Press releases from the 125cc and Moto2 teams after the race at Assen:
HÉCTOR FAUBEL TAKES TENTH AT ASSEN
Teammate Adrián Martín crashes on lap eight but finishes race
The 125cc Dutch TT started without the series leader, BANKIA Aspar's Nico Terol, who was in hospital receiving treatment for a finger injury suffered in practice. There was still plenty of talent on show, however, in a tricky race for the lower cylinder class. The opening laps featured a wealth of overtaking moves, but the real action began when rain started to fall at Assen on lap two. The track got gradually wetter, before Race Direction saw fit to show the red flan with seven laps to go. With two-thirds of the contest completed, full championship points were awarded and the podium consisted of Viñales, Salom and Gadea.
BANKIA Aspar's Héctor Faubel was aiming for a podium at Assen. He started from fourth on the grid and made a strong start. He was part of the top three fight early on, battling with a group of riders. Feeling comfortable and with a bike performing to a high level, things were looking good. However, the arrival of rain meant a lack of visibility for the Spaniard, and he dropped down the order to finish tenth. It was a creditable result under the circumstances, but short of Faubel's expectations.
Adrián Martín also had a difficult time of things in the rain. He set off from 23rd but was chasing a points finish. A crash on lap eight left him with even more work to do, as he crossed the line 33rd.
10th Héctor Faubel: "This race was looking good for us. I got a good start, my bike was going better than ever and I felt comfortable at the beginning. It is clear now that I made the wrong choice of helmet today. I had the dark visor on, so when the rain came down it steamed up completely and I couldn't see a thing. I was opening the visor on the straight and was going pretty well on the first section, but when I got onto the weaving corners I had visibility problems. I am not happy with this result, because we had everything in our favour to have got a good result. It was strange that they stopped the race, when it had been raining almost since the start."
33rd Adrián Martín: "Besides the weather conditions that affected us a lot, we were also unlucky with our setup. We worked hard, but thinks didn't turn out as we would have liked. Starting from 23rd on the grid, my intention was to gain as many places as posible and try and take some points, but just when I was managing it, I made a mistake that locked up my steering. Because of that, I took Iwema out of the race. It was my mistake and I want to apologise to him. I hope that at Mugello we will go back to being as competitive as we were before."
FIRST TOP TEN AND DOUBLE SCORE FOR MAHINDRA RACING
Assen, Saturday 25 June, 2011: The Mahindra team was celebrating its best MotoGP result in the 125cc category so far at the Dutch TT today. In a race cut short by rain, both riders finished in the points – with 18-year-old Marcel Schrötter leading the team charge with a fine ninth place.
The young German was still gaining places, finding extra inspiration as the track became more slippery with falling rain. Had the race been a lap longer, he would have been seventh. As it was, it was red-flagged on the 15th of 22 scheduled laps, with results taken from the end of lap 14.
Danny Webb finished 13th, the first time both riders have finished in the points in Mahindra's first year in the highly competitive 125 class. The Indian-owned team is the only one on the 36-strong grid to make its own engine and chassis.
Speaking from Mumbai, where the Mahindra Group is headquartered, a satisfied team principal Mufaddal Choonia said: "This is an extremely proud moment for all of us at Mahindra. We have broken into the top 10 in just our sixth race. And what makes it more special is that both Marcel and Danny finished in the points. We have been working very hard to improve our bike over the last couple of months and I am glad to say that all that effort is gradually bearing fruit."
"I'm very happy with the progress, and with both riders," added team manager Nicola Casadei. "Marcel has improved so much, and Danny was with him until he was forced out by another rider, and lost the slipstream.
"Also the bikes ran perfectly all weekend. Four or five races ago we were running around 20th. To have both bikes in the points is a good step towards our ultimate goal.
MARCEL SCHRÖTTER – Ninth Place
Danny and I both got a good start, but in the first three or four laps I made a couple of little mistakes and lost touch with the lead group. Then it started to rain a little, each lap a little bit more. I had a good feeling and I was closing up. I was trying to be fast but also safe: really concentrating. I gained some places, then I was behind two riders. I could have passed them for seventh, but I had no idea that the race would be stopped so I was waiting for a safe opportunity.
