Press releases from the 125cc and Moto2 teams after the first day of practice at Brno:
Salom skips summer break
Luis Salom had better things to do than having a four weeks summer break. The Spanish rider for RW Racing GP could hardly wait for the Czeck Grand Prix on the fast and winding Brno circuit.
Instead of being lazy on the beach Salom prefered a decent preparation for the second half of the season. He spend the past few weeks training on a kart track and a motocross bike. Besides that he had himself a new, two kilo lighter racing suit.
Therefore Salom, who turned 20 last weekend, was not at all amused by only the twelfth time on the first day, in the morning as well as in the afternoon session. ,,In general everything is working fine. The time is not that bad, but twelfth is not what makes me happy. In the second free practice I had some nice duels with Maverick Vinales, but unfortunately he was not really fast either.''
With his 2.10.100 Salom was over a second slower than Sandro Cortese who set the provisional fastest time. Cortese was in a group not far behind Vinales and Salom, who seemed to think it was race day already instead of free practice. ,,Cortese was clever,'' Salom admitted. ,,I have to be more smart next time and find myself a good slipstream to set a better time. On this track that is the difference between twelfth and fifth.''
NICO TEROL STRIKES FIRST AT BRNO
Spaniard starts Czech hat-trick quest with fastest time on day one
The 125cc teams and riders returned to work today following a three-week break with two free practice sessions at the Czech Republic Grand Prix. BANKIA Aspar rider Nico Terol's dominance of the opening session this morning was so convincing that his lap time remained unbeaten in the afternoon, when only Sandro Cortese and Johan Zarco threatened the Spaniard's superiority at a circuit where he has celebrated victory for the past two seasons.
Terol's early effort of 2'08.456 was enough to leave him in control overnight, despite the fact that he was unable to improve in the second session as he experimented with a host of set-up adjustments. It was an intense day of work in the BANKIA Aspar box as Héctor Faubel also returned to action following his victory last time out in Germany despite still suffering from the effects of an intestinal illness over the summer break. The Spaniard finished eighth fastest, a second off the pace of Nico. The team's third rider Adrián Martín suffered a crash in turn two at the end of this morning's session when he lost the rear of his bike but he was uninjured and will look to improve tomorrow.
1st Nico Terol 2.08.456 (30 laps): "I felt good this morning and my feeling with the bike was magnificent. This afternoon we tried to improve the set-up but instead of taking a step forwards we took two backwards. In certain areas of the track I was running wide and these things happen when you try new things but we know what we need to be fast here. Tomorrow we'll go back to the set-up from this morning and I am sure we will be back on the pace. I had a great weekend here last year and the year before but every weekend is different and we cannot take our eye off the ball. We want to prepare properly to be fighting for the win again."
8th Héctor Faubel 2.09.538 (28 laps): "The day went quite well. From one session to the next we made a few changes and I could feel a difference. I am happy because we have tried a lot of things without really pushing 100% and we are not far from the front. The track wasn't in the perfect condition and I think people we playing it safe. We will continue to test things tomorrow and I am sure we will be closer to the top. I feel a little tired and groggy from the effects of the infection but they are looking after me between sessions in the Clinica Mobile."
13th Adrián Martín 2.10.286 (24 laps): "I am quite satisfied with the work we have done today. We have improved step by step and that has allowed me to find my limits. I got a few laps behind Nico and Héctor, who are both very fast, and that gave me an idea of where I should be on the track. Maybe the crash this morning came because I was pushing too hard in certain areas but I think it is important for me to push and break through limitations. Tomorrow we will work more on the set-up to make up positions."
Marc Márquez improves progressively
The Repsol rider, eighteenth in the first session, finished fourth in the second free practice in his first visit with Moto2 to the Brno Circuit and is sixth in the combined classification of both sessions
Marc Márquez resumed today the action after a long period of inactivity, like all Moto2 and 125 riders. Since the last German Grand Prix, where he won —July 17th—, the Repsol rider had not got on his bike, so the aim for this first day was to be cautious. And Márquez was able to progressively improve until finishing in the sixth overall position of the day.
