Press releases from the 125cc and Moto2 teams after the race at Le Mans:
Another top 10 for RW Racing GP
In the race for the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France Luis Salom achieved a tenth place. In the dry race the RW Racing GP rider couldn't stay connected with the group battling for third position.
The warm-up session on Sunday morning went well for the Spaniard Luis Salom. Salom rode fast lap times and was even halfway through the session on the top of the timesheets. After a short pit stop the Spaniard rode another two laps and ended the session in seventh position.
The race was held under dry circumstances. The wind was stronger than the days before which made ! it more difficult riding alone. Salom had a good start and came into sixth place in the first lap. The young Spaniard was in the group that fought for the podium positions and could retain in this group the first eight laps. Halfway through the race the pace dropped for Salom, and the Spaniard dropped back to an eighth place. In a battle for eighth position with local hero Johan Zarco, Salom fell back to the nineth place. In the last part of the race fellow country man Sergio Gadea passed the RW Racing GP rider and Salom had to be satisfied with a tenth position. With this position Salom grabbed sixth point for the championship.
Luis Salom (10th):
"My start was excellent and I coul! d keep the pace of the group in front well. After a lap or eight it be came increasingly difficult to stay in the group and I couldn't hold the pace of them. I tried to keep the connection but I made ??some mistakes. It was hard just to ride the same lap times especially since the wind was much stronger today. I'm not satisfied with this tenth position. We have to work hard if we want to battle for a top 5 position the next races. The team and I will try our best and I'm confident that we will have some races this season which we can battle for a top position."
New Hope For Kenny Noyes After Race-Day Breakthrough
After a day full of frustration on Saturday, Kenny Noyes' weekend was turned completely around on race day. A lack of confidence in the front end of his FOGI-Racing FTR saw the American qualify in lowly 34th position. But thanks to the hard work of his Avintia-STX team and the advice of the FTR technicians, radical geometry changes transformed Kenny's FTR Moto2 machine on Sunday, and Noyes was finally able to ride with confidence.
The transformation was immediately apparent during the morning warm up, when Kenny set the 12th fastest time, taking four tenths off his fastest lap of the weekend. Starting back on the 12th row left the Avintia-STX rider an awful lot of work to do in the race, but with confidence restored in the front end of his FOGI-Racing FTR, Noyes was able to pass the riders ahead of him with relative ease. Kenny made up an astonishing 17 places during the race, crossing the line in a respectable 17th position, and within sight of the points.
More importantly, the radical changes made by his Avintia-STX team and the FTR engineers mean that Kenny leaves Le Mans with a working base setup, something that the American has lacked all year. The American's fastest race lap was nearly a full second faster than his best qualifying time, and puts him firmly where he needs to be to start scoring points.
Kenny and his Avintia-STX team now head back home, and then on to a two-day test at Aragon. There, Kenny, the team and the FTR engineers will work on fine-tuning his base setup ready for the next round of the Moto2 World Championship at Barcelona, near to Kenny's second home in Spain. With the breakthrough the team have made in France, Kenny goes into Barcelona expecting to come away with some serious points.
17th, Fastest Lap: 1'39.387
Kenny said, "I'm so stoked about the way things went in France! We found a base setup, turned the bike around and I had a really fun race, and got a chance to do some passing!"
"On Saturday things were really difficult and we were way off the pace, as I was tucking the front everywhere. But after qualifying, the guys from FTR came over, took the bike apart and made a radical change. When I took the bike out in warm up, it felt like a completely different bike. It was like night and day."
"I knew I had to be real patient in the first laps and push my way forward. I had some great battles, including with my teammate, which is the first time that's happened all year. I even managed to catch Simeon and pass him on the last corner, and that felt great."
"Now I can't wait to get to Aragon to work with my team on this setup. Once we get to Barcelona, I'm going to be back racing at the sharp end again, and I love that feeling!"
A FRENCH LESSON FOR MAHINDRA AT LE MANS
Sunday May 14, 2011: Mahindra had a valuable but ultimately unrewarding weekend at the French GP. Danny Webb had been fighting hard in a points-scoring position before he retired from the race, while team-mate Marcel Schrötter was continuing his own progress at finding the right balance for his riding style on the new machine.
The race came at the end of a difficult weekend for Webb (20, from England). A niggling electronic problem meant he was in and out of the pits throughout practice and qualifying. A herculean effort saw him qualify 20th, but he rapidly moved forward in the race, and was almost immediately in the top 15, at the head of a tight group disputing the points.
