Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the second day of practice at Qatar:
RW Racing GP in the right direction
The third free practice for the Qatar GP has proved RW Racing GP is in the right direction for the first race of the season. With Luis Salom in third (2.08.443) and Brad Binder in sixteenth (2.10.009) both riders have increased their lap times compared to the first two practices. The Kalex KTM seems very competitive on the Qatar track.
Luis Salom: "We tried the harder tires today, but they didn't work out. With the medium compound I was almost a full second quicker. I feel very confident with the bike: much better than in testing. The team has done a fantastic job with the bike. I'm looking forward to qualifying.''
Brad Binder: "I had a slight problem with the front. Tomorrow we go back to where we came from and I will try the medium compound tire as well. I like the track. It suits my bike and my riding style. When we keep going in this direction, I might get a very satisfying result.''
Johan Stigefelt: "We had a good strategy with a series of long runs. Getting in and out of the garage is distracting. With these long runs it is easier for the riders to gain confidence. I'm happy with the way the team is working and the riders are doing. Obviously we are getting more and more confident for a good result.''
Viñales, Oliveira and Rins looking ahead to race
Three Repsol riders place fourth, fifth and seventh, respectively, in Friday practice for first race of the year.
Repsol Media Service Qatar, Losail International Circuit Friday 06/04/2012
Activity continued on Friday at Losail, with the Moto3 riders undertaking their third free practice session of the year. Maverick Viñales was fourth quickest and was the highest placing of the Repsol riders, accompanied by teammate Miguel Oliveira in the top five and Álex Rins in seventh place.
The strong wind blowing through Qatar had a big say in today’s proceedings, which began with the smaller and less powerful Moto3 bikes on track. Maverick and his team favoured a prudent strategy as they looked to save tyres, focusing on the setup of the bike rather than looking for a hot lap. The Spaniard was aware that there is still another night of riding before the race, and finding pace is more important than a single fast time on Friday.
The other Repsol riders were also cautious with their riding. Álex Rins and Miguel Oliveira focused their workload on finetuning their setups, with Sunday’s race in mind. Both rode in solitary and had problems with the strong wind gusting along the start/finish straight, as they lost time and had no slipstreams of which to take advantage. Despite this, both were satisfied with how thing have developed over the course of the sessions.
FP3 - 2:08.477, 16 laps, 86 km.
"I can make a very positive evaluation of this second day of free practices -above all because we have been able to achieve a good pace and tried out some of the different tyres available. We tried not to wear down the tyres too much and have been holding back to save them for qualifying; today we weren’t obsessed with getting the best time on the board.
Tomorrow’s session is going to be very important as it will be a long run, followed by a Sprint with new tyres to ge tonto the front row. We don’t have to get too caught up in taking pole."
FP3 - 2:08.904, 16 laps, 86 km
"I am satisfied. We resolved the problems that we had yesterday, so in general we can be happy with our job today. The conditions weren’t as good today as yesterday, as the track had been dirtied by the strong wind. Our plan for practice has been based around long runs and gaining pace for the race.
We are up there in the top five, the team are happy and so am I, so we can’t really ask for more. Now we have to work towards the qualifying session and try to get a front row start."
FP3 - 2:09.303, 13 laps, 70 km.
"The track didn’t have as much grip today as yesterday. We had some problems with the front suspension that we will have to resolve for tomorrow. Learning the track and our cornering are too things that need improving as well, as this is the first time that we have ridden at what is a fairly fast circuit. We are generally satisfied with the job done alongside the technicians today."
HÉCTOR FAUBEL IMPROVES PACE ON SECOND DAY AT LOSAIL
Engine problems hamper progress of his team-mate Alberto Moncayo
Third free practice for the opening round of the Moto3 World Championship was the only session to take place today for the minor category riders and there were a host of new names competing at the top of the time sheets after stepping up this season from national championships and the Rookies Cup. Young debutante Romano Fenati joined the likes of the more established Luis Salom, Maverick Viñales and Sandro Cortese in the fight for top spot, with Cortese the fastest tonight (2'08.342) although slightly shy of the pace set by Viñales last night (2.08.160) - probably due to the windier conditions.
BANKIA Aspar rider Héctor Faubel used the session to work on the rear traction problems he encountered yesterday and although he his still not completely satisfied there was an improvement in his feeling and his lap times. His twelfth lap proved to be his fastest as moments later he lost the front in turn six and crashed, bringing his session to an end. His BANKIA Aspar team-mate Alberto Moncayo, meanwhile, worked largely on improving the power delivery of his machine and is looking forward to more track time to achieve his goal tomorrow.
8th Héctor Faubel 2.09.448 (13 laps): "It was a bit strange to just have one session today but during the 40 minutes we had we worked against the clock to solve the problems we encountered yesterday. I don't have much feel for the front and when I push it folds, which eventually led to a crash that I thankfully walked away from. Everything else is okay, we're finding our pace gradually and closing the gap to the top but we need to keep working."
