Press releases from the Moto2 and 125cc teams after practice on Friday at Misano:
Strong comeback Luis Salom
Luis Salom has taken his place again with RW Racing GP for the 125cc Grand Prix of San Marino. The Spanish rider made a strong comeback from his injuries in the first free practices at the circuit of Misano. In the Brno GP Salom broke his right hand in several places, causing him to miss Indianapolis. Last Thursday the doctors gave him permission to ride again at Misano.
It went surprisingly well. In the first free practice it was a bit of exploring where the (pain) limit was. The 17th time did not satisfy Salom. He felt that much more was possible and asked chief engineer Hans Spaan to help him find a solution. Spaan could adjust the throttle a bit in a way Salom was able to reduce the movement of his wrist, that still has a screw in it.
The small change was immediately noticeable in the second practice. The tenth time, just one second behind the fastest man (Nico Terol), made Salom quite happy. ,,Until now it´s beyond expectations,'' Salom said. ,,I have little pain. The only thing that really bothers me is the reduced flexibility of my hand. I can not make all the moves that I would have liked. My right hand is still a lot thicker than the left. I need a special glove to fit it in: I usually have size S, now I need an L for my right hand.''
BANKIA ASPAR RIDERS STRIKE FIRST AT MISANO
Terol and Faubel top opening day of free practice at San Marino Grand Prix
Terol, Faubel, Vázquez, Zarco, Viñales. . . a host of riders took their turn at the top of the timesheets during today's opening free practice sessions at Misano, where as predicted the track layout lent itself to some close lap times in the 125cc class. The top ten riders are separated by a mere second, whereas for example at the last race there was seven tenths between the first and second fastest times. Intense summer heat was again a factor here as it was at Indianapolis a week ago but that proved no obstacle to BANKIA Aspar Team pair Nico Terol and Héctor Faubel, who were the fastest and most consistent riders on track.
It is no surprise to see Terol sat on top of the time sheets overnight, the Spaniard having lapped fastest in both of today's sessions. Nico's approach to winning the championship is to try and dominate his rivals every time they take to the track and on this occasion his toughest opposition came from within his own garage as Faubel showed further sins that he is returning to his best form. Team youngster Adrián Martín made gradual improvements to lap eighth fastest, less than a second shy of Terol's best.
1st Nico Terol 1.44.139 (36 laps): "We have come here to do the same job as always and to give our best on every lap. I struggled to get my pace together this afternoon but then managed to get into a consistent rhythm of low 1'44s. I am very satisfied with the bike and my feeling with it. I set a strong pace here last year so my objective is to focus on matching that, at the very least. I was set for an even faster lap at the end of this afternoon's session until another rider got in my way but even so I still managed to improve my time. The lap times are very close here and even though my main rivals are a little behind at this stage we cannot afford to take our eye off the ball."
2nd Héctor Faubel 1.44.333 (37 laps): "I am very happy with the result and with my riding. We have been making quite radical changes to it since Brno and I am getting more and more comfortable. My pace is good even on a used tyre, which will be important for the race on Sunday. Hopefully things continue like this because the bike is improving and overall I feel much more comfortable. We went out this morning with the setting from Indianapolis but it didn't work so we opened the angle of the front end of the bike a little and it made a big difference. I can brake where I want and the bike hardly moves, I can get through the corners quickly without a problem and that is very important. I am enjoying myself and the lap times are coming easily."
8th Adrián Martín 1.45.091 (34 laps): "I put a bit more in today and we got a lot more out. We are working hard to improve our situation and the results are coming. The bike is working well and I feel good. I am riding alone and setting some good lap times. We made a slight change to the front fork that has also helped. Hopefully we can make more improvements in the morning because it is important to be ready for qualifying."
TEAM GRESINI MOTO2 SEE THE LIGHT AT MISANO
After a disastrous weekend at Indianapolis the first day of the San Marino Grand Prix was a positive one for Team Gresini Moto2. Michele Pirro and Yuki Takahashi rediscovered their confidence in their machines and are both confident of their chances tomorrow and in Sunday's race.
Michele Pirro (8th 1'39"299) "I am really happy. I have got a good feeling back with the bike now, I can change line when I want and I feel safer. It has been a good step forward and we have plenty of room for further improvement because our fastest lap today was on a used tyre. Overall things are looking completely different but I don't want to get carried away and will wait until tomorrow before making predictions for the race."
Yuki Takahashi (9th 1'39"308) "It is nice to be back on the pace and running with the front guys again. The bike is handling better and even though I still have to get fully confident I am sure we have good potential and the possibility to ride at our maximum. Tomorrow we'll try some more things with the setting but we are definitely on the right path. We're confident for the race."
Fausto Gresini "Things are much better than Indianapolis, we're not far off the top guys and I'm happy with that. We think we have room for improvement because for example today Michele did not use a new tyre at all. Finally we have worked well, the riders are happy and we are competitive again. Tomorrow we will have to work more but it looks like it can be a positive weekend that should see a team like ours back where it belongs."
