Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the final day of testing at Jerez:
Smith and Simeon conclude pre-season preparations in Jerez
Tech 3 Racing riders Bradley Smith and Xavier Simeon ended their preparations for the 2012 Moto2 World Championship today with a positive and productive three-day test at the Jerez circuit in Spain. Smith and Simeon took full advantage of gloriously sunny but breezy conditions throughout the test to put in crucial development kilometres on the latest version of the new 2012 Mistral 610 machine. They got the chance to assess a new chassis and swingarm package and both declared themselves delighted with the modifications that improved braking stability and corner entry performance.
A high-speed crash on the final afternoon at Turn 12 didn't dent Smith's confidence that he will be a consistent top six contender this season. He was consistently lapping inside the top 10 during the test and the 21-year-old's fastest time of 1.42.978 secured him 14th place on the overall timesheets. Highlighting just how closely contested the Moto2 class is shaping up to be again in 2012, Smith's pace was less than 0.5s from the top six.
Simeon too got through a tremendous amount of development work for the Tech 3 Racing crew and he bounced back from a first day crash at Turn 5 to finish in an encouraging 19th place overall. The Belgian rider was able to lap consistently inside the 1.43 bracket and he is optimistic that the improvements made by Tech 3 Racing's dedicated technical staff will allow him to regularly challenge for the top 10 in 2012. Today's test completed a fruitful winter testing schedule for Smith and Simeon, and both now will travel to the first race in Qatar early next month full of confidence for the start of the third ultra-competitive Moto2 World Championship.
Bradley Smith 14th - 1.42.978:
"It has been a very positive test, despite the crash at the end at Turn 12. It was a very fast crash and I'm just thankful I've got away with just a few bumps and bruises and I will be 100% fit and ready to go in Qatar. I was pushing hard on new tyres and just lost the front, but we have learned a lot about the Mistral 610 this week, which makes me optimistic for the season. We have some work to do when you look at the lap times of the guys at the front, but I'm convinced we have a competitive package. I can lap comfortably and consistently inside the 1.43 bracket but when I push for 42 it is not easy. But I am still really happy with the performance of the Mist ral 610. We have improved the overall balance of the bike, particularly with stability on the brakes and corner entry. The Tech 3 Racing Team have been working unbelievably hard throughout the winter and at every test we have improved the bike. I'm a lot more confident on this new bike we have tried here, so I am looking forward to going to Qatar and starting the season with a strong result."
Xavier Simeon 19th - 1.43.259:
"This has been a very good test and a positive way to finish the pre-season, so I can go to Qatar with a lot of optimism. The Mistral 610 has improved a lot during the winter and the Tech 3 Racing Team deserves a lot of credit for all their hard work and effort. I made a mistake on the first day when I crashed at Turn 5 on cold tyres but after that we did a very good job improving the set-up of the bike and getting lots of information for the future. Toda y I managed to set a 1.43.7 on old tyres, so it shows over race distance we have a very strong and competitive package. The only small issue is when I push a bit more the lap time doesn't improve a lot. But today's set-up was better because I felt more comfortable and in Qatar I am confident I will be battling for the top 10. The bike is really fast and consistent over a race distance, but we have to look at being quicker for one lap, which is important to get a good grid position."
SATISFYING MOTO2 IRTA TEST FOR SPEED MASTER TEAM
The last Moto2 test for the 2012 Championship took place in Jerez de la Frontera, from 19th to 21st March.
Speed Master team ends the preparation for the round in Qatar with a positive result and a satisfying performance of both riders.
Andrea Iannone, 6th in the overall classification, worked with his crew on the new Speed Up machine, trying out various options and parts to define and improve the bike for the first race. The rider from Vasto, once the needed solutions were outlined, set very good laptimes, confirming his competitivity.
Mike di Meglio's feeling with the Speed Up improved considerably during the three days at disposal, which meant he could get used to the bike and improve the setting according to his riding style. The Frenchman ended 0.414 seconds off from his team mate, still having a good margin to make further steps ahead for the Grand Prix of Losail.
Andrea Iannone #29 - 6th with 1'42.534
"Today it was kind of a positive day. We managed to improve and to find a good feeling with the bike, I could ride in a better way and we had a more competitive pace than during the previous days. Generally speaking I can say I'm satisfied. We still have to get closer to the fastest guys, but we also have to consider that this was the first outing on a GP track with this bike and it has only few days of life: in the whole we already worked a lot. I'd like to thank my crew and Luca Boscoscuro, as well as all the people that work and believe in this project, who are doing their best to make it work. Now we can just wait for Qatar and cross our fingers, hoping that things keep going this way."