18th Alberto Moncayo 2.10.132 (14 laps): "It is more difficult to get the job done in one session because if you have any kind of setback there is no time to put it right. We tried some things to get the engine running a little smoother today and to find some more top speed but it didn't work out and there was no time to react. Forty minutes didn't feel like much tonight but I gave my best and the team worked well so we have to remain calm and focus on the two sessions remaining tomorrow to get things done. The chassis is working well so it's just a case of finding something from the engine."
BUSY NIGHT UNDER THE FLOODLIGHTS OF LOSAIL FOR SPEED MASTER RIDERS
Today the riders of the Moto2 class got out on the track of Losail for the third free practice of the Grand Prix of Qatar.
Today’s session was essential for Iannone and his crew, in order to prepare the setting for the qualifying session of tomorrow. The rider from Vasto focused on various combinations for the setting, gathering important data that will be analized by Andrea and his crew chief.
Also Di Meglio and his technicians decided to direct their work mostly on the set-up of the Speed Up machine, trying out the modifications that were thought at the end of the sessions on Friday. Mike worked as well on the choice of tyres, testing their durability.
Andrea Iannone #29 - 7th with 2'01.348
“Our bike is new and it’s growing session after session, we chose a special way and now we are working to find out what is the right direction to take. We are learning and gathering experience, for now I’m quite calm: with the team we are focusing on the weak points of the Speed Up machine. We understood where some of our problems come from and we improved after yesterday: we’ll do our best to sort everything out and prove our competitivity. We’ll try to be all set for the qualifying session of tomorrow, because we really want to be fast. I’d like to thank the whole team for their commitment.”
Mike di Meglio #63-17th with 2'02.067
“Today we ended the session a little bit far from the fast guys. Yesterday the day went perfectly, whereas in this practice we didn’t really manage to improve. However, we understood many things of the bike and, after all, I set my best lap time on tyres that we used for 25 laps. Tomorrow we have the base to do well, let’s wait for the beginning of qualifying.”
ANTONELLI DISAPPOINTED IN THE SECOND DAY
Niccolò Antonelli finished the third and final free practice session for the Grand Prix of Qatar feeling slightly disappointed, which says a lot about the speed of his transition to the Moto3 World Championship. The Team San Carlo Honda Gresini Moto3 rider finished impressively inside the top ten for the second successive day but feels there is plenty more to come from himself and his bike in qualifying tomorrow night.
Niccolo’ Antonelli (10th 2’ 09” 696) “Today wasn't as good as yesterday so I'm disappointed about that but I'm sure we can make the right changes to the bike tomorrow. I didn't get comfortable tonight and then when I tried to improve my lap time at the end of the session I ran into a bit of traffic. Now we'll look at what we can improve on the bike and I am sure the team will have something better for me tomorrow.”
Fausto Gresini “Overall it has been another good day, it's just a shame Niccolo wasn't able to get a clean run on his last outing. We know we need to improve the front end of the bike because he is not too happy with it yet so we will work hard to give him the best possible machine we can. He is eager to go faster and we want to help him.”
Márquez continues improvement in Losail
Repsol rider rounds off second night of free practice sessions satisfied with job done, despite not besting his times from yesterday.
Repsol Media Service Qatar, Losail International Circuit Friday 06/04/2012
Following on from the two sessions undertaken on Thursday night, Marc Márquez was back in action this evening in Qatar for the final free practice run of the Qatar GP. The Spaniard placed ninth in a session dominated by Thomas Luthi -the fastest rider on Thursday and Friday. The 45 minute outing enabled Márquez to continue finetuning his setup for the first race of the year, which will take place this Sunday under the floodlights of the Losail International Circuit.
With the goal of being as ready as possible for this opening round, Márquez continued to put in the laps at the Qatari track, adjusting his setup with every visit to the garage. He completed 18 laps tonight, stopping the clock at 2’01.487 -32 thousandths of a second down on his time from Thursday and 1.8 seconds slower than top rider Thomas Luthi. The Repsol rider focused on kilometres and tyre testing, plus discarding various chassis and suspension options deemed unsuitable for the track and his riding style.
With the three practice sessions out of the way, Saturday will see the first qualifying sessions of the season, plus the Moto2 & Moto3 warmup sessions due to the atypical Qatar night schedule.
FP3 - 2:01.487, 18 laps, 97 km.
"The free practice session today went rather well. We worked with the race in mind, trying to find a good base setting for the bike. We tried out the tyres and have a clear idea about which we will be using -something that is an important aspect. Tomorrow in qualifying I think that we have to work even more than now, but we should be happy with the job that we’ve done so far. The setting has to be improved slightly, but we aren’t as far off as it might seem.
We’ll see if tomorrow I can take things up a notch with myself and the bike and catch up with the frontrunners. It is important to be patient in these opening races because I haven’t got a preseason behind me, but I will try and give 100% and see where that takes us."
NICO TEROL CONTINUES CONSISTENT APPROACH TO MOTO2 ADAPTATION
Hard night of set-up work for Toni Elías, who is optimistic about tomorrow
A single 45 minute session in windy conditions made for a difficult evening's work for the Moto2 riders tonight, although that didn't stop them from improving their pace from yesterday. Thomas Luthi, pacesetter on the opening day, was dominant again today as he stepped up his pace by three tenths to clock a best lap of 2'00.479.
