Press releases issued by the 125cc and Moto2 teams after the race at Estoril:
Tough Weekend With Plenty Of Lessons For Kenny Noyes In Portugal
It was a tough weekend for Kenny Noyes and his Avintia-STX team at Estoril, but despite a couple of crashes during practice and coming frustratingly close to the points once again, the American leaves Portugal with clear signs of progress. The data gathered at a track which is so different to Jerez - the first track Kenny used the new Bitubo suspension at - are providing invaluable pointers to improving the American's pace.
After a mixture of wet and dry conditions made practice at the Portuguese circuit difficult, Kenny found himself starting the race on his FOGI-Racing backed FTR from well down on the grid. Undaunted, he once again deployed the rocket boost to make up five spots in the first lap, and was inside the top 20 within four laps. The Avintia-STX rider found himself in the middle of the group fighting for the top 15 and had a strong rhythm in the early laps, but could not step up the pace when the faster riders racked it up a notch. Kenny found himself on the wrong side of break when the group split into two, coming up just shy of the points finishing 17th.
Kenny, his Avintia-STX team and the Bitubo suspension techs went over the data after the race and found a couple of very interesting directions to explore for setup in the races to come. With the next Moto2 round at Le Mans, the place where the American scored his first pole position, Kenny and his team are optimistic that his goal of scoring regular points is getting closer every race.
Kenny Noyes 17th, Fastest Lap: 1'43.978
Kenny said: "Man, this was a tough weekend! It's frustrating because we had a couple of big crashes, but at least my shoulder was strong and I was able to do a lot of laps."
"The beginning of the race it seemed pretty easy to stay with the group, but once they started dropping down into the low 1'43s, I had to let them go. I was starting to miss my apexes and nearly crashed a couple of times, and I knew I couldn't stick with them any more."
"This was the first time I've been able to push really hard in all the practice sessions. We got a lot of good information from that that we can take to Le Mans. The team have been awesome again, and with what we learned here, I'm stoked to go to France!"
Marc Márquez finishes twenty-first in Portugal after a crash
The Repsol rider made a mistake when braking and crashed, pushing out the English rider Redding. They were both able to rejoin the race
Marc Márquez finished this morning in twenty-first position at the Estoril track, after a crash on corner six when he was eighth ruined his chances to get his first points in Moto2. After the good results of the practice during the weekend, today fortune did not smile on him.
A bad start determined his race again. Starting from fourth position, at the end of the first lap he was eleventh. From that moment on, Márquez placed himself in the second group while in front Bradl had a fantastic start and got detached from the group, with Luthi and Takahashi at his heels.
The Repsol rider waited until his tyres warmed to try to overtake his rivals and rode up to eighth in the first part of the race. When he was behind Aegerter and Redding, on corner 6 he made a mistake when braking and could not avoid to crash with the latter. They were both able to rejoin the race, although in very low positions and far from the points-scoring places.
Márquez, thirty-fourth in lap eight, try to recover the pace and keep focused. He surpassed some of the slower riders as laps went by. Finally, the Repsol rider finished for the first time a Moto2 race and did so in twenty-first place.
At the end of the race, Márquez went to the English rider garage as soon as he got off the bike to apologize. Redding accepted the apologies as a race incident.
Márquez will train next Tuesday and Wednesday on this track to continue with his adaptation work.
"The positive part is that we did a whole race in Moto2, but the first I have to do is to apologize to Scott Redding, because I know how you feel when something like this happens to you. All weekend was a bit complicated, because we were not able to train properly due to the rain and where we had more trouble was on braking stability.
The crash was caused by that, in a brake area where I completely lost control. I had to let go of the brakes to try and place the bike in the right line and try to pass between the two riders I had in front, but I could not avoid them".
Top ten for di Meglio, Smith frustrated in Estoril
Tech 3 Racing Team rider Mike di Meglio stormed to his first top ten finish of the 2011 Moto2 World Championship in Estoril today.
But it was a frustrating afternoon for team-mate Bradley Smith, who saw his superb bid for another top six finish thwarted by a rear tyre puncture in the early stages of the 26-lap race.
