Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams ahead of this weekend's race at Jerez:
Top five the target for Redding and Kallio in Jerez
Gosselies, Belgium - 24 April 2012: The Marc VDS Racing Team return to Jerez this weekend, the scene of two extremely successful preseason tests for both Scott Redding and Mike Kallio and the venue for the second round of the 2012 Moto2 World Championship.
Redding and Kallio got their championship campaign off to a solid start two weeks ago in Qatar with Redding finishing sixth and Kallio tenth, after both fought their way through the field from the fifth row of the grid.
It is this momentum that the Marc VDS riders are looking to carry into Jerez, where they are both targeting a top five finish at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Both Marc VDS riders have enjoyed success at the Jerez circuit in the past. Kallio took the race win in the 250cc class in 2008 to add to his 125cc podium finish at the same circuit three years earlier. While the Jerez podium has so far eluded Redding, the British rider was fourth in the 2009 Spanish 125cc Grand Prix and has topped the timesheet at two of the last three tests at the circuit.
Situated in southwest Spain on the outskirts of Jerez de la Frontera, the Jerez circuit has a complex layout, offering riders a real challenge. It boasts 13 turns over its 4.42km distance, with a combination of slow technical corners and fast sweeping turns making stability under braking and a good feeling from the front tyre critical when it comes to bike set-up.
Scott Redding #45:
"I went to Qatar looking for a top six finish, which I managed, so I'm pretty confident I can aim for the same or better this weekend. I suspect it will be tougher than in Qatar though. With the amount of testing we do at Jerez it's like everyone's home track, so I think the times at the front will be closer than ever. I had some chatter problems during preseason testing there, but we found a few things in Qatar that should help reduce this. I was pretty fast at both preseason tests and my times for the race simulations were consistent, so I'm fairly confident that a top five or six finish is a realistic goal this weekend."
Mika Kallio #36:
"I think everyone was a little disappointed with Qatar; the result wasn't what we were expecting and we had quite a few problems over the course of the weekend. But we need to forget Qatar now and focus on this weekend's race. I was fourth fastest at the final preseason test at Jerez, so we know we have a good base set-up with which to start free practice on Friday. If I can qualify on the first two rows and then get away with the leading group in the race, then I think a top five finish should be well within our capabilities, or maybe even a podium. We will see."
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"We had our best start to the season for three years in Qatar, but that fact is tempered by the knowledge that with a better qualifying performance from Scott and Mika we could have finished the race even higher. Moto2 is such a competitive class that you can't afford to give your rivals even a small advantage, so qualifying is just one area we'll be focussing closely on this weekend in Jerez. We know we have a good set up for this track, where Scott and Mika were both fast and consistent during testing, so I hope to see them up at the sharp end in the race and battling for the top five finish they're both more than capable of."
Dunlop to reveal new slimline front in Jerez
Moto2 World Championship lap times could be set to get yet faster as Official Tyre Supplier Dunlop will unleash a new slimline front tyre for the second round of the championship, the Gran Premio bwin de España - Spanish Grand Prix - in Jerez, Spain on April 27-29.
The new profile - made to Dunlop’s latest construction - will be used for the rest of the season following successful pre-season testing and feedback from riders. It’s a slightly smaller tyre; meaning faster handling and a more precise feel for the riders’ pleasure.
This is the latest step in Dunlop’s quest for continual improvement for the tyres which have provided two seasons and counting of endless excitement since the inauguration of the Moto2 World Championship.
Dunlop’s racing tyres, including this svelte new front, are designed to inspire confidence in the riders who use them, and the technology developed is taken from the track to the road for Dunlop’s road range of motorcycle tyres.
Moto2 Tyre Allocation Jerez
Front Moto2 slicks per rider
4 x 302
4 x 717
Rear Moto2 slicks per rider
5 x 3854
4 x 4886
Wet Moto2 tyres per rider
3 x Front 125/80R17 KR191 414 (4 tyres allocated if all practice sessions are wet).
