2011 Catalunya Moto2 and 125cc Friday Press Release Roundup

Press releases from the 125cc and Moto2 teams at Catalunya after Friday practice:


Difficult start to the weekend in Catalunya

The weekend of the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya had a difficult start for the RW GP Racing Team. Luis Salom was in the combined results sheet on a thirteen position and wasn't happy at all.

In the first free practice session at Friday morning wasn't the result the rider and team were hoping for. Salom had difficulties to find his rhythm. Throughout the session, the Spaniard struggled to ride fast lap times. In this dry session Salom rode to a thirteenth position and wasn't satisfied with this position.

The second practice session in the afternoon started under Salom had the 22nd time. Just before the rain came down, the Spaniard wanted to go out but it wasn't possible due the rain. In the last ten minutes the team and Salom decided to go out and make some laps on the rain tires because there will be a big change that the rain will come on the Saturday and Sunday. Salom wasn't able to improve his time due the weather circumstances.

Luis Salom (13th, 1:55.244):

"Today feels like a wasted day. In the morning we were already not satisfied with the results and in the afternoon it was quite dramatic! I don't have a good feeling at this moment and at the moment it's really hard for me to ride competitive lap times. I make too many mistakes and lost my rhythm. In the afternoon when the rain was coming down, it didn't really help me! The bike is fast enough and the setup is not too bad. I think I push too much and put too much pressure on myself. Especially since it's my second home Grand Prix this weekend. Tonight I'll have some rest and trying to reset my mind for tomorrow so I can run fast times again. "


NICO TEROL DOMINATES OPENING DAY OF FREE PRACTICE AT CATALUNYA

Adrián Martín is surprise package: fifth fastest time in morning session and sets pace in wet afternoon

A home Grand Prix for a host of riders on the 125cc grid started off with seven local riders in the top eight at Catalunya. Clouds threatened in the morning and gave way in the afternoon, giving the riders opportunity to test their bike set-up in both wet and dry conditions. Nico Terol was the fastest over the two sessions, holding an advantage of 0.4 seconds over his nearest rival on the overall time sheets.

Second place last time out was a great result but Terol is used to winning this year and he is eager to re-establish his dominance from the outset here. The BANKIA Aspar rider's closest rival today was Sandro Cortese and he is hopeful of maintaining his dominance tomorrow. His young team-mate Adrián Martín was the surprise package today, clocking the fifth fastest time in the morning and then topping the timesheets in the afternoon. The BANKIA Aspar team's third rider Héctor Faubel had a tough start to the weekend, crashing in turn five after eight laps this morning but recovering to lap seventh fastest.

1st Nico Terol 1.53.001 (20 laps): "The forecast today was for changeable weather and it has proved correct, which meant we could not work properly this afternoon. My feeling was good in both wet and dry though and we got better with every lap, which is positive for tomorrow. I only did four laps in the wet but I felt good, even though I didn't take any risks. My main target is to improve my pace from last year's race - not just for myself but because my rivals are getting ever closer."

5th Adrián Martín 1.54.050 (19 laps): "I am really happy because we have started out with a good pace, like in France. To see myself fifth on the time sheets has given me a big boost. I think we are making progress because I feel more comfortable every time I ride. I only managed two quick laps on the wet track this afternoon but I felt good and set a fast time. The bike is working really well and I am desperate to keep this up all weekend."

7th Héctor Faubel 1.54.704 (17 laps): "We really improved the throttle response at the Aragón test and we were able to follow on the same positive line today. After the crash this morning we tried a new chassis solution and it made it much more manageable. It rained this afternoon and I didn't feel comfortable at the start because it was slippery but I improved my feeling as the laps went by. Everything we are trying at the moment is working so I hope Sunday confirms it. The team and I are working so hard and I think we deserve a good result."


FARMINGDALE, NJ – June 3, 2011 – Bel-Ray Company, Inc. – Bel-Ray Races Around the World

The first weekend in June will be very busy for Bel-Ray racers, as our professional racing teams compete around the world.

The Tech 3 Moto2 team leads the way into Cataluyna for Round 5 of the 17-Round 2011 Moto2 Championship Series. The Gran Premi de Cataluyna is held at the Circuit de Cataluyna and both team riders are prepared to improve on their round 4 results. Bradley Smith was 9th in Le Mans for the French round and currently sits in 8th in the series' standings. After suffering a DNF at Round 4, Mike DiMeglio is ready to show his true speed and compete for a top finish. DiMeglio is currently 20th in the series' standings.