Márquez starts with determination
The Repsol rider completed the first free practice sessions with the second fastest time of the day
With his victory of last Sunday still fresh in the fans' memory, Marc Márquez returned to work this Friday determined to follow the line of work that had such good results in the last rounds. The Repsol rider dominated the first free practice session and, only at the end of the second was Stefan Bradl able to ride under the time set in the morning by Márquez who finished the session with the third fastest time. In the combined classification of this warm first day of practice, Márquez achieved the second fastest time.
At the end of the first day of the San Marino Grand Prix, the current 125cc World Champion was very satisfied to see that the job done in the previous races was useful to face rounds such as this weekend's. In a circuit with many corners similar to that seen last week in Indianapolis, Márquez's technical team did not need to make many changes to the set-up for the Repsol rider to feel comfortable on his Suter from the first session. After the first 21 laps, Márquez was running under last year record and he kept working to prepare for Sunday's race, finishing the first 45 minutes at the top of the times sheet with a time of 1 minute, 38 seconds and 902 thousandths.
In the second session, despite the initial concerns that the rain might ruin the 45-minute practice —as during the first minutes some drops of rain fell in different areas of the circuit— Márquez rode again consistently among the fastest riders. He completed another 18 laps with a fastest time of 1 minute, 39 seconds and 15 thousandths, which gave him the third place in the second session.
FP1 - 1:38.902, 21 laps, 89 km.
FP2 - 1:39.015, 18 laps, 76 km.
"The assessment of this first day is very good, as we improved steadily. The most important thing is that we had a good base set-up for this type of circuit from the first moment. I think that is one of the main reasons that allowed us to fight with the top riders from the beginning.
Tomorrow we will see, but we cannot relax. It will be crucial to be focused during the Qualifying, as in this category it is vital to start from the first row".
RIDERS GET WARM WELCOME TO MISANO
MAPFRE Aspar riders look for front end confidence tomorrow
Suffocating heat throughout the opening day of the San Marino Grand Prix gave way to spots of rain at the start of the second free practice for the Moto2 class this afternoon, although it only last five minutes. Marc Márquez dominated most of the afternoon session although he was challenged in the final minutes by home favourites Iannone, Pasini and Pirro before series leader Stefan Bradl established a 0.4 second advantage. Lap times are already faster than last year and tomorrow promises to be a close battle for grid positions.
For the second Grand Prix in a row a cautious approach was the order of the day for the MAPFRE Aspar riders, with Julián Simón struggling through the many direction changes here due to pain in his right leg. The Spaniard also struggled for front grip through some of the slower corners and was only able to lap 21st fastest with a best time of 1'40.120. Jordi Torres came through his first test unscathed this morning as he aimed to learn a completely new circuit without hiccups, the Spanish rookie pushing harder in the afternoon but also suffering from a front-end issues as he lapped just 0.001 seconds shy of his experienced team-mate.
21st Julián Simón 1.40.120 (29 laps): "We're struggling more than usual to get on the pace here at Misano. It is quite a slow circuit with a lot of direction changes and it is not good for my leg. Apart from that I am staying calm because I want to avoid any more crashes at all cost. I need more confidence in the front end because it is running wide in some of the slower corners. It has been a tough day but we made an improvement towards the end and I was able to enjoy the last few laps. I am sure if we keep working in the same way tomorrow we can be up there. I like the circuit, I have good results here for the last two years and I am sure we can respond tomorrow despite the physical problems."
22nd Jordi Torres 1.40.121 (42 laps): "I took things easy this morning because I wanted to get to leanr the track without any setbacks and then in the afternoon I started to push. I got a good feeling and tried to get behind another rider to help my lap time, which I manage to do. After that I came in and we made a slight modification to try and reduce some front chatter. After that I went back out and improved again riding on my own, which is a good sign because it shows I have the potential to improve. The day ended well so I am looking forward to building on that tomorrow."
POSITIVE PRACTICE FOR MARC VDS AT MISANO
The Marc VDS Racing Team got its preparations for this weekend's Misano Moto2 round off to a positive start today, as Scott Redding finished close to the top six and Mika Kallio showed big potential on the Suter MMXI machine.
Redding arrived in Misano full of confidence after equalling his season best result of fifth in Indianapolis just five days ago. And his brilliant resurgence in form continued on the opening day of practice at a scorching hot Misano circuit, located just a short distance from the Adriatic coast.
The 18-year-old lapped consistently in the top five during both sessions and 12th place on the combined leaderboard certainly didn't reflect his true potential. Preferring to work on the set-up of his Suter MMXI machine on worn tyres with track temperature hitting a sizzling 44 degrees, Redding didn't lap on a new soft tyre in the final stages of the session. As a result, he's confident that had he opted to use a fresh soft Dunlop rear tyre he would have easily improved his pace of 1.39.412 and been in the hunt for a top five position on the timesheets.
Fresh from his morale-boosting ninth position at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Kallio focussed on fine-tuning the set-up of his Suter MMXI to finish in an encouraging 20th place.
Kallio was able to evaluate new Ohlins front fork internals today and he was happy with the new developments, and is confident with additional time on track he will be able to improve on his best lap time of 1.40.084.