3 x Rear 190/55R17 KR393 414 (4 tyres allocated if all practices are wet).
The Spanish Imposition
The Spanish circuit of Jerez imposes a conundrum for the tyre engineer. Its characteristics and location make it an ideal and frequently utilised test destination, made all the better when in can accommodate a wide range of different tyre compounds which can be utilised at the track. This poses the problem; if Jerez is the jack of all tyres, which tyres should be allocated to master it?
Following rider feedback at the recent pre-season test in Jerez, Dunlop has will bring the tyres from the Group B ‘Abrasion Defenders’ range, the 3854 soft and 4886 medium rear compounds. The 3854 is more suited to higher temperatures and the 4886 more suited to cooler temperatures. These rear tyres are allied to the familiar to all rounds of the season 717 and 302 fronts, resplendent in their new profile.
Compound Front / Rear Aspect Detail Recommended for following GPs
3757 Rear Soft Initially introduced as the high ambient tyre in late 2010. Since, has proven itself more durable in cooler conditions on less aggressive circuit surfaces. Jerez, Le Mans, Sepang
3854 allocated for Jerez Rear Soft The softer option core compound. Very consistent performance and usable at many circuits as a soft or hard option, depending on circuit severity. Jerez, Le Mans, Sepang, Estoril, Assen, Misano
4886 allocated for Jerez Rear Medium Introduced in late 2011 season with good results. Has the ability to give the rider good initial grip and good life in cool conditions. Sepang, Estoril, Assen, Misano, Brno, Valencia, Jerez
3855 Rear Medium A new compound in Moto2, tested and used in the EWC Qatar Race. Two steps softer than any of the other previous options Moto2 have used at the past Qatar GPs. Qatar, Indianapolis, Aragon, Mugello
3838 Rear Hard The harder option core compound. High wear resistance with good consistency over distance. Qatar Indianapolis, Aragon, Mugello, Motegi, Silverstone, Barcelona
Dunlop’s Moto2 coordinator, Clinton Howe:
“Jerez as is a track which really helps us with tyre understanding and confirming if we are heading in the right direction with our developments. One of the great things about Jerez is that you can use a multitude of tyres here, which is why it’s such a fantastic test venue. This does make things a little difficult in the respect of ascertaining which tyres to bring - as a variety of compounds can work, and work very well, at the circuit.
“Last year we developed the 3854 soft compound which was used successfully in Jerez and this is joined by the 4886 medium at Jerez in 2012. We originally intended to bring the 3854 and 3757 rear allocation, but the riders were so positive about the 4886 medium compound that we couldn’t do anything other than bring it to Jerez to partner the 3854.
“Over the course of the race weekend we generally experience a relatively wide range of track temperatures at Jerez. In the morning the track surface can be quite cool and this means the tyres suffer more from abrasion. In the afternoon the track can be ten degrees Celsius warmer, and the way the tyre works means that abrasion is not such an issue. From a tyre perspective this is quite easy to understand, but for riders finding set-up and being confident on the bike it is a good challenge to tackle.”
Moto2: Julián Simón, Blusens Avintia Racing, FTR:
“Jerez is a very fast track but there are also many challenging corners, and you have to make good use of the brakes. It’s important to get a good set-up with the bike as it’s a long race on an aggressive track for the tyres. Turns eleven and twelve in particular are very fast, then you arrive at the final turn where you have to ensure a good exit on to the uphill straight that follows. You have to focus on how you brake on this circuit and for this you need good confidence in the front tyre. You need an aggressive riding style on this circuit, but it’s a very enjoyable one for riders. Dunlop gives me tyres which I like very much to ride; they give me very good confidence. Dunlop made a big development step from the first season of Moto2 to the second, and now the tyres are much better again. This year we have a new front tyre, and it’s very good I can tell you. For sure, I know Dunlop will make even better tyres in the future, but for now I am very happy with the current ones!”
The Moto3 World Championship - in which Dunlop is also Official Tyre Supplier - got off to a successful start in Qatar with a scintillating first race.