Mike di Meglio #63 - 13th with 1'42.948
"I'm really happy for how these test ended. During the last hour at disposal we made a big step. My objective was to set the laptime of 1'43.0 before leaving from Jerez: we set 1'42.9, so I can be happy with that. If we had had some extra laps, I think we'd have managed to improve even more. We are ready for Qatar, now we can just get to Doha and keep working."
Marc Márquez, ready for the start of the 2012 season
Repsol rider closes preseason with good feeling, despite having been off his Moto2 bike for almost five months.
The Circuito de Jerez in Spain concluded the 2012 preseason for the Moto2 and Moto3 riders. It was an atypical period for Marc Márquez, who is now confident and calm after completing his recovery from injury and is ready for the upcoming campaign. The Repsol rider was one of the main protagonists of the past three days in the Official Test, where he returned to the sharp end of the timesheets and recorded a best lap of 1'42.430.
Undertaking a shorter day's work than the two previous runs, Márquez took to the track at 11am local time. Trying out various adjustments to the fork setting of his Moto2 bike, the Repsol rider evaluated the various configurations in order to choose which would be likely to be of use to him for the new season. In the combined session with the Moto3 class he completed 35 laps, stopping the clock at 1'42.430 and claiming fifth on the testing timesheet.
In the exclusive hour for Moto2 participants, Márquez rode another 18 laps and continued to improve. Despite traffic on track, he put down a best lap of 1'42.585 -again the fifth quickest. Putting in a total of 160 laps over the past three days (more than 700km), he rode at a faster pace than the 2011 pole lap and confirmed that he is ready to go when the 2012 season begins on April 8th in Qatar.
1:42.430, 53 laps, 234 km.
"The overall evaluation of this test is very positive -especially considering the situation that we were in compared to now. I think that we should be very happy with the results from these three days.
We have been steadily re-finding our confidence with the bike, because you can't help but lose that a little after five months out. We started to try out some changes to the configuration and are getting closer to the lead riders, who are still a little ahead of us. In any case, everything went better than I was expecting.
The next challenge will be Qatar and logically we won't be at 100% there in terms of kilometres because we haven't had the time with the Moto2 bike, but we will have to have patience and make the most of the situation".
Maverick Viñales concludes preseason at record pace
Repsol riders complete Jerez test with Viñales nine thousandths of a second off the track record. Oliveira continues progress and Rins debuts with Suter chassis
The third day of the Jerez Official Test concluded the Moto3 preseason with a brilliant performance from Maverick Viñales, who was just nine thousandths of a second off the unofficial circuit record for a lower cylinder category bike at the track -set by Marc Márquez two years ago- and quicker than last year's pole. Miguel Oliveira rode with the frontrunners again and teammate Alex Rins made a positive debut with the Suter with which he will compete this season.
With the 2012 World Championship getting closer every day, the final day of the preseason served as a litmus test for the opening races of the year. It was also a time for the teams to put the finishing touches to their work and leave their bikes in the best possible condition for a solid debut. Without the strong wind of Tuesday, activity began at Jerez at 10am. Temperatures on track of 21ºC greeted the riders. Miguel Oliveira and Maverick Viñales were two of the first out, swiftly followed by Alex Rins, debuting the Suter with which he will compete this year.
Viñales continued with his work with a focus on the first race, trying out different exhausts for his FTR Honda in order to add some extra km/h and push his acceleration. Improving upon his lap times for the third consecutive day, the Repsol rider even put in various laps under the 1'47 mark. His best time was a 1'46.838 lap.
In the same session, shared with the Moto2 riders who subsequently vacated the track at 2pm, Oliveira racked up 50 laps and fine-tuned the setup of his Suter bike. His best time as 1'48.310, three tenths faster than teammate Alex Rins. The Spanish 125GP champion debuted his new Suter today, having spent various days recuperating from a troublesome shoulder injury and picking up speed on the Honda. The rookie completed more than 40 laps, in which he clocked a best lap of 1'48.610 and placed eleventh on the timesheet.
In the final session of the preseason -between 3pm and 4pm- Viñales decided to sit it out and reflect on the positive test. Miguel Oliveira and Alex Rins put in 17 and 20 laps, respectively. The Portuguese rider placed sixth with a 1'48.245 lap, whilst his teammate was eighth with his 1'48.350 time. In the combined classification from the three days they finished eighth and ninth, with Viñales leading the way.
