Press releases from the Moto2 and 125cc teams after qualifying on Saturday:
Difficult but successful qualifying session for RW Racing
The result – fifth position with 2.09.125 – doesn't show Luis Salom had a very difficult qualifying session for the Czech GP. The RW Racing GP rider was pretty satisfied with his lap time and his position on the grid. ,,And with the way I made it there: in the flag I got a great slipstream behind Gadea and Cortese. I'm happy enough the result covers up the problems we had.''
In the free pr! actice session in the morning Salom came back to the garage by foot. He had to, because the bigend of his Aprilia was completely destroyed. Crew chief Hans Spaan had his hands full with changing the engine and set up the machine as good as possible in just a few hours. ,,The bigend can show signs of wear, but I have never before seen a bigend as broken as this one,'' Spaan explained.
Due to this Luis Salom had to start the qualifying session with a bike that was far from perfect. The suspension for example was too soft – the set up of the front suspension is very important at the technical Brno track – which made! the Spanish rider experience a crash in his fourth lap. No big damage except for some scratches but it took some time to double check everything once more. Hans Spaan used the time to modify the gearbox a bit more. This helped a bit, but Salom was not confident and comfortable on the bike. ,,In every corner entry I had the feeling I lost the front and might crash. I didn't feel safe at all,'' Salom grumbled. ,,Luckily we know what the problems are and what to do to solve it. I'm sure Hans Spaan will be able to set up my bike before the start of the race.''
CZECH REPUBLIC GRAND PRIX: ANDREA IANNONE GRABS THE FIFTH SPOT ON THE GRID
Today the circuit of Brno hosted the qualifying session of the Moto2 class for the Cardion ab Grand Prix Ceske Republiky.
The day kicked off with some rain showers throughout the morning: therefore, the riders of the middle category faced the third free practice on damp track for most of the time at disposal. Iannone and his mechanics worked on the rain setting, in case the weather of tomorrow turned out to be the same as today.
In the afternoon, an intense qualifying session was held on dry track. Andrea improved remarkably his lap-time, showing a strong rhythm and eventually grabbing his best grid position of 2011 season at the end of the session. With the lap-time of 2'02.943, the rider from Vasto ensured the fifth spot for the start of tomorrow's race, which is a great result to confirm his competitiveness.
Andrea Iannone, #29 — qualifying practice: 5th with 2'02.943
"It wasn't an easy day, we still have some minor problems that we'd like to solve and now we are working on them. During this weekend we've been doing pretty well, even though I still can't say I'm hundred per cent satisfied. In any case, this is a situation that is definitely more positive than in the previous races, I'm particularly happy and calm thanks to how the crew and I are facing this Grand Prix. Now we can only wait and see what the weather is like tomorrow: even if it isn't going to be easy, we are going to do our best to be consistent and fast. I'd like to thank Suter and the team for the great work they've been doing throughout these practice days."
FIFTH POLE OF THE SEASON FOR NICO TEROL
Héctor Faubel fourth on the grid as BANKIA Aspar target podium double
The 125cc riders wasted little time getting on the pace in qualifying this afternoon as rain threatened to interrupt their battle for grid positions after a wet final free practice this morning. As it was the track was dry if a little dirty, allowing Nico Terol and Johann Zarco to fight it out for pole position, which swung between the Spaniard and the Frenchman until a decisive late surge from Terol. Héctor Faubel and Sandro Cortese did their best to close the gap but will have to find some more pace if they are to challenge in the race tomorrow.
BANKIA Aspar rider Terol is aware of and happy with his positions as the pre-race favourite and his target tomorrow is to break the group, having set four laps in the 2'08s today. His fastest lap was four tenths clear of the rest of the field and good enough for his fifth pole of the season, from where he will target his third win in as many years at this track. His team-mate Héctor Faubel missed out on a front row start by a fraction of a second, qualifying fourth fastest as he looks to repeat his win from the last race in Germany. Adrián Martín has the more modest target of finishing the race after three without doing so and from thirteenth on the grid he is well place to challenge for the points.
