Press releases from the Moto2 and 125cc teams after qualifying on Saturday:
Work To Do At Estoril For Kenny Noyes
For the second year in a row, the weather at Estoril has thrown the Moto2 class a curve ball. Avintia-STX rider Kenny Noyes arrived at the track looking forward to unlocking more of the secrets of the Portuguese circuit, but the half-wet, half-dry conditions left the American a little short of practice and setup time. That meant that in the hectic pace of qualifying on Saturday afternoon, Kenny found himself further from the front row than the Avintia-STX rider had been hoping.
Despite qualifying only 27th on the grid, Kenny is still happy with the progress he and the team are making with the FOGI-Racing backed FTR and the Bitubo suspension. His grid slot belies the race pace the team have found, with Kenny running close to the pace required to put points on the board, Kenny's main aim at this stage in the season. The American will be aiming to make his usual rocket start and make up some places off the line, and trying to fight his way into the points.
27th, Fastest Lap: 1'43.399
Kenny said, "We've put ourselves in a bit of a hole again. Qualifying is definitely where we gotta improve, so we're not where we want to be on the grid. I've got a pretty good rhythm, but those last laps where you've got to go a little crazy, I'm still not as confident as I need to be."
"The weekend is going better than it looks on the timesheet. We found some things on the bike with geometry that I really like, it's just I wasn't really able to get in a good lap, so we've got our work cut out for us tomorrow. Hopefully we'll be able to get a good start and get into the top 15."
"I'm hoping the weather stays dry. What we need to do now is keep working on the bike setup and we'll learn a lot more that way. Sure, it's a lot easier to make up the difference in a wet race, but looking at it for the long term, I definitely want it to be dry."
Márquez is cautious and finishes fourth in the Qualifying session
The changeable weather and the accidents seen did not invite to take risks. His fourth position will allow him to start tomorrow from the second line in the hard-fought Moto2 category
Marc Márquez will start tomorrow from the second line of the starting grid of the Portuguese Grand Prix. The current 125cc World Championship, who this season competes in Moto2, set today the fourth fastest time in his third qualifying session.
Today it was not easy to ride fast in Estoril, as the rain fallen yesterday on the Portuguese track left areas that were still damp today. It was cloudy, without wind and with high humidity. As a result, there were several falls during both the Practice and the Qualifying sessions.
Third in the morning free practice, Márquez took the track determinedly at the beginning of the Qualifying. With dark clouds gathering quickly and threatening rain, the Repsol rider wanted to get ahead and set the fastest time. He kept the lead of the classification until the last twenty minutes
Bradl, Simón, Luthi and Márquez took turns at the top of the classification in the last minutes of the Qualifying, and eventually the Repsol rider finished fourth, four tenths behind the fastest time set by the German rider Bradl.
FP3 - 1:43.369, 19 laps, 79 km.
QP - 1:42.073, 21 laps, 88 km.
"Today's practice went well. Starting from the second line is not a bad place, as it is a circuit that does not suit my riding style very well and it is a bit more difficult for me than others. Anyway, we were able to improve along all sessions and that is the most important thing.
We will see if we are lucky tomorrow and are able to ride on dry. In the warm-up we want to test some more things, as I still do not feel fully comfortable on it. I want to thank my team for the jog they are doing, they make things easier for me".
MOTO2 : Top 8 for Estoril's qualifying practice for the Technomag-CIP team
Alès, 30 april 2011 - The third round of the Moto2 world championship takes place in Estoril (Portugal) this weekend. After encouraging free practices, the two Technomag-CIP riders have just made it a reality during their qualifying practice.
Dominique Aegerter: despite a little crash during his last lap when he was potentially set for the pole position, he finishes his session at an outstanding 5th place. With a lap time in 1:42.143, Dominique shows a good progression throughout all these practices.
Kenan Sofuoglu ended at the 8th position, he crashed as well during his last lap when he was on a quicker time. After his 5th place gain in 2010 Estoril GP, Kenan proves that he is getting his bearings back and that he is improving after each track time.
Alain Bronec, team's owner : "we went to Spain for a private training last Monday which was very efficient. Our technical team found some solutions, which seems to be paying off. Hard work combined to our coaching work are rewarding for our riders. Regarding tomorrow, the weather conditions will be crucial, but we know that we are on the right track…"
Next meeting tomorrow at 12H15 (11h15 local time) for the Moto2 start.