Webb was able to hold his own and had his first points with Mahindra in his sights, until the engine lost power and he retired with seven of the 24 laps to go.
Schrötter had problems from the start, dropping to last position on the first lap as he searched for lost power. Then he adjusted to the bike and had picked his way forward before the engine problems became terminal, and he retired after 17 laps.
It was the first time in its first four races that the new Mahindra team, the only one that makes its own engine and chassis, did not have at least one finisher.
The race was won by Spanish rider Maverick Vinales, his first victory. The next race is in three weeks, at the Catalunyan circuit outside Barcelona.
DANNY WEBB – dnf
It's not been a good weekend for results, but we made some steps. I got a good start and I was enjoying the race with a good group. My pace was a little slower, probably because I had so few practice laps, but I was able to fight with them anyway. Then about five laps before I retired my engine started losing power and I lost touch. I decided to carry on, but then it got worse and I had to stop.
MARCEL SCHRÖTTER – dnf
The first part of my start was okay, then I felt immediately the engine was not running right. Usually it revs to 13,500 rpm, but when it got to 13,000 it lost power. I was absolutely last, but I found another way to ride. It was difficult to close the gap but I caught up and I passed four riders and could stay with the others. Unfortunately, the bike then stopped.
Marc Márquez secures his first victory in Moto2
The Repsol rider wins his first race in the intermediate category at the French Grand Prix, the same day he takes part in his 50th Grand Prix in the World Championship
Marc Márquez got on the highest step of the podium at the Le Mans circuit after a superb race in the fourth round of the 2011 season. After a bad start and being in tenth position at the end of the first lap, the Repsol rider brilliantly recovered the lost ground and finished in first place.
The current 125cc World Championship consistently improved his position, keeping a higher pace than his rivals, which allowed him to take the lead shortly after mid race.
With this victory, 18-year-old Marc Márquez becomes the youngest rider ever to win a Moto2 race.
IANNONE CRASHES OUT AT THE BEGINNING OF THE RACE OF THE MONSTER ENERGY GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE
The race of the Moto2 class was held today, for the fourth round of the World Championship 2011.
Even if the temperature was lower during the warm up, Andrea Iannone had a perfect session, setting the second best lap time and having the chance to confirm the last modifications to the setting.
Despite the expectations for the race, its ending came soon after its start. Andrea, who was fighting for the sixth position, crashed out and couldn't rejoin the race. Therefore Speed Master team leaves France without getting any point in the Championship Classification, being stuck with 48 points, and now looks forwards to the Grand Prix of Catalunya in two weeks to be fighting for a good result.
Andrea Iannone, #29 — race: crashed out
"I'm really sad for how this race went. This morning we were very fast in the warm up, so I was happy and calm, despite being aware this wasn't going to be an easy race. I started well and in the first few turns I was doing fine. I braked some twenty metres before the point I usually brake, as I wanted to be cautious in the first moments of the race, and unexpectedly I lost the front and crashed out. I'm sorry and now we are trying to understand what happened. Now we are 29 points from Bradl, but I'm not worried. I'm just worried about winning again, I want to get again good results and to be strong in the practice sessions. This weekend we learnt new things, my team gained experience and the mechanics learnt many things about me, as well as Suter: for that, I'm glad. I'd like to congratulate with Marc Marquez, I hope he can be consistent and strong in the races, too, so there will be more competition."
Great race and victory for Marc Márquez at the French Grand Prix
The Repsol rider achieves a well-deserved victory, his first win in Moto2, at the Le Mans track after a fantastic recovery
Marc Márquez got his first point-scoring position in the Moto2 World Championship with the 25 points given to the winner of a Grand Prix. After failing to score in the first three races, today the Repsol rider took revenge in style, winning the first Moto2 race he has been able to finish without incident. Moreover, he did so in his own personal style, recovering ground and overtaking rivals at a consistent pace until taking the lead of the race and being able to build an advantage.
Once again, the Repsol rider did not have a good start. He began from sixth place and, after setting the fastest time in the morning warm-up, Márquez took the first laps in tenth place. Corsi was the first he surpassed and, lap after lap, Márquez overtook his rivals until catching up with the leading group.
The fast right corner at the end of the straight was the place he used twice -Takahashi and Luthi- to do great overtaking manoeuvres and, although they both passed him again at the following braking point, the second time they had to give up the position due to the Spaniard's faster pace. Before that, a minor touch between Bradl and Takahashi in lap fifteen helped him overtake the leader of the class and Julián Simón.