1st Nico Terol 2.08.118 (15 laps): "I am really pleased with pole position and with the job we've done today. We were fast this morning in the wet conditions and my pace was good in the dry this afternoon. Brno has always been a good circuit for me and I enjoy riding it, which always shows in the lap times. Zarco is showing that he is a strong rival but my team-mate Héctor should be in the lead group too tomorrow along with Cortese. The hand has not been a problem all weekend and I hope that continues tomorrow. I am ready for the race - obviously I would like to get away but it's tough here because of the long straights and slipstreams are always important. I will give it my all, set my own pace and fight to win."
4th Héctor Faubel 2.08.689 (14 laps): "I am happy because I have managed to set a lot of laps in the 2'08s but we ran out of time and missed out on a slipstream, which could have given me a tenth or two. Even so I am happy because we have improved a lot and considering we lost an hour this morning in the wet our dry set-up is good. We have made some improvements to the chassis and the engine is running well. I think we have the pace to be in the lead group and even fighting for the win. Nico is a little step ahead of us at the moment but it is difficult to escape at this track and the top four are close."
13th Adrián Martín 2.10.200 (14 laps): "We suffered quite a lot in the wet this morning but I felt very comfortable in the afternoon. We improved the bike and I was able to push - it was just a shame that I ran into traffic on the last few laps and got held up in the fast corners. Without that I think I could have got into the 2'09s and qualified higher up. Having not scored points for the last three races this is a good qualifying position though and tomorrow I will try my best to make the most of it."
Difficult return to action for Xavier Siméon in Brno
Xavier Siméon experienced a very difficult weekend so far at the Czech Grand Prix in Brno finishing today's qualifying session in 33rd position.
The Youngster from Belgium is not happy with his feeling with the Mistral 610 bike this weekend and reported chattering he had not felt as strong as this weekend before.
To finish within the points will be a difficult mission for tomorrow's race, the 21 year old said after he achieved his grid position and he will use the warm up to find a set up solution together with his Tech3 B Team before the 20 laps race starts.
Xavier Siméon, 33rd - 2'05.220, 17 laps:
"Since the beginning of the weekend it has been really difficult for me. I have some problems that I haven't experienced as intense as now this year and it is difficult to solve them. I have a lot of chattering and some problems in turning the bike. And especially on this track you need the speed in the corner and you need to turn the bike very well to gain some time. We tried some settings in the qualifying to see if we can improve my feeling, but unfortunately it was not better. My rhythm here is not so bad, but also not very good I have to say. I need to find four or five tenths of a second to be able to finish within the points tomorrow. Maybe it will be my most difficult race so far this season. I don't know why, but this weekend we really struggle with the set up with which I was quite happy before the summer break. If we have a dry warm up tomorrow we can test another set up and see if I can get some tenths, as like this it is very difficult to get a good result."
UP-AND-DOWN DAY FOR MAHINDRA
13 August, 2011: The Indian-owned Mahindra riders had a day of mixed emotions and results. In the wet morning session Danny Webb and Marcel Schrötter were fourth and ninth fastest, and delighted. But the mood changed in qualifying on a dry track, where both struggled with a small but costly engine problem, ending up qualified 22nd and 23rd, side by side on the eighth row of the starting grid.
It will make for a difficult race for the pair, and is a blip in results that have otherwise been steadily improving over recent races. But both still believe that with some work overnight, it will still be possible to add to the team's score of championship points.
The issue was not being able to make use of the full rev-range of the engines, robbing the machines – the only bikes on the grid where the team makes both engine and chassis – of crucial top-end performance.
"We will investigate now, look at all the data – and work all night if necessary to get the bikes going the way they should go," said a team engineer.
Pole was set by points leader Nico Terol, at 2'08.118.
