Press releases from the 125cc and Moto2 teams:
TAKAHASHI LOOKING TO BUILD ON ESTORIL RESULT AS PIRRO TURNS PAGE ON CRASH
A somewhat fortunate podium for Yuki Takahashi at the Grand Prix of Portugal has given the Team Gresini Moto2 rider a timely boost following the death of his brother Koki and renewed enthusiasm to tackle the remainder of what is sure to be a difficult season for him. The Japanese rider has more confidence than ever in the potential of his Moriwaki MD600 and he is determined to improve on his third place finish at Estoril. His attitude is reflected throughout the team and Yuki has the potential to reward their confidence sooner rather than later. For Michele Pirro the goal is to turn the page on a naïve crash at Estoril. The Italian youngster was fast all weekend in Portugal but he is desperate to make up for it by building on the progress he has already made in Moto2. This is virtually a new track for a rookie who has adapted swiftly to the category and is determined to make his mark on the top positions.
Yuki Takahashi "I was a little lucky with the podium at Estoril but I was happy that I was able to dedicate my first one of the season to my brother Koki. It wasn't an easy weekend for me but with the help of the team I was able to have a good Grand Prix. The bike has improved and I believe I have a competitive package that will allow me to be fighting for top results. I will take to the track at Le Mans with the objective of equalling or improving on my result at Estoril because I know we have the potential to do so."
Michele Pirro "I am still disappointed with the mistake I made at Estoril because I am sure I could have enjoyed a successful Grand Prix. It was a shame because we were fast in every session, confirming that the work the team had done during the three-week break had been effective. Now I go to Le Mans looking to make up for it. Unfortunately I barely know the track, having only completed a few laps there on a 125 in 2005 but I am not worried because virtually all of the circuits are new to me this year and I just have to try and adapt as quickly as possible. Whatever happens I will be doing my best to make up for my mistake in the last round."
Fausto Gresini "I was really happy with the podium for Takahashi at Estoril. I am convinced that Yuki has the potential to do well and be consistently amongst the best riders in the category. The Moriwaki MD600 has improved and the team are working well to give him a competitive bike. Le Mans is a technical track where Takahashi's quality could make the difference and as such I think he can look towards another positive result. I was a little disappointed with the mistake made by Pirro in the last round because he had shown his pace during practice and he could easily have been running at the front. It was a shame but at Le Mans he will have an opportunity to make up for it and I am sure he will because he has already adapted well to what is a new category for him."
BANKIA ASPAR TEAM LOOK TO CONTINUE DOMINANCE IN FRANCE
Nico Terol hopes to celebrate his 100th Grand Prix start with his fourth win of the season
The MotoGP World Championship moves up another gear this weekend as the journey across Europe continues for the 'Continental Circus'. Next stop is the world famous Le Mans circuit, home to the renowned 24 Hour race. It has been two weeks since the last round in Portugal but this is where the championship begins to gather pace, with no fewer than six races in eight weeks over the upcoming months of June and July. The 125cc class already has a clear leader at the top of the standings with Nico Terol having taken victory in each of the opening three rounds of the season. Faubel, Cortese, Folger and the rest of the challengers know they need to do something quickly to put the brakes on the BANKIA Aspar rider, who is showing no signs of slowing down.
Terol's current advantage stands at 25 points, a race victory, over the rest of the field. The unbeaten Spaniard returns to the scene of his maiden career pole, which he set there last year, to celebrate his 100th Grand Prix - a remarkable tally considering he is still only 22 years old. His BANKIA Aspar team-mate Héctor Faubel is again hoping for a turnaround in fortune having crashed out in the latter stages of the last two races when fighting for the podium, whilst the third Valencian rider in the garage Adrián Martín is looking to build on an excellent ninth place last time out.
Nico Terol: "To win the opening three rounds of the season is out of the ordinary and I never thought I could start the year like that. We have to enjoy our good form but also keep our feet on the ground because it has only just started. I am highly motivated ahead of the trip to Le Mans because it is a circuit that holds good memories, having set my first pole there last year. It is quite slow and has some twisty sections and you need good acceleration to get you out of the frequent heavy braking zones. The weather in France can be changeable so we have to be ready for anything. My objective is to fight for the victory again - it would be nice to celebrate my 100th Grand Prix with a win."
