Press releases from the 125cc and Moto2 teams, tire supplier and chassis manufacturers after the final race of the year at Valencia:
Salom satisfied with season, not with last race
RW Racing GP and Luis Salom look back with satisfaction on the season, that ended in Valencia. With the last race both team and rider were not entirely happy. Luis Salom had expected much more than seventh place, but realized that a crash in the last lap could have had a much different outcome.
Salom had a good start from fourth place. He lost some positions in the first lap scrum, but was soon able to join the leading group of six. When it began to rain a bit, he could stay with Jonas Folger. The gap increased gradually.
In the closing stages Salom was duelling with Adrian Martin for sixth, on which he seemed to have a firm grip until a reckless attempt from Martin to overtake in the last lap made both men end up in the gravel. Salom could quickly pick up his Aprilia and managed to finish seventh.
"A blessing in disguise,'' said the Spanish nrider of RW Racing GP. "The race was certainly not the race I had hoped for. The main cause was that my rear tire wore out very quickly. It looks like I've made ??a burnout: torn away completely. I could not take any chances and that is unfortunate, because I had my eyes set on the podium.''
Now that the season is finished, Salom looks back with satisfaction. "The objective was the top 8, in which we succeeded. I've been on the podium twice. That should have been a few more times. And in seven of the 17 races I have not scored. That must be better next season. With fewer falls and no injuries, I had certainly been in the top 5. So that's the goal for next season.''
Salom will test the four-stroke machine for the Moto3 on Monday in Valencia.
Siméon to finish 2011 with best result of the season
Xavier Siméon finished the Generali GP de la Communitat Valenciana today in 8th position, his best result of his rookie season in the Moto2 world championship.
The 22 year old had a strong weekend al l together and after he qualified 8th yesterday he could defend his position and finished 8th, which secured him another 8 points for the championship.
Tomorrow the preparations for the 2012 season already start with the first test of the 2012 Mistral 610 bike.
Xavier Siméon, 8th:
"I am happy and disappointed at the same time. I am of course happy that I met my target and finished this race in the Top 10, but on the other side I know I could have finished higher than that today. When it started raining stronger towards the end of the race I did not want to risk crashing and I was very tense on the bike. I did not want to be too aggressive, but maybe a little bit more aggressive would have been good. Today I had the pace and the feeling for a podium finish. I want to thank my team for all their effort and support throughout the 2011 season and I am looking forward to continue where we finished this year. Tomorrow I will test the new bike and I am quite excited for that."
Hervé Poncharal, Team Manager:
"I am happy for Xavier. He likes these conditions and he was fighting in the top group for most of the race. Unfortunately at the end he lost a little bit, as he did not want to risk crashing and was a bit tense on the bike. The group was able to catch him, which they would never have been able if he continued to ride like he did in the beginning of the race. It is a little bit disappointing after seeing him fighting so strong as he could have been on the podium today. Xavier will be with Tech3 next year and it should be much easier for him as now he knows all the circuits and he can fully concentrate on his season. I am quite sure next year he will be a regular Top 10 finisher like he showed us today."
VALENCIA GP: AFTER A CAREFUL AND SMART RACE, IANNONE ACHIEVES THE THIRD POSITION IN THE 2011 MOTO2 CHAMPIONSHIP
Today's race at the circuit of Ricardo Tormo, the seventeenth event for the Moto2 class of this year, marks the end of 2011 season.
In the warm up of this morning, which was held with wet conditions, Andrea Iannone was one of the leaders of the session, setting some good lap-times and improving the Suter machine setting in case of rain.
The race, eventually declared dry, kicked off under a gloomy sky which looked like rain was about to fall again. Iannone, who started from the twenty-fifth spot on the grid, got close to the top-10 quickly. The great comeback of the Italian brought him within the points, and he showed his determination when fighting against De Angelis for the third position in the Championship. Andrea finally crossed the finishing line ahead of his rival, with the eleventh placement.
The rider from Vasto ends 2011 season with 177 points, with the third position in the Moto2 Championship, which turns him into the Italian with the best result in the standings of the middle class.
Andrea Iannone, #29 — race: 11th
"This was a difficult race, as the whole weekend in general. We struggled a lot, but for us what really mattered was to finish the season with the third position in the championship and, in the end, we achieved it. I'm happy with this result. I'd like to thank the whole team for the work they've done during this year, for their patience and their commitment. Hopefully we'll do better in the future."
BANKIA ASPAR'S NICO TEROL BECOMES 125cc WORLD CHAMPION
Terol and Faubel finish second and third, respectively, in last ever 125cc race.