From lap 22, Márquez took the lead of the race and escaped alone, thus achieving a well-deserved victory. With this result, the current 125cc World Champion becomes the youngest rider to win in the intermediate class of the Motorcycling World Championship. With the 25 points received today, the first he has scored, Márquez reaches the ninth place in the overall classification.
1º - 43:03.308
"At the beginning I did not have a good start, which is what I have to improve in Moto2, but I was able to stay calm. The experience of the first three races allowed me to larn a lot and I knew I had to keep my own pace during the entire race.
I knew that I could be two or three tenths faster, but it was too risky and I saw that I was slowly catching up with the rest. I did it step by step because I knew that we will be competitive at the end of the race. Overtaking in this class is more difficult, you have to be sure before gaining a position, but when I sow they were battling, I was able to pass through them.
Four laps before the end, it started to rain a bit and I decided to overtake Takahashi and Luthi, because I thought that they could stop the race at any time due to the rain. I decided to push and it went well, so I am very happy for this victory. We had prepared the race very well and I want to thank Santi [Hernández] and the whole team, because they did a really good job".
Smith and di Meglio thrill French fans in Le Mans
Bradley Smith and Mike di Meglio produced trilling Moto2 performances in the Tech 3 Racing Team's home race at the legendary Le Mans circuit today.
British rider Smith stormed to his third top ten finish in four races after he produced a gutsy ride in the 26-lap race, while di Meglio was unfortunate to see his amazing top ten challenge ended by a late crash.
Smith made a fantastic start and a series of superbly crafted overtakes saw the 20-year-old claim nine places on the opening lap. Smith was then locked in a close and exciting eight-rider battle involving eventual winner Marc Marquez in the early laps.
Once at the front of the pack, Smith brillia ntly capitalised on clear track in front of him to begin an impressive surge away from the chasing group, which included fellow British rider Scott Redding and pre-season Moto2 title favourite Alex de Angelis.
He was also able to comfortably pull away from circuit specialist Jules Cluzel, despite riding with heavy strapping on his right ankle after he was taken down in an incident involving Axel Pons in the final stages of yesterday's qualifying session. He lost a richly deserved eighth place just three laps from the end when Dominique Aegerter passed, but Smith rode a stunning last lap to fend of a dogged challenge from de Angelis.
Home favourite Mike di Meglio produced one of the performances of the race, the French rider producing a masterful exhibition of overtaking to fight his way through from 27th on the grid to the brink of the top ten in just 12 laps. His surge through the field had his home fans captiv ated but as he launched a late challenge to claim a second successive top ten finish, di Meglio crashed out on the penultimate lap.
Bradley Smith 9th – 27 points
"After the crash in qualifying I was in quite a lot of discomfort last night. My right ankle took quite a big hit and I had to ride with it heavily strapped so there wasn't much movement and that gave me the support I needed. I had an unbelievable start and really committed myself at the first corner. I made up a lot of places and it was a good fight. Once I got to the front of the group I didn't find it too hard to pull away from Cluzel. The bike was working great and it was a shame I just couldn't hang onto eighth. I upped my pace at the end but Aegerter and de Angelis definitely had something extra in the last couple of laps. My tyre hadn't dropped off and I was doing the same lap tim es, but they just went much quicker. Aegerter passed me and I couldn't stay with him but I'm pleased to have kept Alex at bay because he is a very fast rider. The big positive is that I'm only 20 seconds behind the race winner and that's the closest I've been all season. And my time on the last lap was only 0.3s away from my best. That shows I've got the pace but also the consistency."
Mike di Meglio DNF – 7 points
"Of course I am not happy about the crash at the end. I made a little mistake when I passed Cluzel and the front closed and I crashed. Apart from that I think I had a great race. We were really fast and after starting from 27th I was in the group fighting for 10th position halfway through, so I am happy about that. If we find a solution for my qualifying issues I am confident that I can be stronger in the race. I will work and train in the break now and hope that I can pay my team back for all their hard work with a good result at the next race in Catalunya."