For the Jerez round the following Moto3 tyres will be allocated:
Jerez: Harder on the front, softer on the rear
Front Moto3 slicks per rider
5 x Medium
3 x Hard
Rear Moto3 slicks per rider
4 x Soft
5 x Medium
Wet Moto3 tyres per rider
3 x 95/70R17 KR189 WB
3 x 115/70R17 KR389 WB
Moto3: Sandro Cortese, Red Bull KTM Ajo, KTM:
“Jerez is quite a difficult track; it’s one of the most difficult of the whole season. It’s a circuit where you can’t make any mistakes, you have to be on the correct line all of the time. At Qatar, you find a good rhythm then the speed comes to you, in Jerez you have to always be perfect in every action you make on the track. To get the best from the tyres over the race you need to ride very smoothly, especially with the Moto3 bikes. You need to race smoothly and not overstress yourself or the tyres to get the best results. The Moto3 bike is completely different from the 125s; you can’t really compare them, they are like entirely different shoes. You have to ride differently, and the bike uses the tyres differently. You really notice the engine braking, and this makes a big difference to how you approach corners. Dunlop’s tyres for this new challenge have been perfect; I’m very happy. I’m very impressed at how well Dunlop has adapted for this new championship.”
Dunlop’s 2012 Moto2 Tyre Range
For 2012, Dunlop is set to retain two front tyre compounds with the rear compounds reduced from last year’s seven flavours to five.
Teams and riders have already tasted Dunlop’s 2012 selection at pre-season testing conducted at Valencia and Jerez in February.
Dunlop’s initial 2012 Moto2 tyre range will comprise of two different dry front compounds and five different dry rear compounds. The profile of the front has been modified fro Jerez on to mean a more responsive and receptive front end.
For the rear tyres, the five compounds will be seen predominantly in the ATR05 construction which was refined last season. There will also be a new ATR10 construction for Qatar. Dual compound W919 construction tyres will feature at a number of circuits too.
Two main compounds for the season, with a new profile introduced at Jerez - a slightly smaller tyre, meaning faster handling and a more precise feel for the riders.
Five compounds, predominantly in ATR05 construction. ATR03 used for Sachsenring and Phillip Island. New ATR10 for Qatar. W919 dual compound seen at certain tracks.
3757, 3854, 4886, 3855, 3838
ATR05, ATR03, ATR10, W919
Know your Moto2 compounds
Dunlop’s 2012 Moto2 rear tyres can be grouped into five tyre compound groupings as below.
Group A Baseline
3757 & 3854 (available at Le Mans & Sepang tbc) [NB - originally planned for Jerez]
Tyre allocation for low wear tracks with consistent track conditions.
3757 - Initially introduced as the high ambient tyre in late 2010. Proved itself more durable in cooler conditions on less aggressive circuit surfaces so gets let out of the factory more often.
3854 - The softer option core compound. Very consistent performance and usable at many circuits. Depending on the circuit severity, can be used as the softer or harder option. As a reward for good marks, it could be allowed out to play in Sepang.
Group B Abrasion defenders - Used in Jerez
3854 & 4886 (available at Jerez, Estoril, Assen & possibly Misano)
Tyre allocation where high abrasion is a consideration.
NB Abrasion is affected by weather conditions - and these are difficult to predict exactly. Just ask a weatherman.
3854 - As mentioned for Group A. Better suited to the warmer conditions at these tracks.
4886 - Introduced in late 2011 season with good results. Has the ability to give the rider good initial grip and good life in cool conditions. If works well at Estoril will be considered for further evaluation at Assen and possibly Misano.
Group C Durability focused
3855 & 3838 (available at Qatar, Indianapolis, Aragon and Mugello)
Tyre allocation for high wear tracks affected typically by local weather conditions (i.e. high temperatures).
3855 - A new compound in Moto2. Tested and used in the FIM Endurance World Championship at Qatar. Two steps softer than any of the other previous options Moto2 have used at past Qatar GPs. This compound is under evaluation for use in future events.
