Press releases from the 125cc and Moto2 teams after the first day of practice at Motegi:
Positive start in Japan for Salom
With sixth and eighth place in the free practices Luis Salom made a good start in Japan. At the Motegi circuit, the rider of RW Racing GP ultimately set a laptime of 2.00.438 in the second session. Only four riders, led by Maverick Vinales, came under two minutes.
Luis Salom would have loved to be part of that select group, but with his sixth place in the first practice and eighth in the second he was not dissatisfied. ,,I just did a lot of laps riding on my own, to increase my individual speed,'' explained the Spaniard. ,,If you are riding with a few others you are much faster, especially on the long straight. This where I still lose some. Sometimes I wish that my chief mechanic Hans Spaan would be able to pull some horsepower out of a crate. But at the end of the day the bike is okay. The Aprilia is running smoothly. That'll be fine this weekend. I am expecting that I can finish within the top 5.''
Salom is feeling well in Japan. His hand injury doesn't seem to trouble him anymore and he has little inconvenience with jet lag. RW Racing GP arrived late (Wednesday night) in Japan to minimize the nuisance of having jet lag. ,,I like to sleep and do that a lot,'&rsquo ; says Salom. ,,Especially here. Doing so, I don't feel much of the time difference and the long flight.''
MOTEGI GP: ELEVENTH TIME IN THE FREE PRACTICE 2 FOR ANDREA IANNONE
Today's free practice sessions set the beginning of the Grand Prix of Japan, the fourteenth event of 2011 season for Moto2.
The day kicked off positively for Speed Master team. In the session of the morning, Andrea Iannone set a good rhythm, finishing with the second best lap-time and dominating most of the practice.
In the afternoon, the temperature during the session was lower than during FP1. Iannone and his crew tried out various options for the setting, trying to take advantage of the time at disposal in the best possible way. Considering the rain that is expected for tomorrow, the rider and the team worked hard to gather as much data as possible, so that they have a good set-up base for the race on Sunday. With the time of 1'53.943, Andrea scored the eleventh best lap-time during the session of the afternoon.
Andrea Iannone, #29 — free practice n. 2: 11th with 1'53.943
"I'm not really concerned about tomorrow. Today we tried out some different solutions on the bike and we did our best to understand what works well and what doesn't. At this point we just can work to define the answers we need and, after that, we can finally choose which option among the one tested is the best one for the race. I'd like to thank my team for their commitment and their work: now we're going to focus in order to be faster and to improve."
First kilometers for Márquez in Japan
The Repsol rider progresses during his first contact with Moto2 in Motegi and completes a positive day with his sights set on Sunday's race
The Japan Grand Prix has started and Marc Márquez had a steady beginning as usual in his first practice with Moto2 on the Japanese track. The Repsol rider improved steadily during the two free practice sessions held today, as after 35 laps he finished with the eighth fastest time, six tenths behind the fastest of the day, Swiss rider Thomas Luthi.
To face the challenge of adapting himself again to a track new for him on his Moto2, Marc Márquez and his team started to work on chassis and suspension set-up, to adapt it to the requirements of the Motegi circuit. The Repsol rider focused first on taking new references for the intermediate class and then progressively increased his pace, trying to set consistent laps times.
Márquez completed 18 laps in the first free practice session, which he finished a bit more than four tenths behind Bradley Smith. In the second session, after another 17 laps and constantly improving his pace, he stopped the clock in 1 minute, 53 seconds and 600 thousandths, 598 thousandths behind the fastest time of the day.
FP1 - 1:54.231, 18 laps, 86 km.
FP2 - 1:53.600, 17 laps, 82 km.
"This first day went fairly well. We improved steadily and that is the best part. We are not focusing on the position, as the important thing is to work to prepare for the race.
We are happy because we were able to ride very fast, with consistent times and that is very important. We will see how it goes tomorrow, but we know we have some areas where we need to improve".
NICO TEROL SECOND FASTEST ON DAY ONE AT MOTEGI
Adrián Martín and Héctor Faubel sixth and seventh respectively on positive first day
The names of Nico Terol, Maverick Viñales and Johann Zarco rung out loudest on the PA system at Motegi today as the two Spaniards and the Frenchman took the top three positions in free practice for the Grand Prix of Japan. Terol was fastest in the morning, Viñales in the afternoon, with Zarco second in both. Jonas Folger was the only other rider able to lap in the 1'59s although the German is three tenths off the leading trio with lap times in general down on previous years due largely to the newly relaid Motegi asphalt.