Herve Poncharal – Team Manager
"This was not an easy race to watch for a Team Manager, but I hope the French fans were entertained by the Tech 3 Racing Team today. Bradley had a really good start and made his way through the group quickly and he had a consistent pace. So if the qualifying goes better in the future I have no doubt he can be fighting with the front group. It is his first season in this class and after four races he is already eighth in the Championship and I am very happy about that. With the problems from yesterday and the pain in the foot from the crash, Bradley did a fantastic job. It is a pity that Mike crashed as he rode an incredibly strong race. He had to start from 27th on the grid, which is not easy, but he managed to get his way through to fight for a to p 10 finish as well. Unfortunately he made a mistake and crashed when he was pushing hard for a top ten, which he really deserved. But he was very fast during the race and I am happy that he showed his potential once again."
Xavier Siméon's progress continues in Le Mans
Xavier Siméon rode a encouraging race today at the Bugatti circuit in Le Mans, France where he finished in 18th position after starting from 31st spot on the grid.
Siméon had once again a difficult qualifying, but his final position in the race shows the progress he and his team made since Estoril two weeks ago. The young Belgian gains more confidence every time he is on the bike as his rhythm is getting better and better, but a top 15 is yet to come.
Xavier Siméon, 18th position:
"I am happy that I was able to finish 18th after starting from 31st. Still I hope that we can qualify better in the futur e so I have a better base to finish the races more in front. I know we have the pace and the potential for Top 15 results and I am happy with the progress we made since the start of the season and I really want to thank my team for their hard work and support they give me. We just need to find that extra bit that takes us to a better starting position. We will work on that in Catalunya."
Hervé Poncharal - Team Manager:
"Xavier made a good progress since the start of the season and I am happy about that. Still it is tough to catch all the positions when you have to start from so far behind on the grid. His pace is good and he found a good rhythm, so I just hope that he will continue in this direction and show us what he can do when he has a better position for the start of the race. I think he can be in the points at the next race in Catalunya."
FOURTH CONSECUTIVE PODIUM FOR BANKIA ASPAR'S NICO TEROL
Terol adds a second place to his stunning start to the 2011 season, and now holds 36-point advantage in standings
A cold morning greeted the 125cc riders at Le Mans, with temperatures of 14º on track for their 11am race start. It was another successful contest for Spanish riders, with a podium consisting of Viñales, Terol and Vázquez. An early breakaway for Terol was thwarted by the eventual racewinner, who made the definitive pass on the final lap.
BANKIA Aspar's Nico Terol had an almost perfect weekend, in which only a win was lacking for the Spaniard. Terol led the race and set the pace in France, chasing win number four from as many races. He clocked the fastest lap of the 125cc field on lap nine, (1'44.083) but Viñales stuck with him and took advantage of the tiniest of mistakes the final time around. Terol maintains the leadership of the overall standings by 36 points, improving his advantage over the second placed rider.
Héctor Faubel got back into the swing of things with a competitive race, despite a poor start. The former series runner-up made an excellent comeback through the field, but los time with five laps to go when he collided with another rider. His fourth place was creditable in the face of such setbacks.
Adrián Martín got off to a good start, but had some grip problems that lost him positions and meant that he could not trouble the top ten.
2nd Nico Terol: "I took things calmly on the opening laps, because the track was cold and I didn't want to make any mistakes. The front tyre didn't make me feel comfortable when braking. When I got some feeling in the front was when I pushed harder, and I thought that I could leave Maverick behind. But he stuck with me well. I let him pass, but he didn't want to push on. With three laps to go, I made my move and tried to break away. I still wasn't able to lose him, and on the last lap I had to cover my position. I managed to do so, up until the final set of corners when I braked too hard. By the time I went to open the gas again, he was overtaking me. I want to congratulate him on a great race. I am delighted with the job that the team did this weekend, but coming so close to victory leaves a bittersweet taste in your mouth. I took twenty important points for the standings, so now we should keep on working whilst our rivals get ever-closer."
4th Héctor Faubel: "I didn't get a good start today. I kept the clutch in place and the bike was holding well, but for some reason the take-off was slow. I am not happy with the result, because I pushed for the whole race as part of the chasing pack and received little reward. With four laps to go I came into contact with another rider and went to the back of this group, so it was up to me to overtake them again. I was able to do so within three laps, but by then Vázquez had already opened up a gap in the fight for the podium. If I can take one positive thing from this race, it is that I was able to be competitive for the entire time. We were close to the podium, and we know that we can get there if we keep on fighting as we have been."
