The last press releases to emerge after the race weekend and MotoGP test at Estoril:
FTR MOTO2 CHAMPIONSHIP CHALLENGE CONTINUES IN PORTUGAL
FTR MOTO continued its challenge for the Moto2 World Championship as three of its M211 riders finished in the top 10 of Sunday's third round at Estoril in Portugal.
The IODA Racing Project Team's Simon Corsi finished in fifth place and has moved to within 11 points of second place in the Championship. Ever-improving Pol Espargaro took his first World Championship points of the year as the young Spaniard brought his HP Tuenti Speed Up Team M211 home in sixth place at the end of the 26-lap race.
Talented Blusens-STX rider Esteve Rabat completed the top 10 to add to his point-scoring finishes in the opening two rounds and the 21-year-old is joint 12th in the World Championship. Rabat started the race from 10th place and was involved in a six-way battle for sixth in the closing stages.
Kenny Noyes – on the FOGI Racing/GP Tech-backed FTR machine – continues to adapt to the M211 and took his best finish of the campaign with 17th place, an agonising five seconds away from 14th place. Yonny Hernandez finished 18th, less than a second behind Noyes, on the Blusens-STX M211, missing out on Championship points for the first time in 2011. Colombian Hernandez fought through the field after being 36th at the end of the first lap.
Mattia Pasini finished 20th on his IODA Racing Project Team machine with Santiago Hernandez 24th on the Stop and Go Team M211. Luckless French youngster Valentin Debise crashed out of 14th place with three laps to go on the HP Tuenti Speed Up M211 while Ratthapark Wilairot was forced to retire his SAG Team machine on lap 22. Kev Coghlan opted not to race the Aeroport de Castello M211 after a Friday morning practice crash left the young Scotsman with a broken hand.
"Our results at Estoril were pretty solid again and we're starting to see the emergence of the FTR riders as they become more acquainted with their respective M211 machinery," said FTR's Steve Bones. "Simone Corsi is definitely proving himself as a Championship contender and I'd like to think that, with the improvements we have planned, he can repeat what he did in Jerez and lead a race before hopefully securing a first win for himself, the IODA Team and FTR.
"And the improved performance of some of the younger riders; Espargaro, Rabat, Debise and Hernandez means we have an exciting year ahead. We're third in the Constructors Championship and I'd like to think we can join the battle for that title in the next few rounds."
Bel-Ray Race Report – Weekend Wrap-Up
Moto GP racing was in Estoril, Portugal this past weekend. Bel-Ray's sponsored Moto2 Team, Tech 3 racing had mixed results. Tech 3 Racing Team rider, Mike Di Meglio stormed to his first top ten finish of the 2011 Moto2 World Championship, while teammate, Bradley Smith suffered a poor result due to a flat tire that occurred in the 26 lap event. Starting from the 26th grid position, the French Di Meglio worked inside the top 10 on the 17th lap, eventually finishing 9th. Smith started from 15th on the grid and was inside the top 10 within 4 laps, when the bikes handling started to worsen. As he slipped down positions, he eventually pitted for a new tire around the half way point of the race. After replacing the rear tire he went back out onto the circuit to gain more track time and whatever points he could salvage. Smith was 29th by the end of the race.
The next MotoGP event takes place in France on May 15th.
Bel-Ray is proud of all of our racers' success. Follow all of Bel-Ray's racing action this season at www.belray.com.
Crutchlow and Edwards make big progress in Estoril test
Less than 24 hours after claiming a brilliant double top 10 finish in the Portuguese MotoGP round, Cal Crutchlow and Colin Edwards were back in action to complete a hugely productive test session at the Estoril circuit today.
With seven hours of track time available and conditions ideal with no sign of forecast rain emerging, Crutchlow and Edwards dedicated the majority of the day on improving the set-up they used during Sunday's 28-lap race.
Changing handlebar position and modifying the wheelbase of his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 machine helped Crutchlow produce the performance of the test, the British rider shaving almost two seconds off his best time set when he finished in eighth position in the Portuguese Grand Prix.
The 25-year-old took full advantage of the revised set-up to log a best time of 1.36.850, which secured him a fantastic fourth place on the final timesheets. Only Marco Simoncelli, Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner were able to lap faster than Crutchlow, who completed 71-laps.
It was a profitable day for Edwards too, the American working on a range of different suspension settings to try and improve rear grip with his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 machine. Edwards was able to lap inside the top three for a large part of the test and a best time of 1.37.410 secured him the sixth fastest time in a 51-lap stint.
Crutchlow and Edwards were also able to give Bridgestone vital feedback and information on two new specification rear tyres designed for the new 1000cc MotoGP class in 2012. Both declared themselves impressed with the improved fe edback and edge grip and both set their fastest times of the test on the 2012 tyres.
Cal Crutchlow 4th 1.36.850 – 71 laps
"Today was really positive and I can't really ask for much more than finishing fourth quickest with only three of the fastest riders in the world in front of me. I was able to lap nearly two seconds faster than I did in the race but I was quietly confident that the changes we planned to make for today would mean I could go a lot faster. Losing so much track time because of the weather at the weekend meant I couldn't risk taking a gamble on making too many changes for the race. I honestly didn't expect to break into the 36s but I felt comfortable and even with 25-laps on the same set of tyres I was doing low to mid-37s. I know everyone goes faster in a test but my time today was faster than Dani Pedrosa's best lap in the race and he won, so my pace bodes well for the future. We moved the handlebars and lengthened the wheelbase and I just felt much more comfortable. The bike was a lot easier to ride and much less aggressive and I was fast throughout the whole day. If I'd had this set-up for the race I'm sure I could have had a battle with Colin, and he was sixth, so that's really encouraging. I can't wait for Le Mans now. It is the home race for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team and today's result has given me a lot of confidence that I can be competitive again on another track I have to learn from scratch."