The race started on a dry track, but heavy overnight rain meant it was hard to gauge grip levels in the early stages after this morning's Warm-up session took place on a damp surface.
Starting from 26th position on the grid, di Meglio was able to quickly find a fast pace, demonstrating that his confidence with the Mistral 610 machine is growing with every race. The Frenchman forced his way into the top ten on lap 17 and he scored a morale-boosting ninth place ahead of his all-important home race in Le Mans later this month.
British rider Smith was denied a chance to follow-up his stunning fourth place in the recent Jerez Moto2 race with another top six result. The 20-year-old needed only four laps to break into the top ten from 15th on the grid. But a rear tyre stability issue began to worsen shortly before the halfway stage. Slipping down the rankings, he opted to pit where his Tech 3 Racing Team discovered he'd suffered the misfortune of a rear tyre puncture.
Smith opted to put in a new rear tyre to gain more information and data ahead of the Tech 3 Racing Team's home race in Le Mans on May 15. He eventually finished in 29th position.
Mike di Meglio: 9th – 7 points
"I am really happy because I started 26th and finished ninth and that is very good for me and the Team to get back into the points after a difficult start to the season. We are definitely moving in the right way now with the Mistral 610 machine and I felt I could ride to my normal potential today. Now we have to make sure we continue in this way, particularly with my home race coming up in Le Mans, which is obviously very important for me. We went back to the bike settings we used in winter testing and I also pushed a lot more, so I'm definitely learning more about the bike. I am sometimes too much of an engineer. Maybe that is good for MotoGP, but in this class you need to forget about that and just ride and push. I did that today and it paid off, so I go Le Mans full of confidence now."
Bradley Smith: 29th – 20 points
"It was a dif ficult day and obviously we were unlucky to get a puncture in the race. At that point of the race I was already in quite a good position and I was feeling quite comfortable. The bike was getting better with every lap, so another top six wasn't an unrealistic goal. But I had a lot of movement from the rear tyre and I couldn't continue because I wasn't exactly sure what the problem was. It is very disappointing as everybody has been working hard all weekend and put a lot of effort in. So when you don't get the result you feel you deserve you can't be happy. I still crossed the finish line even though I was two laps behind and we can still take valuable data to the next races, especially for Le Mans, which is the team's home race and where I'll be desperate to do well for them. We will go back to the workshop in France now to fix some problems that we have and work hard and hopefully have a better pace for Le Mans."
Hervé Poncharal: Team Manager
"Mike was fantastic today and he produced an incredible recovery. I am very happy for Mike because the beginning of the season was like a nightmare and honestly we did not know what to do. Everybody has been working really hard and I hope today was the spark that we were waiting for and that from now on we will see Mike consistently fighting for the points. With the race he has done today I think we can expect a very strong result in France at the next race, which is hugely important for Mike and all of us inside the Tech 3 Racing Team. It is a real pity for Bradley. We knew he had the pace after this morning's Warm-up to challenge for a top six. Unfortunately we did not really see what happened, we just saw him losing ground and at the end he was so slow that we understood that there was a technical problem. A flat tyre is very disappointing to cope with and it is something that should never happen. Cred it to Bradley because he wanted to get back in the race do his best for the Team. It is a pity that his hard work didn't get a top six he deserved."
SIMÓN OPENS PODIUM ACCOUNT FOR 2011 AT ESTORIL
MAPFRE Aspar rider takes opportune second place, and moves up to fifth in general standings.
In a change to the normal schedule, the Moto2 race kicked off the action on Sunday in Portugal. The intermediate class' 37 riders took off at 11.15am local time, in search of the victory at round three of the 2011 season. There were twenty steady laps, followed by a breathtaking final six at Estoril. Stefan Bradl pushed hard from the start in order to open up a gap, and the riders experienced a tough time with the slippery asphalt. The race was fast (1'42) but the track made things risky all the same. Six laps from the finish, Bradl, Iannone and Simón were bunched up at the front. Iannone fell, Bradl and Simón were left to fight amongst themselves, and it was The German who took the victory. Yuki Takahashi rounded off the podium.