Rain was an inevitable part of the Valencia GP, with difficult conditions for the final 125cc race. A drying track and spots of rain made things tricky for the riders at the Circuito Ricardo Tormo. Webb led early on from pole position, but was caught by Faubel soon after. The key moment was a crash for Johan Zarco, securing the World Championship crown for Nico Terol.
Maverick Viñales took victory in the race, with the BANKIA Aspar duo of Terol and Faubel completing the podium with a rostrum double.
BANKIA Aspar's Nico Terol finally became 125cc World Champion at the Circuito Ricardo Tormo, realising a lifelong dream. He did so with a second place that took him to the podium once more, despite his plan not to take any risks at the Valencia GP. The BANKIA Aspar team strategy involved Héctor Faubel breaking away and Nico keeping out of harm's way, and this was the story of the opening laps. A crash for Johan Zarco meant that Terol could change his plans. He led for four laps before deciding to sit back and finish the race more cautiously, ending the GP in second place. 302 points, and a deserved title for Nico Terol.
Héctor Faubel played his part in the second BANKIA Aspar double of the season, and had a chance to win the race. He led eleven laps of his home GP, but faded as his tyres went off. Third place was nonetheless a positive end to the season for the Spaniard.
Adrián Martín was just metres away from finishing the race, but crashed out on the final corner of the last lap thanks to a mechanical problem.
2nd Nico Terol: "I am the happiest man in the world right now. It's hard to take in that we have finally won the title. I have had to work very hard for many years to make this dream reality, but I'm on cloud nine now that we have done it. This weekend was a tough one, because there was always the rain factor to take into account, but in the end everything went well in the race and it was relatively simple. As yesterday's session was such a strange one, there were a lot of nervous riders at the head of the field for the start of the race. I thought that maybe a crash was on the cards at times, and I wasn't sure whether to really push or not. When I saw that Zarco was out, I started to enjoy the race more. I had such positive thoughts going round in my head that I managed to distract myself. I wanted to win, but we were using the soft tyres and they were rather worn by the end. The title is finally ours and I believe that we deserve it more than anyone following some bad luck at races at Assen and Brno. It is a real honour to take the title at the track where I grew up as a rider, in front of the home fans. This has been the year in which I have slept the least in my life! It was hard for me to sleep last night and nerves have played a part in some of the previous races, but wins like those at Indianapolis, Misano and Aragón boosted my morale and reminded me that I could lead the way in this class. I dedicate this title to my family, my manager, the fans and of course the BANKIA Aspar team -especially to Jorge, for having given me the chance to ride for him."
3rd Héctor Faubel: "I fought hard to win the last race of the year, but it just wasn't to be. I think that we made a mistake with our tyre choice, going for rubber that was too soft and led to sliding on the final laps. I still tried to take victory, because I wanted a home win at all costs. I am still happy with a podium here, and also with the fact that Nico has finally become World Champion. I never doubted that he could do it. The race was tough because of the slippery surface, but I tried to break away early on. Nico and Viñales caught up with me, but I didn't want to show my hand right away so let them past. I went for it again with five laps to go, but on the final lap I almost crashed when trying to past Nico so settled for third. I finish the season happy."
Adrián Martín (DNF): "The race was a difficult one, because we had a little of everything. We didn't know which tyres to use on the grid, because the track was almost dry but there was light rainfall. I found it difficult to feel confident, but focused on getting a good pace. I spent the entire race trying to catch Salom, who was just in front of me. When I finally caught up with him my bike had a problem on the final corner of the last lap. I lost the front, and I am disappointed that we didn't get the result that we deserved. I am satisfied though, because we had a good race. Congratulations to Nico -he deserved the title more than anyone."
Jorge Martínez 'Aspar': "Nico's title is a dream come true for me. As someone from Valencia and owner of the BANKIA Aspar Team, I am tremendously happy for him. We had won titles with two Spanish riders before, and with a Hungarian, but still we hadn't done it with a Valencian rider. This is another goal reached for us. The Circuito Ricardo Tormo was opened in 1999, and now a rider from the school here has become World Champion. This is a great sign for the future. I am happy for Nico, for his family and for everyone around him. This is a just reward for his consistency this year. I want to give great thanks to our sponsors -in particular the Generalitat Valenciana, BANKIA and MAPFRE, because they have been key to our success year after year."
MAHINDRA ACHIEVES TARGET IN LAST-EVER 125 RACE
Valencia, 6 November, 2011: After its first year in GP racing, the Indian Mahindra team closed its account with several aims achieved.
Rider Marcel Schrötter rode a well-judged race to finish in the points, achieving his and the team's pre-season aim of finishing in the top 15 of the championship.