14th Adrián Martín: "It has been an almost perfect weekend. I knew that the most important thing was today's race and I had the pace to be finishing high up the order. I had a good start, but as the race went on I noticed that my back wheel was sliding around a lot. I was losing grip whenever I opened the throttle, which gave me a few scares. It is a pity to have ended the weekend this was, but I hope that we can change this situation for the next race."
FOURTH PLACE FOR JULIÁN SIMÓN LIFTS HIM TO SECOND IN THE STANDINGS
MAPFRE Aspar rider gets great start and fights in lead group for duration of French round
A good, clean and -most of all- dry French Grand Prix was undertaken by the Moto2 riders at Le Mans this afternoon, in the series' fourth race of 2011. The skies had threatened downpours throughout the morning, but in the end only a few drops came down and did not disrupt the race. The protagonists in the race were almost exactly the same as those at Estoril, but the twist in the tale was a victory for Marc Márquez. Stefan Bradl had taken an early lead, followed by Simón, Márquez, Luthi, Takahasi and Espargaró. Their pace of 1'38 broke them free from the rest, before the podium of Márquez, Takahashi and Bradl was decided.
Starting from ninth and fourth after the opening lap, Julián Simón eventually held on to that position when the chequered flag came down. His main objective was to get off to a good start, and the MAPFRE Aspar rider managed to do so. This kept him in the fight for the podium as the laps went by. Waiting to pass Luthi on the final lap, he almost caught up with Stefan Bradl before the end. However, fourth place was a strong result that catapults him into second place in the Moto2 standings.
Teammate Xavi Forés had worse luck, as a collision on the opening lap halted his progress at Le Mans. Rejoining the race, the Spaniard felt a pain in his knee and was unable to place higher than 29th.
4th Julián Simón: "I am happy with my performance in the race today, above all with my start and opening laps. I pushed really hard at the start, because I didn't want to lose any positions. I knew that the end result would depend on me getting into the group at the start. Going all-out off the line is the key, and I could see that today. I will bear that in mind for the next race. What worried me most today was losing touch with the lead pack, so I achieved my aim. My main obstacle to a podium today was the problem that Bradl had at the end of the race. Takahashi passed him and I also tried to, but I had to go too wide. Once a few spots of rain fell on the track, Márquez could get a bit further clear. I was able to overtake Luthi on the final lap, and I would have liked to have reached Bradl. This fourth place feels like a podium to me."
29th Xavi Forés: "I had a pretty good start, but on the double corner I was hit from behind under braking. I was completely taken out. I came back onto the track in last place and very shaken, and tried to focus on the race. Then my knee started to hurt. I wanted to make back up some more positions but it was impossible, and whenever I stuck my leg to the bike I felt a lot of pain. This problems made me drop my pace a lot compared to previous days. We have to move on from this and focus on Montmeló, which is a circuit that we know well and at which we can do well."
POINTS ELUDE MARC VDS RACING TEAM AT LE MANS
The Marc VDS Racing Team's quest to score its first Moto2 World Championship points of the 2011 campaign was thwarted at the end of a difficult French Grand Prix at the historic Le Mans circuit.
British rider Scott Redding was unable to take full advantage of his season best fifth position on the grid and he finished just outside the points in 16th position. And teammate Mika Kallio's luck deserted him again, as a clutch problem forced him to retire with only four of the 26-laps completed.
Redding looked on course to fight for a top eight finish after he produced a spirited ride in the opening half of the 26-lap race. The 18-year-old had just forced his way back into the top ten and was poised to mount a challenge to compatriot Bradley Smith and Jules Cluzel when he suddenly started to lose grip with his rear tyre.
Heavy cloud cover meant air temperatures only reached 15 degrees today - the lowest of the entire weekend. The cooler conditions saw Redding opt to race with the softer compound Dunlop rear tyre. But unable to push with the same level of confidence he had demonstrated superbly yesterday to qualify his Suter MMX1 machine on the second row, Redding dropped out of the points after a mistake in the braking zone for Turn 6 on the 11th lap. A combination of the tyre choice and a gearshift problem prevented Redding from recovering the lost places.
Kallio's race came to a disappointing conclusion in the early stages, the Finnish rider's fate effectively sealed before the 26-lap race had commenced as he encountered a clutch problem on the sighting lap. Starting from 23rd on the grid, Kallio immediately went into attack mode to try and force his way into the top 20. But the clutch problem continued and unable to get any drive exiting corners, he had no option but to retire.