Julián Simón has always gone well at Estoril, although before this year he had never really had a result to match his abillity at the track. The MAPFRE Aspar rider was a clear candidate for the podium, and lined up third on the grid. He dropped down two places on the opening lap, but manager a complete fightback until reaching race leader Bradl on lap 21. The Spaniard eyed up a last lap move, but was blocked off well by his German rival. Last year's Moto2 runner-up finally opened his 2011 podium account, with a great second place finish.
Teammate Xavi Forés had set out different goals for the race, knowing that his best strategy would be to try to gain more Moto2 experience with a steady ride. 31st on the grid, he gained both this experience and places to cross the line nineteenth -taking advantage of crashes from riders ahead of him. He will aim to get into the points at Le Mans.
2nd Julián Simón: "Finally we have taken a step forward, and we got up amongst the frontrunners. We can't relax, because at Le Mans we will have to carry on working in order to take the win. Stefan surprised me, above all on the last lap, because he closed every door. I wanted to pass him on the chicane, but he kept a good line to block my move. I am happy with second place, and with my performance. On the opening laps I was sliding around, in particular on the first and last corners. We had to be very careful, and I think that I had a very intelligent race. I've broken my hoodoo here, because I have always been fast here but never had a good race finish. The start to the season has been pretty uninspiring, so this podium and my improved feeling on the bike gives me a big boost in morale."
19th Xavi Forés: "The result was what least mattered to me today. We started from well back on the grid and were simple aiming to work on the bike for the future. The start was difficult, but as the race went on I found my pace and felt more comfortable. It was a difficult race, and the damp patches on the track made it hard to stay upright. We were stepping into the unknown a bit here, because we had changed the bike completely from yesterday. I think that we did the right thing, because I was able to improve my feeling compared with previous days. This bodes well for the future."
Xavier Siméon finishes race in Estoril in 26th place
Xavier Siméon had a good start into the Portuguese Grand Prix that took place in Estoril today. Quick after the start he was in 13th position and could keep his pace throughout the first laps, which made him very happy.
Difficulties with breaking caused him a crash in the last laps of the race and he could not gain the places back he lost due to the mistake and due to the lack of confidence he had in the end. Rejoining the race helped him to gain some more experience with the Mistral 610 that showed him the improvements he made since last race.
But nevertheless the Grand Prix weekend in Estoril, Portugal was a big step for ward for Siméon and the Tech3 B Team as a result within the points would have been possible without the crash. Now the team is looking forward to Le Mans, where Siméon had his first world championship appearance one year ago.
Xavier Siméon, 26th - no points:
"I had a good start. In the first lap I was already 13th. I found a good rhythm. Then I had some problems with the front tyre in the chicane and in the small corners. I had to push a lot to be fast. Then I crashed 6 or 7 laps before the end of the race, when I was 13th. I was breaking too hard and then I lost the confidence. I was fighting with other riders and was getting a bit too fast, so I was stronger on the break and crashed. But that is racing. We improved a lot regarding to the first race and we could once again get another step forward. I hope we can continue the improvement for Le Mans and can finish better there."
Hervé Poncharal, Team Manager:
"This was by far the best weekend for Xavier since we have started the championship. I think he now recovered for all the missing winter tests he had. He was riding with Mike in the points until a couple of laps to go. I would have been really happy to see him in the points. Unfortunately he crashed and rejoined the race which he finished outside the points. I still think this was a great race and I want to congratulate him. I am happy for RTL as they are behind this project a lot. I am confident that it was a big moral booth for Xavier today to see he can be there and I think this was a big turning point for him. So I really hope that he carries on on what he is doing."
BAD LUCK CONTINUES FOR REDDING AND KALLIO
The Marc VDS Racing Team's search for its first Moto2 World Championship points of the 2011 campaign continues after Scott Redding was cruelly denied a chance to fight for a podium finish at the Estoril circuit earlier today.
Finnish teammate, Mika Kallio, looked on course to deliver his first top 15 finish of the season after he recovered magnificently from a slow start to storm from 26th to 14th position. But his 150th Grand Prix appearance ended prematurely when he crashed out on lap 19.