His points added to the team's tally to underline third place in the constructors' championship (49 points).
And the Indian manufacturer has written its name firmly in the record books after a first year of learning, ready to take a step forward next year in the all-new Moto3 category that replaces the traditional 125s.
Schrötter (18, from Germany) finished 12th in cool, damp and windy conditions today, adding four points to bring his year's total to 36. He had come to Valencia equal on points with Italian rider Simone Grotzkyj, but behind overall because his rival had a better race result, tipping the balance in his favour.
But the last 125 race brought disappointment to 20-year-old Briton Danny Webb, who started from his and Mahindra's first-ever pole position. Pushing hard to overcome small but costly problems, Webb was well in the points when he crashed out after 11 of 24 laps of the 4.005km Ricardo Tormo circuit at Valencia.
This was the 17th and final round of the World Championship, the last for 125 machines. The day before the race Mahindra Group managing director Mr Anand Mahindra had unveiled the Mahindra MGP30, the 250cc four-stroke Mahindra Moto3 machine, to an appreciative paddock crowd.
MARCEL SCHRÖTTER – 12th Position (15th place in the championship with 36 points)
It was a difficult race, because there was a little rain throughout and it was hard to find the limit. I had a good start and was in a good group, but all weekend we have had little problems with acceleration. I was good on the brakes so I could pass them into the corners, but they would pass me back on the next straight. In the last laps I knew I was in the points. It made no sense to risk that, so I brought it home and got 15th overall in the championship, which was my aim. It was a good ending to the year. I did a big burn-out to say goodbye to my 125.
DANNY WEBB – Did Not Finish (19th place in the championship with 24 points)
Disappointing after my first pole, but I tried my hardest to give Mahindra a good finish to the first year, and unfortunately I pushed too hard. Conditions were difficult and I was having problems with front grip. I lost a few positions, and I didn't want to lose any more. So I pushed, and it was a bit too much.
I know it is a cliché, but ‘that's racing'. Yesterday we were celebrating Danny's pole position but today, sadly, he fell. However, Marcel summed up the strength of this team to come home with a strong points finish bringing to an end a very satisfying year for Mahindra Racing.
My experience this weekend, and the experience of the team throughout the whole season, has only renewed our commitment to the sport. I said it yesterday when we unveiled our wonderful new Moto3 bike – we are here to stay."
Super seventh for di Meglio, Smith disappointed in Valencia
The Tech 3 Racing Team ended the 2011 Moto2 World Championship campaign in Valencia today with contrasting fortunes for Mike di Meglio and Bradley Smith.
The 27-lap race started with light rain falling over the Ricardo Tormo Circuit, though the race was declared dry and di Meglio and Smith started on slick tyres.
The tricky conditions provided a serious test of skill and concentration as di Meglio and Smith quickly tried to gauge grip levels in the early phase of the race.
Frenchman di Meglio adopted a cautious approach in the opening 10 laps, the former 125cc World Champion gradually building up his speed and confidence as he got engaged in a typically frenetic battle that has become a feature of the ultra-competitive Moto2 category.
He eventually finished in seventh position to claim his third top 10 of the campaign, and he was less than a second away from the top five.
The season ending GP Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana finished in disappointing fashion for British rider Smith. He immediately thrust himself into contention for the podium with a lightning start that moved him from 12th on the grid into fifth at the end of the first lap.
Pushing hard to try and find a way by Finnish rider Mika Kallio, he crashed out at the second corner on lap two. He landed hard on the left collarbone he broke 17 days ago after a practice crash in Sepang, but fortunately suffered no additional damage and he remounted to finish 23rd.
Mike di Meglio 7th – 30-points:
"I am happy to have finished my last race for Tech 3 Racing in seventh and battling hard for the top five. I started off quite cautious for first 10 laps because I didn't have so much grip, and it was easy to make a mistake with the light rain making it very difficult to push with any confidence. Then it rained more and I think I was more comfortable in those conditions than those around me and I could have a nice battle in a big group. Finishing inside the top 10 is a positive way to end the season and I want to thank all my crew at Tech 3 for their incredible hard work this season. It has been a difficult year and I haven't achieved the results I expected, but I have a learned a lot and I'm sure that will help me for the future"
Bradley Smith 23rd – 121-points:
"I am really disappointed with the crash because I had a very good first lap. I was aggressive and I had a very good feeling with the bike, even though the conditions were far from ideal. I passed Kallio going into the first corner and was looking to push on when he was quite aggressive at Turn 2. I had a big slide from the front and rear tyres and it was impossible to save it. Today pretty much summed up my luck in the final part of the season and I seem to have been followed by bad luck for a few weeks now. It is a shame that we couldn't finish the season with some stronger results but we have proved capable of fighting for the top five on a regular basis. Luckily it was quite a slow crash at that part of the track and my shoulder didn't suffer any damage. I'll be testing the new 2012 Mistral 610 machine tomorrow and I'm looking forward to that. We're confident we have made big improvements with the new bike that will help me fight a t the front consistently next season."