In the morning, in the first free session, Marc set the eighteenth fastest time, more than one second behind the fastest rider, Germany's Bradl. The Repsol rider focused on doing a good number of laps —17— and in taking the references in a track where he had not ridden yet at the wheel of a Moto2, one of the most technical tracks of the Championship. Márquez set his fastest time in the last lap, stopping the clock in 2 minutes, 4 seconds and 830 thousandths.
In the second free session of the afternoon, the Repsol rider progressed very fast, as he was in the top ten already in the first minutes, and in the top 5 at the end. Following his usual style, Márquez steadily improved his pace until stopping the clock in 2 minutes, 3 seconds and 923 thousandths, almost one second faster than in the morning session, which placed him in the fourth position, the sixth fastest time of the day.
FP1 - 2:04.830, 17 laps, 92 km.
FP2 - 2:03.923, 16 laps, 86 km.
"In the first day after the holidays the aim is always to take the pace of the Championship again, as the summer break interrupts our routine. We completed a Friday progressively improving and the afternoon went well.
Naturally, we need to improve and we will now study the data to see where we can do it, as I think we can improve in many points. I am happy with how the day went, following the trend of other Grand Prix, where it is usually difficult at the beginning and we improve steadily. I am specially happy of my feelings on the bike in the afternoon, as it went fairly well.
From now on, we will see tomorrow if we can get closer to the leaders. At the beginning we worked on finding the references with the Moto2, which was the most difficult. This circuit has many different lines, but it is fun".
GREAT BEGINNING FOR IANNONE IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC GRAND PRIX
After the summer break, the MotoGP circus is back to action at the Automotodrom of Brno, for the tenth event of 2011 Moto2 season.
In the session of the morning, Andrea Iannone was among the fastest on the track: since the beginning of the practice, the Italian rider was very competitive, taking his Suter MMXI machine up to the top-5.
Andrea and his crew decided to work on the tyre choice throughout the second free practice, checking the durability and the best option to obtain a good grip. With few minutes left of the session, after completing some small improvements on the setup, Iannone set the time of 2'03.324, grabbing the second position, being only 0.158 seconds off the best lap of the day.
Andrea Iannone, #29 — free practice n. 2: 2nd with 2'03.324
"Despite the good result, this was a difficult day as there are many competitive riders and some very fast bikes. It isn't easy to be always at the top in this category. We are planning to face this second half of the season with calm, we are going to avoid as many radical set-up modifications as possible and to keep working hard to fight for good results. We are going to analyze each change on the motorbike and we won't go for any risky move, so that we can keep counting on the base we currently have. I'm happy with the result we got after these two sessions, this race weekend and the next ones won't be easy, but we are proving we never gave in, neither the team nor me, and that we are ready to do our best."
REDDING RETURNS IN FANTASTIC FORM AT BRNO
Scott Redding returned from a well earned three-week summer break in tremendous form at the Brno circuit today, the Marc VDS Racing rider lapping at a consistently fast pace inside the top 10 in the opening two Moto2 practice sessions.
The British rider wasted no time in finding a fast rhythm on his Suter MMXI machine in cloudy conditions this morning to set the seventh best time. A lap of 2.04.130 put him just over 0.5s away from the best pace and just 0.131s outside of the top six.
Further improvements to his machine settings to improve his performance in the first timed section enabled the 18-year-old to lap marginally quicker in this afternoon's second session, with the Moto2 field taking advantage of the best conditions of the day as sunshine finally broke through the cloud cover.
Redding improved to a 2.04.066 to sit fourth in the final moments of this afternoon's practice but was bumped back to sixth and eventually ended the opening day of preparations for the Czech Republic round on Sunday in eighth position on the combined leaderboard.
Mika Kallio's return to track action didn't run quite as smoothly and he was unable to show the impressive speed he demonstrated prior to the summer break.
The Finnish rider worked on a variety of different modifications to the set-up of his Suter MMXI machine, but he was unable to dial out a persistent chatter issue that didn't allow him to push with his usual confidence. Kallio worked tirelessly with his Marc VDS crew to find a solution and although he was able to slash nearly 0.4s off his lap times this afternoon, he could only finish 26th on the timesheets with a best of 2.05.047.