Smith ready to fight for top ten in Estoril
Tech 3 Racing Team rider Bradley Smith has targeted a third consecutive top ten finish in tomorrow's Portuguese Moto2 Grand Prix after he ended as closely fought qualifying session with the 15th fastest time.
The British rider was just 0.5s away from a place on the second row of the grid as he bounced back superbly from a crash in tricky conditions in this morning's third and final practice session to post a best time of 1.42.743.
Heavy overnight rain had drenched the 2.599 miles circuit and despite no repeat of the downpours for practice and qualifying, the track remained treacherously damp in some sections throughout the whole day.
Smith was still able t o lap less than 0.3s away from the top ten and he is confident he can maintain his sensational start to his rookie campaign in the competitive Moto2 class. Smith will start tomorrow's 26-lap race in sixth position in the World Championship rankings having claimed a stunning fourth position in the previous race in Jerez.
Mike di Meglio will start the third round of the 2011 World Championship from 26th on the grid, the Frenchman still searching for a confident set-up with his Mistral 610 machine. The former 125cc World Champion ended with a best time of 1.43.366.
Bradley Smith 15th 1.42.473 – 18 laps
"The qualifying session was not too bad but I just felt that there was a couple of areas from the crash this morning that upset the bike and also knocked my confidence a little bit. It took me a while to build up my pac e and by the time I felt confident again I just ran out of time. It is a bit of shame because I felt pretty confident during practice and was hopeful of being a few places further up the grid. Starting from 15th is going to make it a difficult race and I've never been lower than the third row in Moto2. So I need to make sure I get a good start and keep out of trouble early on while pushing as hard as I can. I'm hoping for a dry race tomorrow but if it is wet then we have a really good rain setting too, so I feel we're prepared for whatever the conditions throw at us."
Mike di Meglio: 26th 1.43.666 – 17 laps
"I felt quite comfortable in the early part of the session and was able to do my lap time pretty easily. But then I lost the front at the last corner while I was pushing hard to improve and this knocked my confidence. It was a big slide of about 15 metres and I was lucky not to crash. After that we changed the front tyre as we thought the bad feeling was coming from the tyre. But I had another strange problem with the front, so it obviously was something different and we need to work on a solution for the race tomorrow. I expect to be faster for the race and see if I can challenge for the points."
NICO TEROL TARGETS VICTORY FROM PORTUGUESE POLE
BANKIA Aspar rider on course for third win in three races after taking second pole of 2011
The 125cc riders were able to ride in both wet and dry conditions today, with this morning's final free practice taking place under the rain but the track largely dry, if slippery, for qualifying in the afternoon. A puddle in the apex of turn one caused several riders to crash but for those who stayed on board it was impossible to keep pace with BANKIA Aspar rider Nico Terol, who has dominated every session so far this weekend. Sandro Cortese and Miguel Oliveira were the closest riders to him although even they were over seven tenths adrift, Terol's team-mate Héctor Faubel qualifying fourth.
Terol is therefore a clear current favourite for the win tomorrow and providing the rain stays away everything points to an escape attempt by the Spaniard. Faubel is currently a second off the pace of his team-mate although his feeling with the bike improved compared to yesterday and he feels capable of putting up a strong fight for a podium position. Fourth place was not quite enough to meet his objective of a front row start, which wasn't helped by heavy traffic on track towards the end of the session. Adrián Martín continued his good work this weekend, improving his lap times and reducing the gap to Terol. The youngster is confident of a good result after qualifying tenth.
1st Nico Terol 1.46.556 (17 laps): "Qualifying went really well. The conditions were quite critical so to have set the fastest time gives me a real confidence boost. We have continued working in the same way as yesterday because the bike was already working well and I was able to set a strong pace again. The team are doing a brilliant job and they've given me a competitive bike. I am happy to be on pole and I hope the race is in the dry because my feeling in those conditions is much better and the racing is always more fun. I will give everything to try and win the race but we have to be cautious because there are always surprises."
4th Héctor Faubel 1.47.600 (19 laps): "It was a shame we couldn't get more out of qualifying because the bike is running better but I came up against a lot of traffic. I pushed hard this morning to close the gap to Nico in the wet and it was a positive session. It may not look like it on the time sheets but I am convinced we are closer to him than we were yesterday, I just couldn't get a clean lap in. I have qualified fourth which does not reflect our potential but I am not worried. I will give everything tomorrow to stay with the lead group and put up a fight. Our most realistic objective right now is the podium rather than the win because Nico is looking so strong."