Hervé Poncharal – Team Manager:
"That was a very hard race for everybody with the conditions being very difficult. At times it was like riding on ice because this track is quite slippery anyway, and the rain made it even harder to understand grip levels. Unfortunately Bradley was ruled out very early when he crashed and that is not how we wanted to end the season. It is disappointing because he immediately found a good pace in the difficult conditions and we probably would have been in the battle for the podium. A few mistakes recently have cost us a lot of points but this has been a learning year for Bradley and there are still a lot of positives to take from it, including some fantastic performances like in Silverstone. Next year he will be stronger and more experienced so we can look forward to 2012 with a lot of optimism. Mike also did a very good job today and I am happy he was able to show his fighting spirit in his last race with Tech 3 Racing. It was nice to see the Mistral 610 machine fighting hard for the top five once again and in the last few races Mike has done a very good job. It is sad to see him leaving us and I would like to wish him all the best for the future. Now we have to focus on preparing for next year when we test the new Mistral 610 tomorrow. The whole Team is excited to check the potential of the new bike. I would also like to congratulate everybody associated with the Gresini Racing Team for their emotional win today. They have shown incredible dignity in dealing with the tragic loss of Marco Simoncelli, and I am sure he would be very proud of their success today."
MARC VDS SIGN OFF 2011 WITH A STUNNING SECOND
The Marc VDS Racing Team ended the 2011 Moto2 World Championship in stunning fashion today, as Mika Kallio brilliantly mastered treacherous conditions to finish the GP Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana in second position.
A terrific start from the front row of the grid meant Kallio was in contention for the team's first rostrum of 2011 right from the start of the 27-lap encounter, which took place in the worst conditions imaginable.
The first laps were all about assessing track conditions and grip levels as light rain fell as the field set off on slick tyres. Fortune favoured the brave and Kallio displayed fantastic skill and composure at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit to make a decisive break away from Xavier Simeon and Dominique Aegerter in third position with 13 laps remaining.
He exerted intense pressure then on Yonny Hernandez in second position and his dogged determination paid off when he passed the Colombian rider at the first corner on lap 24.
With six laps remaining the rain started to fall more heavily but once again Kallio quickly calculated where he could push hard and he used all of his experience to bring his Suter MMXI machine home to a richly deserved podium.
The season ending encounter didn't live up to pre-race expectations for British rider Scott Redding. He too quickly mastered the tricky conditions after starting from 14th and he had just moved into the top six when his podium challenge ended at the start of lap four.
Battling to adjust his riding style to cope with quickshifter and an engine misfire issue, Redding fell out of contention at the first corner. He escaped injury in the heavy tumble and remounted to finish in 30th position.
Today's race marked the end of a two-year partnership between the Marc VDS Racing Team and Suter Racing. The Marc VDS Racing Team will switch to Kalex machinery for their assault on the 2012 Moto2 World Championship, starting with tomorrow's post race test at Valencia. All at the Marc VDS Racing Team would like to thank Suter Racing for the past two seasons, especially engineer Alessandro Guissani, who worked closely with the team from the start.
Mika Kallio #36: 2nd Position
"Today was a fantastic race for the Marc VDS Racing Team and second feels almost as good as a win. It has been a difficult season and much harder than we expected, so to finish with a podium is an unbelievable feeling. We never gave up or stopped working and we have improved a lot in the last five races. So to finally get on the podium is a reward for all our efforts. We just had one target today and that was to finish on the podium. I'd been strong all weekend in the wet and dry conditions but the race was really difficult and a big test of concentration. It was easy to make a mistake with rain falling throughout but I just pushed as hard as I could without taking too many risks. The last few laps were tough with the rain falling more heavily but it is a nice way to end the season and I want to thank the Marc VDS Racing Team for all their support in 2011."
Scott Redding #45: 30th Position
"I'm pretty disappointed to end the season like that. The bike kept cutting out and then off the start the quickshifter wasn't working. So I just decided to get my head down and push as hard as I could. I made some aggressive moves but the bike kept cutting out and I'm not sure if somebody hit me going into the first corner but I was wide going in and because I was off the racing line, I was down. I was lucky because I nearly got my foot caught in the footpeg before the bike flipped over. I got back in the race in case it was red flagged for rain and there was a restart, but it only started raining hard right at the end. I'd like to congratulate Mika though because he did an amazing job and it is great for the Marc VDS Racing Team to be back on the podium."