MAPFRE Aspar rider Nico Terol made consistent progress towards his objective of improving bike stability in corner entry and exit. With two laps remaining of tonight's session he clocked his best lap of the weekend so far and he is looking forward to building on it in qualifying tomorrow. His team-mate Toni Elías worked on a variety of different chassis settings without finding a satisfactory solution, limiting him to 23rd place tonight but providing data and hope for major improvements tomorrow.
18th Nico Terol 2.02.160 (18 laps): "My feeling was much better tonight and I now feel much more confident on the bike under acceleration. We worked with a used rear tyre up until the end of the session and tried a harder version on the front which gave me more confidence in corner entry and as a result I was able to line up the exit better. We tried something even harder at the end but I think I need the softer version for a fast lap time. I have gone half a second quicker than yesterday and improved my race pace so I'm happy. We are still some way off the fastest lap but we're getting closer."
23rd Toni Elías 2.02.387 (16 laps): "We tried a lot of things with the ergonomics of the bike today without yielding any positive results so I can't say we are satisfied with the job or the position we're in, but at least we have been able to narrow down the options. Having looked at the data with the mechanics we have a good idea which way to go with the bike tomorrow and we will be starting out with something we know works. We have to keep to working hard, stay positive and pick up strongly."
ANOTHER TOUGH DAY FOR REA
Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 rider Gino Rea suffered another disappointing evening under the floodlights of Losail tonight, as he struggled to find a comfortable set-up on his Moriwaki. Tomorrow night's qualifying session will be crucial to his hopes of targeting a positive finish on Sunday.
Gino Rea (28° 2’ 03” 346) "It was better than yesterday because at least we didn't crash and we had more track time to work on our problems. Unfortunately we didn't find a solution yet, the bike is so unstable and there is so much movement. We spent the whole session on used tyres because at the moment we don't need a lap time, we need a set-up, but even on my fastest lap the problem was the worst it's been. We are a little bit stuck and we need to try something big tomorrow because we're a still a long way from where we should be. We'll have a look at the data and see what we can come up with tomorrow because we need to qualify a lot higher up, that's for sure."
Fausto Gresini “It is a strange situation because we still haven't even found the right way forward. We need to work hard because it is not right for us to be this far back and I am sure that as soon as we give Gino the bike he needs he will quickly make up a lot of positions.”
REDDING FINISHES FINAL FREE PRACTICE FOURTH IN QATAR
Doha, Qatar - 6 April 2012: The Marc VDS Racing Team's Scott Redding improved both his lap time and his position in tonight's final free practice session ahead of the Grand Prix of Qatar, finishing 4th fastest and less than a second off Tom Lüthi's fastest lap. Mika Kallio was 19th fastest, after losing most of the session to a mechanical issue.
Redding and his crew made a number of changes to the set-up of his Kalex Moto2 machine today, to reduce the front end chatter that the 19-year-old British rider experienced during the two free practice sessions yesterday. The changes allowed Redding to push his way into fourth on the timesheet, but the Marc VDS rider is confident of further improvement ahead of tomorrow's all-important qualifying session.
Mika Kallio looked all set to continue the form that saw him set the sixth fastest time yesterday, but a change of set-up on his Kalex Moto2 machine didn't deliver the improvements expected. The Finn lost time as the change was reversed, returning to track only at the end of the session and running straight into traffic on his remaining laps.
Redding and Kallio both go into tomorrow night's qualifying session confident they can secure a starting position on the front two rows of the grid for Sunday's season opening race.
Scott Redding #45: 4th - 2'01.230
"The main focus today was to try and get rid of the front-end chatter we had yesterday. We made some changes to the bike during the session and it was better, but I think there's definitely more improvements to be found when we go through the data tonight. Even with the chatter I was able to push on and set the fourth quickest time tonight, but I guess everyone is going to be pushing harder tomorrow. If we can make even a small improvement to the bike for qualifying then I'm pretty sure that I can put the bike on the front two rows of the grid."
Mika Kallio #36: 19th - 2'02.227
"We decided to shorten the gearing for tonight, to give us better drive out of some of the turns, but we had to lengthen the wheelbase to do this. While the shorter gearing was good, the longer bike lacked any feeling from the front and we had no option but to switch back. Unfortunately, this took some time and I only got back out right at the end and immediately hit problems with traffic. So, we lost almost a whole session, but at the moment I'm not too concerned. If I can find a good rhythm in qualifying tomorrow, and steer clear of the traffic, then I'm confident we can still qualify towards the front of the grid for Sunday's race."
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"Scott did the best with what he had tonight, overcoming the chatter problems to finish fourth fastest overall. We made some improvements to the bike yesterday, but we need to reduce the chatter further if Scott is to realise his full potential in qualifying tomorrow. Mika was unlucky today. The gearing change didn't work exactly as expected and then the mechanics hit a problem changing it back during the session. It meant that Mika missed most of the practice and only returned to the track when the traffic was at its heaviest. We have some work to do tonight, but I'm confident that both riders can qualify top six tomorrow."