DANNY WEBB – 22nd position: 2'11.253
This morning we were both well up there and I was happy with the performance of the bike, but this afternoon was a real struggle. It was really frustrating. If we can get the engine running like it was this morning again, we'll have to get out our hammers and smash our way through the field but I think we can still have a good race. It's not the race yet and we still have morning warm-up to sort things out and I know the team are working really hard to continue improving our performance and points-score race-by-race.
MARCEL SCHRÖTTER – 23rd position, 2'11.255
It's been a frustrating day because this morning things were looking good and I was happy, but then things weren't as easy in qualifying. Something changed and the engine would not get to its full rpm. I was behind some riders and in the corners they were holding me up so I am confident we have a good setup, but on the straights they got away again. I was losing time every straight as I wasn't able to use all of the engine's power. We know the bike is capable of much more so now we need to work hard to find it for tomorrow's race.
DISAPPOINTING QUALIFYING FOR TEAM GRESINI MOTO2
All the positivity surrounding the team after the Misano test has been quite simply wiped away here at Brno, where results have been markedly below par so far. Neither Takahashi nor Pirro were able to improve their performance in qualifying this afternoon and they both face an uphill battle and a lot of hard work in tomorrow's race.
Yuki Takahashi (17th 2'03" 849) "We have really struggled a lot here. It has been a tough day and I'm struggling to explain why. The bike was practically unrideable and had no grip whatsoever. It is all very strange because last week at Misano we were really happy with the progress we made but now we are praying for a miracle."
Michele Pirro (25th 2'04"153) "There is not much to say. We are bitterly disappointed and can't explain it. We have to roll our sleeves up and work hard to make up as much ground as we can. Everything was looking so good at Misano but here nothing has worked."
Fausto Gresini "All we can do is work hard and stay calm. It has been one of our worst ever sessions in Moto2 and we should not and cannot find ourselves in this position. We simply have to get back to where we should be as pacesetters in Moto2. "
Third consecutive pole for Márquez
The Repsol rider enjoys an ascendant progression during the four practice sessions
A perfect day for Marc Márquez at the Czech Republic. After cautiously facing his return to activity yesterday after the summer break, today the Repsol rider was the fastest both in the third free session and in the Qualifying. Márquez set his fourth pole position of the season, the third consecutive.
This morning he already showed from the beginning that, once he recovered his competitive pace and adapted his riding style with the Moto2 to the demanding Czech track, the Spanish wanted to do his best again in Brno. In the third free session, Márquez completed 16 laps to the Czech track, setting his fastest time in the last lap. Second place went to the Swiss rider Krummenacher, 30 thousandths behind, and third to the classification leader, Germany's Bradl, more than half a second behind the Spaniard.
The all-important moment arrived in the afternoon, with the battle for the first position of the starting grid. Bradl started very strong and was soon on top of the time sheets, while Márquez started with more calm and improved his position lap after lap. The Repsol rider's progression was steady and consistent, improving his times lap after lap until the last minute of the Qualifying. In that moment, Bradl was still in first position, but a brilliant lap from the Spaniard, the last of the 18 he did, gave him the fastest time that will allow him to start tomorrow from the first row of the starting grid. Bradl and the Italian rider De Angelis finished a little more than 2 tenths behind Márquez.
FP3 - 2:09.067, 16 laps, 86 km.
QP - 2:02.493, 18 laps, 97 km.
"This weekend we followed an upward trend, which is the most important thing. We did not start very well but in the end we are where we wanted to be. It is crucial to be in pole position, but the most important thing is tomorrow's race.
We have to be focused, calmed and then we will see where we are. I think we will have a group race, as Bradl and De Angelis are also very strong. At the warm-up we will still have time to try some things to ride a bit more comfortable. If we find it, good, but if we cannot, it will not be a very big problem because we have a good level.
Until the last time we got on track I could not set very good times and at a good pace, so we will have to work on it during the warm-up, but I am happy because we achieved it in the end and the last laps were very good".
