Press releases from the teams after the Moto2 and Moto3 races on Sunday at Qatar:
Maverick Viñales makes history in Qatar
Repsol rider takes win at opening round of the season and becomes first Moto3 Grand Prix winner Oliveira places fifth and Rins tenth in successful start to 2012 season.
Repsol Media Service Qatar, Losail International Circuit Sunday 08/04/2012
Maverick Viñales made history this evening in Qatar, becoming the first ever winner of a Moto3 Grand Prix. The Repsol rider had started from second on the grid at the Qatar Grand Prix, the only night race on the calendar. The 2011 125cc Rookie of the Year did not have the best of starts in the Moto3 race, but fought back positions to take the lead and came out on top in a fight with Romano Fenati, eventually crossing the line 4.301 seconds ahead of the Italian.
Fellow Repsol rider Miguel Oliveira was involved in a battle to join Viñales on the pódium, but eventually placed fifth for his best Grand Prix result to date. Álex Rins took a praiseworthy tenth in his World Championship debut.
Márquez returns to top step of the podium
Repsol rider begins 2012 with a win at Qatar in inaugural race of the season.
Repsol Media Service Qatar, Losail International Circuit Sunday 08/04/2012
Marc Márquez kicked off his season in the best possible fashion at the Losail International Circuit, taking a hard fought victory in the opening Moto2 round of 2012. After an intense race that featured numerous overtakes amongst the lead riders, Márquez triumphed over Luthi and Iannone in a thrilling finale to in Qatar.
The victory takes the Repsol rider to 25 points in the overall Moto2 standings, making him the early leader of the intermediate category.
Cortese claims first KTM Moto3 podium in Qatar
Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Sandro Cortese of Germany rode his way from pole position to podium third in the historic first ever Moto3 GP in Qatar on Sunday night after a massive battle for the minor place. Riders on KTM-driven bikes soaked up five of the top 10 places.
Cortese said at the finish line that it had been a hugely difficult race as the group that followed the two leaders, Maverick Vinales of Spain and Italian Romano Fenati, engaged in a no-holds bar battle for third. “Today was very hard,” Cortese said. “ I expected it to be, but I didn’t think it was going to be this tough. I didn’t expect (Rd Bull KTM Ajo teammate) Arthur Sissis to be that fast. Generally it’s been a good day but now we have to work hard to catch Vinales.”
Close behind Cortese and always in the hunt for third was Spanish rider Luis Salom on the Kalex-KTM for the Dutch team RW Racing GP who finished fourth. Malaysia’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Airasia Sic Ajo) and Australian Arthur Sissis put in great rides to finish 6-7 followed by Briton Danny Kent (Rd Bull KTM Ajo) in eighth. Sissis, the junior member of the Red Bull KTM Ajo trio rode a very strong race in only his second GP. He has moved up from the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies where he finished overall second last season. Twice in the second half of the 19-lap outing he was well in the running for third but made two small mistakes, clipped the Astroturf lining this Middle East circuit and lost the advantage.
The battle for third came down to a tight exchange between Cortese and Salom as the following group made a mad dash for the finish in the second half of the last lap. Again and again both riders used the slipstream to their advantage but Cortese managed the final tactical maneuver and went on for a well-deserved third place.
Other riders on KTM-driven bikes were Hector Faubel of the Aspar Team who finished twelfth on the Kalex-KTM, Niklas Ajo on the KTM in thirteenth and Aspar rider Alberto Moncayo in fourteenth. Salom’s teammate Brad Binder of South Africa, was the only KTM-driven rider not to finish and all others finished in the points.
The first Moto3 GP ever was run on the Losail Circuit near Doha and all riders compete on 250cc single cylinder four-stroke machines. The new class replaces the now defunct 125 cc class. The Qatar GP has been held since 2004 and since 2008 under 3700 floodlights.
The next GP is in Jerez, Spain on April 27-29.