DANNY WEBB – 13th place
The race was hard but the end result not so bad. At the beginning Marcel and I were with the front group and feeling comfortable ... but then another rider nearly hit me at the chicane and forced me to slow. After that I was stuck behind him: his bike was a little faster on the straight but he was slower in the corners, and the front guys got away. It was pretty frustrating – but the bike ran perfectly all weekend, and both me and Marcel were right up there. It's proper progress.
Visit www.mahindraracing.com for further information.
Salom second in 'race of his life'
Luis Salom rode the 'race of his life' in the home race of his RW Racing GP team. The Spaniard gave away a brilliant performance in a race that was red flagged after 14 of 22 laps due to rain. His first podium was a dearly won one.
Salom got away from the start very good, diving into the first corner in third position. The race was declared 'dry' but crew chief Hans Spaan had warned Salom: "It's going to rain within ten laps. Make sure you stay close to the leaders and ready to attack, because this race is not going to last for 22 laps."
Spaan, former winner in Assen, was right. And Salom took notice. He managed to stay in the top 5 all the time, sometimes even leading the pack but always at daggers drawn. "It was a heavy fight in front," Salom admitted. "Every inch was a war."
The team kept a close eye on the number of laps in combination with the weather. When a race is over two third of the number of laps and it starts raining, the last full lap counts for the final result. When Salom understood from his pitboard there were two more laps needed to reach two third of the distance and more raindrops were coming down, he put his head down and took all necessary risks.
"I knew I could make it to second," Salom explained. "Pushing for the podium was quite a risk, because I had already lost the mudguard which meant aerodynamics were disrupted. I really had to push hard to get there, but I knew I could. It wasn't very slippery, but the last section of the track was very wet."
"Luis took the challenge at exactly the right moment," according to Hans Spaan. "In the beginning of the season I predicted he could be on the podium. But I never expected he would do it so soon. Especially not in the home race of the team, where the pressure is on. What Luis has shown here, is really incredible."
Salom: "A podium alone is special enough but to do it here makes it extra special: for our sponsor TVM, for the team. Team owner Roelof Waninge and crew chief Hans Spaan are giving me all support. I feel at home and comfortable and thanks to that I can give them back this trophy." Plus 20 valuable points that put Salom in 7th in the standings for the world championship.
Team owner Roelof Waninge was more than proud. "Luis gave the team a wonderful present. He did a great job."
The next race is scheduled for next weekend already, the Italian GP at Mugello.
Marc Márquez wins in Assen and takes second place in the Championship
The Repsol rider had a faultless performance in a very difficult and close race held under intermittent rain
The Repsol rider Marc Márquez had a great race today where he was able to take full advantage of the really complicated conditions. The asphalt conditions in Assen made things difficult for the Moto2 riders, as the rain kept falling intermittently over the Dutch circuit and Race Direction declared it a wet race.
This time, Marc Márquez had a good start, taking the first place at the end of the straight and finishing the first lap in third position. In the first part of the race, with the track wet and a soft drizzle, the Repsol rider was in a group with Corsi, Smith, Sofuoglu, Bradl and Di Meglio, with Takahashi a little behind, steadily detaching themselves from the rest.
As laps went by and the track started to dry, some of the riders of the top group were falling out of the battle for victory, as was the case with Corsi, Takahashi, Di Meglio and the championship leader, Germany's Bradl, who kept losing position and finished on the ground.
After mid race, only three riders were still fighting to win. Britain's Smith, the Turkish rider Sofuoglu and the Spaniard Márquez were overtaking each other as laps went by. The Repsol rider felt comfortable and was waiting for his chance. An opportunity that arrived five laps from the end, with a light rain falling again making the track slippery. The Repsol rider changed his pace, overtaking Sofuoglu to ride alone on his way to victory, the second he achieves in his first season in Moto2.
With this result, Márquez takes the second place of the overall standings, 57 points behind Bradl.
1st - 44:30.409
"I am very happy with today's result and I have to thank my team for the job they are doing during the whole season, because they help me a lot. The race was very complicated, especially due to the conditions we had. I had a good race, but the rain did not make things easier, although it went fairly well.