Smith and di Meglio ready for Brno battle
Tech 3 Racing Team riders Bradley Smith and Mike di Meglio remain confident they can deliver a valuable points haul in tomorrow's Czech Republic Moto2 round at the Brno circuit.
Smith is optimistic he can continue his impressive rookie campaign in the ultra-competitive Moto2 class, despite qualifying outside of the top 10 for only the fourth time in 10 races earlier today.
After this morning's final practice was run on a drying track after heavy early rain, this afternoon's qualifying session took place on a full dry track, allowing Smith to gain crucial set-up information on his Mistral 610 machine in race trim.
The British rider, who currently si ts fifth in the World Championship rankings, clocked a best time of 2.03.844 to finish less than 0.5s away from the top six. The 20-year-old has demonstrated several times this season an amazing overtaking ability and he's confident he can mount a top 10 challenge in tomorrow's 20-lap encounter.
French rider di Meglio will start a further eight places further down the grid in 24th position. He was able to set a personal best time of 2.04.320 but he was only able to complete 11-laps after his machine developed a technical issue that prevented him from taking part in the decisive final minutes of the session.
Bradley Smith 16th 2.03.844 – 17 laps:
"Obviously today was a little bit of a struggle. I am really happy with my performance and I don't believe I could have done a better lap time, but we need to find something for tomorrow. It looks like in the group that we want to fight with we need to find 0.4s a lap. I don't think we have the pace to fight for the podium tomorrow, so we have to be realistic and do damage limitation for the World Championship. We need to try and find the time from somewhere, but unless there is a miracle I don't think that is going to happen. We found 0.7s from yesterday so we can find big chunks of time and we will continue to push hard and work on the rear grip for tomorrow. We need to find a little bit better balance so we can be faster in the corners."
Mike di Meglio 24th 2.04.320 – 11 laps:
"It is very difficult to finish the qualifying in the pits without having the chance to fight for a good grid position. For the qualifying we used a new tyre and when I came back in the box the team told me that there was something broken on the engine. I don't k now what and how, but I could not start again. I think we could have been in the top 10 today, so I am frustrated. I need a good start tomorrow to see what I can do in the race but I will be looking to fight my way through."
REDDING AND KALLIO SEEK BIG IMPROVEMENTS FOR BRNO RACE
Marc VDS Racing Team riders Scott Redding and Mika Kallio are determined to bounce back from disappointing qualifying performances, to fight for strong results in tomorrow's Czech Republic Moto2 race.
Redding was unable to build on the momentum gained from his eighth place finish in practice in this afternoon's qualifying session, his 20th position on the grid falling well below expectations.
The British rider was unable to find a confidence-inspiring set-up with his Suter MMXI machine that allowed him to post more competitive lap times, and despite his best efforts to improve his pace, a lack of front and rear feeling left him only marginally faster than his practice pace. The 18-year-old ended with a quickest lap of 2.04.025 and the intensity of the competition in Moto2 was evident again this afternoon, with Redding's time a fraction over 0.5s away from the top seven.
Kallio's problematic weekend continued today and he will need to call on all his race craft and overtaking skills to fight his way into points-scoring contention from 30th place on the grid.
The Finnish rider was again plagued by a severe chatter issue that prevented him from lapping faster than 2.04.623. He now plans a big set-up gamble for the pre-race warm-up session to try and find a solution that will help him attack in tomorrow's 20-lap race, which is the 10th round of the 2011 Moto2 World Championship.
Scott Redding #45 - 2.04.025 - 18 laps - 20th position
"Today has followed a similar pattern to some of the other races this year where I can only match my time from the first practice in qualifying while everybody else takes a big step forward. I don't really understand why there's no real improvement from Friday to Saturday and sometimes I'm slower. I'm putting in my maximum effort and pushing the front everywhere and having moments because I am desperately trying to make it work. It is not through a lack of trying and I'm doing my best to compensate for the bike. But in every corner the front is pushing and we've been having trouble with it jumping out of gear a lot this weekend. It jumps out of fifth into a false neutral, so tomorrow all I can do is try and be consistent and try and break into the top 10."