Scott Redding #45 - 1.39.412- 38 laps - 12th position
"I am really happy today because I know we can be much faster than 12th position and I really enjoyed both sessions. I felt good this morning even though we were looking for a bit more feeling on the entry and exit of corners. This afternoon we changed the suspension settings and the gearing and the bike felt fantastic. The bike felt like the best it has all year on old tyres and that is a brilliant boost. There is no reason why I can't be up there for the rest of the weekend because I felt really comfortable on the bike. It was crucial to build on the momentum we gained in Indianapolis and we've done that, so hopefully we can be fighting for the podium again on Sunday."
Mika Kallio #36 - 1.45.160 - 35 - laps - 20th position
"I hoped I would be a little bit faster and further up the timesheets but it wasn't a bad day at all. I was running some new internals in the front fork today that didn't feel a really big difference but it was a little bit better coping with the bumps. I'm still a little bit too slow at the moment but I'm sure we can make some improvements tomorrow. In Indianapolis we raised the bike quite a lot because of the low grip but here there is far too much weight transfer, especially in the braking zone. So we will lower the bike again tomorrow to improve the hard braking, but also we'll put some more weight on the rear to get a better overall balance."
Michael Bartholemy - Team Manager
"Scott has been very fast and consistent today on old tyres and this has given us a lot of encouragement for the rest of the weekend. I think there is no doubt that had we gone for a new soft tyre at the end of the session like everybody else then he could have easily been in the top three with Bradl and Marquez, who are currently the benchmark in Moto2. By using the old soft tyre it meant we kept one back for tomorrow and that is really important because it gives us an extra for qualifying, and this is where we have struggled in the past. Mika has also done a very good job today and he is not that far away from being inside the top 10. As always he was giving his maximum effort to find the best setting on the Suter MMXI machine and we are optimistic he can be quite a bit faster tomorrow. Scott was in the top six and Mika in the top 10 in Indianapolis and based on what we've seen today, that has to be our target for Sunday."
Promising start for MZ Racing Team:
West 17th , Neukirchner 18th
MZ factory rider Max Neukirchner battled his way to 18th place on the first day of practice for the San Marino Grand Prix. The 28-year-old German was way off the best possible set-up on his bike and is therefore confident to be able to go even faster in qualifying on Saturday. "We can expect more. We know where our problems are and we are going to address them tomorrow", said his crew chief Marco Nicotari. "Our aim is to end up within one second from pole positon!"
Neukirchner's team-mate Anthony West started with a bang and did a fast lap in the morning that rewarded him with 17th place in the combined rankings for the day. However, due to the traffic on the track and due to slower riders getting into his way, the 30-year-old Queenslander wasn't able to match his earlier performance in the afternoon session. "Anthony was very consistent. We tried a modification on the steering geometry, which we will re-confirm tomorrow", said his fellow Australian crew chief Warren Willing.
Anthony West – 17th in 1.39,845:
"I got held up by too many riders. At the beginning I had some problems with chattering, but at the end the bike was really good!"
Max Neukirchner – 18th in 1.40,018:
"I am satisfied so far, but more so with my position than with the bike. I think we will be able to find a lot more. The gearing and the balance are not right at the moment. But so far we did a great job. I didn't crash and I was able to do a lot of laps. We already know how the tyres work and we hope to continue in a good way tomorrow!"
Tom Luthi celebrates fourth place
- and his return to success
With fourth place on the first day of practice for the San Marino Grand Prix at Misano, Team Interwetten Paddock Moto2 rider Thomas Luthi returned to success in the hard-fought Moto2 category. After the set-back of Indianapolis one week ago, where the 24-year-old from Oberdiessbach/Switzerland struggled with a new tarmac that kept shredding his tyres, he now enjoyed ideal conditions in Italy. Luthi was immediately up to speed with a set-up base from the Brno Grand Prix mid-August, where he had conquered fourth place in qualifying and fifth place in the race. "It's a relief to be within the top group of riders right from the start. Like this, racing is fun", smiled Luthi.
Thomas Lüthi – 4th in 1.39,045 min.:
"To compete here at Misano is real motorcycle racing! It's a cool track, it's fun to ride, the tarmac is very good, unlike at Indianapolis where the new track surface spoiled our weekend. But we've analysed the problems there and we left them behind. Instead, we took the good race of Brno as our base for our set-up here, as did many other teams. We started well and were able to confirm that we are on the right track. We improved further, step by step, but of course we have more work ahead of us tomorrow. Stefan Bradl did a great job and is half a second ahead of everybody else. The Kalex bikes are strong again. We know that they are especially good as far as the front end and keeping cornering lines goes and we will try to catch up with this level!"
Terell Thien – team manager:
"Today went according to plan. We tested tyre performance in the first free practice session, and in the afternoon, we started to chase good lap times. Tomorrow, we will try to find a way to save the tyres a bit more. The first two rows on the grid are within reach!"
Alfred Willecke – crew chief:
"This result is a relief, because it's important to have a good pace early on in order to have a base to build on for the rest of the weekend. We managed to adapt the geometry of the bike to the track today, but it's obvious that we have to make some more steps to be fully competitive in qualifying!"