BANKIA Aspar rider Nico Terol set his fastest lap of the day in the opening session, clocking a 1'59.436 that left him on top of the pile over lunch although it wasn't enough to keep him there in the afternoon. The Spaniard was relegated to second by just a tenth and after showing signs of his pace today he is looking forward to making a strong challenge for pole tomorrow. Adrián Martín made an excellent start to the weekend, lapping inside the top ten in both of today's sessions on the back of a morale boosting result at Aragon. The youngster was sixth overall, one place ahead of the team's third rider Héctor Faubel. The experienced Spaniard has some lingering problems from the back injury he suffered at Motorland but he was able to get his pace together in the afternoon after suffering a mechanical setback this morning.
2nd Nico Terol 1.59.436 (31 laps): "I started the session this afternoon on the soft tyre just to get a feel until we started setting 2'00s and then when we put the harder compound in I ran into traffic and was only able to push for the last two laps. The first one was good and the second not so much but we still got plenty of data that will be very useful. As always the main objective is to prepare for the race and be ready to win on Sunday. We have to keep a close eye on our rivals because there are still 100 points up for grabs. The new track surface is very similar to the old one - they have got rid of some of the bumps but the grip level is virtually the same. It seems everyone is struggling with it though because the lap times are pretty slow."
6th Adrián Martín 2.00.404 (30 laps): "The result at Aragon was a weight off our shoulders and it has allowed me to have fun on the bike from the first session. It is working really well so I am comfortable on it and Motegi is a circuit that suits my style. We have finished the day sixth fastest but I found it pretty easy to follow the top guys and a similar result tomorrow will give me the opportunity to run with the second group and fight for a top five finish. The track is quite grippy and with the bumps removed it feels in good shape."
7th Héctor Faubel 2.00431 (25 laps): "My back is still bothering me from the crash at Aragon. I have two compressed vertebrae and when I am breathing hard or braking it's a problem. I guess it will be a tough weekend but I am sure it can be a good one. I have finished seventh because we had a mechanical problem this morning and then had to test a lot of things in the afternoon. We will fix it tomorrow and I am sure we will be up near the top. I am having treatment after every session and I hope to be better tomorrow, it's just a question of time."
JORDI TORRES GETS TO GRIPS WITH MOTEGI
MAPFRE Aspar rider nineteenth on first ever day at Japanese circuit
The Moto2 riders made such a strong start to the Grand Prix of Japan today that the pace was already inside last year's pole record. The only surprise was that it wasn't regular pacesetters Stefan Bradl or Marc Márquez who dominated, with Bradley Smith clocking the fastest time this morning and Thomas Luthi in the afternoon. However, with twenty riders all lapping within just over a second there could be plenty more surprises over the remainder of the weekend.
MAPFRE Aspar rider Jordi Torres made probably his best start to a Grand Prix so far, the Spaniard quickly getting to grips with the Motegi layout despite running into the gravel with ten minutes remaining of this morning's opening free practice. In the afternoon Jordi continued working hard and eventually lapped just over a second outside the fastest time, finishing nineteenth overall but confident of making major progress tomorrow, when his goal is to improve in the third and fourth sectors and qualify in the top fifteen.
19th Jordi Torres 1.54.180 (42 laps): "I felt comfortable here from the very first minute. It is a really cool track with lots of hard braking and even though I took things steadily today the team and I were working really hard to get to know the track as well as we could. We made a good start this morning and established a good base for the afternoon. We worked on the hard tyre which didn't really suit my riding style so we have some changes to make tomorrow. We need to get the bike turning better and I also need to get it stopped in a shorter distance. I am satisfied with how the day has gone though - we knew how we had to work for me to get on the pace quickly - although the hard part is pushing on from here and finding the limit."
KALLIO MAKES CONFIDENT START IN JAPAN
Mika Kallio made a confident start to preparations for the Twin Ring Motegi Moto2 race in Japan today, the Marc VDS Racing Team rider battling consistently for the top six in both practice sessions.
Kallio ended the opening day in an encouraging ninth position, the Finnish rider taking full advantage of hot conditions to get in vital set-up work on his Suter MMXI machine ahead of Sunday's 23-lap race.