Mika Kallio #36 - 2.04.823 - 17 laps - 30th position
"Today was a pretty much identical problem to yesterday in that I can't ride as fast as I'd like with so much chatter. The situation at the moment is really tough and the bike feels the worst it has done all season and I am struggling to explain why. The setting for this track doesn't work at all and that has been a big surprise because in Mugello and Sachsenring the bike worked well with similar settings to what we started with here in Brno. Right from the start I've had a lot of problems with the chatter and we have tried many different solutions to solve the issue without any success. I can feel the changes we make on the bike but the chatter is still there all of the time. High 2.04s is my limit but we will completely change the bike balance again tonight and gamble to see if we can improve in the race."
Michael Bartholemy - Team Manager
"There is not a lot to say other than that today was bitterly disappointing and very frustrating. Honestly speaking, Scott and Mika need to up their game now. It is not normal that a rider of Scott's calibre doesn't improve his lap time from practice to qualifying. Starting from 20th will make for a very difficult race and I am not happy that we are in this position yet again. I hope that tomorrow he'll be able to do the same as he did at Sachsenring and fight his way through the field and into the points. Mika suffered exactly the same problem as yesterday and this is also hard to understand. We completely changed the bike for today and he still had the same chatter issue. There is no miracle cure; he will simply have to adapt and ride around the problem, as many other riders have been forced to do this weekend. To put it bluntly, I expect a much better performance from both our riders in tomorrow's race."
Strong qualifying for Max Neukirchner – no improvement for Anthony West
German MZ factory rider Max Neukirchner conquered 15th place in qualifying for the Czech Grand Prix in Brno and is now confident to be able to battle for a top ten result in the Moto2 race on Sunday. Much tougher is the challenge for his Australian team-mate Anthony West: After his promising start with a good lap time very early on in the first free practice on Friday morning, he was unable to improve further and dropped back to 34th place on the grid.
MZ CEO Martin Wimmer wasn't too happy with West's poor qualifying result, either. "Fortunately we have two riders in our team this year, so we don't look too bad altogether. The lap time of Max was really strong, especially since he put it in on old tyres, whereas his opponents went out with new tyres, with a small load of fuel and with engines that had been cooled down for a while. In my opinion, Max will be able to battle for a top ten result. I can't make the same predictions for Anthony: We tried to give him what he wanted and went back to the settings of Friday morning, but it didn't help!"
Max Neukirchner –15th in 2.03,749 min.:
"Five minutes from the end of qualifying I was holding fifth place and we all were delighted. I was able to do my lap times very consistently, which indicates that we have a good set-up for the race. But for whatever reason, the others managed to go faster again in the last ten minutes of the session, and I dropped back to 15th. If I had been able to run two tenths of a second faster as well, I would now be two rows closer to the front, which shows how hard-fought this category really is. I hope to get a good start tomorrow and to be able to fight within the top ten!"
Anthony West – 34th in 2.05,713 min.:
"I did my fastest lap of both two practice days in the first session on Friday morning and the question why I wasn't able to improve from there is hard to answer. The bike didn't feel too bad at all in qualifying, so I don't really know where we lost all that time. We will leave the set-up as it is for the race, but it will be a tough job to try and catch up from 34th place on the grid!"
SIMÓN DOUBTFUL FOR THE RACE, TORRES TO START FROM 23rd
Julián misses most of qualifying after second lap crash as Jordi qualifies 1.6 seconds off pole
The Moto2 category was the only one to benefit from a dry line on an otherwise damp track for this morning's final free practice sessions although a dirty track surface made for difficult conditions. Series leader Stefan Bradl dominated the majority of the day's play only to be knocked off pole position at the very end of qualifying this afternoon by Marc Márquez, with the pair set to continue their battle for championship honours in what promises to be an intriguing race tomorrow.