Michael Bartholemy: Team Manager
"Finally we have scored a podium finish in 2011 and I suppose it is a case of better late than never. I want to say a big thanks to Mika because the conditions were incredibly difficult and he didn't put a foot wrong for the whole race. He was fast in all conditions on Friday and Saturday, so honestly we were very confident he could finish on the podium today. But he still got the job done in demanding conditions and I want to congratulate him and his crew for putting the Marc VDS Racing Team on the podium where we know we should be. It is a pity that Scott had some problems because when he crashed he was the fastest rider on the track. He was pushing hard and at that stage we thought both of them could be on the podium. I want to thank Scott too for getting back in the race. He never gave up and showed a great attitude. Finally I'd like to congratulate all at the Gresini Racing Team. It has been a very difficult period for them after the loss of Marco Simoncelli in Sepang, and today's victory was certainly a fitting tribute to a rider the whole paddock will miss a great deal."
PIRRO TAKES THE WIN WITH A HELPING HAND FROM
Sometimes in life things happen that cannot be explained and that was the case today as Michele Pirro stormed to his first ever Grand Prix win at Valencia. An emotional victory dedicated to "Sic" and without doubt thanks in great part to the legendary rider that left us two weeks ago. It was a small grain of consolation to Fausto Gresini after two incredibly tough weeks. Yuki Takahashi crashed out of the lead in difficult conditions, ruining the chance for Team Gresini Moto2 to celebrate what would have been an amazing one-two.
Michele Pirro (1st) "After setting pole yesterday I just had to do well today. The conditions were really difficult for the race but I tried to stay focused and then Marco did the rest from on high. He was with me throughout the race and on every lap I was asking him not to leave me alone. It was a long 27 laps and being out there riding alone isn't easy. This victory is dedicated to his family, who are suffering more than anybody right now, to his girlfriend and also to the guys in the team. It hasn't been an easy year for us but a victory at the end of it is a nice tonic. We had a tough time after Malaysia but we managed to convince Fausto to come to Valencia and I am sure it was the right choice because it is what Marco wuld have wanted. Racing was his life and this was the best way to honour him and remember him."
Yuki Takahashi (DNF) "I really wanted to have a nice race today but it all went out of the window with a crash. Up to that point I was feeling relaxed and riding well but I got caught out by the track surface. It's a shame because we could have finished with a fantastic team result."
Fausto Gresini "This is an incredible feeling. Unfortunately for us it is the second time it has happened: firstly when Sete Gibernau won the race following the death of Kato and today it was Michele Pirro who won for us. It is difficult to comment on such a special race. My heart was beating so fast, I need to calm down. It has been a very difficult fortnight and to go from such deep sorrow to this... it hits you hard."
Márquez, Moto2 rookie of the year
The Repsol rider receives a surprise homage from his team, family and sponsors
Emotional finale for a season full of success in Marc Marquez's team. Despite being forced to watch the race from his box with his family, Marc Márquez, the best rookie of the season, lived one of the most emotional moments of the year, this time out of the track.
With the aid of his sponsors, team, family, media and all who have lived the intense moments of this season with him, the rider from Cervera received today a worm and emotional homage from his environment to put an end to his first season in the intermediate category.
While Izaskun Ruiz, from TVE, was interviewing the Repsol rider and without him noticing it, all members of his team, family and sponsors put on shirts specially made for the occasion that read: "Marc Márquez, Rookie of the Year". It was a nice surprise for Marc to see everyone wearing the shirt when he looked back and to receive a warm applause. An ovation to the new winner of the Michel Meatraux Trophy as Moto2 rookie of 2011 for his brilliant season.
"Although we finished second, we had a great season. Let's see if next year we can change number 2 for number 1. I was moved to see the surprise that all my team, family and sponsors prepared for me. It was very emotional, really.
All of them do a great effort every day so that we can enjoy together this wonderful sport. I hope I am able to pay back of their support with lots of successes. Thank you very much to all!".
JULIÁN SIMÓN EARNS TOP TEN FINISH IN SEASON FINALE
Torres and Rosell cross the line eighteenth and twenty-fifth, respectively, in tricky race.
Wet races are always something of a lottery, but a dry race with constant rain is an even trickier challenge for riders. The Moto2 Valencia GP experienced such conditions today. The title had already been clinched by Stefan Bradl, but there was still one last race win for which to fight. Aegerter started out strong, as did Takahashi, and it was the Japanese rider who led on lap five when he crashed out of the race. Michele Pirro assumed the lead and held on until the end, with Kallio and Aegerter completing the pódium in the final Moto2 race of the season.