The bike was never perfect under this conditions, but I tried to move to compensate my riding style with the weight and I felt fairly comfortable during the race. The track started to dry and I got more confident, until it started to rain again in the end and the track went very slippery.
Six laps from the end I decided to get the first position and try to push, because I thought that if Sofuoglu and I arrived together to the last lap, he might win or something might happen. So i was able to get some advantage and keep it until the end. It is a very important victory for me and my team, but next week we are going to Mugello and we need to focus on working well to offer a good performance".
Rear Grip Issues See Kenny Noyes Crash Out At Assen
The confidence that Kenny Noyes had been slowly building over the weekend at Assen took a bit of a knock during Saturday's Moto2 race, the Avintia-STX rider crashing out in treacherous conditions. The return of the rain after the circuit had been drying out saw Kenny highside out at the De Bult corner, one of the trickiest turns on the circuit.
The lack of dry track time had left little time to work on the new setup for Kenny's FOGI-Racing FTR, and in the half-wet, half-dry conditions, the American found himself struggling with rear grip. As the track started to dry, the grip improved, and Kenny could start to pick up the pace a little. But once the rain started falling again, the grip problems returned and Kenny crashed out of the race.
Noyes now heads to Mugello hoping to get some dry weather so that he and his Avintia-STX team can start refining the base setup they found at the start of this weekend. Kenny is confident of exploiting the potential of his FTR, and is eager to start racking up the laps.
Kenny Noyes, DNF, Fastest lap: 1'51.633
Kenny said: "The work we've done this weekend paid off for the front end, the front of my FTR felt awesome. But we had a real problem with the rear, it was spinning up a lot, it felt extreme compared to the people around me. The bike felt better when the track dried a little, but when the rain came, the grip went away and I highsided at the same place that Takahashi crashed."
"We made a big step forward at the beginning of the weekend, and I really want to get some dry track time to get the best out of the bike. We know the potential is there, but the track conditions have made it real tough to get it out. I'm hoping for some hot Italian sunshine at Mugello so we can get some laps under our belts."
IVECO TT Assen cut short for Xavier Siméon
Xavier Siméon finished a very strong weekend at the TT circuit in Assen with a disappointing result as he was denied to finish the race due to a big high side crash just before the chicane, five laps before the end.
Siméon qualified in 14th position on the grid for today's IVECO TT Assen and started off strong, being already in 9th position after just a few laps. After an exciting battle for 9th with Michele Pirro, Siméon had a nasty crash after his rear tyre was finished and hit the ground quite hard after a high side. This left him with no points today.
The 21 year old is obviously disappointed as he started his day in second place in the Warm up and he was hoping to extend his championship points tally with the result of this race. Nevertheless the Youngster is happy with his improvements and hopes he will be able to show more of his skills in one-week time when the Moto2 class hits the all-special Mugello circuit.
Xavier Siméon, DNF:
"I am obviously very disappointed for myself and also for my team as I was feeling so good all weekend. Already the first practice day went well, and then I had my best qualifying of the season so far and was second in this morning's warm up. I was really expecting something else than a "Did not finish" today. My team worked so hard and gave me a really good bike and we did so well despite these strange weather conditions here. My rear tyre was very fast at the end of its performance and even though I felt confident and rode a confident pace I had this weird high side crash a nd that was the end of this weekend. I am sorry for my team, but I hope I can give them what they deserve in Mugello."
Hervé Poncharal, Team Manager:
"I was very pleased to see all Tech3 riders in the Top 10 this morning in the warm up. That shows the Mistral 610 is a strong package. Xavier has been really good all weekend long and showed he is learning very well. He was strong again in the warm up, which appears to be his speciality. Then he lost the rear when the tyre was finished. That was a shame, but let's be positive. He had a strong weekend, unfortunately he could not get any points, but the speed was there."
Smith third after superb victory challenge in Assen
Bradley Smith stormed to a richly deserved third place finish in the Iveco TT Assen this afternoon having fought for victory throughout an exciting Moto2 race at the Circuit van Drenthe.
The 20-year-old made a flying start in tricky conditions as the unpredictable Assen weather dominated the 24-lap race. The race was declared wet after an earlier downpour brought a premature end to the 125cc race and Smith excelled in the early laps.
