Press releases from the 125cc and Moto2 teams after the first day of practice at Sepang:
Luis Salom searching for the perfect lap
Luis Salom knows he is fast at the Sepang track. He just hasn't found the perfect lap yet on the first day of the Malaysian Grand Prix. With 2.15.704, which put him in eight in the second free practice, he was reasonably satisfied, but he knows he can be faster.
"I have been looking for the best lines,'' the Spanish rider of RW Racing GP says. "The data showed this very well in the first free practice: every lap I had different section times. It went a lot better in the second practice, but there still is much to gain. Specially in the last section – the final two corners and the straight before the finish line.''
In his search for perfection Salom tried too hard in the end of the first practice. In the last corner in the final lap he wanted just a little bit too much, with a crash as a result. Luckily the crash was without consequences.
In the second free practice the circumstances were much better and Salom was more at ease. "At Sepang it is a matter of doing as much laps as possible. I have the pace, the bike feels great, I feel fine. All the pieces of the puzzle are there. I am confident we can put them together.''
A crash ruins the first practice for Márquez
He suffers a contusion in his left shoulder and foot. The terrible performance of the security marshals causes the crash suffered by Márquez and another three riders.
Bad day for Marc Márquez a Sepang. The ineffectiveness of Sepang's marshals, who did not warn about the presence of water due to brief rain in an area of the track, caused the crash of several riders, the Repsol rider among them. In the crash, Márquez suffered a hard blow in his left shoulder and foot, and also some contusions on the neck.
It was during the first lap, in right-hand corner number 10. Márquez and the other Moto2 riders were arriving at that part of the circuit without knowing that it had rained. There was no sign of it and Cluzel, Márquez and Smith, among others, were thrown out of their bikes when losing grip on their bikes, which were shod with slick tyres. In the unexpected crash, the rider from Cervera suffered a heavy hit.
After visiting the Clínica Mobile and make sure that he did not have any broken bones, the Repsol rider returned to his box to rest and prepare himself for the afternoon practice. Nevertheless, Márquez complained of feeling dizzy after the crash and as he did not recover in the afternoon, he and his team decided that he would not go on the bike again today. The Repsol rider returned to the hotel and is resting. Tomorrow, considering how he feels when he wakes up, a decision about his participation to the rest of the practice sessions will be taken.
Race Direction announced a 15.000 euros fine for the Malaysian Grand Prix organizer for the irresponsible behaviours of the marshals.
"Marc [Márquez] got out on track as always, but the marshals had not signalled that there was an area of the circuit that was completely wet. Marc did not see that a rider in front of him crashed and the bike of another skidded and, although he was slow, he suffered a heavy crash and several contusions, one of them in the neck.
He was a bit dizzy and we saw that he was not at 100% to get on the bike. Also with the heat we have here in Malaysia the best thing to do was to get back to the hotel. He has been given some medication to allow him to rest and tomorrow we will see how he feels or if he has more pain".
NICO TEROL HITS TOP GEAR ON DAY ONE AT SEPANG
BANKIA Aspar rider states intentions with 0.6 second gap over closest rival
This is the weekend when drinks humps come into their own and the riders need a cold shower after every session. The Malaysian Grand Prix is one of the most demanding rounds of the season, where the 125cc riders are forced to put up with searing heat as well as 90% humidity. There was no let up in the conditions today or in the pace set by BANKIA Aspar rider Nico Terol, who started out in the same dominant fashion he has done at so many races this season. Behind him Cortese, Vázquez and Faubel fought for second place in a true battle of the minor category veterans.
Terol kept his promise of starting the weekend on the front foot and was the only rider capable of breaking into the 2'13s today. He set the top speed in both sessions as well as the fastest time, stating his intentions as he targets a title-clinching performance at the second attempt. Héctor Faubel also started out in the right way, lapping amongst the pacesetters all day and finishing fourth fastest. The Spaniard just needs to improve in the third and fourth sectors before mounting a challenge for pole. Adrián Martín continued his recent good form with an encouraging ninth place.
1st Nico Terol 2.13.864 (27 laps): "The plan today was just to keep working in the same way as usual and disconnect ourselves from everything that's going on around us. We wanted to find a good set-up and set a good rhythm for the race. So far we have achieved all our objectives, which helps me to stay concentrated. I am feeling highly motivated, we have made a strong start and the goal is to keep on like this for the whole weekend. We have a good feeling on new and used tyres, which is important here because of the heat over race distance."