10th Adrián Martín 1.48.639 (17 laps): "I would have liked to make up one more position and get on the third row - we were just a step away - but I am happy with our performance. I am following the advice of Gino and Jorge and tried to follow some other riders to improve. Things are going quite well for me this weekend and I am comfortable. I'm starting tenth and with a good start I can get into a fast group, so that is my intention. I did a long run during practice to get ready for the race and if it is dry I'll look to follow some stronger riders again."
Satisfied Siméon after he qualified on 7th row on the grid
Xavier Siméon is happy with the Portuguese Grand Prix in Estoril so far as he remarkably improved his feeling with the Tech3 Mistral 610 bike regarding to the difficult weekend he had at the second Grand Prix of the season in Jerez, Spain.
The youngster from Belgium qualified in 21st position on the grid, which means he will start tomorrow's race from 7th row and this is his best qualifying result in his first full Moto2 campaign so far.
Siméon worked a lot on his physical condition and the setting of the bike with his team during the long break the MotoGP world championship had due to the postponement of the Japanese Grand Prix, that was meant to take place last weekend in Motegi, Japan. And he is very confiden t about the direction the improvements go to.
Xavier Siméon, 21st - 1'43.120:
"We improved a lot since Jerez. I did a lot of training during the break. We also worked on the settings of the bike to improve my confidence as I had a really bad feeling before. Now we are improving and this morning when it was half wet and half dry it was so much better than in Jerez already. We did not put new tyres, so we were still behind the classification, but for the qualifying we had enough tyres and then I could ride a better lap time. I am also not far from Bradley, only 4 tenths of a second, which makes me really happy. I am 21st on the grid, not 32 like at the race before. Now we have to keep concentrating as the more important is the day tomorrow."
REDDING AND KALLIO AIM FOR POINTS AT ESTORIL
Scott Redding and Mika Kallio are confident they can score the first points of the 2011 Moto2 World Championship for the Marc VDS Racing Team in tomorrow's Portuguese Grand Prix.
Having been one of the star performers during free practice, which Redding finished in fourth position overall, the British rider was confident of mounting a strong challenge for a place on the front row of the grid when qualifying commenced under grey and gloomy skies at the Estoril track this afternoon.
Consistently running inside the top five in the opening half of the session, Redding looked poised to claim his best qualifying result of the season, having set a best time of 1.42.653 after only five laps. But the 18-year-old was unable to take full advantage of a new Dunlop rear tyre in a typically frenetic finale and he slipped down the rankings to 13th.
Boosted by his impressive performance in practice though, Redding is supremely confident that he can register his first points of the campaign after a difficult opening two races in Qatar and Jerez.
Finnish rider Kallio had also demonstrated his most impressive form of the season to date during practice and he was sixth overall on combined times. Torrential overnight rain though soaked the 2.599 miles Estoril circuit and despite no further rain falling throughout today, the surface was slow to dry and left tricky damp patches scattered around the circuit for the decisive qualifying session.
The change in grip levels saw Kallio unable to lap with the same speed and confidence that he managed yesterday, as he worked tirelessly with his Marc VDS Racing crew to improve rear grip.
But looking to improve on 19th position in the grid, Kallio lost the front-end of his Suter MMXI machine at Turn 6 in the final moments of the session. Unfortunately the late spill saw the Finn drop outside of the top 20 and he will start the 26-lap race, which is round three of the 2011 Moto2 World Championship campaign, from 22nd on the grid.
Scott Redding #45 1.42.563 - 20 laps - 13th position
"Practice had been going so well and I was feeling much more confident with the bike that I was expecting to be a lot higher up the grid than 13th. I felt good at the start of qualifying and was definitely aiming to be on the second row at least because I've been able to lap in the top six for the entire weekend. But when I put in a new rear tyre I couldn't get the same feeling and confidence. I lost edge grip and then I started to push the front towards the end and unfortunately I lost a few places and I'm a bit annoyed about that. I definitely don't think 13th is a true reflection of my potential but it is always hard in Moto2 to come from the fifth row and fight at the front. We just need to see what the weather will do tomorrow but a top six would be great, though the main focus will be on scoring some points and getting some momentum for the rest of the season."