Great start für Thomas Lüthi: Second place at Barcelona

Interwetten Paddock Moto2-Pilot Thomas Lüthi had a great start to the Catalunya Grand Prix at Barcelona. The 24-year-old from Switzerland rode to the fastest time in first free practice on Friday morning and defended his top position for most of the afternoon session. Only in the last moment, 17 seconds before the chequered flag came down, Italian Simone Coris went fractionally faster and secured best time of the day. But this didn't dampen the mood within the Interwetten Paddock Team: Lüthi had used the same set of tyres in both practice sessions and still clocked competitive lap times when his tyres had completed a full race distance. "That's a very good sign – we are confident for the race", was the general opinion of all team members.

Thomas Lüthi – 2nd in 1:47.494 min.:

"Corsi's best time doesn't bother me – what counts is our overall performance, and we are definitely on the right track. We started well this morning and found a good setting early on, then we fully concentrated on getting the bike ready for race distance. Unlike the other categories, we were quite lucky with the weather. Only at the very end, a slight drizzle started to come down, but we were able to complete our run on full slick tyres. Whereas we put all our efforts towards race distance, Corsi most likely grabbed a new tyre in the end and thus managed to get to the top of the list. But that's only a minor flaw – for our race preperation, first or second place didn't make any difference today!"

Alfred Willecke – Crew Chief

"Tom was fastest this morning and, apart from the very last seconds, once again this afternoon, so we are happy and confident. Tom's performance as a rider has been strong all year long, and we keep trying to build on that and to further improve the bike step by step. The most important thing here at Barcelona will be to judge the weather correctly and to find the best possible set-up for the conditions on Sunday!"

Terrell Thien, Team Manager:

"We rode both sessions with just one set of tyres and Tom completed more than a race distance. Now we have a pretty good idea which tyre choice to make on Sunday. We also made some modifications on the bike to make sure that a rear brake failure like at the last Grand Prix in France won't ever happen again. It was a material defect that caused the failure at Le Mans, and we doubled up on securing the part in question!"


Positive progression for Marc Márquez at the Catalunya Grand Prix

A crash at the beginning of the first free practice prevented him from returning to the track until the second session, where he worked hard to finish just four tenths behind the first

Marc Márquez overcame with effort and work the adverse situation he had in the first practice of the Catalunya Grand Prix. The intermittent rain affected track conditions and Marc Márquez crashed just a few minutes into the first free practice session. Due to the damages to his bike, he was not able to get back on track until the second session, where he steadily fine-tuned the set-up of his bike until finishing eleventh, just four tenths behind the fastest time set by Simone Corsi.

A brief shower at the end of the MotoGP practiced forced the riders to be cautious in their first contact with the Catalunya Circuit, even Márquez did the first lap with wet tyres. However, with the track apparently dry, the Repsol rider got out on track again with slick tyres and, in his second lap, was thrown out of the bike at the end of the Resol corner. When he went back to the garage, the team was not able to repair the damages to his bike and the Repsol rider had to wait until the afternoon to continue with his work.

In the second free practice session, Márquez and his team were determined to recover the time lost. After several runs to make changes in the set-up and in the tyre choice, the Repsol rider was able to progress steadily. In the end, Márquez completed 18 laps with a fastest time of 1 minute, 47 seconds and 857 thousandths.

Marc Márquez

FP1 - 1:51.305, 3 laps, 14 km.

FP2 - 1:47.857, 18 laps, 77 km.

"The weekend did not start very well for us; I crashed in the morning, maybe due to my being overconfident, but luckily I was not injured. I have to apologize to the team because it was my mistake.

In the afternoon the weather was good and we were able to improve. At the beginning we were very cautious and then we pushed a bit more. We were able to get a good set-up, although we can still improve in many areas, but we found the way and the pace after the break.

I think we have to follow our usual working line, focus in getting a good set-up for the race and see how it goes tomorrow, how is the weather, although it seems that it will be changeable. What is clear is that we will do our best".


MAPFRE ASPAR RIDERS MAKE STRONG START AT MONTMELÓ

Simón on pace and Forés inside a second of fastest lap, both confident of more progress tomorrow

The Moto2 riders were the lucky ones at the Circuit de Catalunya today as they were the only ones to get two full dry sessions on track, or at least two full sessions on slick tyres. Intermittent rain throughout the day held off for both intermediate class sessions and although the track dried quickly it was not in ideal shape. The top twenty riders are separated by just a second, with Simone Corsi the man on top. Aleix Espargaró, Julian Simón and Marc Márquez lead the significant Spanish challenge.

From the evidence so far it seems the private test carried out by the MAPFRE Aspar team at Aragon Motorland last week was a success, with Julián Simón and Xavi Forés setting a strong pace throughout the first day. Simón was third fastest this morning and eleventh in the afternoon, making very few changes to his set-up and maintaining a solid pace in the high 1'47s before finishing four tenths off the best lap time. Xavi Forés continues his impressive adaptation to the class and was just a second off the best time today.