3838 - The harder option core compound. High wear resistance with good consistency over distance. This is the recommended ‘prime’ tyre for the Qatar race.
Group D Grip focused
4886 & 3838 (available at Silverstone and Motegi)
Tyre allocation for circuits requiring high stability with mechanical grip.
4886 - As seen in Group B. Holds temperature well to compensate for long straight tyre cooling. Has good mechanical grip in slow corners.
3838 - The harder option core compound. Gives riders at these circuits the confidence to open the throttle early out of the apex.
Group E Specials
W919 & 3838 or 4886 (available at Barcelona, Sachsenring, Brno, Phillip Island & Valencia)
Circuits requiring lower running temperature tyres, for being very turn biased (left or right) and also added high abrasion levels.
An asymmetric dual compound tyre incorporating the two core compounds. Both compounds offer good heat retention while not getting too hot or too cold during running. Can be run either way to suit the circuit.
The harder option core compound. As mentioned for group D. Gives riders at these circuits the confidence to open the throttle early out of the apex. Also adds resistance to abrasion and wear.
4886 - As seen in Groups B and D (it gets around as well as goes around). Its attributes help at circuits like Brno and Valencia.
Better for holding a higher temperature when cooler running temperatures.
A good all rounder depending on track temperatures and the compound being used.
The ATR03 is a strong relation to the dual compound tyre. One side of the tyre is designed to restrict heat build up whereas the other side is there to hold the heat.
Dual compound code for both of our core compounds (3854/3838) on one tyre. Best of both worlds you could say…
Technical - Moto3
Moto3 tyre range
This season there are three different compounds for Moto3 - hard, medium and soft. A combination of two front and two rear compounds will be allocated for each event.
The non-science bit
Unless something is not quite right, the tyres are the only part of a motorbike which makes contact with the ground. Tyre performance and management is therefore a crucial factor to help win races.
GINO REA READY FOR JEREZ AFTER SUZUKA TEST
Gino Rea travels to Spain for the season round of the Moto2 season this weekend after a flying trip to Japan for a two-day test at Suzuka with Moriwaki. The Japanese factory engineers were keen to get valuable data as they look to improve the MD600 following a disappointing start to the season in Qatar. Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 and their British rider are now determined to get their season on track and show their true potential at Jerez.
Gino Rea "Obviously Qatar couldn't have gone much worse really, the new chassis just wasn't working. We changed the forks for the race as we had nothing to lose but the change made it worse and I was trying hard not to crash, even at that pace. Since then I have been training hard and we had a two day test at Suzuka that we hope proves useful for Jerez. Preseason testing at Jerez didn't go that great but with a few modifications I hope we can improve the bike. It's not my favourite circuit but I know it from the tests, which means I can focus on bike set-up from the first lap, instead of having to learn the circuit first. It will be a bit easier for me than Qatar but it's the same for everyone, they all have good set-ups from the test so it will be as hard as always. Still, I'm looking forward to trying our bike modifications in the first free pratice.”
Fausto Gresini “There is no doubt that the performance levels in Qatar were below expectations and it is important for the team, Gino and Moriwaki to make up for it as soon as possible. With this in mind Moriwaki organised two days of testing for us at Suzuka to try and improve the set-up of the bike going to Jerez. The main objective is to give Gino a bike he can get a good feeling for, which was missing in Qatar, so that he can show his quality on track. A more competitive package will give him the confidence he needs to be running at the front of the pack.”
WILAIROT HOPING TO MAKE UP FOR QATAR DISAPPOINTMENT AT JEREZ
Ratthapark Wilairot heads to Spain this weekend looking to make up for his disappointment in the opening round of the Moto2 season in Qatar, where he struggled to get a good feeling for the Team Thai Honda PTT Gresini Moto2 Moriwaki MD600 despite relentless hard work and experimentation during practice. At Jerez 'Feem' is determined to improve his feeling with the bike and get his season on track.