Mika Kallio #36 1.43.140 - 17 laps - 22nd position
"The crash at the end of the session was obviously not good, but even before that the qualifying hadn't gone according to plan at all. I was slower than yesterday and this was not what I expected at all. When I went out on the slicks this morning on a damp track I didn't have much grip, especially from the rear. The track improved for qualifying and while I had more grip, I still couldn't push to the level I had yesterday and that is disappointing. The big problem was the rear grip but each time I tried to go faster I was pushing the front a lot too. I was trying to improve my position when I lost the front-end braking hard on the bumps at the end of the back straight. Starting from 22nd on the grid means it is going to be a difficult race but my target will be to get in the points. But I need to find one second to have a chance of challenging for the top ten."
Michael Bartholemy - Team Manager
"We were very confident after Scott and Mika had performed so well in practice that both of them would be much higher up the grid. Scott started qualifying very well and was always in the top six like he has been for the whole weekend so far. So when he put in a new rear tyre we were very optimistic that he would be able to keep his place in the top six and start from the first two rows, which is so important in Moto2. It looks like he couldn't get the same feeling with the new tyre and he was unable to go faster and that's a pity. Mika was convinced that he could fight for the front row after the impressive speed he'd displayed in practice but unfortunately he was quite a long way off his target. The track conditions were certainly not easy with the track taking such a long time to dry, but we had expected him to be much higher. He was pushing hard to improve and unfortunately crashed but I am sure both of them can finish inside the points. That is our prime goal for tomorrow's race because we must start scoring points on a consistent basis."
SECOND AND THIRD ROW STARTS FOR TEAM GRESINI PAIR WITH PIRRO SIXTH AND TAKAHASHI SEVENTH
A crash on a slow-down lap when he was coming in to change tyres cost Michele Pirro the opportunity to fight for a front row start in this afternoon's Moto2 qualifying session. It was a real shame for the Team Gresini rider, who has been making big strides towards the front of the pack in recent weeks. Nevertheless the Italian will start from the second row tomorrow fully determined to make up for his disappointment today. His team-mate Yuki Takahashi had dominated in free practice yesterday but the Japanese was unable to make the most of his best tyre today and qualified seventh. However, Yuki's race pace is strong and he will be looking to make up positions as soon as the lights go out tomorrow.
Michele Pirro (6th 1'42.219) "I am disappointed because it was a silly crash. I had slowed down to come back into the pits so I moved off the racing line onto a damp patch and lost control of the bike. Up to that point I was third fastest and could have been even further forward on the front row. It's a shame but I'll have chance to make up for it tomorrow."
Yuki Takahashi (7th 1'42.259) "What a shame! Maybe I could have used another set of tyres and tried to improve my position on the grid but my race pace is good, I'm confident in the bike and I think I can have a great race anyway. The guys are working hard to give me a competitive package and I will give my best to make sure we come away from here with a positive result. "
Fausto Gresini "Yesterday was a perfect day, today a little less so but I am still sure that both Pirro and Takahashi will have a great race tomorrow. Everything is in place for them and they have the determination to do it. Obviously a lot will depend on the weather but both riders have good pace and they have proved it in less than perfect conditions already."
Simone Grotzkyj (1'49"237 – 14th)
Giulian Pedone (1'50"875 – 24th)
Taylor Mackenzie (1'51"803 – 26th)
Simone Grotzkyj is, as usual, within the top fifteen. Giulian Pedone keeps progressing. Taylor Mackenzie has been one of the many riders taken by surprise by a wet patch just outside the first corner. He crashed – no damages at all to him, but the entire session was lost (the young Briton sat his best time at lap # 3).
Simone Grotzkyj: "I'm happy with my result. Today the track was worse than yesterday, but we have been able to clock more or less the same lap time. Traffic in the last, decisive moments prevented me from trying my best – anyhow, I'm just a few tenth from the top ten, my rhythm is good and the bike well set-up. I'm confident for tomorrow's race".
Giulian Pedone: "I have been constantly progressing through the weekend. To be honest, in the first part of the qualifying practice I didn't feel comfortable as I was in the morning, during the free session but, after changing tires and suspension setting, the situation improved. I clocked a best time that puts me close to the top twenty, which is my target for tomorrow's race".
Taylor Mackenzie: "I was riding well and fast but I slipped on a wet patch. The X-rays at the medical center state that everything is OK. I have just a sort of red tattoo printed on my back by the protection, but that's it. I'm going to start at the back, which is not what I was looking for. Well, I will practice overtaking".