11th Julián Simón 1.47.847 (34 laps): "Today was really positive. Luckily the rain held off and we were able to work well. We were able to confirm the progress we made at Aragón and even had chance to test a couple more things, such as a longer gear setting. I had to adapt my riding to get the most out of it so we decided to take a step back. The fact we used the same tyres all day had an effect on our lap time at the end but our pace is good so I am happy. Tomorrow we just need to pull one fast lap out to get the best possible grid position. It will be a fight to get onto the front two rows."

20th Xavi Forés 1.48.382 (22 laps): "I had a good feeling with the bike this morning. We decided to spend the whole session on one tyre, with the race in mind, and then switched to a harder one for the afternoon and I felt more comfortable so I think we'll use that on Sunday. We were quite close to the top all afternoon. We made a couple of little changes to the geometry that helped under braking and I was able to do a lot of laps on my own in the 1'48s. I wanted to know what my true pace was and I am happy with it. We are getting closer and closer to the top."


THE CHANGEABLE WEATHER PLAYS THE MAIN ROLE DURING THE FIRST PRACTICE DAY FOR THE CATALUNYA GP

The Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya kicked off today, the fifth round of 2011 season for Moto2.

The continuous weather changes made the sessions more complicated for the riders competing in the World Championship, as they had to practice on the Catalan track while it was in mixed conditions throughout the day. Andrea Iannone, on the Suter MMXI machine of Speed Master team, chose to use the time at disposal to work on the setting of his bike. Considering the track conditions, the rider from Vasto preferred not to take excessive risks, finishing only 1.283 seconds off today's best lap time. It wasn't easy to define the data from these free practices and the weather during the weekend will probably be changeable, which will complicate the team's work when preparing the set-up for Sunday.

Andrea Iannone, #29 — free practice n. 2: 24th with 1'48.656

"This was a difficult day and the track conditions didn't really help us: it was hard to arrange a continuous and precise work on the setting. In any case, all the lap times are very close and tomorrow we'll do our best to improve our position in the classification. Now we are going to analyze the possibilities we have for the sessions of tomorrow and we'll see how the weather is going to be when we get out on the track for the third free practice session and for the qualifying session."


YUKI TAKAHASHI FOURTH, PIRRO TENTH

After a difficult morning session both Team Gresini Moto2 riders were able to turn around their fortunes in the afternoon, Yuki Takahashi and Michele Pirro vastly improving their performance on track. The Japanese rider was once again amongst the pacesetters in the class and is confident of making more improvements tomorrow. The Italian is also confident of more ahead of qualifying and the race after suffering a technical setback today that slowed his progress.

Yuki Takahashi (4° - 1'47.549) "This morning was a total disaster and I was down in 27th place but the the team did a great job alongside the Moriwaki engineers and we made improtant progress in the afternoon. Now I am extremely confident because I think with a few more changes we can be in even better shape to fight for a top result on Sunday."

Michele Pirro (10° 1'' 47" 843) "I still have to get confident with the track because I hardly know it but overall I am happy. If it wasn't for a minor technical problem I could have done much better so I am confident. I was a little worried this morning but in the afternoon things changed and now I am much more confident about the race on Sunday."

Fausto Gresini "Today everybody did a great job – from the riders throughout the team and the Moriwaki engineers – so I am very satisfied. We have brought a lot of new things here to Barcelona and it is not easy to test things on a race weekend but we are managing it because we have a professional and competent working group. I am convinced we have taken a step forward today that will allow us to be even more competitive. We will see if Yuki and Michele can confirm this tomorrow but I am sure we have great potential."


MARC VDS RACING TEAM OFF TO A FAST START IN CATALUNYA

The fifth round of the 2011 Moto2 World Championship started in brilliant fashion for the Marc VDS Racing Team today, with Mika Kallio and Scott Redding consistently challenging for a top six position during the opening day of practice at the Catalunya circuit.

Kallio produced arguably his best performance of the campaign so far, the Finnish rider taking maximum advantage of a revised geometry setting on his Suter MMXI machine to set the seventh best time on the combined timesheets.

Kallio took his time to adapt to the new set-up this morning when he finished in a respectable 19th place. But he was confident of major improvements with more time on the new setting and he delivered in emphatic fashion, a time of 1.47.621 pushing the Finn into the top three at one stage of this afternoon's session.

The new setting, which placed more weight on the rear of his Suter MMXI machine, enabled Kallio to ride more to his preferred style and he knocked nearly 1.2s off his best time from this morning. Kallio is now confident that he can challenge for a top six finish in Sunday's 23-lap race.

The Moto2 field managed to avoid the intermittent showers that fell during the opening day of practice, though grip levels were definitely affected with some riders unable to improve their times from this morning.

Redding though was able to lap marginally quicker in the second session, the British rider setting a quickest time of 1.47.786 to finish ninth. Redding was confident he could have gone quicker but a collision with Simone Corsi damaged his clutch lever and cost him valuable time on track.