The Jerez test closed the preseason for the new Moto3 class, which makes its official debut at the Losail Circuit in Qatar in just under three weeks time.
1.46.838, 31 laps, 137 km.
"Above all today we were working on our tyre choices and on our chassis configuration. We found a setting that allowed us to go fast as a result. We have also been trying out various exhausts at this test and we can now say that we have found the definitive one. We were able to clock a fast time on the last run, which was more difficult yesterday because of the strong wind.
Conditions were better today and we managed to drop our times. We have everything clear ahead of the first race, we know what we are going to do in every practice and the aim will be to adapt to the circuit as soon as possible and be fast".
1:48.245, 67 laps, 296 km.
"We rounded off the three days of testing today and I think that they have been productive for everyone. Today was the day in which I put in the most laps, because the track temperatures were favourable for us and we were improving on our times from the previous two runs.
We continued working along the same lines for the entire test and focused on fast laps. I think that we have a good pace and should approach Qatar with the calmness that comes from a job well done".
1:48.350, 60 laps, 265 km.
"I am very satisfied. We had the chance to ride with the Suter chassis today and I really enjoyed it. I think that we have done a good job of adapting and went quite fast right from the start. I want to thank the team especially today, as they were hard at work yesterday until very late.
If I had to sum up these three days I would say that they were very positive, which is important when we get to the first race of the season. We are focused on Qatar and I am going to be working hard on my fitness in order to get my shoulder back to 100%".
KALLIO MAKES HIS MARK AT FINAL JEREZ TEST
Jerez, Spain - 21 March 2012: Mika Kallio and Scott Redding will head for the opening race of 2012 in Qatar confident of making a positive start to the season, after a strong showing in the final three-day preseason test at the Jerez circuit in Spain.
Kallio ended the Jerez test fourth fastest on combined times, just 0.318s off the fastest lap set by fellow Kalex rider Claudio Corti. Redding was just 0.3s further back in seventh position, despite struggling with illness and technical issues during the three-day test.
Continuing his methodical approach to testing at Jerez, Kallio used the three days to improve further his feeling with the Kalex Moto2 machine, ahead of his final race simulation run this afternoon. The flying Finn posted his fastest time of the test on the fourth lap of the long run, with his average over the 23 laps just a few tenths off his fastest time.
Redding struggled with illness initially, but as his condition improved so did his lap times. The 19-year-old British rider eventually finished the test seventh fastest, but felt he would have gone quicker if he hadn't experienced problems with the official race engine, which was fitted in his Kalex Moto2 machine ahead of day two.
Both Marc VDS riders now head to the opening race of the season in Qatar quietly confident, after a preseason test schedule in which they've featured regularly at the top end of the timesheet.
The Grand Prix of Qatar, the first of 17 Moto2 races on the 2012 calendar, takes place over the weekend of 7th and 8th April.
Mika Kallio #36: 4th - 1'42.301
"It's been a good three days of testing here in Jerez. The plan was to get a little bit closer to the front and we achieved that today with fourth position and less than half a second off the fastest time, so I'm satisfied with that. During the race simulation the bike felt good for all 23 laps and my times were both fast and consistent, which means we go to Qatar in a good position. Conditions will be very different in Qatar, but the work we've done during testing means we're pretty sure even now how we need to set-up the bike for the first race. Remaining calm is the key to the first race; we know we have the pace to challenge the front runners, so we just need to continue with the approach that's worked so well for us during testing."
Scott Redding #45: 7th - 1'42.638
"It's been a difficult three days if I'm honest. I was feeling ill ahead of the test and, although I started feeling better on the first day, my head wasn't completely in it. The second day was better, but we had a recurring problem with the bike jumping out of gear when I was backshifting for the corners and it wasn't really until the afternoon that I felt properly comfortable on the bike. Unfortunately, this coincided with the arrival of the wind, which had me and Marc Marquez off late on in the session. Today we had the same problem with the engine but, thankfully, it will be changed for the first race. Overall our test schedule has been really positive, but now I just can't wait to start racing."