BANKIA ASPAR RIDERS TAKE FIRST MOTO3 POINTS
Faubel and Moncayo place twelfth and fourteenth, respectively, at packed race in Qatar
The wait was over and finally Grand Prix action returned for 2012, as the Losail International Circuit kicked off the season with the maiden Moto3 race. The riders in the new category took to the grid at 7pm local time, without a same-night warmup session due to the peculiarities of the Qatar GP schedule. Expectation was at a high and the Moto3 race provided plenty of excitement to satisfy fans, with many groups of riders battling for positions. The first lap record in the new class -2'07.276- was faster than the pole lap -2.08.188- by some distance. Viñales took the victory from Fenati, whilst Cortese completed the podium. Seven riders retired from the race.
Héctor Faubel and Alberto Moncayo took a points haul of four and two, respectively, from the Qatar season opener. The BANKIA Aspar Moto3 riders both achieved better times in the race than in any practice session, and took great strides towards eliminating a chassis problem that had persisted all weekend. Many solutions were found inbetween yesterday's warmup and tonight's race, although traffic and a battle-hungry group of competitors slowed down their progress in the chase for better positions. Despite being unable to establish a consistent pace, the pair placed twelfth -Héctor- and fourteenth -Alberto.
12th Héctor Faubel: "I am happy with my start today, which took me up to the second group straight away. It's a pity that on the third lap I ran wide after coming into contact with another rider, as that lost me places. I was part of a group who put up a huge fight, which ended up holding everyone back and I couldn't break away. It was a tough race but I leave Qatar with plenty of hope for the future, because we found some solutions between the warmup and the race for a front end problem -one that had been plaguing us all weekend. We know that we still have work to do in order to find a better chassis setting and be able to open the throttle earlier. We also need more of a response from the engine."
14th Alberto Moncayo: "The start didn't go as well as I wanted and I found myself in a group hungry for a fight. I tried to keep a consistent pace up, but we were all causing one another so many problems that we were getting interrupted. I had trouble getting comfortable and I made a mistake at the start that dropped me down the order. In general, however, I was just lacking a little aggression. I was satisfied with the Kalex chassis, we solved a few issues from the beginning of the weekend but we still could have squeezed a bit more power out of the engine. This wasn't the result that we were hoping for, but the championship has only just begun and we will be working hard to be stronger at Jerez."
Maverick Viñales makes history with victory in Qatar
Repsol rider wins first race of 2012, the first Moto3 Grand Prix. Oliveira places fifth and Rins tenth in successful start for Repsol riders in Qatar.
Repsol Media Service Qatar, Losail International Circuit Sunday 08/04/2012
Maverick Viñales made Grand Prix history today, winning the first ever Moto3 World Championship race. The Repsol rider started from second on the grid for the Qatar Grand Prix -the only race on the calendar to take place at night.
The 2011 125cc Rookie of the Year did not have the best of starts in the Moto3 race, but fought back positions to take the lead and came out on top in a fight with Romano Fenati, eventually crossing the line 4.301 seconds ahead of the Italian.
Miguel Oliveira fought to join Viñales on the podium, eventually placing fifth after an intense battle with Cortese, Salom, Sissis and Khairuddin. The Portuguese rider competed as part of a trailing group battling for third place, although Cortese and Salom eventually crossed the line ahead of him. Nonetheless, fifth place is Oliveira’s new best result to date in the World Championship.
Teammate Álex Rins was making his debut and did so in excellent fashion, riding in the race’s third pack. The Repsol rider took a praiseworthy tenth place in his first GP, during which he raced alongside experienced campaigners such as Faubel.
1st - 38:40.995
"I am very satisfied with the job that the team and I did this evening. We have worked really hard for this, above all with the tyres. We always try and work with the race in mind and it went well for us. Ending last season with a win and starting the new season with another is something very important. I think that I had a very consistent race.
I was taking things steadily until I saw Fenati escape -then I had to make a big effort to try and cut the gap. I have to congratulate him for his race as well, because he rode really well."
5th at 18.745 sec.
"I am satisfied. I felt fine physically for the whole race and was putting in a good pace, despite not being able to slipstream anyone. We have some tracks at which slipstreaming is not so important and where we will be able to take advantage of the slower corners -tracks like Jerez and Estoril. We will continue working in the same way, because placing in the top five in race one of the season is a good result. I want to thank my entire team for a great job."