Ratthapark Wilairot “In Qatar it proved difficult for our team for improve and challenge at the front. We knew what the problem was and we tried very hard to fix it, changing many things on the bike, but the problem remained. Our target at Qatar in the end was just to finish the race, check the information and find out more about the bike. We have had three weeks between Qatar and Jerez and every day I have been training in the gym and working with the doctor on my knee. Now my knee is a lot better and now it is a case of building my strength and confidence on the bike. We have some good news to look forward to from Moriwaki, who have been working very hard on the bike. Jerez is a very nice circuit for me, I always enjoy riding there but at this track every rider in Moto2 has tested many times so the lap times are very strong. I am confident about what I can do at Jerez and we'll certainly try very hard to be at the front."
Fausto Gresini “The Grand Prix of Qatar was a disappointment for the team and for Ratthapark Wilairot so we have no option but to make up for it at Jerez. At Losail 'Feem' never managed to get a good feel for the bike, which is still a little behind with the 2012 updates. Gino Rea went to Japan last week to complete a test for Moriwaki at Suzuka and hopefully the fruit of that work can be reaped by both him and Ratthapark at Jerez.”
NICCOLO' ANTONELLI TARGETS FRONT GROUP AT JEREZ
Team San Carlo Honda Moto3 youngster Niccolņ Antonelli heads to the second round of the season in Spain this weekend determined to make up for his debut disappointment in Qatar. With his NSF250R Honda now boasting an FTR chassis Niccolņ is hoping it can carry him towards the front of the pack. The Italian teenager showed impressive pace at Jerez during preseason testing and the team believes that he has the talent and the means to be competitive at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Niccolņ Antonelli “Unfortunately my debut in Qatar left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. We made a good start to the weekend but struggled to make progress because of a series of technical problems that prevented us from racing to our full potential. The team worked long into the night to find a solution but it wasn't possible. We are still in high spirits though because we have plenty of time to recover and despite our problems I was able to run in the top ten before I suffered a back problem. During the break I have been able to get myself fit again, fitting in my training around my studies. I am looking forward to Jerez because the team have some important technical updates, which hopefully can help us make that step up to the front of the pack. I really like Jerez, especially the fast corners, and I can't wait to get back on the bike there.”
Fausto Gresini “The team and Niccolo were hoping for a better result in Qatar but we didn't manage to get on the pace in the same way that we had done in preseason testing. At Jerez we start out with renewed enthusiasm having decided to switch Niccolņ's bike to an FTR chassis. We believe in Niccolņ's ability and we are determined to put him in the best possible position to make the most of his potential. He was competitive at Jerez in winter testing, he likes the track and so everything is in place for him to make up for his disappointment in Qatar. He has also recovered from the injury that he picked up in the race so it should be a positive weekend ahead.”
First home race of 2012 for Repsol riders
The Circuito de Jerez plays host to the first European round of the MotoGP World Championship this season, one of four Spanish races.
100th MotoGP appearance for Dani Pedrosa
Viñales has won the last 3 races: The final two 125cc contests in 2011 and the Qatar Moto3 round
Dani Pedrosa has been on the podium at Jerez for the past 7 seasons
Repsol Media Service Jerez Circuit Tuesday 24/04/2012
The MotoGP travelling circus pitches up at the Circuito de Jerez this week for the first European round of the season -at which the Repsol riders will be enjoying the unconditional support of the packed grandstands. The event follows a great start to the year in Qatar, where Repsol competitors won both the Moto2 and Moto3 races and MotoGP representatives Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner were on the podium.
The Repsol Honda Team begins the European tour with spirits at a high, thanks to the podium finishes by Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner -second and third, respectively- at the opening round of the campaign. The Repsol duo are also in good form at Jerez. Pedrosa is celebrating his 100th appearance in the premier class and has been on the podium in Southern Spain for the past seven seasons, whilst Stoner could make this round his seventeenth consecutive race on the rostrum. The last time that the reigning World Champion failed to place in the top three was precisely at this GP last year, in which he was taken out of action by a Valentino Rossi crash.