4th Héctor Faubel 2.14.703 (29 laps): "I am happy because we have been up there all day and worked well to find a good set-up. I just need to find a bit more speed in T3 and T4, which should come through adjusting fifth and sixth gear. Things went well today and I am happy so tomorrow we will keep working because there is room to improve. If we can improve the bike and my riding a little I am sure we can be fighting for pole."
9th Adrián Martín 2.15.717 (26 laps): "I felt comfortable on the bike today but was maybe a little unprepared for the heat. It has slowed my riding down but that has maybe been a good thing because I am thinking things through and not taking any chances. It has been a good day, my pace is good and I spent most of the time lapping alone. For the first day our lap times are fast so if we can improve the chassis a little tomorrow we will be even faster."
MAPFRE ASPAR RIDERS HIT BY SWELTERING HEAT OF SEPANG
Jordi Torres and Iván Moreno both escape uninjured from crashes in afternoon session
The Moto2 class saw a typically dramatic start to proceedings at Sepang this morning, with turn ten claiming three crash victims before a lap had even been completed. The riders were not informed of a wet patch of track and Cluzel, Márquez and Smith paid an unnecessary price as they went tumbling from their machines, leading to a red flag and a five-minute delay to the session. Cluzel escaped unhurt but the battered Márquez was ruled out for the remainder of the day and Smith for the remainder of the weekend after breaking his collarbone. With the Spaniard out of action series leader Stefan Bradl set pole position, followed by Espargaró and Aegerter.
MAPFRE Aspar pair Jordi Torres and Iván Moreno continued their Asian-Oceanic adventures with a day of learning at Sepang where they had to get used to the intense heat as well as the circuit layout. Both found it tough going and unfortunately both crashed this afternoon on laps that would have improved on their best times. Iván went down midway through the session in turn six whilst Jordi hit the deck in turn fourteen on his final lap. He has grazing to his right knee but that will not prevent him from pushing for better fortunes tomorrow.
31st Jordi Torres 2.11.231 (31 laps): "This is a long and difficult circuit. We worked hard today but I still haven't completely learnt my way around. There are some secrets to it and you need time to get to know it well. This morning we got our references and this morning I tried to push but the set-up is not sorted yet and I got a little stressed out. I pushed a bit too hard on the last lap this afternoon and lost the front but we'll keep working hard tomorrow."
35th Iván Moreno 2.12.032 (27 laps): "I like this track a lot, it has a European style and that suits me - I know I can be fast here. I felt comfortable all day and I am getting used to the bike - it is going where I want it to now, not where the bike wants like in Australia. We focused on getting to know the bike and doing as many laps as we could on used tyres today just to get a feeling. It was just a shame that I crashed and we couldn't keep working. I hit a bump and the front folded but I am unhurt and looking forward to tomorrow."
Strong start at the Malaysian Grand Prix: Luthi is fifth and very close to the top
Thomas Luthi had a great start into the Malaysian Grand Prix. In blistering tropical heat, the 25-year-old Swiss star of Team Interwetten Paddock Moto2 rode to fifth place on the first day of practice on the 5,5 kilometre Sepang circuit and was only 0.145 seconds behind German Stefan Bradl in provisional pole position. For qualifying on Saturday, crew chief Alfred Willeke and the other technicians are now trying to find a little more grip, but are otherwise satisfied with the set-up of Luthi's Suter MMXI prototype.
It was also a lucky day for Luthi since he managed to avoid a serious incident in the morning that left British rider Bradley Smith sidelined for the rest of the weekend with broken ribs and Spaniard Marc Márquez sidelined for the rest of the day with bruises and mild concussion. A brief rainshower had soaked turn 10, a remote corner of the track. Since the track marshals failed to wave the appropriate flags, a multiple crash happened. For creating "a very dangeours situation for the riders", the organiser was penalised with a 15000 Euro fine.
Thomas Lüthi – 5th 2:08.635 min.:
"It's been a positive day for us. This morning was a bit special, with damp patches in only one corner. I've been lucky not to go out on the track with the first riders, because when I arrived at that corner, two or three others had gone down already. There were two riders in front of me that slowed down in time and without them, I could well have gone down also."
"Other than that, we only struggled with a certain lack of grip, especially in the heat of the afternoon session. This is a problem we have to address. But even though, we were within the front runners all the time which makes me confident!"
Terrell Thien - Teammanager:
"We had a good start in the morning and managed to improve further in the afternoon. But we have to continue working. We lack grip, which is quite normal in such heat. But we still hope to be able to further improve our set-up!"