Scott Redding #45 - 2.04.066 - 30 laps - 8th position
"Well at least I didn't leave any speed on the beach! I had a good break and immediately this morning I was back in the groove and I was able to lap fast and consistently inside the top ten. The bike felt good right from the start but we still need to find a couple of improvements to go a bit faster and gain a few places. I'm losing a little bit in T1 and it could be edge grip in the first corner or a little bit of speed as you climb the hill, but we've got a plan for both after we've checked out the data tonight. I was fourth in the second session right until the end, so I'm optimistic that we can keep improving and have a good result on Sunday."
Mika Kallio #36 - 2.05.047 - 31 laps - 26th position
"Today has been a very difficult day because we didn't expect to have so many problems. It didn't matter what we changed to the bike, we couldn't get rid of a chatter problem that was an issue in all parts of the track. Normally when you have chatter it is only in some corners, but for me today it was at every corner and it made it very difficult to push at my normal level. It is obvious on the data that my problem is worse than some of the other riders, so we have a lot of thinking to do tonight to try and come up with a solution. Of course I wanted to come back from the break and be very strong from the start, but I am still positive that we can improve the bike to give me the confidence I need to lap faster."
Michael Bartholemy - Team Manager
"Today was a little bit mixed for the Marc VDS Racing Team. On one side Scott was very impressive and I am very happy with his performance. It was important to return from the summer break with a fast and positive start to build up some early confidence and he managed that. At the end of the session it looked like he would be a bit higher up the rankings, so with some more improvements I am looking for him to be on the second row of the grid at least in qualifying tomorrow. I'm not disappointed with Mika but more worried. At the last two races he was very strong on Friday but he's saying the bike has the same problem as the first two races of the season when he was struggling a lot with the chatter. We changed a lot on the bike without solving the problem, so we need to investigate more deeply what the problem is because it is strange to have chatter in every corner like he has."
PIRRO IN TOUCH BUT DISAPPOINTING START FOR TAKAHASHI
Hopes were high for the Team Gresini Moto2 outfit at Brno today following a positive test at Misano during the summer break but they were dashed today , with Miche Pirro just about staying in touch with the lead group in thirteenth place but Yuki Takahashi enduring one of his worst practice sessions of the season. After progressing throughout the day Pirro remains confident of further improvements although for Takahashi it could require a miracle.
Michele Pirro (13th 2'04"306) "My position could be better but overall I am satisfied. I have confidence with the bike and I think with some small adjustments we can make further improvements tomorrow and be fighting for a good grid position. We are on the right lines and we will do our best to stay on them."
Yuki Takahashi (25th 2'05"003) "It has been a strange day. I didn't have confidence with the bike and the positive test at Misano feels like a long time ago. We will look at the data together with the team and try to understand what didn't work. They are a good crew and I am confident that by this time tomorrow 25th place will be a distant memory."
Fausto Gresini "I am happy for Pirro, who is within the second group and chasing the top guys. He is on the right lines and I am sure that he will improve his position tomorrow. It was a bad day for Takahashi and to be honest I am struggling for an explanation. We are not losing hope and I am sure that by working together with the team he can find a way to improve tomorrow."
SIMÓN DEFIES THE ODDS AGAIN DESPITE INJURY TROUBLE
MAPFRE Aspar rider continues recovery from broken leg with fifth fastest time at Brno
The Moto2 category was as hotly contested as always as the action resumed at Brno today following the summer break. Some familiar names returned to the top of the time sheets as Bradl, De Angelis, Simón and Márquez set the pace, the German continuing to dominate but with his Spanish and Italian rivals ready to pounce on any slip. Despite its length and technical difficulty Brno has seen some typically close lap times in the intermediate class and all the ingredients are in place for a classic battle.
Julián Simón has shown that he is a tough as the class itself, having spent every day of the summer break working hard on the recovery of his broken right leg. The MAPFRE Aspar rider was an impressive fourth fastest this morning before lapping fifth in the afternoon, improving his lap times although not making the progress with the set-up that he was aiming for. Julian is delighted with his start to the weekend despite the pain in his leg and is confident he can battle hard again tomorrow. Jordi Torres spent the day getting his reference points at a completely new circuit to him and is already targeting areas to improve his set-up tomorrow.