Sadly for the MAPFRE Aspar team there is now a question mark over Julián Simón's participation in the race, the Spaniard ironically staying in his garage for much of the morning session so as to avoid taking risks only to crash on his second lap of the afternoon session, hitting the ground hard in turn ten. The Spaniard has suffered an abrasion and lost the nail on his right ring finger as well as suffering a heavy blow to his shoulder, ribs and lumbar region. He is refusing to rule out lining up on tomorrow's grid - should he do so he will be at the very back, having not completed a full flying lap. His team-mate Jordi Torres enjoyed a profitable day's work, getting a good feeling for the wet conditions in the morning despite missing the final ten minutes of the session due to an innocuous crash. In the afternoon he shaved over a second off his best time from yesterday to qualify 23rd.
Julián Simón: "Luck has not been on my side lately. I didn't expect the crash, it happened so suddenly. I completed my first lap with no problems but then when I went to push a bit harder the bike just threw me off at the bottom of the hill. I could see that Pol had run wide so I went inside him and as he came back onto the line we touched slightly. That wasn't a problem but at the end of the corner with the bike leaned over I was thrown over the top. My shoulder and right side generally is beaten up and I have lost the nail off my little finger so I am in a lot of pain right now and not sure what I'll do tomorrow. We'll decide when I get up and see how I feel."
23rd Jordi Torres 2.04.178 (17 laps): "The bike wasn't turning as we wanted yesterday so we planned a lot of changes for this morning but the rain spoiled our plans. Anyway, it was good for me to get a feel for the bike in the wet and even though I crashed because I braked too late I felt comfortable. Luckily I was okay and able to get back out there this afternoon. We tested everything we wanted to and I felt a big improvement. I am happy because my feeling with the bike is positive and all I needed to make up some more tenths was to get a tow. I did my lap time on my own and we are all close so hopefully I can have a good battle tomorrow."
Tough First Weekend Back At Work For Kenny Noyes
Kenny Noyes returned to work at Brno fighting fit and ready to rock after four weeks off his FOGI-Racing FTR, but it's been a very tough first weekend back at the office for the American. Refreshed after his long layoff, Noyes has struggled to regain the confidence he lost in his tires after racing for the first half of the season with defective tire warmers. That confidence is the missing ingredient during qualifying, and despite the best efforts of his Avintia-STX team, Kenny is still fighting with his confidence in the tires.
The overnight rain that carried on into the morning aided Kenny immensely during the Saturday morning session, ending 7th fastest in the wet conditions after a decidedly mediocre first day of practice. But once the track dried in the afternoon, Kenny once again battled to find the confidence in the front end of his FOGI-Racing FTR that his experience with tires overheated by the tire warmers had robbed from him. Kenny worked methodically with his Avintia-STX team, chasing the right group during the final hectic moments of qualifying but the American could only manage the 32nd fastest time.
Kenny's plan for Sunday is simple: get into the rhythm of the race, work on trusting the feel from his bike and work his way as far forward as he can. After a tough first half of the season, knows that he has to get his head down and work, and that the results will come eventually.
Kenny said: "Man, this has been such a frustrating weekend! There's a couple of corners where I just can't get the drive and I can't figure out where I'm losing the time. I'm working where I can in the slow corners, but I really need to get my confidence back in the fast corners, because that's where I'm going to make up the time."
"My team have been working real hard, and the bike is just about where it should be. We're running a very similar setup to my teammates, and in the wet, we can run the same times. Sure, we have a lot of chatter, but then so does everybody else, and they can push through it. I've got to get my head around this and get back my trust in the bike."
"I lost a lot of confidence in the first half of the season from the problem with the tire warmers, and this is the second race where everything is back to normal. I just need more laps and more time on the bike to get back to the pace I know I can run at."