Redding was left cursing his bad luck and contemplating what might have been as he produced his best performance of the season in the early stages of the 26-lap race. Redding made an aggressive start and executed some thrilling overtaking moves to gain six places on the opening lap to claim seventh and begin his pursuit of the podium.
Redding was comfortably holding seventh place and saving his tyres for a sustained attack in the second half of the race. But the British rider was the innocent victim of a mistake in the braking zone at Turn 6 on the eighth lap by reigning 125cc World Champion Marc Marquez. Redding was able to re-join the race down in 35th position but fought his way back to 25th at the chequered flag.
Kallio was unable to match Redding's lightning start and in a typically frantic jostle for position at the tight first corner, he slipped down to 26th position. The 28-year-old then embarked on an impressive charge back through the pack and he'd just passed pre-season Moto2 title favourite Alex de Angelis for 14th when he fell out of contention at Turn 6. He was unhurt in the spill and will be fit to take part in a two-day test for the Marc VDS Racing Team in Estoril on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Scott Redding #45 Race Position 25th
"To say I'm disappointed is an understatement because for the first time all year I felt really confident on the bike. We gambled on running a new clutch setting for the race and it felt great, even though I was still trying to learn the new set-up in the early laps. I wasn't struggling to stop the bike like I was in qualifying and practice and I'd just settled into a fast and consistent pace and I was pretty happy just to sit where I was on the back of the top six and wait for the race to develop. And the next thing Marquez just slammed into me and there was no way I could save it. The wall was coming up pretty fast so I had to abandon ship. The fairing was damaged but I got back on track and my lap times were at least good enough for the top five. Maybe there was a podium if it wasn't for Marquez's stupid move but that's racing and it was my turn to suffer today. We've definitely made progress with the bike and we're testing Tuesday and Wednesday, so hopefully that will be productive to help me start getting some decent results, beginning in Le Mans at the next race."
Mika Kallio #36 Race Position DNF
"That's not the way I wanted to celebrate my 150th Grand Prix and unfortunately I crashed in exactly the same point as I did in qualifying yesterday. I lost a few places on the opening lap because when the first corner is that tight, there is so much traffic that people are moving all over the track. After a few laps I felt much more comfortable because I had more grip than yesterday after we made some suspension modifications and I was able to get into a fast rhythm. I made a lot of overtakes and it was looking like I'd score my first points of the season, which would have given us something to build on for the next few races. But I crashed and it was like a carbon copy of yesterday's crash. It is a bit of a mystery because looking at the data; I wasn't doing anything differently to previous laps. In qualifying the front fork setting was softer, so we made it harder for the race and I still crashed."
Michael Bartholemy - Team Manager
"It looks like we can't escape the bad luck that seems to be following us at the moment. One thing I'm convinced about though today is that the mistake of Marquez cost Scott a podium. Even after the crash we could see that Scott had the same speed as the riders at the front, so I'm frustrated to have a podium chance taken away in circumstances like that. I don't know why Marquez had to do that but it's disappointing, because all of us were desperate to show that the Marc VDS Racing Team was back and fighting for the podium in 2011. Before the crash Scott was looking very strong and I'm really happy because he seems much happier with the bike now and this means we can be optimistic for the next race in Le Mans. I'm happy with Mika today because he showed a lot of fighting spirit. He fought very hard and he was able to catch and pass de Angelis, who is one of the best riders in Moto2. Unfortunately he made a mistake and crashed at the same corner where Marquez took Scott out, so Turn 6 wasn't that kind to us today. It would have been good to score some points but I think both of them have made good progress and we can look forward to Le Mans, where we hope our luck will return."
Moto2: Outstanding 4th place for Dominique Aegerter at Estoril GP
Alès, 1st May 2011- The Estoril Grand Prix, third round of the world Moto2 championship has just took place with a satisfying weather. After a warm'up on the wet, the race took place on a track nearly perfectly dry .
After some very encouraging practices, Dominique Aegerter started at the second row of the grid while Kenan Sofuoglu started at the third row. An excellent start for our two Technomag-CIP riders who turned 4th and 5th after the first curves. At the second lap, Kenan overtook his teammate and did the best lap time, he set off in pursuit of the top 3.