Colin Edwards 6th 1.37.410 – 51 laps
"It was a really positive test and it was good to get an opportunity to have a play around with some different settings that you don't necessarily get chance to try over the race weekend. We just concentrated all our effort on finding some rear traction and i t felt like we've made a big step. We tried various different combinations for the rear shock and linkages and we've found a good direction and we definitely made it better than it was for the race, so hopefully we found a set-up that will help us at the next race in Le Mans. I really like the direction Bridgestone is going in for 2012. I felt comfortable immediately on the new tyres and they've done some phenomenal work. Right from the first lap you get a lot of understanding and feel. The lap time was pretty similar with both and I'd love to have them this year. Based on what we've figured out today and the improvements we've made, I'm looking forward to going to France and getting another top six finish for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team in its home race."
Portuguese Grand Prix debrief with Tohru Ubukata
Round 3: Portuguese GP – Post-race debrief
Estoril Circuit, Tuesday 3 May 2011
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium. Rear (asymmetric): Medium, Hard
Bridgestone wet compounds available: Front: Soft. Rear: Soft
The weather at the Estoril circuit is always unpredictable because of its proximity to both sea and mountains and this year was no different, but the surprise worked in favour of the riders. Forecast to rain all weekend, Bridgestone's wet tyres were only required in Saturday morning practice and Sunday's warm-up. Rain did hit the circuit each night, but only after MotoGP running had finished. This meant that whilst the race was dry, as many riders had wanted after a soaked Spanish GP at Jerez, the circuit was greasy and slippery as the rain made it dirty each time. Having set the early pace for much of the weekend and starting from the front row for the first time in the premier class, Marco Simoncelli crashed out on the opening lap, leaving it to Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo to fight for the victory, with the former taking to the top step with his first win of the year.
Tohru Ubukata – General Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
How did the weather affect track conditions and tyre performance over the weekend?
"For both sessions on Friday the track was dry but quite dirty and greasy so did not provide the best grip. The tarmac of the Estoril circuit is quite bumpy and slippery anyway so in these conditions tyre performance was reasonable but the laptimes were about one second slower than the lap record. By the afternoon session, the track temperature had risen by ten degrees Celsius and with a morning of running the track was cleaner, and the laptimes fell by nearly half a second.
"Normally on the second and third days of running, the track continues to get cleaner and the grip gets better, but heavy rain on Friday, just after the afternoon session had finished, meant that all Friday's cleaning was undone and on Saturday morning the track was damp and greasy again. Still, by the end of qualifying the pole time was down to within 0.2seconds of the lap record.
"Rain hit the circuit again on Saturday night though, leaving the warm-up session damp and the circuit greasy ahead of the race. Overall, I can say that circuit grip was lower this year, but this helped in the riders' decisions to use the softer option rear slicks for the race as durability was not a concern and the extra grip of the softer compound was a definite advantage."
None of the sessions were exactly wet, only damp. What can you say about wet tyre performance?
"Free practice on Saturday morning was damp and gradually dried although a dry line didn't form and all riders used our soft compound wets for the whole time. For Sunday warm-up the track started damp and only right at the end of the session could slicks be used. Although it was still very slippery at the end of warm-up when Colin Edwards went out on slicks and set the fastest time, we could see that the wet tyres have sufficient operating range in wet to drying conditions to overlap with our slick tyres so I am happy about this."
Bautista completes comeback with positive Estoril test
Publish Date: Tuesday, May 03, 2011
Rizla Suzuki's Álvaro Bautista bravely tested for a short time at the Estoril track yesterday, despite the gruelling effort of Sunday's 28-lap race and the expected pain and stiffness that followed.
Bautista completed only 17 laps in the morning, all on the same set of race specification tyres and despite the lack of laps and his physical condition, he set a best lap-time of 1'38.850 on his final circulation – over a full second faster than his best lap in Sunday's race and over three-tenths-of-a-second faster than his qualifying time, which was set on brand new tyres on Saturday.
This marked improvement was largely due to a completely newly designed chassis for the Rizla Suzuki GSV-R, which performed well on initial tests in Japan and now has been proven to provide a good step forward in performance on a Grand Prix circuit. Bautista's few laps on this new chassis was enough to convince him that it is a significant improvement and he will use it at the Le Mans Grand Prix in two weeks time.
Factory test rider Nobuatsu Aoki took over testing duties once Bautista had finished and ran through a series of electronic control strategy developments, as well as also re-testing the new chassis and positively confirming Bautista's feedback on the improvements.
"My leg was really sore today - as I expected - but it was good enough to do four laps at a time and I really wanted to understand this new chassis, so I have to forget the pain and do some work, this is the life of a racer! Anyway, I am happy I tried it because – at least at this track – the step was quite big. The turning of the bike is improved a lot, this means I can open the gas much quicker and improve my corner speed and acceleration. The lap-time came a lot more easily with this chassis and when I followed Lorenzo, who was making low 1.38 at this point, we were really similar on the whole lap until we arrived in the slow chicane at the end of the circuit, then he disappeared because it's just too painful to throw the bike through this direction change like I need to. But – apart from the actual position in the race - I achieved everything I wanted to here in Estoril so I am happy, and I will be stronger in Le Mans.
"Thanks again to everyone at Rizla Suzuki for supporting me so well, and thanks to Suzuki in Japan for working so hard to improve the bike. It's been a difficult few weeks but I am looking forward very positively – there are many races left to show what we can do!"