Working closely with his Marc VDS crew, Kallio was able to improve the turning performance of his Suter MMXI machine in the tight hairpins at the 4.801km circuit and a productive afternoon session saw him set a best time of 1.53.604. That was almost 0.7s faster than his pace in the first session and he was only 0.004s behind in-form Marc Marquez on the combined leaderboard and less than 0.2s away from fourth.
British rider Scott Redding had to settle for 15th place on the timesheets after he encountered concentration issues as a result of a heavy cold he developed on the long flight from Europe to Tokyo earlier this week.
The bug disrupted the 18-year-old's sleep last night too but he still put in his maximum effort to evaluate the 2012 Suter MMXII chassis made available to the Marc VDS Racing squad this weekend.
The combination of Redding's weakened physical condition and a lack of rear grip meant he was unable to feel the benefits of the new frame, but he is confident with more set-up time that the chassis offers improved feedback compared to the 2011 version having set a best time of 1.54.062 today.
Mika Kallio #36: 9th - 16 Laps - 1'53.604
"Today was a very positive start to the weekend and in both sessions I was comfortably inside the top 10 and the gap to the front is not so big. The good thing is that I definitely have something in reserve and I wasn't pushing right at the limit today, so with a few small improvements to the bike, I am confident we can fight for the second row on the grid tomorrow. We got a lot of good information today but we need to wait and see what happens overnight with the weather. Some people said it could rain in the night and that will definitely have an impact on grip levels. The forecast is for conditions to be a bit cooler too, so we need to be prepared to make some changes to the set-up. One area we can improve is the turning in the slower corners but it is not a major issue. Today was the best start to a weekend we've made for a long time, so I'm confident we can build on this and have a good race on Sunday."
Scott Redding #45: 15th - 15 Laps - 1'54.062
"I haven't been feeling great today at all. I've got a pretty bad cold from all the air conditioning on the plane. I just can't concentrate for any length of time and I came in at the end of the session a lap early thinking I'd seen the chequered flag. But it was the two-minute board, so it was clear my mind wasn't totally on the job. I'll try and get some solid sleep tonight and come out all guns blazing tomorrow to try and get back up the front where we've been for the last three races. It is a shame I wasn't at my best because we got the new 2012 Suter MMXII chassis to try, but it was hard to make a clear assessment. I had a lot of wheelspin today but I think that was more down to the tyres than anything else. With a bit more time to set the chassis up I'm sure we can feel the benefit and I know there is definitely more to come from myself."
Trevor Morris - Mika Kallio Crew Chief
"That was just the start we were looking for from Mika because lapping inside the top 10 and close to the top six on the first day has given him a lot of confidence for the rest of the weekend. We didn't really change the bike from the last race at Motorland Aragon and right from the first lap he said he had a good feeling. That meant he could just focus on building up his pace and getting into a good rhythm and he did a lot of good laps. We need to get the bike to turn a little bit better, particularly in Turns 9 and 10, where we lose most of our time. If the bike can turn a bit quicker it will help him fire the bike out of the corner earlier and not hurt his acceleration so much onto the straights. Mika has been in the top 10 twice in the last three races and based on today's performance, that should be our minimum target on Sunday."
Tom Luthi on top at Motegi: "My bike feels fantastic"
Tom Luthi and his Team Interwetten Paddock Moto2 had the best possible start at the Japanese Grand Prix. After riding to third place in the first free practice session in the morning, the 24-year-old from Switzerland stormed to the top of the time sheets in the afternoon, leaving world championship leader Stefan Bradl in his wake by 0.18 seconds. Before even going out on his first lap on the twisty 4.8-kilometre-circuit, Luthi and his crew chief Alfred WIlleke had already worked on the likely set-up solutions for all the hard-braking action at Motegi - and hit the jackpot.
Thomas Luthi – 1st 1:53.002 min.:
"So far, we are having a great weekend. Things work out very well. The base set-up of the bike is perfect, as we changed a few important things even before the first session in order to gain the braking stability that is needed on this track. The weather forecast for tomorrow was also a factor in our quick search of the right set-up, as it might get wet. Now, the bike feels fantastic. It was lots of fun to ride, especially in the second session, and I think we can build on what we achieved today. Apart from the last section, where you have to brake with lots of lean angle for a long time, I really like this track and I am confident for the race. So far, we haven't received any updates for our Suter chassis yet. I was fastest today despite this fact and this boosts my motivation!"