10th at 28.773 sec.
"That was a very fun race. Despite making a mistake at the start that left me down the order, I think that we did a good job. We had a good race pace and I was battling against experienced riders, so I have to draw positive conclusions from this and be excited about the next race. I was cornering well, which allowed me to make a speedy exit. That was my first World Championship race and my feeling about it is very positive."
SOLID START FOR MAHINDRA AT INAUGURAL MOTO3 RACE
British racer Danny Webb took his brand-new Mahindra MGP30 to a solid finish in its first grand prix - also the first for the brand-new Moto3 class - after overnight adjustments found a significant speed improvement.
The 21-year-old rider had qualified 25th, but rode through from a bad start to finish 18th - just three places out of the points - after overnight work by the Mahindra team showed yet more progress for the single-cylinder 250cc machine. The bike is still in the early stages of development, but moving fast-forward.
Team-mate Marcel Schrötter was not so lucky ... after a good start from 23rd on the grid saw him gain places, up to 18th by lap four. Then he ran into gear-shifting problems, and after five of the 18 laps of the 5.380 km Losail desert circuit, he pitted to retire.
The Mahindra is one of a handful of independently made motorcycles on a 30-plus grid mainly comprising over-the-counter production racers from established racing firms. The Indian automotive giant preferred to develop its own technology, challenging the establishment head on. Mahindra builds the MGP30’s chassis, and runs its own engine development programme in co-operation with Italian engine manufacturer Oral.
The programme is hampered by regulations limiting the number of engines to eight per rider. Improvements can only be done in discrete steps rather than continuously.
Mahindra Group vice-chairman and managing director Mr Anand Mahindra was at the Qatari circuit to watch the new machine’s debut ... and he and the team were cheered by news from Italy that in the national 125 championship, Mahindra had claimed victory at Imola, on a machine ridden by Riccardo Moretti.
Moto3 replaces the classic 125cc class with 250cc single-cylinder four-strokes. Today’s first race was won by Spanish teenager Maverick Vinales on a Honda. The next round is the Spanish GP at Jerez in three weeks.
DANNY WEBB - 18TH POSITION
That was better than I expected after struggling in qualifying. The bike didn’t miss a beat. I got off the line badly, stone last - but I found my rhythm and focused on passing the people ahead, and staying there. We had to grin and bear it this weekend. The engine rules meant we couldn’t do much to improve the engine. We’re at the beginning of development. For sure we can come to the pace up front.
MARCEL SCHRÖTTER - Did Not Finish
I didn’t expect that - I was struggling in practice but we made a step in warm-up and another step for the race and it closed a big gap to the fastest bikes. I was up to 18th and closing on the group in front, from tenth to 16th places, and I was closing. But a problem changing gear meant I had to pull in.
MUFADDAL CHOONIA - CEO Mahindra Racing
A lot of positives came out of today’s race. We made some improvements to engine mapping that really boosted the performance of the engine. Sadly we were far back on the grid, so Danny’s finish was good. Marcel was having a good race and maybe looking at the top ten, but a minor glitch that forced him to retire. Hopefully we’ll be back with a much better performance in Jerez.
QATAR GP: IANNONE ON THE SECOND STEP OF THE PODIUM, DI MEGLIO FINISHES WITHIN THE TOP-10
The first event of the Moto2 World Championship was held today, at the circuit of Losail.
Andrea Iannone was one of the protagonists of the Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar: starting from the third spot on the grid, the rider from Abruzzo joined the leading group immediately. After a great battle with Marc Marquez, Andrea crossed the finishing line in second position, as he achieved his first 20 points in the general classification.
It was a great race for Di Meglio, too, who stayed within the top 10 constantly throughout the race. The Frenchman was just a few positions behind his team mate, confirming his competitivity. Mike leaves Qatar with 9 points in his poket, after finishing the race with the seventh placement.