Daniel M. Epp – PADDOCK Grand Prix Management:
"We had two good session in this first day of practice and we know that, if you are up there at the beginning, you are also likely to stay competitive for the rest of the weekend. During the second session we tried something on the set-up but went in the wrong direction. For tomorrow I am confident that we will be able to improve again!"
SOLID START AT SIZZLING SEPANG FOR MARC VDS
Marc VDS Racing Team riders Mika Kallio and Scott Redding enjoyed a productive opening day of practice for the penultimate round of the 2011 Moto2 World Championship at a scorching hot Sepang circuit in Malaysia today.
Kallio was able to set a hot pace right from the start and in the typically extreme conditions at the 5.548km track, he was an impressive fifth fastest this morning and less than 0.2s away from the top three.
Air temperatures soared to a physically punishing 32 degrees this afternoon and Kallio concentrated exclusively on evaluating grip levels with Dunlop's range of front and rear tyres. The intense heat and humidity in Malaysia places even greater emphasis on the correct tyre choice, and after exhaustive work in assessing all the options available, Kallio is confident he's found a combination that will help him battle for a top 10 finish in Sunday's 19-lap race.
He was 0.6s faster this afternoon and his best lap of 2.08.970 secured him an encouraging eighth place on the combined timesheets.
Redding also enjoyed a positive start to the weekend and he finished less than 0.1s behind Kallio at the end of two gruelling 45-minute practice sessions.
The British rider clocked a fastest lap of 2.09.038 this afternoon to finish just 0.031s outside of the top 10. The 18-year-old is confident he can lap consistently in the mid 2.08 bracket tomorrow, as he seeks to make his Marc VDS machine more agile in the fast changes of direction at the Sepang track, which is the second longest on the World Championship schedule.
Mika Kallio #36 - 2.08.970 - 32-laps - 8th position
"This morning was a very good start and I was happy to be inside the top six. And this afternoon went well also because the goal was to be in the top eight and we achieved that. This afternoon we decided to work a lot on the tyres to find the best combination for the race. I think the best balance will be the hard front and the hard rear but concentrating so much on the tyres we missed out at the last exit. We didn't have the best combination on and although I did make my best lap time at the end, I felt like I was close to the limit. I also need to improve my pace when the tyres are new. The times were coming quite easy on used tyres but on new tyres in the first three laps, my pace wasn't much better and you normally you should be able to improve by some tenths. For qualifying we need to make sure I improve in this area because you need to be fast on new tyres to get a good grid position."
Scott Redding #45 - 2.09.038 - 28-laps - 11th position
"It wasn't a bad day but I can definitely do better. I'm struggling a little bit with the fast changes of direction and I'd like a bit more rear edge grip. When I'm at full lean angle I can't pick the bike up as quick as I'd like, so we'll come up with a plan tonight to see how we can make the bike more agile. Looking at the timesheets we need to find about 0.5s to be right in the hunt but that won't be easy. My pace today felt like I was right at the limit and it didn't seem to matter how hard I pushed the lap time was the same. It was typical Sepang weather today with really hot and humid conditions but all the training and work on my endurance seems to have worked. It was extremely hot but I had the strength and power, and that has given me a good boost."
Michael Bartholemy - Team Manager
"Today was a decent start for Mika and Scott but it is clear that both of them have to be around 0.5s faster. We would like to be a little bit higher up but both of them are not far away from the top six and that is encouraging on the first day. I was impressed again with Mika and immediately he found a good feeling with the track this morning to finish very close to the top three. The heat and slippery track conditions make this race very tough, but Mika worked a lot on evaluating tyres and hopefully his efforts will pay off tomorrow and Sunday. Scott also did a good job and he is still learning how to get the best of the updated chassis we only starting using in Phillip Island. His team have got some ideas to help him feel more comfortable tomorrow and I'm sure he will be able to show the high potential of the Marc VDS Racing package."
Good start for MZ Racing Team in Malaysia: West 16th despite headaches, Neukirchner 17th
MZ factory riders Anthony West and Max Neukirchner had a good start at the Grand Prix of Malaysia. Despite suffering from headaches in the tropical heat after innocently crashing out of the Malaysian Grand Prix one week ago, Anthony West battled to 16th place. Team-mate Max Neukirchner, who had also been taken out by another rider in Australia, rode to 17th place just 0.07 seconds behind West. Since Neukirchner had never ridden on the 5.5 kilometre track of Sepang before, he is very confident to be able to improve much further in qualifying on Saturday.