The Qatar Moto2 race showed that the class would once again be the closest category in the World Championship -and that Marc Márquez hasn´t missed a beat. The Repsol rider won a tough battle in Losail which put him at the top of the standings, after a difficult preseason. The Spaniard was on the top step of the Jerez podium in 2007 when riding in the CEV Spanish Championship, but has only managed second place at the circuit so far in the World Championship.
A Repsol rider also leads the way in the Moto3 category -namely Maverick Viñales. Last year’s 125cc Rookie of the Year put on a masterclass at the Losail International Circuit and is looking for a fourth consecutive win this weekend. Miguel Oliveira joined Viñales in being unable to finish last season’s Spanish GP, but comes into this round on a high after claiming a career best fifth place in Qatar.
Teammate Álex Rins will continue his adaptation to the World Championship at a familiar track, joined by a familiar face in former CEV teammate and rival, Álex Márquez. The latter won last weekend’s CEV race in Navarra and has been given a wild card spot in the two upcoming races.
"The pre season test at Jerez was positive for us, we had good feelings on the bike and finished happy, so I'm really looking forward to going there for the Grand Prix this weekend. We need to be very focused and have a good qualifying session in order to start the race in a good position.
I love the Jerez circuit and the passionate support of the Spanish fans, I hope the grandstands are full again as it adds to the unique atmosphere there. We had a great race in Qatar and to start the season on the podium is important, but we cannot relax, we will be aiming for another strong race this weekend".
"After a difficult race in Qatar, I'm looking forward to Jerez. We had a very good pre-season test there, it's a track that hasn't been so good for me in the past so the fact we were able to hold a good pace there in testing has given us a lot of confidence. We still have some issues that we really need to resolve with the bike especially the chattering in the entrance and exit of the corner, when we solve these we believe we will have a very competitive package.
Since Qatar I've been working on the arm pump issue I experienced in the race and it's definitely feeling better, we've treated it the same way as when I had it in 2010 at Silverstone so I'm hoping it won't be a problem for us this weekend".
“We head to Jerez happy and motivated. The win in Qatar gives us plenty of confidence, but we have to stay alert because the pressure and desire to do well in front of the Spanish fans could take its toll. The Circuito de Jerez is a track at which we rode in preseason and there are many riders who are fast there, so we will have to be 100% focused in order to have a good weekend.”
“The Spanish Grand Prix is always special. You are riding at home, you feel the support of the crowd and your motivation goes up a notch. This year is going to be even more special, because for the first time in my life I head to a Grand Prix as the World Championship leader. To be doing that at Jerez, you couldn’t ask for more.
The track is technical and combines slow and fast turns, but is well suited to my riding style. In testing just before Qatar we were fast here and established a fairly good setup, which gives us optimism ahead of this race. The season has only just begun, there are many races to go and it will be difficult to keep our form up all season. I can’t wait to soak up the great atmosphere of this race and to try and gain the good result that allows us to maintain a strong position in the standings.”
“This will be a tougher GP than Qatar, because in preseason testing we were a little bit off the best times. I believe in the team and I am sure that we will find a setting that allows us to be competitive. I liked the circuit more with the 125cc; on a Moto3 I’m finding things a little more difficult, but that is maybe to do with the chassis problem from preseason. I’m sure that we will improve.”
“This is going to be a completely different race to Qatar. The timetable returns to normal and I know this track. We were at Jerez in preseason and we had a good test, so we will see if we can find a good pace and do as well as possible. I hope to ride fast right from the opening practice sessions and improve the bike enough to occupy one of the top positions. This is one of my favourite circuits; it’s fast with a couple of slow corners. I think I can get a good result.”