At the fifth lap, he took over the second position, less than one second away from the leader. Dominique went through different riders' attacks and keep the 7th position just behind Simone Corsi. During 6th laps, Julian Simon tried to fail Kenan. When he succeeded at the half of the race, the turkish rider lost a few positions and fell at the fifth one while Dominique was 6th.
At the 17th lap, while the Turkish rider was trying to come closer to Yuki Takahashi, he lost control and felt. Meanwhile, Dominique kept a good speed and was competing against Corsi. During the last laps, Corsi tried everything to take over the fourth place to Dominique but this one fought hard and ended up close to the podium. He scores his best Grand Prix career's result. Nowadays he is ninth at the world championship current range.
Alain Bonec, the team's owner: "I'm very glad for our team and for all our sponsors which support us from the very beginning. Dominique has just gave us a greet reward for all the work that we have done together. When this young Swiss rider joined the team, we supported him to the highest level in order to see him today fourth, after a race where he showed an excellent self-control."
Next Grand Prix will have a special flavor for the Franco-Swiss team because it will take place in France on the Le Mans Racetrack the coming 14 & 15 of May.
Thomas Lüthi: No risk, no glory
Thomas Lüthi's Grand Prix of Portugal ended with an early crash after taking the lead from his German rival Stefan Bradl. It was only on the fourth lap of the race when the 24-year-old from Switzerland went down after losing the front end of his Suter MMXI prototype. But despite losing valuable points for the championship, there was no sense of desperation within Team Interwetten Paddock Moto2: Lüthi had been in attack mode and had pulled all stops despite some treacherous damp patches on the around the 4.1 kilometre track, and he had once again proven to be one of the best riders in the Moto2 category. "No risk, no glory," was the common opinion of Lüthi and his team after the incident.
Thoms Lüthi - crash:
I attacked Stefan Bradl on the brakes at the end of the main straight. He tried to fight back, but I kept my head down and stayed ahead of him. I felt well and had a good chance for victory as I was the fastest man on track at that time. I wanted to open up a gap and pull away, but my attack might have come a bit too early. I went into one of the following corners a bit too aggressively and had to cut the throttle which put some extra load on the front. I then went over a bump and lost control – the front just tucked away. Of course it's a pity to lose all these world championship points, but at the same time, it is still early in the season and nothing is decided yet. The most important thing is that we've been on top or very close to the top all weekend long. We've been fast in all practice sessions and in all track conditions which is the bright side of my memories to take home with!
Alfred Willecke, Crew Chief:
Tom was capable of winning the race today and took a risk in order to get where he wanted to be. It was just bad luck that he hit a bump and lost the front!
Terrell Thien, Team Manager:
Tom realised that he was faster than Stefan. He wanted to pull away and just pushed a little bit too hard. He entered that particular corner a bit too fast and lost the front. But we remain positive: The team worked well over the whole weekend and got where we wanted to be in qualifying. We were sure of a top five-finish at least, but then got caught out with an unlucky crash, which can happen very easily on a damp track. We are going to strike back at Le Mans!
Daniel M. Epp, PADDOCK Grand Prix Management:
No risk, no glory. Tom is highly motivated, he wanted to win, and attacking the way he did is the only possible strategy that early in the season. He will try his luck again in the next race - in the same way!
NICO TEROL MAKES 125CC CLASS' BEST SEASON START SINCE 1.999
BANKIA Aspar rider wins opening three races of season, a feat not acheived since Masao Azuma en 1999
The 125cc race in Portugal rounded off proceedings at Estoril, something different to the previous two races of the season. The result was the same though, and BANKIA Aspar rider Nico Terol took his third win of 2011 after dominating the practice sessions. Terol imposed his pace right from the start, and rode a solitary race to the chequered flag. Sandro Cortese and Johann Zarco completed the podium, some distance behind the all-conquering Spaniard.
Terol was the fastest rider in the three practice sessions, qualifying run and the Sunday warmup, and his strategy was simple but devastatingly effective. It was a plan that worked in Qatar, was nearly thwarted by Héctor Faubel at Jerez but was a winning strategy today. A third win from the opening trio of races gives him a 25 point advantage in the overall standings, and is a feat not achieved since Masao Azuma in 1999. He even had time to clock the fastest lap (1'46.815) along the way.