After claiming his first Moto2 podium in wet conditions at Silverstone earlier this month, his wet weather riding skills were immediately on display and he needed just three laps to go from 10th on the grid to lead the field. Smith looked confident and assured at the front and held off intense pressure from Marc Marquez, Kenan Sofuoglu and Yuki Takahashi until lap 10, by which time the rain had started to fall again.
Smith was able to maintain his impressive pace though and briefly regained the lead on lap 18 before Marquez and Sofuoglu passed him again when Takahashi crashed out of contention on lap 19.
With Takahashi out and conditions becoming increasingly unpredictable, Smith opted to settle for the podium rather than taking any unnecessary risks and the 16-points gained moved Smith into fourth position in the World Championship rankings, just four-points behind Simone Corsi.
Mike di Meglio was also challenging for the podium in the early stages before a small mistake ruled him out of contention. A brilliant start from the Frenchman moved him up five places on the opening lap and quickly at ease with the treacherous con ditions, di Meglio had brilliantly moved into the top five. But he fell on lap three and while unhurt in the crash he was unable to continue because of a damaged right handlebar.
Bradley Smith 3rd – 63 points:
"It was really hard work today because the conditions were so varied you had no idea what to expect from one lap to the next. At the start of the race I felt really comfortable, especially on a wet track. But once it started to dry I started to suffer a little bit. When I was at the front and the track was pretty damp, that's when I felt at my best. We went very cautious with the set-up making sure we could get full grip if the rain came down. The racing line got bigger and bigger and I think we ran a set-up that was a little bit too soft for those conditions. When it started to rain again and I knew I had a chance of the podium I just did the sensible thing and took the 16-points. It kept drying out and I found it more difficult, but to get that result was absolutely awesome. I love Mugello so hopefully I'll be very competitive there next weekend too."
Mike di Meglio DNF – 7 points:
"I am happy and sad as the race was going so fantastically well and then unfortunately I crashed. I got a really good start and was quickly inside the top six and I had a good feeling with the bike, even though the conditions were really difficult. I got into the top four and I was really confident I could stay there and maybe even push for the podium. But I made a small mistake and unfortunately the right handlebar was broken in the gravel, so it was impossible to rejoin the race. That's disappointing because I could have scored my best result of the season. There are still a lot of positives to take from the weekend because I was com petitive on each day, so I am confident I can be close to the front again in Mugello next weekend."
Herve Poncharal – Team Manager:
"I am very happy with Bradley once again because he is showing race after race that he is definitely a top five rider on any track in any condition in Moto2. The race was very long for my old heart. In those conditions it is so easy to make a mistake and I was worried a bit. But just like in Silverstone, Bradley had everything under control and he did an amazing job. His ride was a masterpiece and he was very mature. He did not try too hard in the end because third is a great result and we are now fourth in the championship, only a few points away second. To be at that level at this stage of the season shows what a brilliant job he is doing. I was very pleased to see all three Tech3 riders in the top 10 this morning in the Warm-up and we also ha d a couple of moments in the top six in the race and that shows that the Mistral 610 package is a strong one. It is a shame that Mike crashed because he was also looking very fast. Unfortunately he was unable to finish, so we hope he learns from this and comes back stronger next weekend in Mugello."
REAR TYRE ISSUE HALTS FORÉS COMEBACK AT ASSEN
MAPFRE Aspar rider loses rear grip from fifth lap onwards, ending race in 23rd
For the second Grand Prix in succession, the Moto2 riders had a wet race to contend with at Assen this Saturday. Intermittent showers at the Dutch TT thankfully failed to transform into Silverstone-esque showers, and an exciting race developed in the afternoon contest. The race leader broke away early in Great Britain, but in Holland a four-rider group tussled at the top almost until the chequered flag. Márquez, Smith, Sofuoglu and Takahashi battled for the lead, with the alter dropping out after a late crash and the Spaniard gaining an advantage in front to take victory. Takahashi's was one of many crashes, with the tally reaching thirteen and also including a fall for series leader Stefan Bradl.
MAPFRE Aspar rider Xavi Forés was looking to turn his weekend back around, having suffered two crashes in practice under wet conditions. He had found a wet setup in qualifying with which he had felt comfortable, and wanted to make the most of it from low down on the grid. He gave it his best shot and had made up a few positions, but a problem with his rear tyre wearing out very early on made it impossible to keep his pace up. He ended the race in 23rd.