“This Friday will mark my debut and I can’t wait, because this is a very special circuit for me. I’ll be up against some great riders who are quicker than us in the CEV. I am going to try and enjoy myself, learn as much as posible and gain experience. I haven’t prepared any differently to how I would for a CEV race. I am calm now, although I’m sure that on the grid I will be more nervous. I think we will do a great job at Jerez and have the chance to take a good result.”
Binder looking forward to the second round of the Moto 3 season at Jerez
The Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar didn't end as hoped for Brad Binder , but he showed he and his KALEX-KTM are competitive.
The young South African rider is now looking forward to the second round of the season, the Grand Prix bwin of Spain, which will take place on the circuit of Jerez de la Frontera, where he and his team spent many days testing their new Moto3 bike during the off season.
On the Iberian track, Brad obtained a pole position and a second place on the podium in the Red Bull Moto GP Rookies Cup last year, showing his winning skills and instincts, and his affinity for this circuit.
The 4.423 metre long circuit of Jerez de la Frontera was built in 1986 against the spectacular backdrop of the rolling Andalusian hills, providing the ideal setting for a natural amphitheatre that has become known as the Spanish Mecca of motorcycle racing, and one of the most popular Moto GP Venues. It has 8 turns to the right and 5 to the left, and the layout is pretty "tricky", so it's usually not easy to find the right set up immediately.
The 16 year old rider currently racing for Team RW Racing GP, is confident he can get a good result on Sunday :
"I just can't wait to get back to racing! We were unlucky in Qatar but I believe we can achieve a good result this weekend, if we find the right path right from Friday's free practice sessions. Although pre-season tests in Jerez were tough, in fact the track is probably the hardest one on the calendar concerning the set up, our KALEX-KTM is a really competitive bike, and my team is working really hard."
MAHINDRA READY FOR NEXT CHALLENGE IN SPAIN
The Mahindra team has been hard at work in the break before this weekend’s start to the European season, seeking improved performance from their 250cc single-cylinder engine to take riders Danny Webb and Marcel Schrötter into the points in the all-new Moto3 class.
The new-generation four-strokes, built to strict technical limits and under cost-cutting rules, have replaced the traditional 125 class. A thriving entry list and competitive racing proved the value of the new formula at the first of 17 rounds, in Qatar three weeks ago.
The majority of entrants use over-the-counter production racers from established racing manufacturers. Indian racing newcomers Mahindra took a more adventurous and more technically valuable route: with an independently made chassis and engine.
It is a harder road. Compared with these proprietary brands, the white-and-red Mahindra MGP30 is in its infancy. Performance at Qatar was promising for a bike only a few months old. Teething troubles of testing were forgotten, and though Schrötter succumbed to a rogue gearbox gremlin, Webb had a solid ride from 25th on the grid to 18th, just three places out of the points.
Engine development is restricted by regulations allowing only eight engines per rider for the year; but Mahindra Racing team’s chief mechanic Roberto Baglioni has been working with the existing units to maximise their potential and give the riders’ more acceleration, while awaiting further factory development with future engines.
Jerez starts the European campaign, drawing massive crowds to the Andalusian circuit for the Spanish GP, first of four rounds in the MotoGP loving country. The 2.748 miles (4.423 km) is highly technical, putting the emphasis on riding skill and good handling as much as sheer horsepower. One week later the Grand Prix circus reassembles over the border at Estoril, for the Portuguese GP.
We’ve got the reliability now - the bike didn’t let me down even once at Qatar, and the chassis is really good. If I’d have got a better start I’d have been in the points for sure. The rules mean we’ll have to wait a couple of races for engine upgrades, but I know the team has been working hard. I’m looking forward to the race and a good result, and then pushing up the order in races to come.
We made a lot of progress at Qatar and I had got into the group that went for top-ten positions at the end when I had a gear-change problem and had to retire. It was better than I’d expected because we made a step in warm-up before the race. I’m looking forward to Jerez, for a chance to try again.