Andrea Iannone #29 - 2nd
“This was a tough race: since the beginning the other riders had a good rhythm and were very fast, but we weren’t too far from them. I managed to stay in the leading group and within the top riders till the end. Marc Marquez was faster and it was difficult to stay behind him, in particular when Marc and Luthi went away. In the last laps I eventually got closer. There was no chance to do any better than this, but we are still taking home a good result. Congratulations to all the riders, they proved to be very fit: it’ll be a great championship. Thanks to the whole team for the incredible commitment they showed during the weekend.”
Mike di Meglio #63-7th
“I’m sorry I couldn’t finish the race with a better result. A problem with the chattering prevented us from showing the great work we did on track during these days. We know we can do well, today we just couldn’t push any further because I would have crashed. I hope we’ll be luckier in Jerez and that we’ll have the chance to fight for a good position. I really want to thank the team for the work they’ve done, I hope I can give them a good result as a reward next time.”
Márquez shines in Qatar with Moto2 win
Repsol rider takes fantastic late victory in first Moto2 race of 2012 season.
Repsol Media Service
Qatar, Losail International Circuit
Marc Márquez began his 2012 World Championship campaign with a win at the Losail International Circuit, coming out on top in a tremendous battle with Luthi and Iannone. The Spaniard took the definitive lead right at the end of a fantastic display of overtaking in Qatar.
After a good start from the Repsol rider, a strong lead group emerged on the opening laps. Thomas Luthi was the first to take the initiative, followed by Márquez, Andrea Iannone and Pol Espargaró. Turns were taken at the head of the field from the first to the last lap.
Weighing up his chances, Márquez reached the moment of truth when riding in second place. Pegged to Luthi’s back wheel, he made the racewinning move on the final lap and, with Iannone behind him, the Repsol rider closed the door on his Italian rival. It was a brilliant victory in the opening Moto2 race of what promises to be a thrilling season.
The win gives the Repsol rider the first 25 points of the season and puts him into the lead of the intermediate category.
1st - 40:34.225
"It really was a very hard race and I wasn’t expecting a win. My aim for the race was to try and stick with the rest of the riders, but in the end their pace wasn’t as fast as we had expected. This was a hard fought victory and a really beautiful moment. I really appreciate it after the tough winter that we have had.
This race was especially tricky because of the difficulty that I had been experiencing in the practice sessions in terms of finding my pace. However, in the race I felt good, was very focused and knew that I had a chance even without being at 100%. It was a surprise to me. There are still many races to go; this is just the first step and we have to take things step by step. This has only just begun."
ELÍAS GAINS PLACES AND TEROL GAINS EXPERIENCE IN QATAR
Elías takes three points from 13th place finish and debutant Terol concludes Moto2 debut in 23rd
The winter break was a distant memory when the Moto2 riders took to the grid in Qatar, as the fiercely competitive class returned for another thrilling race. Thomas Luthi had dominated practice, but the Sunday contest was a different matter as a close lead group formed early on. Márquez, Iannone, Espargaró and Luthi were all in contention for the win, but it was Márquez who managed to take the victory after first passing Luthi -who ran wide on the straight- and then holding off Iannone on the line. It was an exciting start to 2012 that would have had every spectator on the edge of their seat.
The MAPFRE Aspar riders had two very different starts in Losail, but both showed consistent fight as they tried to make the best of a difficult Qatar GP. Toni Elías had qualified 17th on the grid and had moved up into the top ten before the first lap was over, although he gradually lost positions due to a grip problem that had plagued him for the entire weekend. Despite everything, he managed to take the chequered flag in thirteenth place and take his first three points of the season. Nico Terol also had a hard time on track, debuting in the Moto2 class. A run-off early on left him refocusing his strategy, and he brought his bike home in 23rd to continue his adaptation to the intermediate category.
13th Toni Elías: "I made a very good start and put myself into the top ten on the opening lap. I had faith that a good start would set us up for a very good race -to tell the truth I was expecting more from this race. The opening laps went fairly well, but then I suffered just like I did in practice. I want to be positive and look at the three points from Losail as something that will be useful for us in the future. We gave our all, worked really hard and know that we did our best here. It was a really hard race in which we had plenty of battles, but the good thing is that we leave Qatar with plenty of data to analyse. I hope that we take a significant step forward at Jerez."