Julián Simón was not presented with the ideal conditions in which to make his race return at the Valencia GP, and he was still recovering from leg injury that has blighted his season. The MAPFRE Aspar rider ended the first lap in sixteenth place, and after a varied spell he managed to eventually finish tenth.
Jordi Torres and Elena Rosell were also amongst the finishers at the Ricardo Tormo circuit, completing the 27-lap contest. The former had trouble finding an appropriate pace, and placed eighteenth, whilst Rosell added to her learning experience in twenty-fifth.
10th Julián Simón: "The race was one of the hardest of my career, as I had to fight against a wet track and little grip. I had to focus very hard on my riding in order to avoid crashing. I had some ups and downs in the race, but my objective was to reach the chequered flag and maybe get some points. After so many races out, I don't think that I was at my best today, because I would have liked to have finished higher up the order. I started well but lost positions, but then at the end I gained places -it was an odd race. This season has been a tough one for me, but my team have worked as fantastically as always and I only have good things to say about the MAPFRE Aspar Team for all their support. I want to congratulate Nico for his superb season, and I am really happy for him."
18th Jordi Torres: "The track conditions were really treacherous and I definitely had a hard time finding the rhythm of the race. It was hard to understand what the tyres were capable of in such a strange situation, and all these factors combined to make me perhaps a little too prudent today. We should be happy just to have finished this one, because it was easy to crash out there today. I gradually found references and a consistent pace, but it was too late and I was unable to move up positions. I learn a lot from every race that I finish, and the team have helped me enormously -much of my learning has been down to the MAPFRE Aspar Team this season. I want to thank the team for all their efforts this year; it has been one of the best spells of my career. Congratulations to Nico as well for his 125cc title."
25th Elena Rosell: "The race was rather strange, because it started spitting with rain when we were on the grid. It was declared a dry race, but it never stopped raining. In any case, the track never got fully wet and was more humid than anything. That made it hard to make reference points, and also it was difficult to keep focused. In the end I was able to find a good pace and was able to battle with some experienced World Championship riders, and that was definitely a positive to take from this race. The final couple of laps were the toughest, because the rain became heavier and it was like riding on ice. The aim was to finish the race, and we did that. We did a great job all weekend and I made a lot of progress. I want to congratulate Nico for a great season and a deserved World Championship title."
Fifth Place And Best Moto2 Career Finish Just Reward For Kenny Noyes
Great season's final for Suter Racing Technology: Kallio second, first ever podium for Aegerter
Even though Marc Márquez was forced to withdraw from his home Grand Prix at Valencia due to temporary problems with the vision of his left eye, the final Moto2 race of the 2011 Grand Prix season still turned into a great success for Suter Racing Technology. Mika Kallio, Finnish rider of Belgian Team Marc VDS, steered his Suter MMXI to a fantastic second place and his best result of the year, despite very challenging and tricky conditions on a damp track. "This season was very difficult for us and to finish it off with a second place is an unbelievable feeling, just like a victory", smiled Kallio. "We never gave up working and in the last five races, we made a lot of progress. This result is a reward for all the hard work we put in!"
No less surprising was third place of Dominique Aegerter. After a great start, the 21-year-old Swiss rider had finished the opening lap of the race in first place. Even though it started to drizzle, he managed to fight with the front group of riders for the entire race before crossing the line in third position to celebrate his first ever podium finish in Grand Prix racing. His success also meant settling a bet and getting his long curly hair cut by his mechanics. "Whenever the rain eased, I was able to speed up. I felt good on the bike and I was close to catching Kallio on the last lap of the race. But he closed all doors and it was smarter not to take too many risks – I didn't want to jeopardise my first podium finish with a silly move in the end", he said.
His fellow countryman Tom Luthi was not as lucky. The 25-year-old star of Team Interwetten Paddock Moto2, winner of the previous round at Malaysia, started strong but then dropped back to 17th place as the set-up of his Suter MMXI didn't suit the damp track conditions. "We didn't have enough weight on the rear", sighed Luthi who had to give way to three more Suter riders, Julian Simón in tenth, Andrea Iannone ain eleventh and Jules Cluzel in 13th position.
"I am very happy for Mika and especially for Dominique, who really deserved this podium finish", said Eskil Suter, CEO of Suter Racing Technology. "Andrea Iannone secured third place in the championship and Tom Lüthi fifth, which is also very positive. From our perspective, we can be very happy with the overall result, even though Tom was unlucky as he had the wrong set-up for the conditions out there."