23rd Xavi Forés: "Today was a really difficult race for me. I got off the line well, but another rider went into me on the first corner and I lost a lot of positions. I tried to regain my focus and finish the race as best I could. Later, from the fifth lap onwards, the tyre was absolutely destroyed and I was losing the back end -I could even feel the rear stepping out on the straights. It's another race outside the points and I am disappointed because we started the weekend well, but I had two crashes that really made me think about things and take a calmer approach. Now I have to put this behind me and concentrate on the next race."
Thomas Lüthi: Assen race like dancing on eggshells
For Interwetten Paddock Moto2 rider Thomas Lüthi, the Dutch TT was "like dancing on eggshells". After rainshowers in the morning, the Moto2 Grand Prix was declared a wet race, but apart from a very fine drizzles towards the end, the weather held up and the track even started to dry. Like most of the other riders, Lüthi had decided for wet tyres and struggled later on in the race due to excessive tyre wear on the drying tarmac. Nevertheless, the 24-year-old from Switzerland kept on pushing and finished in a strong eighth position.
Tom Lüthi – 8th:
"It was a tough race in real difficult conditions – in fact, it felt really like dancing on eggshells! On the last lap, I made a mistake at the chicane and was too late on the brakes. The rear end of my bike started to come around, and I had to open up and go straight through the grass, which obviously gave my rival the chance he needed. We now have to keep our heads down and continue to work. In conditions like today, with rain tyres on a dry tarmac, it's impossible to say much about the bike!"
Alfred Willecke – crew chief:
"The conditions today turned the race into a gamble, from the technical side of things as much as far as riding goes. It's a shame that we lost another place during the last lap, but as far as our set-up goes, I think we are on the right track!"
Terrell Thien – team manager:
"We are back on track. At Silverstone, we worked on a new base set-up and here we took another step. I think we will be able to fight for top five positions again in the next races. Today, Tom was neither riding on the very limit nor in risk of crashing. After his race accident at Barcelona, it was obvious that he needed some time to regain his confidence and his feeling for the bike. Here at Assen, it took him one or two extra laps to find his rhythm, but towards the end his lap times were very competitive!"
Rain king West takes magic fourth
Neukirchner's great hunt for tenth
At the legendary Dutch TT in Assen, MZ factory riders Anthony West and Max Neukirchner celebrated their best race of this year's Moto2 season so far. In poor weather conditions with a dark, overcast sky and a wet track that started to dry up towards the end of the race, rain king West blasted from his 20th starting position to 13th place within one lap, kept on pushing and crossed the chequered flag in a fantastic fourth position. His German team-mate showed a similar kind of determination: Due to an electrical problem in qualifying, Neukirchner had to start from the very last position on the grid, but hunted most of the Moto2 field down to finish in an incredible tenth position.
"Things looked grim in practice for us, but then our riders shone in the race and turned things around", beamed MZ CEO Martin Wimmer, who doubles as West's crew chief for the time being. "We are very happy today. Hopefully, Anthony's result was a turning point after all the bad luck he had in this season so far. We'd really like to continue at this level!"
Anthony West –4th:
"I was able to defend myself for the whole race without getting under pressure from other riders – a great feeling! I knew there were a few guys behind me who only waited for their chance, but I managed to increase the gap and pull away. I am really happy with this result, which was very important for us. For the first time with this bike, we've had a good set-up!"
Max Neukirchner – 10th:
"I wonder if this has ever happened in the Moto2 category: To start dead-last and to end up in the top ten! This race has been phenomenal. At the beginning, I needed a while to find my rhythm and my concentration, but then I got faster and was able to ride consistently until the end. When it started to rain again in the last laps, I just thought: Please let this race end! My rear tyre was really worn and offered hardly any grip any more. Now we are more than happy. My congratulations to Anthony, I am happy for him and his fourth place!"
DUTCH DISAPPOINTMENT FOR MARC VDS
Today's rain-affected Iveco TT Assen ended in disappointing fashion for the Marc VDS Racing Team, with Mika Kallio and Scott Redding's anticipated top ten challenge failing to materialise.