Héctor Faubel: "I am highly motivated for Le Mans; the last time I stepped on a podium was there in 2009 on the 250cc Honda so it is a good place to shake off the bad luck that has been following me around since Qatar. I rested up for a couple of days after Portugal because I was pretty beaten up after the crash there but I have been out cycling since and training hard. I have always trained on a mountain bike but I have recently switched to a road bike and it's a lot of fun. I have also been watching the 125cc race from last year to prepare myself and now I am looking forward to getting there, throwing my leg over the bike and having fun. The podium has slipped through our fingers a couple of times this season already so let's see if we have a little luck and get up there this Sunday."
Adrián Martín: "The work we did in Portugal was very positive and it was good to finish in the top ten. We also took a step forward with the bike and now we are much more clear about a lot of things so that will make things more straightforward at Le Mans. I had a good feeling at this track last year and I am sure it will be the same again this time. We will be giving it everything from the first session to make sure we have a good Grand Prix and follow the good line we found at Estoril to continue making improvements."
JULIÁN SIMÓN LOOKING FOR ANOTHER PODIUM AT LE MANS
MAPFRE Aspar RIDER looks for third podium in as many years at French circuit
The MotoGP World Championship travels north from Portugal to France this week as the teams and riders prepare for the fourth round of the 2011 season. The venue is the legendary Le Mans circuit, world renowned for its car and motorcycle endurance races. The Grand Prix circuit is a mere three metres longer than Estoril at 4.185km and like the Portuguese track it has its fair share of elevation and direction changes. Overall Le Mans is slower, however, with a fast first sector followed by a series of hard braking zones. It is not a particularly technical layout, meaning the chase for Moto2 honours will be wide open once again as the likes of Simón, Bradl, Iannone and Luthi look to establish their title credentials amidst a highly competitive field.
MAPFRE Aspar rider Julián Simón has hit form at the right time and in the last round he was fighting for victory all the way to the finish. Second place moved him up to fifth overall and having opened his podium account for the season the Spaniard is determined to finish consistently at the front of the field and mount a serious title challenge. As well as the boost of his result in Portugal, Julián also has two podiums from the last two seasons to look back on at Le Mans as further motivation for this weekend. His team-mate Xavi Forés also arrives in France feeling high on confidence as he looks to tackle what is a completely new circuit for him. The rookie has been within touching distance of the points-scoring positions in the last two rounds and is sure it will be third time lucky.
Julián Simón: "Le Mans is a circuit I love and I have had good results there for the past two years. In 2009 I won in 125 and last year I was second in Moto2. The main target for this weekend is to come away with a good result and if possible a podium or even a win. I usually get a good feeling from the track and it is well suited to my riding style - I like it there. The main characteristic of the track is the hard braking and I think that is what suits me the most. After experiencing the thrill of the podium again in Estoril I want to work hard during practice to get back there again. It would be good to put two good results together and get the season on track. We'll have to see if the weather is on our side because it can be quite changeable here. The bike worked really well at Estoril and we are finding the best way to ride it so I hope we can take another step in France."
Xavi Forés: "The French Grand Prix is a new one to me because I don't know the track. At Estoril, which was my first race this season in normal conditions after Qatar and Jerez, I was able to get some kilometres and experience under my belt, which will be invaluable for this weekend. I have heard that Le Mans isn't a particularly demanding circuit so I will be working hard to take the step we need to break into the top fifteen. I think we are getting closer to the points every time and I hope Sunday is the day we do it. If we do then considering I don't know the track that will be very positive."
Grand Prix of France
Le Mans, May 13th – 15th, 2011
Simone Grotzkyj Giorgi (#15)
Taylor Mackenzie (# 17)
Giulian Pedone (#30)
Taylor Mackenzie, forced to quit the Grand Prix of Portugal due to the consequences of a crash suffered in qualifying - in which the young Briton injured his shoulder – feels much better. In dailies activities he doesn't experience any pain any more, and hopes to be fit for the French GP. His team-mates are determined to repeat in Le Mans the same good result delivered in Estoril, when the Italian joined the top ten and the young Swiss, a beginner in the World Road-race Championship, classified inside the top twenty.