First a crash – and then a happy end with second place in qualifying
Thomas Lüthi turned a scary start of the qualifying session for the Grand Prix of Portugal into a happy end. Right at the beginning, the 24-year-old Team Interwetten Paddock Moto2 rider slid away on a damp patch in turn one, but held on to the handlebars of his Suter MMXI prototype, bent the brake lever back into position and fought on. In the end, he was rewarded with a much-celebrated second place on the starting grid. Lüthi looked even set for pole position – only in the last seconds of the session, his German rival Stefan Bradl took everybody by surprise and went fractionally faster.
Thoms Lüthi - 2nd in 1.41,754 min.:
"What a wild ride! I went out and pushed right from the start as I saw some big black clouds in the sky and feared it was going to rain. But the track was still a bit damp in sections, and I lost the front in turn one and crashed. I held on to the handlebars and the bike luckily didn't get damaged at all. I bent the brake lever back into position, rode on and was faster immediately, which was good as it gave me the right feeling and an important boost. The only problem was dense traffic on the track, which made it difficult to get a good lap time. After another pit stop, I eventually went out for my last run with a new tyre, and then everything fell into place and I got to the top. I then wanted to improve further but got stuck in traffic once again. But I am more than happy with second place. Considering all what happened in this session, it is an incredible result. Our race pace is good, we are up there once again and I'm really confident for the race tomorrow!& rdquo;
Alfred Willecke, Crew Chief:
"After our strong performances in the free practice sessions, our aim was to get pole position. But Stefan Bradl was lucky to get into the slipstream of another rider on his last flying lap which gave him the tenth of a second he needed. But we are nevertheless confident for the race. Our aim was to improve rear grip and I think we actually found what we were looking for!"
Terrell Thien, Team Manager:
"We achieved our main goal which was a front row grid position. Of course we would have liked to be on pole but it wasn't meant to be. We were ahead of Stefan Bradl on the last lap, and his section times didn't look fast enough to beat us. But then he got lucky with just the right amount of slipstream on the main straight and surprised everybody. Congratulations to him - but tomorrow we will try everything to reverse the order!"
JULIÁN SIMÓN SEALS FRONT ROW START FOR TOMORROW
MAPFRE Aspar rider targeting podium from third on the grid
A crash-strewn day at Estoril saw probably more Moto2 riders hit the deck than any other class, as qualifying practice for the Grand Prix of Portugal took place in tricky conditions. In particular the first and final corners of the circuit, as well as the chicane, proved to be the most critical points but for those who managed to negotiate them safely there was little to choose between the top seven riders, who all mounted a challenge for pole position. In the end it went to Stefan Bradl, for the third time this season, with MAPFRE Aspar rider Julian Simón forced to settle for a front row start in third.
It was a busy day for Simón, who crashed in this morning's free practice after losing the front of his bike in turn one. He was fourteenth fastest in that session and after suffering some problems yesterday he was forced to grit his teeth and pull out a performance in the afternoon, gradually improving before setting a provisional pole lap with seven minutes remaining. Unfortunately for the Spaniard he was held up by traffic on track as two other riders went faster than him and he dropped to third. Xavi Forés had even worse luck in his attempts to get to grips with the Estoril circuit, suffering particularly with front end confidence which is in turn affecting his corner speed.
3rd Julián Simón 1.41.905 (20 laps): "I am happy with the result today - I knew that little by little we would iron out the problems we had yesterday and move towards the front. I felt comfortable today but the acid test is tomorrow, when we need a good result no matter what. I feel strong and I am looking forward to it. I came here to enjoy myself and run at the front, which is where I feel I should be. The bike is running quite well so we're going to see if we can make it even better in a couple of areas. All we can do is try to make a good start tomorrow and stay with the lead group. Moto2 is a tough series and if you take your eye of the ball you drop back quickly. The pace will be quick from the start if it's dry - Bradl will be pulling from the start and I imagine Márquez, Takahasi, Luthi, etc, will be there too. My objective is to set a fast pace from the start and stay with them."
31st Xavi Forés 1.43.710 (19 laps): "Today was a tough day for me because I didn't feel comfortable with the bike, I couldn't get it around the corners quickly enough. As soon as I let off the brakes the front was folding and even though we tried a few different front suspension settings the feeling didn't improve. It's annoying to be so far back because I feel that the team and I have the potential to be further forward. Anyway we will keep working, it's the race tomorrow and we can still improve in the warm-up. Let's see if the weather is good to us tomorrow."