Michael Bartholemy: Team Manager
"Mika's methodical approach to testing certainly paid off today, with his fastest lap of the test coming during his race simulation this afternoon. He will be quick in Qatar, a track that he has done well at in the past, and I'm confident he'll get his second season in Moto2 off to a strong start. Scott struggled a little with illness and an engine problem during these three days at Jerez, but he proved during the previous tests this year that he has the pace to run at the front, so he will head to Qatar with his confidence intact. After such a long break I think we're all looking forward to the first race, where I hope we'll make a strong start to the season."
Useful test for RW Racing GP
The 3-day test in Jerez has helped RW Racing GP a lot to get to know the Kalex KTM's better. Circumstances changed every day, with strong wind on Tuesday that prevented both riders to improve their lap times. Some technical issues, mostly chassis-related, had to be solved as well.
In the end all the effort came together and in the very last session on Wednesday afternoon both Luis Salom as Brad Binder managed to smash off a bit of their fastest lap times so far. Salom lapped in 1.48.488; just 1.6 after Maverick Viñales who set an immaculate time of 1.46.838 - almost half a second faster than everyone else. Binder set 1.49.317, which put him in 19th overall after three days of testing.
Luis Salom: "Being in 12th after three days of testing is not where I wanted to be. Actually I had quite a good day and was able to put down a series of constant and fast lap times. With that I'm satisfied. Unfortunately the chain slipped off with five more minutes to go in the final session. We had just put on the soft tires to set a neat qualifying lap. It's a pity, because with the softer tires I could have been at least half a second faster. Finishing somewhere near the top 5 would have looked a lot better."
Brad Binder: "We lost almost half a day on Tuesday to solve some problems. That didn't help me to find a good rhythm and therefore I was not able to improve on day 2. But today was okay. I could concentrate on my riding style, corner speed, lines. I learned a lot by following some of the others riders and I just know that when we get back here in Jerez for the race in a month time, I'll benefit a lot from that."
Team manager Johan Stigefelt: "It was a difficult but useful test for us. We solved quite some issues and have learned a lot, but we could not make the big steps forward we had hoped for. That's a bit frustrating sometimes. But we also realize that this is just testing and that it is better to have the issues we had here then in Qatar in a few weeks time. We worked together very well with KTM and Kalex and togeth er we will use the time we still have to get the bikes in top form for the start of the season."
Maverick Viñales makes presentation alongside Moto3 team
Repsol rider presents, alongside his team at Jerez, the project with which he will compete in the 2012 Moto3 World Championship as one of the title favourites
Rookie of the Year in 2011 with four wins, an additional five podiums and four pole positions in his maiden campaign, Maverick Viñales has all the credentials to push for the Moto3 title this season. In an event held at the Jerez test, the Spaniard was presented alongside his Avintia Racing team. The rider from Girona has joined forces with Repsol this year, and there are many who are tipping him for glory in this new category.
After three intense days of testing at the Circuito de Jerez, in which Viñales was a consistent frontrunner on the timesheets, this Wednesday afternoon he officially unveiled his new team. Riding a Honda Moto3 bike with an FTR chassis, Viñales will run number 25 this season under Repsol colours.
"I am happy when thinking about the season start, because we are working hard and are on the right path. I think that we have the potential to be a winning team this year, as we have been together for a long time and know each other very well.
We have worked a lot in preseason and have had a great feeling on the bike; we have been comfortable since day one and are always thinking about the races ahead. Anyone can do a fast lap, but maintaining a fast pace is another matter and we are trying to achieve this.
The next time we will be on the bike will be at the opening race of the season, and I think that the same riders who have been fast in testing will be challenging in the race: Cortese, Kent, Faubel -and maybe a new rider could spring a surprise".
NGM Mobile Forward Racing Team wraps up the pre season testing at Jerez
Three very positive and intense days of testing at Jerez for the two Moto2 riders in which they have made considerable improvements and leave with a good feeling for the Qatar race.
Both riders and team are aware that there is still work to be done, but is confident on the future progress based on their current improvements.
Pietro Caprara - Head of Moto2
"After three days of testing we found a good way for both riders. For sure the result is not excellent especially if we consider the lap time for the Kalex and some Suter bikes like Luthi and Marc Marquez. But when we compare our current data to the one from previous testing we see the improvement. Both riders are confident because they found a good setting, especially in the front end, which they were struggling a lot in previous tests. We go to Qatar with a good pace of work even. Alex improved his lap times every day and the same happened with Yuki, especially with him from day one to day two of testing. Overall we are very happy with the progress."