This weekend's Catalunya race is the start of the most intensive phase of the 2011 Moto2 World Championship, with five races in the next seven weeks before the summer sojourn.

Mika Kallio #36 - 1.47.621 - 36 laps - 7th position

"I think this is the first time this season I've been smiling and it is a much better feeling than the previous races when it has been quite difficult. Right from the start I had more confidence with the bike. During the break after Le Mans I spoke a lot with my crew chief Trevor about what we needed to change and it definitely worked. The bike now has more weight on the rear and this is how I've always preferred to have the set-up all through my career. This is better for my style and today it felt more normal and natural for me to use my strong points like braking really late and aggressive. This is only the first step but it was a positive start with this revised set-up and to be less than 0.3s away from the fastest time is much more where we expect to be. The important thing is now to keep the bike like this and just make only small adjustments to improve our pace. The changes we made also helped with my position on the bike. Before I felt like I was I was crawling all over the front of the bike, but now I'm in a more natural position. We might have sacrificed a bit of turning because this new setting makes the front feel a bit more lazy, but the benefit is much greater in other areas and I can work on the turning myself."

Scott Redding #45 - 1.47.786 - 33 laps - 9th position

"Today was a good start for us and gave us a lot of optimism for the rest of the weekend. I was fast immediately and finished fifth quickest this morning and I felt very confident with the bike. I used the same front tyre all day today because feeling with the front-end is an area where I've struggled a couple of times this year. We wanted to get in a lot of laps to get a good feeling with the front, but by the end of the second session the performance had dropped off quite a bit as you'd expect. I lost a bit of time too in an incident with Corsi. I'm not sure what he was doing but I was way off line and keeping out of the way and he sat up into me and it snapped the clutch lever off the bracket. My guys worked really fast to sort it and we put in a new rear tyre that I didn't like to run it with the old front tyre and I was still pretty fast. The front was pushing a bit at the end and on my last lap I had a couple of moments so decided to back off. We just need to see what the weather is going to do for the rest of the weekend. It was dry this afternoon but the track was quite dirty but I felt pretty good and am confident I can get my season up and running on Sunday."

Trevor Morris - Mika Kallio Crew Chief

"Mika has needed a bit more time to adjust to the Moto2 bike after two years with a completely different machine in MotoGP. We didn't expect him to take quite as long as he has to show the potential we know he has, but there have been a lot of disruptions with the weather this year. And that has not really allowed him to get his rhythm going so he can tell us what we need to change to the bike to make him go faster. We just needed one complete Grand Prix for him to have no issues and with no other interruptions for him to work on the bike, rather than the Team working on the bike. We've just been trying to build his confidence so he can ride at a level we know he can and today he showed that. We spoke a lot after Le Mans and exchanged a lot of e-mails and the changes to put more weight on the rear has really helped. All credit to Mika because he has worked unbelievably hard to put things right. Today he was much happier with the weight transfer being much slower. Before the bike was pitching weight to the front too quickly, whereas now its more manageable for him so he can understand more what the bike is doing underneath him. We were in the top three at one stage and it would have been nice to stay there, but if we can keep improving then there is no reason why he can't be challenging at the front. A top 10 is definitely a realistic target."


Neukirchner gains confidence

West battles chassis problems

MZ factory rider and former World Superbike star Max Neukirchner had never been in a race on the Montmeló circuit. The 28-year-old German therefore used the first day of practice for the Grand Prix of Catalunya to learn the challenging 4.7-kilometre-track and to gain confidence before going on a hunt for a better grid position in Saturday's qualifying session. So far, Neukirchner holds 27th place in the Moto2 category.

Team-mate Anthony West, who is also riding an FTR-chassis since the last race in France, took advantage of a two-week break in Grand Prix racing and went for a private test session in Most, Czech Republic, where he worked on a suitable base set-up of his new bike with the help of Germany's former "Mr. Superbike" Peter Rubatto. Despite the achievements during these tests, West ran into unexpected chassis trouble again on the Montmeló circuit. Unable to improve on his best lap time clocked in the first free practice session, the 29-year-old Australian dropped back to 30th in the afternoon.

Max Neukirchner – 27th in 1.48,774

"It is the first time that I am in a race at Barcelona and the track is very challenging and very difficult to learn, especially some "blind" corners where you can't see the exit. But we still made lots of progress today. The bike got better lap by lap and with a new set of tires we improved further. We have to be satisfied with what we achieved so far, but we are aiming much higher tomorrow. Both the bike and I have to get better!"

Anthony West – 30th in 1.49,003

"It wasn't a good day for us. We are having trouble with the suspension and we have a really strange problem that I never had before. The bike is just pumping and jumping everywhere on the track. We don't know what this is. Fact is I need more time on the bike, because I've ridden five different frames this year and I need some consistency. That's why we went to Most for a test last week, to get some kilometres in and to work on a base set-up!"

2011

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