5th Julián Simón 2.03.853 (29 laps): "It has been a positive first day. The circuit doesn't really suit my riding style but I am probably riding less aggressive because of the injury and that is actually helping. I spent the morning focusing on getting the right lines and spent the majority of the session near the top of the time sheets. We modified the bike to combat the bumps in some parts of the track but we made it worse and it wasn't until the end that I was able to take a step forward and break into the top five. We will continue to work on the set-up tomorrow but for today I am satisfied."
32nd Jordi Torres 2.05.586 (31 laps): "This is a completely new track for me and I like it. I have not completely got used to it yet because it is so wide and long that you lose a lot of time if you run off line. Anyway, I am happy with the start we have made and if we can improve in a couple of areas I think we will get a lot faster. We just need to get the bike turning better because at the moment I am hitting a lot of rumble strips and it is costing me time through the corners. By solving this and finding a bit more front grip in a few places we can improve a lot tomorrow."
Mixed emotions for Thomas Luthi: Good set-up – but lack of tyre grip
On a "mixed" first day of practice for the Czech Grand Prix it Brno, Interwetten Paddock Moto2 rider Thomas scored thirteenth place. The 24-year-old from Switzerland, who had aimed much higher for the first two free practice sessions on the famous 5.4 kilometre-track, went out on a hard rear tyre compound towards the end and didn't find enough grip to push for a fast lap time. But Luthi and his team, who celebrated a strong fifth at the previous round in Germany three weeks ago, remain confident for the rest of the weekend.
Thomas Lüthi – 13th in 2.04,269 min.:
"Our goal was to continue where we had ended up with at Sachsenring and to get back to our high performance level that we had at the beginning of this season. I felt good and our set-up work went according to plan. But even though, the day ended with mixed emotions. Towards the end of the second free practice session, I went out with the harder rear tyre compound for the first time and realised immediately that I was sliding a lot. I tried to push and increase the tyre temperature, but it didn't help. After two laps it was obvious that this tyre was the wrong choice, but it was too late for a change. But I am not worried – we have a good plan for tomorrow and we know that we can be much faster!"
Alfred Willecke – crew chief:
"We tried to adapt the bike to this track step by step and we made good progress. On our last run, we tried another rear tyre that we needed to evaluate for the race. Unfortunately, this tyre didn't perform the way we had hoped!"
Neukirchner tenth despite crash
West chasing best chassis set-up
After a break of more than three weeks, MZ factory rider Max Neukirchner was in top form when Moto2 Grand Prix racing resumed at the Czech Grand Prix. Despite a crash towards the end of the first free practice session, the former World Superbike star remained calm, cool and collected and scored an impressive tenth place on the fast and flowing Brno circuit. His Australian team-mate Anthony West started strong as well, but wasn't able to improve further in the afternoon and dropped back to 28th place.
"Anthony had a good start. But then we changed something on the chassis set-up and were one second slower. For tomorrow, we will obviously go back to what we had previously", said MZ CEO Martin Wimmer. Max Neukirchner's crew chief Marco Nicotari was not completely satisfied with the strong result of his rider, either. "Max now has a really good feeling for the bike, as we managed to make it safer at the vey limit. But our set-up is still far from perfect", said the Italian, aiming even higher for Saturday's qualification practice.
Max Neukirchner – 10th in 2.04,207:
"I know the Brno track from my time in World Superbike racing, which helped me today. But whereas the others were able to build on their set-up base from last year, we started from zero and had a lot of problems in the first session. We managed to improve the set-up for the second practice and went faster again with new tyres towards the end. Now we hope to be able to improve the bike further – I am still not completely happy!"
Anthony West – 28th in 2.05,190:
"I used the break for a short holiday at home with my family in Australia where the winter weather was much warmer than the German summer! Right before going to Brno, we did two days of chassis tests at Most and I managed to improve my lap time by four tenths of a second. That's why I was hoping to have less trouble here at Brno than we actually have!"