Alex De Angelis (1:42.741)
"These three days have been the most positive and important ones from all the pre season testing. We have surely discovered and defined many things in terms of the setting of the bike; we know what works and what doesn't work. We have greatly improved the lap times but above all we have improved the feeling with the front end of the bike, which is what we had been looking for since the beginning. It's not enough, I still have a lot of work to do, the other guys have gone really fast today but we have narrowed the gap. One of the highlights for me was that I made my best time the hard rear tire and this surely helps lift up the spirits. We are going to Qatar with a more serene state of mind compared to how we began the season with the Suter."
Yuki Takahashi (1:43.191)
"On the second day we made big improvements. It felt like we actually started yesterday to go on the right direction. Now we are making the lap times faster, we have made progress on the setting. Now when we look at the data we actually see the improvement. Now things are starting to work very well, not everything of course because I still have to fully adapt to the Suter bike and the team, but I'm very happy. Maybe the result was not so good but the feeling about the work is good, much better than before. For Qatar I will try my best!"
KTM's Moto3 riders strong in 3-day tests at Jerez
Leading KTM riders Danny Kent and Sandro Cortese were up with the best over three days of tests on the Jerez circuit in Spain for the new Moto3 class of MotoGP. Strong times registered by Cortese and Kent again underlined that they are in good shape ahead of the opening GP in Qatar.
Kent and Cortese of the Red Bull KTM Ajo team are riding the new KTM Moto3 machine and remained in the top five on all three days of testing. On Monday Kent was third fastest and Cortese was fourth, on Tuesday Cortese was second fastest and Kent was placed third and on Wednesday Kent moved up to second and Cortese was fourth. Also performing well on all three days riding the KTM Moto3 bike was Malaysian rider Zulfahmi of the AirAsia-Sic-Ajo team who was fifth fastest on Day One and Day Three as teams continued to experiment with settings and equipment ahead of the start of the main season.
Cortese of Germany said on Tuesday that he was concentrating on getting a good feeling for the new KTM bike. "I am quite happy and we are improving day by day. The KTM is working well and we have no big problems but the bike is still new and there are still things to sort out. I feel we can still improve a lot with the electronics and the engine but we will be ready to fight in Doha." His factory teammate Danny Kent of Britain agreed. "We are changing a few things and still trying different parts but that's what tests are for."
Pit Beirer, KTM's Head of Motorsports was in Jerez for the tests and said the results had been promising and the riders and the KTM Moto3 bike had performed well. "These were good tests for us," he said. " We can say that over the three days we didn't have even one technical issue so we are quietly confident that we will be able to fight for a good position in the first GP. The competition is tough but we expected that but all the riders are fit and in good shape."
Alex Baumgaertl team boss of KALEX-KTM, the KTM-driven Moto3 bike that is being fielded by the Bankia Aspar team with Alberto Moncayo and Hector Faubel as well as the Dutch RW Racing GP team with Luis Salom and Brad Binder said the tests had been a good opportunity to test new parts in good conditions. "We are pretty happy and we're improving step by step but we still can close the gap to the front runners and do better. Now the equipment will be shopped to Qatar and we will concentrate on analyzing the data that we have gathered from these tests."
There will be a total of nine riders on KTM-powered bikes on the grid for the opening GP. It also heralds KTM's return to the main MotoGP competition since the phasing out of the 250 and 125 cc classes. The Austrian manufacture however never really left the MotoGP paddock having retained a presence with the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup competition that grooms young riders on KTM machines for a future career in top racing.
END OF JEREZ TEST FOR TEAM THAI HONDA GRESINI MOTO2
There was little progress for Team Thai Honda Gresini Moto2 on the final day of testing at Jerez today, where a host of Showa suspension setting changes and other set-up experiments failed to bear fruit. Rattapark Wilairot has yet to find an optimum feeling with his Moriwaki machine despite working intensely over the past three days and the team have work to do in order to improve his options in the first round of the season at the Losail Circuit, Qatar, on April 8th.
Rattapark Wilairot (24th - 1' 43" 621) "We seem to be a long way from finding the optimum set-up and we have a lot of work to do if we want to improve our position from today. We need to sit down and think about things now and make sure we are ready for Qatar."
Fausto Gresini "Unfortunately we can't say we're happy today, we are behind and we have a lot of work to do to turn the situation around. I think Wilairot and Moriwaki can expect to be closer to the front so we have to look at the data we have gathered here along with the rider feedback and try to be as ready as possible for the first round in Qatar."