opening free practice session. The Team Gresini rider was the victim of an unusual crash, losing grip when he ran over the rip-off visor left by another rider, which had blown into the middle of turn 2. It meant that the first session ended early for Yuki but he made up for it in the second one, raising hopes for Sunday's race. Michele Pirro also had a positive day working on the set-up of his Moriwaki MD600, the Italian lapping sixth fastest this morning before ending the afternoon in 13th.
Yuki Takahashi ( 3rd 1' 44" 044) "It was a shame about the crash this morning, which was about four laps in. We lost time but the guys did a great job to make sure everything was ready for me this afternoon. The feeling with the bike is good, as it was in the winter tests here, and I set my best time on a used tyre. It is a positive sign for tomorrow and for the race on Sunday. I am confident we can be competitive."
Michele Pirro (13th 1' 44" 329) "Overall I am satisfied even though this morning was better than the afternoon. We have tried a few different things and stayed on the same tyre. We are not too far off the front and if we can resolve a couple of our problems and find more grip on the rear I think I can be up there in the race. Tomorrow we will keep working and try to secure a good spot on the starting grid."
Fausto Gresini "The crash this morning was in danger of ruining the day but the team was brilliant once again in giving Takahashi a bike that allowed him to be on the pace in the afternoon. Yuki wasn't at fault for the crash and I feel sorry for him because he is fast and if it wasn't for the time we lost this morning he could have been even faster. Pirro also did a good job working on his Moriwaki MD600. He is making progress and he will get his rewards."
JULIÁN SIMÓN STARTS OUT ON STRONG FOOTING WITH FIFTH AT JEREZ
MAPFRE Aspar rider just six tenths off fastest time today and a contender for pole tomorrow
With an unusual opening round in Qatar behind them the Moto2 riders were back in Europe and back into a more normal routine today as free practice got underway under the Spanish sunshine at Jerez. Stefan Bradl did his best to continue his dominance from two weeks ago and although he was on the pace again the field was much closer together. Just over a second covered the top twenty riders, Thomas Luthi the fastest of them and Julián Simón the quickest Spaniard.
It was a positive start for MAPFRE Aspar rider Simón, who worked hard on his set-up with used tyres to ensure maximum preparation for the demands of Sunday's race. His best effort was his last of the day, bringing him within sixth tenths of Luthi and fifth fastest overall. His team-mate Xavi Forés was also on the pace in the morning session but the MAPFRE Aspar rookie struggled in the afternoon after making changes to his front-end set-up. Just over a second off the fastest lap but down in 20th place, Xavi at least knows that one step backwards tomorrow can lead to several steps forward.
5th Julián Simón 1.44.153 (30 laps): "Today was very positive, we have started better here than in Qatar. We have taken things step by step and had to contend with the strong winds this afternon, which were partly the reason why the lap times were not as fast as in winter testing. I am pleased with my feeling on the bike, we completed a lot of laps on used tyres with the race in mind and when I put a fresh one on I was able close the gap to the top quite easily. I could have gone faster if we had time for another couple of laps. It has hard to make predictions but the lap times between the top ten are close and I think we will all be fighting for the podium on Sunday."
20th Xavi Forés 1.44.799 (31 laps): "This morning's session went quite well, we ended up six tenths off third place and I felt comfortable on the bike. We changed the sterring angle this afternoon to try and get the bike turning more sweetly but it didn't work and we didn't have time to change it back. The important thing from today was our pace this morning and tomorrow it will be a case of taking a backward step to get on the right path again. My objective is to finish in the top fifteen, which won't be easy but I don't think it's impossible."