Scott Redding #45 Race Position 16th
"Considering I qualified in fifth position and felt really confident and comfortable on the bike, to finish with no points again is pretty disappointing. It was much cooler today so we decided to put the soft compound tyre in and it was probably the wrong choice. It worked fine for the first five laps but then I had some spinning issues. Coming out of Turn 3 I was having big movement from the rear. I also had trouble with the quickshifter. It wouldn't engage a gear and it was jumping out of third. It was a real problem coming out of Turn 4 because you're on the edge of the tyre and trying to select a gear meant I was constantly fighting with the bike for the whole of the race. Those little problems made it difficult to stay with the group I was in and trying to make up some time I ran wide on the brakes at Turn 6 on lap 11. The whole weekend had gone really good and I expected a much better result. I'll try and put this disappointing start to the season behind me in Catalunya and try and get a result the Marc VDS Racing Team deserves."
Mika Kallio #36 Race Position DNF
"My race was over before it had even really started and that is disappointing. I had a clutch problem in the first practice, so to have the same problem for the race is frustrating. As soon as I rode out for the sighting lap I knew there was a problem and once the race started I couldn't exit the corners with any power. You can clearly see on the data that there was a problem, so we'll have to check what caused the issue. I had no choice but to retire and that's a shame because I'm convinced I could have fought my way into the points today. This is another race where I've not scored any points, but I'll go to the next race in Catalunya 100 per cent focussed and determined to get my season up and running."
Michael Bartholemy - Team Manager
"We can't hide the fact that this is another race in which the Marc VDS Racing Team has scored no points and once again that is incredibly disappointing. It is unbelievable to think after four races of the season that we are in this position and it is simple, the results have to get better immediately. We were obviously expecting Scott to be fighting for a top result today. He didn't make the best start but he was quickly able to fight his way back into the top 10 and we were optimistic that he could score our first points of the season. He couldn't maintain his pace though and we have to analyse why. He had some problems with the quickshifter and this is a part that is normally bulletproof, so we'll have to check exactly what happened. Mika had no chance to show his potential in the race because of a clutch problem. That is the second time this weekend he's had this issue, so we need to investigate what is the problem because that is disappointing. The entire Marc VDS Racing Team remains motivated and confident that we can get the results a team of our stature should be achieving, starting at the next race in Catalunya."
A strong race from Simone Grotzkyj put the young Italian on the 12th place on the finish line. Taylor Mackenzie and Giulian Pedone classified 22nd and 23rd, both still suffering for the consequences of a recent crash. The Swiss fall here in Le Mans, and he dislocated his right hand. Taylor in Estoril – no more pain or physical problems, but he was forced to stop his training, and is still recovering the best physical condition.
Simone Grotzkyj (42'34"918, 12th) : "For half the distance, a perfect race. I was 11th, and close to the top ten, just working to get them. Then, suddenly, something happened to my bike – I don't know what – and I began to suffer in and out of the corners – the bike was not stable as before. I was forced to slow down and, at the end, lost one place"
. Taylor Mackenzie (43'25"923, 22nd): "The race has been my best session of the weekend. Lap times have been consistent. At the beginning, I was in a good position, and able to stay with my group, but almost crashed in a close fight. That costed me time al places – on my own, keep pushing was by far more difficult".
Giulian Pedone (43'43"003, 23rd) "I'm pleased with myself. I've raced in quite a difficult condition, with my right hand dislocated. I told to myself 'let's see what can happen'. Lap by lap, I improved my rhythm, and clocked my fastest times just at the end of the race.
Fiorenzo Caponera (Team Principal): "The problem suffered by Simone is really strange – probably, something related to tires, or cyclistic. We are still investigating. This is not the first time that something of this kind happens, so we must absolutely understand why. Having said that, we believe to be very close to our target. About Taylor and Giulian, it is quite clear that the crash they suffered had a big say in today's race. We have three weeks before next race, and this will help".
MOTO 2 Aegerter, 8th at the French Grand Prix
Le Mans, 15 May 2011 - Fourth race of the season, the Grand Prix de France has just ended in front of more than 88 000 spectators. For the Technomag-CIP, happiness was there when Dominique Aegerter finished 8th after a highly competitive race. The weekend was more challenging for Kenan Sofuoglu who discovered the circuit and did not feel confident with the front of his bike.
After encouraging practices, 10th with a gap of 0,49s with the pole position, Dominique was starting from the 4th line of the grid. Practices were more difficult for Kenan who was on the 9th line.