Alessandro Tonelli (Technical Director): " Le Mans is not a very technical circuit. It requires great accelerations from bikes, and hard breaking from riders. All our guys are good at that, and therefore I'm confident in a good race. With an eye to forecast – possible rain on Sunday".
REDDING AND KALLIO FIRED UP FOR FRANCE
Scott Redding and Mika Kallio head for this weekend's Grand Prix de France at Le Mans confident of turning around their season, following three difficult races in Qatar, Jerez and Estoril.
A collision caused by Marc Marquez robbed Redding of a possible podium finish last time out in Estoril, where teammate Kallio fared even worse, crashing out of the race with just eight laps remaining after struggling all weekend with front end problems with his Suter MMXI Moto2 machine.
The Marc VDS duo are keen to make amends this weekend and both head to France with confidence restored following a successful two-day test at the Estoril circuit immediately after the Portuguese Grand Prix.
The Le Mans circuit, which is situated in the Sarthe region of France and is home to the legendary 24 Heures du Mans car race, is one of the most famous motorsport facilities in the world. First gear corners dominate the 4.18 km Bugatti track, on which Sunday's 26-lap Grand Prix de France will be run, demanding a bike that is stable under braking, but with good acceleration out of the low-speed turns.
The Elf logo will feature prominently on the bikes of Redding and Kallio at Le Mans, following an agreement that will see the French oil and lubricants giant as the primary sponsor of the Marc VDS Racing Team for three races this season, starting with the French Grand Prix this weekend.
Scott Redding: #45
"I need to turn things around this weekend, because I'm not happy going into the fourth round of the championship without a single point to my name. The Le Mans circuit is quite physically demanding, but it also flows really well. We need to find a good set-up based on what we learnt during the two days of testing at Estoril, so I can run towards the top of the timesheet from Friday onwards. I'm pretty confident going into the weekend. It started to come together in Portugal, until a coming together of a different kind put paid to things, so I know I'll be on the pace in France. I want some points this weekend so, as always, it will be full gas in the race."
Mika Kallio: #36
"The two days of testing we completed at Estoril were important; they allowed us to confirm some changes to the bike set-up and, as a result, I went faster than I did during the race weekend. Le Mans is quite similar to Estoril; a little bit stop and go through the chicanes, with a long straight and hard braking immediately after. This means the set-up we found in Estoril should be good for this weekend in France also. I hope we get some consistent weather this weekend, unlike at Estoril, as this will make things easier for everyone. My confidence in the bike has improved significantly and that is important for me going into this race. Our first points remain the aim, but if we have a trouble free weekend then I hope we can finally show our true potential and get closer to the front of the race on Sunday."
Michael Bartholemy: Team Manager
"We went to Estoril looking for our first points of the season and came away disappointed. That can't happen again this weekend at Le Mans. Scott and Mika have regained their confidence in the bike, following the test at Estoril two weeks ago, and I expect both to be pushing hard near the front of the race this weekend. Like I said, finishing another weekend with no points is simply not an option. At Le Mans, and also Mugello and Sepang, we will be welcoming guests from Elf, as well as running their logo in the primary position on our bikes. Elf have long been supporters of the Marc VDS Racing Team and I'm happy that the company has the confidence in us to increase their support significantly for these three races. I'm sure that their guests will enjoy the Le Mans weekend and I hope we can give them something special to cheer about in the race."
The Repsol rider will take part this weekend in his 50th race in the World Championship with a really positive track record: one World Championship title, 10 victories and a good amount of records beaten
On April 13, 2008, only three years and one month ago, Marc Márquez had his debut at the Motorcycling World Championship in the 125cc class. It was at the Portuguese Grand Prix when the season had already started, as he had to miss the two first rounds of the championship due to an injury. The barely 15-year-old who started to discover on his KTM with Repsol livery the circuits of the World Championship, has now -49 Grand Prix later- been confirmed as one of the most promising riders of the sport.
In three seasons in 125cc, Márquez became the second youngest ever rider in winning a World Championship, in getting on a World Championship podium and in setting a pole position. He destroyed the records set by riders such as Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo or Valentino Rossi, signing a fantastic season where he became the youngest ever rider to set five consecutive victories and four pole positions in a row, and also in starting from the highest place of the grid in 12 of the 17 races.