"After the terrible accident in Malaysia two weeks ago, it was not only the weather that made racing difficult today. It was comforting and encouraging to see Marco Simoncelli being honoured by everybody in the paddock. I want to congratulate both top riders of the Moto2 category: the new world champion Stefan Bradl, who dedicated his title to Simoncelli and our rider Marc Márquez, who couldn't participate here at Valencia but still took the runner-up position and was rewarded as the "Rookie of the Year"!"
Dunlop celebrates new Moto2 champion Stefan Bradl
Dunlop, exclusive tyre supplier to the Moto2 World Championship, heralds a new World Champion in German rider Stefan Bradl (Viessman Kiefer Racing) who was crowned this past weekend.
Bradl came into the 2011 season finale at the Circuito de la Comunitat Valenciana needing to finish in 13th position or higher to clinch the title, however the withdrawal of title rival Marc Márquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol) on Saturday meant that the title was Bradl's.
In difficult variable weather with a damp track, the final race of the season was played out with Michele Pirro (Gresini Racing Moto2) taking the win by a comfortable margin in the treacherous conditions. Dunlop's new rear tyre, the ATR09 3838 performed strongly on its race debut with strong feedback from riders and engineers alike.
Bradl finished the season with 274 points including four wins with Márquez taking second in the standings on 251 points, including seven wins. Third position went to Andrea Iannone (Speed Master).
For Dunlop and the rest of the Moto2 fraternity the focus changes immediately to 2012 and today's (Monday November 7) test at the Circuito de la Comunitat Valenciana.
Stefan Bradl Viessmann Kiefer Racing – 2011 Moto2 World Champion:
"The whole season for us was fantastic and it is unbelievable to win the championship. It's such a great feeling which I can't express. It's so wonderful and you don't have the time to realise it. The final race was so difficult in such tricky conditions, so I'm a little bit upset that I crashed, but overall I'm so happy. Great thanks to all my sponsors, my family, my team, my friends and everyone who has believed in me. And great thanks to Dunlop as we always have enjoyed good support and information, as well as great tyres. So thank you, and congratulations as this is your World Championship too."
Sharon Antonaros, Director Motorcycle PBU EMEA Motorcycle Business Unit:
"Dunlop's participation in Moto2 is twofold; for the traction it creates with consumers being part of the highest category of motorcycle racing on a global basis and also for us to push our tyre development and technology. We have made strong technological gains with technology such as NTEC and most recently, the latest multi-tread compound technologies for our new RoadSmart II tyre were born on the race track. This is real, tangible technology transfer that is thanks to our efforts in Moto2. We have enjoyed a fantastic second season of Moto2, so congratulations to Stefan Bradl and the entire Viessmann Kiefer Racing team. Congratulations too for all Dunlop's personnel who work tirelessly to ensure our racing and ultimately our road products are the very best they can be."
Stephen Male, Dunlop Motorcycle Motorsports Manager:
"Congratulations to Stefan Bradl and Viessmann Kiefer Racing for their championship win. This has been a tremendously satisfying second season of Moto2 for Dunlop. We have seen faster lap times than last year at dry tracks in both qualifying and in the races. We also have very closely fought races, so we can say we have done a good job with our tyre supply. In terms of development we have run three different front tyre specifications and seven different rear specifications, including a new one at the very last race of the season. This shows that our progress is ongoing and it will continue in 2012."
Clinton Howe, Dunlop Motorsport Moto2 Co-ordinator:
"Congratulations to Stefan Bradl and the Viessmann Kiefer Racing team. Stefan won his championship by being the most consistent rider out there. He may not have concluded his title the way he would have liked to do in Valencia, but conditions were very difficult. Even though the track was wet, all riders used our slick tyres which was a testament to how the compound warm-up for which we thank our development team. Over the season we improved compounds and constructions and it is very satisfying to see ongoing progress; and there's plenty more to come."
Dunlop celebrates final 125cc World Champion Nico Terol
Dunlop heralds newly crowned 125cc World Champion Nico Terol (Bankia Aspar Team 125cc) who took his title in fine fashion with a podium finish at the Circuito de la Comunitat Valenciana yesterday.
Terol wins the 63rd and final 125cc World Championship as the category now comes to a conclusion, to be replaced next year by Moto3. The final race was won by Spaniard Maverick Viñales (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing). It was Dunlop's 133rd consecutive race win in the open tyre competition championship.
Spaniard Terol came into the event needing to finish in 11th position or higher to secure his title. He was handed a gift as his rival Johann Zarco (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo) fell on lap 3. Zarco needed to win the race with Terol finishing lower than eleventh for Terol to be denied his crown. The final standings saw Terol on 302 points from Zarco's 262 with Viñales third with 248.