Teammate Adrián Martín started from tenth on the grid, and had a great race to move up a place to ninth. This was in no small part thanks to his great race pace.
Héctor Faubel suffered disappointment for the second race in sucession, crashing out from second place in a strange incident at turn six. The good news for the Spaniard was that he escaped unhurt from a heavy fall.
1st Nico Terol: "The start to this season has been extraordinary. It is hard to take it all in, but it has been great. I want to thank my mechanics, because all these successes are largely down to them. I feel really secure on the bike, and we have been working perfectly in order to carry on like this. I really enjoyed the fight between Márquez and Espargaró last year, and it made me grow as a rider. Now I am reaping the rewards. Although it may seem simple from the outside, I have to fight a lot to maintain concentration in every race. We have started at a very high level, but I have to repeat that the season is very long and we can't rest on our laurels. I pushed really hard on the opening laps in order to open up a gap, but at the midway point it is easy to lose focus when you have an advantage. It is nice to break away, and you have to enjoy the moment, but you can't forget that there will be times in which you will have to fight. It was a pity that Héctor crashed, because he is a great rider and doesn't deserve this bad luck. We have a great team behind us, and I am convinced that this will help him to come back stronger."
9º Adrián Martín: "I am very happy with my final position and with how I felt on the bike. I was really up for this race, and know that I could be up at the front if I could ride at my practice pace. I set myself small goals over the course of the race, and that is how I managed to catch Salom. This result is a big motivation for us, and now we just have to keep on working in order to take another step forward. The more we pick up the pace, the higher our aspirations should be."
Héctor Faubel (DNF): "The start of the race wasn't good, because I made contact with another rider and another five flew past. It was down to me to slowly make up positions. I tried to push hard, but because I wasn't feeling totally comfortable I decided to tone it down when I reached Cortese. It was better to be conservative and finish the race, regardless of the position. Right at the end, on turn six, the bike spat me off without warning. I don't know why it happened, so there was nothing that I could do to stop it. It was a shame, because I could have taken a lot of points. I just have to think positive now, be pleased to have escaped unharmed and move on to the next race."
TAKAHASHI DEDICATES PODIUM TO BROTHER KOKI
Yuki Takahashi made the most of a moment's fortune as Ianonne crashed to hand him third place and an opportunity to honour his late brother Koki on the podium at Estoril. It has been an extremely difficult weekend for the Team Gresini Moto2 rider, who has done his best to focus on the Grand Prix of Portugal but has naturally had thoughts of his family and the tragedy of his brother's accident last week at the front of his mind. Yuki's usual smiling face broke into tears as he crossed the line and again when he removed his helmet and grabbed hold of a photo of his brother. There was disappointment today for his team-mate, meanwhile, Michele Pirro crashing out early from an otherwise promising race.
Yuki Takahashi (3rd) "I was a little lucky today but I am happy because I was able to dedicate a podium to my brother Koki. I tried to keep pace with the front guys during the race but I couldn't do it today. This podium is the reward for a very difficult weekend though. At the end I was very emotional and I couldn't help but cry. Now I want to think about the future because I know that with this bike we can do well."
Michele Pirro (DNF) "What a disappointment! I was hoping for a good race but it didn't happen because of my own naïvety. I was following Sofouglu and when he ran a little wide in a left hander, with the tyres still cold, I crashed. It was a heavy fall and I have hurt my little finger as well as the engine losing oil. I am sorry for the team, who have worked hard and well. Hopefully I can pay them back with a good result at Le Mans."
Fausto Gresini "It was a lucky podium but it wasn't easy for Yuki to ride today. He came to Estoril of his own accord and with the intention of doing well but the strength of the tragedy was too strong. He has done his best but he simply didn't have the concentration levels to run better times. He did a great job, he suffered a lot and was understandably upet. But this podium should give him confidence because in other circumstances he will do better in the future. Unfortunately Pirro pushed perhaps a little too hard at the start and threw away the good result he was capable of today."