With all those achievements in the bag, the Repsol rider took the jump to Moto2, a class in which he had his debut last March 20 at Losail Circuit (Qatar). This beginning of the season Marc Márquez is paying the toll of his youth and the eagerness that made him write a golden page of the Spanish Motorcycling history. Nevertheless, he has shown he is one of the fastest riders in Moto2. This weekend in Le Mans, the track where he took his first pole position, Emilio Alzamora's pupil will have a new opportunity to show his talent and gather his first points in the intermediate class. Few times has someone gone such a long way in 50 Grand Prix.
FRUITFUL TESTS GIVE MAHINDRA CLEAR TOP-TEN TARGET
May 11, 2011: Highly successful tests two days after the Portuguese GP on May 1 have boosted the new Mahindra team's confidence, as they prepare for the fourth round of their 2011 World Championship campaign.
Young riders Danny Webb (20, from England) and Marcel Schrötter (18, from Germany) tested new parts for the engine and suspension – and each cut more than a full second off his best lap time from the preceding weekend.
"Danny's pace would have put him in line for a good top-ten finish," said team manager Nicola Casadei, confident in the continued programme of improvement to the machine, made by the Mahindra-owned Engines Engineering in Italy.
Already in Portugal the duo had raced with carburetion and suspension modifications that put Webb within touching distance of championship points. He was 16th and Schrötter 18th in the race. It was Mahindra's best double finish so far, in the Indian marque's first season.
The team continued with the suspension development during the tests, working on adjustments and base settings with the new rear shock absorber. They also tested a new water-pump, to improve cooling efficiency with reduced drag for the single-cylinder 125cc engine.
Both riders completed more than 80 laps of the 4.182 km Estoril circuit.
The next trial is the race at the Bugatti circuit at Le Mans on May 15 fourth of 17 rounds for the highly competitive 125 class. In last year's French GP, Webb scored one of a string of top-ten positions with his previous team, and he hopes to repeat the feat for the new Mahindra squad.
"Development's definitely heading in the right direction. We need to improve our grip levels for later in the race, and I think the new shock helps. The team's working well together, and from now on the season gets more intense."
"I struggled to get a good feeling with the bike at Estoril, though it was better for the race itself. The extra time and the new parts both helped me with that. I was able to work with the bike again, instead of fighting it. I'm looking forward to Le Mans more now."
FTR MOTO AIMING FOR LE MANS GLORY
FTR MOTO is chasing more podium finishes and a first victory of 2011 in this year's Moto2 World Championship in round four at Le Mans, France on Sunday.
Simon Corsi is third in the Championship on his IODA Project Team FTR M211 with three top six finishes so far, including third place in Spain – the Italian also took third place at Le Mans last year. Corsi is one of 10 riders on FTR machinery in the series and all but two have now scored World Championship points with six riders in the top 20.
Emerging Moto2 talent Pol Espargaro got his first points of the year with sixth place at Estoril's third round in Portugal 10 days ago and the HP Tuenti Speed Up rider's team-mate Valentin Debise will be looking for his first points of 2011 at his home round this weekend.
Young Spaniard Esteve Rabat sits in 14th place in the World Championship on his FTR M211 after three finishes from three rounds for the Blusens STX rider – the best of those coming in the last round in Portugal with 10th place.
Rabat's team-mate Yonny Hernandez was in the points at Le Mans last year and will be looking to add to his two point-scoring rides this year in Sunday's race. After a great eighth-place finish in Spain, Aeroport de Castello's Kev Coghlan will be hoping to bounce back from missing the Estoril third round through injury by taking another strong finish in France.
The IODA Project's Mattia Pasini and Ratthapark Wilairot on the Thai Honda Singa Team will both be looking to add to their sole point-scoring finishes in Spain in round two while Kenny Noyes will be aiming to repeat his pole position of last year at Le Mans and get his first points haul of 2011 on the FOGI/GP Tech Team M211.
"While the first three rounds of 2011 have generally been about learning for all of our new riders on the M211, the signs are now evident that huge potential exists in our 2011 line-up," said FTR's Steve Bones. "We've a lot of young riders and watching them improve race by race is pretty exciting."
He continued: "We have further development parts for Le Mans and I'm hopeful we can continue what we've been doing and have plenty of the FTR riders scoring Championship points on the M211."