For Dunlop as well as motorcycle racing it is an end of an era. Dunlop tyres contested the very first 125 cc World Championship round in 1949 and as well as this final event. In between, there have been countless wins for Dunlop tyres. Despite open tyre regulations, the last time a tyre manufacturer other than Dunlop was represented on the top step of the podium was in 2003.
Next season, Moto3 makes its debut to replace the 125cc World Championship and Dunlop tyres will adorn every competitor thanks to Dunlop having been awarded the exclusive tyre supply contract for this exciting new series.
The first Moto3 test takes place today (Monday November 7) at the Circuito de la Comunitat Valenciana.
Nico Terol - Bankia Aspar Team 125cc – 2011 125cc World Champion:
"Winning the championship for me is incredible and this moment is the best in my life; to be champion is amazing. Dunlop's tyres were even better than they were last year in both rain and dry conditions. In the wet the tyres were more forgiving and in dry conditions the slick tyres are so good – perfect in tight corners and in fast corners incredible! For me, Dunlop's tyres are perfect, so congratulations to Dunlop for all their hard work!"
Sharon Antonaros, Director Motorcycle PBU EMEA Motorcycle Business Unit:
"Firstly, I would like to thank all the Dunlop personnel who constantly strive for improved performance from our products and give their time and dedication both at the track and in our development and production departments. Our participation in the 125cc World Championship has been a vital part of Dunlop's DNA to further our technological development. This has ultimately benefitted all riders who use Dunlop products, whether they be on the track or on the road. We say a fond farewell to the 125cc World Championship and look to Moto3 with expectation. Congratulations to Nico Terol and the Bankia Aspar Team for their title.
Stephen Male Dunlop Motorcycle Motorsports Manager:
"We say goodbye to the 125cc World Championship with a new and worthy champion crowned in Nico Terol. For Dunlop, it is an end of an era as we supplied tyres to the very first 125cc World Championship event, and now we have done so to the final. The final race winner, Maverick Viñales, won the 133rd race in this category on Dunlop tyres, despite the regulations allowing other manufacturers to compete. Although this was the last year of 125, we still introduced two new specifications showing Dunlop's commitment to continuous evolution. Now we start the next challenge of Moto3."
Alan Nicholls, Dunlop Motorsport, Senior Engineer:
"Congratulations to Nico and the whole of the Bankia Aspar Team. Nico has been consistently hard to beat all season. He has been a genuine star throughout the year and is a worthy final addition to the long list of 125cc World Champions. It is sad to say goodbye to the last of the original World Championship categories, but with the success seen in Moto2 we can only look forward to similar success and excitement in Moto3."
FTR MOTO CONCLUDES 2011 CAMPAIGN WITH SOLID DISPLAY
FTR MOTO had three of its riders in the top six finishers at the 17th and final round of the Moto2 World Championship at Valencia in Spain on Sunday.
Anthony West, on the MZ-FTR, equalled his best result of the year as the Australian crossed the finish line in fourth place at the end of the 27-lap battle. Having never finished in the top 15 all year, American Kenny Noyes was only 2.5s away from a podium finish as he brought the FOGI/GP Tech-backed M211 home in fifth.
Luckless Colombian Yonny Hernandez held second place on the Blusens STX M211 for more than half of the race before running off the circuit in the damp and tricky conditions with three laps to go before rejoining to finish in sixth place, equalling his season-best finish in Germany in July.
West's team-mate Max Neukirchner bounced back from a practice crash to take ninth place on his MZ-FTR while promising young Spaniard Pol Espargaro finished in the points for the seventh successive race as he took 14th on the HP Tuenti Speed Up M211.
Santiago Hernandez finished in 22nd place on the SAG Team machine with Joan Olive 26th on Alex Debon's Aeroport de Castello M211.
Simon Corsi, Ioda Racing Project M211, was forced out in the early stages as was Esteve Rabat who ran wide while 10th on lap two and eventually returned to the pits. Ratthapark Wilairot was a 14th lap retirement on the Thai Honda Singha SAG machine.
Speed Up's Valentin Debise retired on lap seven and Ioda Racing Project's Mattia Pasini crashed out of eighth place at the first corner of the 11th lap, escaping injury.
"I thought for a moment that Yonny Hernandez was going to grab a second win for us at Valencia but, in the end, nobody would begrudge the victory going to the Gresini Team," said FTR's Steve Bones.
He continued: "Overall, we had four riders in the 2010 World Championship, our debut year, and this year 10 riders have scored World Championship points on FTR M211s and we've finished in third place in the Constructors World Championship so the progress is evident."