23rd Nico Terol: "My debut race in Moto2 was rather difficult and today I could see that this class is a world apart from 125cc. The weekend wasn't easy, but I am satisfied because we progressed well. The big setback was the qualifying session, in which I didn't have the best of feelings and ended up far back on the grid. That made things more complicated and I needed to make a comeback through the field, but when I tried this I ran long on the straight. From then on I took things more calmly and tried to pick up experience. I know that there is still a long way to go, but we are here to work and I am convinced that -with this team behind me- sooner or later we will be cutting the gap between ourselves and the front group. This opening race will help me to learn from my mistakes. We have to improve our performance in qualifying, the race start and the opening laps. I am satisfied, though, because we gave our all."
Salom fights for podium
Luis Salom had a brilliant and brave fight for the podium in the first ever Moto3 race. Unfortunately the Spanish RW Racing GP rider just missed out by a blink of an eye. The Qatar GP hosted an exciting start of the season with Maverick Viñales as the winner of a duel with rookie Romano Fenati.
Behind the two a group of seven were racing with knives between the teeth, changing positions all the time. Luis Salom never was further back than fifth. In the final lap he attacked Sandro Cortese with a block pass but did that just too early. Cortese took advantage of Saloms speed and managed to repass from the slipstream. He finished third, just in front of t he Spaniard.
Brad Binder did not finish the Qatar GP. After an excellent start he gained several spots to end up in tenth, but he couldn't hold on to that. In lap 7 he was forced to retire from fourteenth position.
Luis Salom: "My start was not very good. I needed a few laps to get back to the front. Doing so I used the best of the tires. Therefore they were completely worn out by the end of the race. That's why I couldn't hold Cortese. Of course I'm not happy that I just missed the podium, but I am happy with the race. I did everything I could. If my start would have been just a little bit better, I could have fought with Viñales and Fenati for the win.''
Brad Binder: "I was feeling so good, racing in the top 10. I had a decent start and could get to tenth quite easily. Unfortunately a mechanical failure forced me to retire. We don't know yet what caused the problem. It's a pity, but we've learned and showed what is possible. Now I'm just even more motivated for the next race.''
Team manager Johan Stigefelt: "We had a great weekend. Possibly the best weekend the team has ever had. We were able to fight along with the top riders and teams. I'm proud of the effort Luis has given to fight for the podium. And I'm pleasantly surprised by the eagerness Brad has shown in the race. We have shown the potential of our little team and hope we can continue like this.''
ANTONELLI CHARGE HALTED BY BACK STRAIN
Niccolo Antonelli's full Grand Prix debut ended in disappointment tonight as the youngster missed out on a deserved points finish due to a back strain midway through the race. Antonelli had made a brave charge from twentieth on the grid up to tenth when he was caught out by a sudden movement from his NSF250R, caused by a lack of rear grip, and left him in pain for the remaining laps
Niccolo’ Antonelli (17th) “The first few laps went well and I made up ten positions from the grid, which could potentially have been even more. I was closing on the group ahead when the tyre performance dropped off and then I almost crashed. I saved it but pulled something in my back. I was in a lot of pain down my left side after that and really struggling to ride. Qualifying was terrible for us but things were looking up today so I am happy to have finished the race and now we're looking forward to Jerez.”
Fausto Gresini “We have to look on this as a good performance because if it wasn't for the injury he would have easily finished in the points on his debut. It has been a good experience for him and that is it to the benefit of all of us. I am happy and sure he'll continue to make progress.”
SIMONE CORSI FINISHES IN EIGHTH PLACE
The lights are swiched on over the Losail circuit for the first race of the 2012. In MotoGP Lorenzo wins after a charming duel with Stoner and Pedrosa, while in Moto2 Marquez wins in front of Iannone and Espargaro. Nice fight in Moto3 among Vinales and the rookie Fenati that however he must be surrendered to the talent and the experience of the Spaniard.
It was a difficult race in MotoGP for the Came Iodaracing Team with the retire of Danilo Petrucci. After a wrong start the italian rider has begun to recover some position up to fight with Pasini for the sixteenth place. During the ninth lap when he was at Turn 6 putting on the first gear, for a problem to the firmware, it started the pit lane speed limiter and Petrucci has lost contact from Pasini. From that moment his TR003 has begun to lose grip forcing him to the retire at the end of the sixteenth lap while it was occupying the eighteenth position.