The light went green and it was a good start for our Swiss rider who was 8th after few bends. Kenan was quite far and did not seem to be in the right timing. The beginning of the race was a slightly difficult for Dominique and he stayed in a group of 7 in a battle for the 7th place. During the 17th lap, when raindrop started falling on the racetrack, Dominique just sped up and overtook some riders. In the last laps, he gained the 8th place and crossed the finish line on this position. These eight points earned put him on the 10th place overall.
Kenan' race did not go easy and his front bike difficulties did not help him to express himself as he should.
Dominique Aegerter : "I am very happy about my race, my bike was perfect! I have to improve the begining of my race but, at the end, I was very comfortable and when the rain started, I had no doubt and I just sped up! I am in the top 10 and I want to stay in for the rest of the year."
Alain Bronec, Owner of the team : "Dominique did a good race. All the team is happy with his result that awarded the work done. We will keep going on that way with Dominique to help him to become sharper during the first part of the race. Kenan wanted to stay on the track. With his bad feeling, he preferred to do not run a risk."
MZ achieves best possible result at Le Mans
MZ factory rider Max Neukirchner battled his way to 15th place at the French Motorcycle Grand Prix and took one world championship point in the Moto2 category. Team-mate Anthony West took 25th place and left seven strong rivals in his wake. With these results, German MZ Racing Team achieved the best possible result in this race. "I'm happy", said MZ CEO Martin Wimmer.
Miracles were out of reach for MZ on the famous 4.1 kilometre track in Le Mans. Neukirchner, who had suffered an open fracture of his left little finger in a practice crash two weeks before at the Portuguese Grand Prix, started with a bandage and a special glove, with a shortened clutch lever und an additional protector at the end of his handlebars. Despite his injury and a less than perfect set-up, he made good progress in the race.
Team-mate Anthony West had received an FTR chassis for the race in Le Mans and was on the same technical terms as Neukirchner for the first time this season. But since he didn't have a chance to go testing before the French Grand Prix, he ran into inevitable teething problems in his search for the right set-up of his new bike. Neukirchner's computer data was of little help, since he uses Showa suspension systems, whereas West sticks to Öhlins suspension parts for the time being. Starting from 33rd place on the grid, 25th position was the best he could do under the circumstances.
"All in all I'm happy", said Wimmer. "Neukirchner's point is a small but nevertheless important success for us and for our ranking in the manufacturer's championship. Without his finger injury, he certainly would have been faster. With Anthony, it was obvious from the beginning that the main task for this weekend was to establish a base set-up for his new bike. But we will re-consider our decision to run two different suspension systems."
Max Neukirchner – 15th:
"Of course I have to be happy to earn a point in the hardest-fought championship of the world, but I am not completely satisfied. We could have achieved more, even though we got the best possible result under the circumstances. We lost a lot of time in the first practice when our engine blew up after just eight laps, and even later, we never found the best balance for the bike. But I still I was able to put up a good fight. The group ahead of me battled for seventh spot, so we are not that far away. We learned quite a lot and I hope to be able to build on that at Barcelo
Anthony West – 25th:
"We didn't have time to go testing with the new bike before this weekend, and therefore, it was another wasted race in my opinion. I am happy to have that bike and I am happy that the guys put a lot of work in. But I am not confident on the bike yet. I felt like I almost crashed on every lap because I have no feeling for the limits. It is hard to go fast under these circumstances. I hope we have a chance to go testing before the next race at Barcelona!"
ANOTHER GREAT RACE FOR TAKAHASHI, SECOND AT LE MANS
Takahashi and Team Gresini took another great result at Le Mans in the Moto2 class. The weekend didn't start well, but it ended with a great second place for rider Yuki Takahashi. The team will obviously be working hard over the next few weeks in order to provide the Japanese rider with a winning bike for Barcelona. Teammate Michele Pirro had problems fighting in a group in France, but also expects more from the next race
Yuki Takahashi (2nd) "I am happy with the result, which is the culmination of the great job that we have done this weekend. It is also good to have taken the points that move me up to fourth in the standings. The weekend didn't start in the best way possible, but we have stood strong and recovered. The team worked well and I am confident about the future."
Michele Pirro (14th ) "There is little to say. When I was riding on my own I was up there with the best lap times, but when I reached the group I was unable to gain places. We have to work in order to find the best balance between an agile bike and a responsive bike. We will try to gain positions in Barcelona."