Anthony West - 16th in 2:09.596 min.:
"I still have a headache from the crash at Phillip Island and the tropical heat doesn't help. But I am just trying to forget about it and ride the bike. It feels pretty good, but we have a problem with the exhaust. The new version is cracked so we had to mount an older one that doesn't produce the same power. I am struggling to follow the other guys in a few places. It's frustrating to know what the problem is but not to be able to fix it!"
Max Neukirchner - 17th in 2:09.672 min.:
"It is my first time on this track, but I liked it immediately. It suits my riding style, especially the fast sections. I am happy so far. 17th is a good start especially since there are many points on the track left where I can still improve as a rider!"
TWELFTH TIME IN FP2 FOR IANNONE IN MALAYSIA, DESPITE A CRASH WITH TEN MINUTES TO GO
After the event held in Australia, the MotoGP circus is ready to face the last-but-one Grand Prix of 2011 season, at the circuit of Sepang.
Changeable weather and high temperatures marked the first day of practices in Malaysia. As a matter of facts, free practice n. 1 was interrupted after few minutes because of some crashes provoked by a sudden rain shower. The rest of the session was carried out regularly: Andrea Iannone, who began using the setting that was prepared in Motegi, got the fourth best lap-time (2'09.555).
The free practice of the afternoon was important to gather some data on completely dry track and to focus on the first few modifications for the Suter MMXI setting. Andrea, despite a crash with ten minutes to go, finished the session with the lap-time of 2'09.083, with the twelfth position, 0.619 seconds off the best time.
Andrea Iannone, #29 — free practice n. 2: 12th with 2'09.083
"Today it was a day with ups and downs. In the morning we didn't really have much time on dry track, because the T3 was partially wet after a few minutes. The session was kind of complicated and we didn't really get to understand much regarding the setting for our bike. In the afternoon we struggled a little in the beginning. After not much time, however, we found a good solution and the bike improved. Unfortunately I crashed out and we had to finish the session earlier than expected, right when we had to get to the point to see if the changes were definite or not. In any case I'm staying positive: we're only about six tenths off the best time and we completed less laps. We'll see what happens tomorrow, we still need to improve the front grip."
FOURTH PLACE FOR PIRRO ON DAY ONE SEPANG
Michele Pirro lapped amongst the Moto2 pacesetters today, eventually ending the day fourth fastest despite having never visited this circuit before. Yuki Takahashi suffered a crash that prevented him from joining his team-mate near the top of the timesheets and he will be looking to make up for that when practice resumes tomorrow.
Michele Pirro (4th 2'08.594) "I am happy with the result today. I ti a nice feeling to be up near the top but especially to have the pace. The layout of the Sepang circuit helps to alleviate the problems we have with our bike and tomorrow we will try to take another step forward with it tomorrow."
Yuki Takahashi (10th 2'09.007) "I continued to have a strange feeling with the rear today and I tried to ride around it but it made things worse.In the end I crashed and I am disappointed about that. It hasn't been a good day and tomorrow we will do all we can to make up for it."
Fausto Gresini "I am very satisfied with Michele Pirro's performance at a circuit he didn't know. He set a fast pace and was able to comfortably run with Bradl. Overall it has been a positive day for him although I can't say the same about Yuki Takahashi. I am quite disappointed because an experienced rider like him shouldn't be making that kind of mistake. He needs to be out on track making the most of his potential, not wasting time in the garage. Hopefully things change for him tomorrow. Pirro just has to continue in the same way."
Bradley Smith ruled out of Malaysian Grand Prix
Tech 3 Racing Team rider Bradley Smith will take no further part in the Malaysian Moto2 Grand Prix weekend after a heavy fall in this morning's opening practice session at the Sepang circuit.
The British rider was one of four riders to crash after an isolated but heavy rain shower fell at Turn 10. Unfortunately for Smith, the appropriate flags warning of a completely wet track in that section were not being waved at the time, which resulted in a 15,000 Euro fine for Malaysian Grand Prix organisers.
After an initial examination in the circuit's first class medical facility, Smith was transferred to the Pusat Perubatan UKM Medical Centre in Kuala Lumpur for further checks on left shoul der and chest injuries.
Doctors have ruled out internal injuries but the 20-year-old has suffered a small crack in his left collarbone.
Smith was discharged from the Pusat Perubatan UKM Medical Centre earlier this evening and he will be back at the Sepang circuit tomorrow for consultations with Clinica Mobile staff on the recovery of his damaged left collarbone.
Further information will be made available at the earliest opportunity.