In Moto2 the Came Iodaracing Team conquers the eighth place instead with Simone Corsi. Started well by the tithe position, Corsi immediately enters in the first group fighting for the third position. A mistake at the ninth lap, where he did a wrong brake at the end of the straight, it makes him lose the contact with the first ones and in the last laps, for a problem to the right arm, he must be been satisfied with the eighth position.
Retired the TR002s in Moto3. After a good start both the riders have begun to race with a good pace up to the eighth lap when Luigi Morciano had to retire for a problem to the gear box while he was occupying the twentififth position. Same destiny for the other Iodaracing Project rider Jonas Folger that left the race at twelfth lap.
"I am not very happy for the result of today - Petrucci said - I did bad start but I have immediately recovered a pair of positions up to fight with Pasini for the sixteenth place, with some overtakes. During the ninth turn at Turn 6, I don't know well why, it start the pit lane speed limiter, so I have lost Mattia. From that moment the TR003 has become nervous, it didn't have anymore grip neither on the front neither on the back, it looks to ride on the wet so I have decided to retire me because it was too much risky to continue. Finishing the race would already have been a good result considering that here I paid a great gap of power with my adversaries. Now we must look at Jerez where I hope to do better".
"I did a good race - Corsi said - but I am not very satisfied of the final position. I must thank my team because they have done a good job, the problems of the tests of Jerez have been solved, the bike is good and I has a good feeling riding it. I did a good start today and I was struggling for the podium, I lost some in acceleration and so I had to force the brake to recover on my adversaries, the mistake of the ninth lap was caused from it. In the second half of the race I have begun to feel a strong pain to the right arm so I have been forced to decrease the pace losing some positions. I am very optimist for the next race where I’m sure that we will fight for the podium."
"Unfortunately it wasa week end to forget - declared Morciano - in the race the things looked to be better but after eight laps the gear box is broken. Now I must look forward forgetting what it happened here and looking with optimism at Jerez where some new components will arrive to solve the problems that we had here."
"I hoped to finish the race - Folger said - but we had problem with the gear box. There is still a lot to work on the engine, but I believe that already from Jerez the things will be better ".
NO POINTS FOR WILAIROT IN QATAR
Rattapark Wilairot gave his best in tonight's season-opening Grand Prix of Qatar but unfortunately it served for little, the Thai rider unable to perform to his full potential due to set-up problems that have dogged the team all weekend. The team now have three weeks to try and come up with a better solution ahead of the next race in Jerez, Spain.
Ratthapark Wilairot (21st) “We knew it was going to be a tough race tonight but we set ourselves the target of making it to the end of the race, preferably in the top twenty or top fifteen if possible, because we need as much data as possible. I am very happy with the team, we are all working hard together but we just don't have the bike at the moment. Hopefully we can have something better at Jerez."
Fausto Gresini “We knew it was going to be a tough race and we were right. Ratthapark gave his best and he deserves to have a better bike beneath him for the next race. We will work our hardest to give it to him and I am sure the results will come quickly.”
DEBUT TO FORGET FOR GINO REA
Gino Rea's lack of feeling for his Moriwaki Moto2 machine continued into his Grand Prix debut tonight, the British rider bravely battling to the finish despite the high risk of a crash. The team now face a race against the clock to produce a better machine ahead of the next round at Jerez.
Gino Rea (26th) "I am very disappointed. It has been a tough weekend with many problems. We tried something different for the race but it didn't help to be honest. Even at this pace it felt dangerous on the edge of the tyre and I was constantly close to a crash. To almost be on the floor on every lap is not right when you are this far from the front so we have work to do. We can see the problems on the data and the team are working really hard. Hopefully we can come up with something for the next race."
Fausto Gresini “We knew it would be a difficult race. Gino has been struggling all weekend and we have not seen his true potential here. We have to work hard to give him a better bike for the next races and when we do his performances will be much better.”