Once again the Assen weather played a decisive role in proceedings with the 24-lap race declared wet after earlier showers had forced the 125cc race to be red flagged.
The race got underway in cold, wet and windy conditions and heavy drizzle fell intermittently throughout the race. The rapidly changing conditions made it difficult to judge grip levels on the historic Circuit van Drenthe circuit and Redding and Kallio struggled to find a confident feeling with their Suter MMXI machines.
Hopeful of delivering a second successive top six finish after a brilliant ride to fifth in a rain-lashed British Grand Prix 13 days ago, Redding's challenge quickly faded as rear grip issues saw him drop down the rankings and he finished in 24th position.
Finnish rider Kallio was also struck by grip issues as a dry line quickly appeared in the early laps, causing extra wear on his Dunlop rain tyres. Kallio was fighting on the fringes of the top 15 when he suddenly encountered a drop in front and rear traction on lap seven.
Unable to continue pushing safely at a pace he felt comfortable at, Kallio opted to retire at the end of lap 13.
Scott Redding #45
"I'm pretty frustrated right now because they were just about the worst conditions imaginable for me. I'm fast in the dry and also in the full wet, but in mixed conditions I just can't get the bike to work at all. I just didn't have any rear grip from the start and each time I touched the throttle I was having big wheelspin issues. It was also quite unpredictable, so sometimes I'd go into a corner and it felt fine and the next lap I'd lose the rear, so it was not a very confidence inspiring way to ride. We've tried to make the bike softer and harder for those conditions but I just can't seem to get any confidence at all, so we've got to have a big think for the future when we encounter those conditions again. All I can do is put this race behind me and focus on being back in the top six at Mugello where hopefully the weather will be a bit kinder to us."
Mika Kallio #36
"Obviously today was very disappointing and I am sorry for my Marc VDS Racing Team because we were confident of a good result. I was fast in the rain at Silverstone but the conditions today were very difficult. The track was damp at the start and then dried quite quickly and I just didn't seem to have any grip. It wasn't a problem just with the rear because the front was sliding a lot as well, so it was difficult to keep control of the bike. I tried to do my best to defend some positions but it was too risky and in the end I felt I had no option but to retire because it wasn't safe to continue. Luckily we don't have to wait too long to try and bounce back from today and I'm looking forward to a much stronger weekend in Mugello."
Michael Bartholemy - Team Manager
"The race was very difficult for Scott and Mika and it is clear that in mixed conditions like that, we have got to make some drastic improvements for the future. Both our riders complained that they couldn't find any grip, but some riders on the same package as us we able to find grip and be much faster. Clearly we are missing something in the set-up and we have to find a solution, because this is not the first time we have experienced those conditions. It is not normal that we are always very competitive in the dry with Scott and then in the difficult conditions like today we are struggling down at the back. We move onto Mugello confident that, in better conditions, we will be a lot closer to the front; where we should be."
TWO CRASHES DENY STRONG FINISHES FOR TAKAHASHI AND PIRRO
First Takahashi and then Pirro felt first hand the disappointment of crashing out in a good position at Assen. The Japanese rider was fighting for the win when a wet patch of the track caught him out, whilst Pirro lost control of his Moriwaki MD 600 soon after. It was a real disappointment, as both were on course for a good result after a difficult weekend of varying weather and conditions.
Michele Pirro (17th) "I am really unhappy. The conditions weren't perfect, but I was having a great race. Unfortunately, I lost the front end unexpectedly and wasn't able to get it back. I rejoined the race, but was unable to get into the points."
Yuki Takahashi (DNF) "There is not much that I can say. I managed the race as well as I could, without pushing too far, and I lost control of the rear in the wet. I could have got a great result and I am sad for the team after all their hard work. We will bounce back at Mugello."
Fausto Gresini "In the space of two laps everything fell apart. It was a race in which we didn't get what we were hoping for, as we were expecting better things. Both riders were having a good race until their crashes. We didn't want to end the day with zero points, so it is a real disappointment. This is racing tho, and the track conditions were very difficult. It started to rain again towards the end of the race, and when track conditions change like this, everything gets more difficult. It takes very little to make the track slippery."