Fausto Gresini "It wasn't easy, after all that we had suffered on Friday. However, we found a solution to the problems and in the end we reaped the rewards with Takahashi. We are much more confident about the future today, and I believe that in Barcelona we can do even better. Pirro needs to find the right motivation and the guys in the team will work hard in order to give him a bike that suits his characteristics."
FTR MOTO CONTINUES CONSISTENCY WITH CORSI IN FRANCE
FTR MOTO earned more points in the Moto2 World Championship as the IODA Project Team's Simon Corsi continued his impressive start to the 2011 season with another top 10 finish in Sunday's fourth round at Le Mans in France.
The Italian rider took seventh place in the 26-lap race at the 2.599-mile circuit and now sits in sixth place in the World Championship after four of 17 rounds.
Pol Espargaro, on the HP Tuenti Speed Up Team machine, was again in the points as the promosing Spaniard took 13th place on his FTR M211 while Max Neukirchner earned the final World Championship point as the German took 15th place on his MZ-FTR machine.
Kenny Noyes, riding the FOGI Racing/GP Tech-backed FTR M211, was an agonising 17th in Sunday's race, just two places and less than eight seconds away from his first World Championship points of the year.
Blusens STX rider Yonny Hernandez completed the top 20 in Sunday's race while his team-mate Esteve Rabat was one place further back in 21st place in a race with 40 starters.
Mattia Pasini – Corsi's IODA Project FTR team-mate – was 23rd, Ratthapark Wilairot 24th on the Thai Honda Singa SAG machine with youngsters Kev Coghlan and Valentin Debise 27th and 28th respectively.
"That was probably our toughest round yet in 2011," said FTR's Steve Bones. "We are working with a lot of new teams this year and about seven or eight of the riders are new to the Championship.
"We've been looking forward to some serious testing with the teams to try the development parts we've prepared and I'm really pleased we'll now have that opportunity before the next World Championship round in Barcelona."
MotoGP RACE REPORT: GRAND PRIX OF FRANCE
Stoner closes gap on leader Lorenzo with victory at Le Mans; Pedrosa hurt in crash
INDIANAPOLIS, Sunday, May 15, 2011 - 2007 World Champion Casey Stoner completed a weekend of domination for Honda by winning the Grand Prix of France on May 15, closing to within 12 points of MotoGP leader Jorge Lorenzo.
Stoner beat Andrea Dovizioso by 14.214 seconds on his Repsol Honda for his second victory of the season, both coming from the pole. Stoner led all three practice sessions, qualifying and the race warm-up.
Seven-time MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi finished third, just .350 of a second behind Dovizioso, for his first podium with the Ducati Team.
Defending World Champion Lorenzo leads Stoner, 78-66, in the points after finishing fourth on his Yamaha. Marco Simoncelli was fifth on his San Carlo Honda Gresini after yet again creating controversy in the pivotal incident of the 28-lap race.
Stoner and teammate Dani Pedrosa traded the lead early in the race, with Stoner taking the lead for good near the halfway point. Once Pedrosa lost touch with Stoner, he started to drop closer to the charging Simoncelli.
Simoncelli passed Pedrosa for second early on Lap 18. But later that lap, Pedrosa regained second on the back straightaway. Simoncelli, who has angered a few riders this season with his aggressive tactics, countered later that lap with a brash move into a series of S-turns to pass Pedrosa again for second.
That maneuver caused 2010 Red Bull Indianapolis GP winner Pedrosa to clip the back of Simoncelli's bike, throwing Pedrosa to the ground hard. Pedrosa suffered a broken collarbone in the crash, an injury he suffered last season and for which he required additional corrective surgery last month.
Simoncelli was assessed a ride-through penalty.
"He just came into me releasing the brakes, and I could do nothing," Pedrosa said of Simoncelli. "I leave here with a broken collarbone and he with a ride-through penalty, good for him! Yet again I come out worse off. We only just recovered from the nightmare of the last operation, and now I'm hurt again. It is very unfair; I don't deserve it."
Dovizioso and Rossi then took the spotlight with a spirited, clean duel for second over the last four laps.
2010 Rookie of the Year Ben Spies led the three American riders with a sixth-place finish on his Yamaha. Nicky Hayden finished seventh on his Ducati. Colin Edwards recovered from a crash to finish 13th on his Monster Yamaha Tech 3.
The next race is the Grand Prix of Catalunya on June 5 at Barcelona, Spain. The Red Bull Indianapolis GP is scheduled for Aug. 26-28 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.