Alfred Willeke – Cheftechniker:
"With its many hard-braking zones, this track has a very special character and we tried to find the right direction with the set-up of the bike even before practice started. This afternoon, we further improved our settings, but our first place today is no reason to relax – tomorrow, we want to find another few tenths of a second!"
Terrell Thien – Team Manager:
"Such a good start into this race weekend is fantastic. Tom feels great on the bike, the tyres look fine and we hope to be able to continue this way. We established a new base set-up back at the Grand Prix of Germany in July and step by step, with lots of hard work, we became competitive again. We will continue this way and keep our heads down, trying to improve further. At the next race in Australia, we plan to test the new swing arm that Marc Márquez has been using since the last race at Aragón!"
West needs more corner speed - Neukirchner in search for braking stability
MZ factory riders Anthony West and Max Neukirchner took 22nd and 29th place on the first day of practice for the Japanese Grand Prix. West still needs more corner speed and better acceleration out of the turns. Neuirchner, a novice on the twisty 4.8 kilometre Twin Ring Motegi, is in search for more braking stability.
Anthony West – 22nd in 1:54.397 min.:
"This result is not too bad considering the problems we had. Our set up isn't perfect yet. We are not too far away, it's just a few small things we need to improve on, such as corner speed. There are sections I really feel we are loosing time, so I think if we can fix that problem I should be able to ride in the 1.53's, no problem. It's not a big thing, the bike is just not turning that well and as soon as I go on the throttle I am down on acceleration on the first 100 meters or so. The hard tyre compound seems not to work at all and I've heard from different people that they had the same problem. I just could not do a time on it, so in the first half of the session I was kind of messing around and after that, with the softer option, I was able to immediately pull out a time. Tomorrow morning we are just going to burn some hard tyres and save the softer compound for the qualifying and the race!"
Max Neukirchner – 29th in 1:54.904 min.:
"Motegi is a thrilling track, especially going through the two tunnels. I am starting to find my way around even though we are still far away from the front runners at this stage. But considering that it is my first time here, we can be satisfied. In order to catch up and find another second or two, I have to improve by 70 per cent and the team has to contribute 30 per cent. We need more stability under brakes and the bike should also keep the cornering lines a bit better. I also was a bit tired today due to jetlag, so I will go to bed early and hope to be well rested tomorrow!"
TAKAHASHI THIRD FASTEST AT HOME TRACK
It wasn't just the incentive of racing at home or the support of the local fans that propelled Yuki Takahashi to third place but the improvements offered by a new chassis Moriwaki that he rode for the first time at Aragon. There is still work to do but the opportunity to kick off the season finale with a good result at Motegi is definitely there. Michele Pirro also had a good day despite this being his first ever visit to this track.
Yuki Takahashi (3rd 1'53"354) "Being at home is definitely a big help but I have to say that the new Moriwaki chassis has been really good here. We still have work to do with it but we are on the right lines and I am sure we can have a good race here at Motegi."
Michele Pirro (16th 1'54" 095) "This is my first time at Motegi and it is not an easy track to learn. I have to try and understand better the braking points and then I am sure I will improve my lap times and position. The chassis is really helping and with some more set-up changes we can go even better."
Fausto Gresini "I am happy because it has been a positive day. Riding at home has definitely given Yuki Takahashi a boost but I must say the new Moriwaki chassis is a big help. Obviously the job of setting it up is a long way from over but I am sure we can be competitive with it. Michele Pirro also went well on what is a new
Bel-Ray Press Release-Bel-Ray Racing Weekend Preview
FARMINGDALE, NJ – September 30, 2011 – Bel-Ray Company, Inc. – Bel-Ray Racing-Weekend Preview
All eyes will be on Japan this weekend as the Moto2 series returns to action after a 3 week break. The Twin Ring Circuit in Motegi, Japan will host the 15th round of the 2011 MotoGP series.
Coming off a fine pair of finishes in Aragon the Tech3 Racing team of Bradley Smith and Mike DiMeglio look to continue their success as the season draws to a close. Smith currently resides in 6th place in the overall season standings just 3 points away from the top 5. Teammate DiMeglio is 25th place in the series standings and hopes to end the 2011 racing season on a high note.