Mahindra’s international racing commitments will extend to Italy again this weekend when Italian rider Riccardo Moretti and his Indian team-mate Sarath Kumar do battle in the competitive CIV 125cc class at Monza. Reaping the rewards of Mahindra’s extensive development work during last year’s final season of two-stroke 125cc racing in MotoGP, Moretti is aiming to extend his perfect run of two wins out of two in the Italian domestic series to make a hat-trick for the Indian team.
MAPFRE ASPAR RIDERS READY FOR THE UNIQUE CHALLENGE OF JEREZ
Spanish riders looking for home success after dominating Qatar podiums
The opening round of the MotoGP World Championship in Qatar three weeks ago saw Spanish winners in all three categories and as the series heads for Iberian soil this weekend the MAPFRE ASPAR Team are hoping to be amongst the silverware at their home round. The team's two riders are both World Champions and both former winners at Jerez.
Toni Elias, Moto2 World Champion in 2010, is the oldest Spanish rider on the grid and is preparing to contest his fourteenth race at Jerez across four categories: 125cc, 250cc, Moto2 and MotoGP. Two of those appearances have finished up with a visit to the top step of the podium, one coming with the ASPAR team in 2003 on the 250cc Aprilia and the other in the inaugural year of Moto2. Elías has also finished fourth at Jerez on two occasions in the premier class.
Whilst Toni made his Jerez debut back in 1999 his team-mate Nico Terol, the current and last ever 125cc World Champion, took his bow at 'The Cathedral', as it is known to Spanish fans, in 2005. Over the years he has picked up second place finishes in 2008 and 2010, before breaking his victory duck last season on his way to the title.
After a tricky weekend in Qatar both Nico and Toni will start out at Jerez with the same set-up on their Suter machines that they found in preseason testing here, which should help their cause. Both talented and determined riders, everything is in place for them to put on a competitive performance in their home race.
Nico Terol: "Jerez has always been a good track to me. It has a bit of everything - fast and slow sections - and it suits my style well. I set a good pace in the last test there and I was satisfied with how it went but I am keen to improve on that and I think if we can refine our general set-up at this track it will help us over the coming races. I have to stay calm and keep an open mind, learn from my mistakes in Qatar and be ready for everything that comes my way this weekend."
Toni Elias: "I have special memories of my victories here in 2003 and 2010. It's a circuit I like, in fact it is my favourite, and it suits my style. This is a unique event because of the circuit and the atmosphere, which will hopefully help us. I hope we can solve the problems we had in Qatar quickly but I think a mere change of venue will contribute to that. The IRTA tests here didn't go badly and Dunlop are bringing in a narrower front tyre that we tested in the winter, which could help. I am feeling positive."
JEREZ, THE ONE EVERY RIDER WANTS TO WIN
BANKIA ASPAR pair Héctor Faubel and Alberto Moncayo highly motivated for first home race
The MotoGP World Championshp sets out on its summer road trip across Europe this weekend as the Jerez circuit hosts the second round of the season and the first of four races to take place on Spanish soil across the 2012 calendar. Whilst it has been confirmed that there will be less than four races in Spain next year the Jerez round has at least been retained for 2013.
This will be the 26th consecutive year that the circuit known to locals as 'The Cathedral' will play host to Grand Prix racing. Over the years it has become the place for Spanish motorcycle fans to make their annual pilgrimage and celebrate their passion together, making it the one event that every Spanish rider is desperate to win more than any other.
The BANKIA ASPAR Moto3 team has been working around the clock since the opening round in Qatar to try and improve the performance of the KALEX-KTM machine. Work has centred mainly around set-up and engine performance, with bench tests showing up the need to make alterations to the exhaust. The team's technical sponsor ARROW have moved swiftly to provide a completely new system for Jerez whilst KALEX have also come up with some ideas to improve the handling of the bike, which has so far proved strong under braking but difficult to turn in mid-corner. After a disappointing start to the campaign the BANKIA pair hope to make the most of these updates to challenge for the positions they know they are capable of.
Héctor Faubel: "We struggled all weekend in Qatar but we have some new things to try here in Jerez. We have the best team in the championship, with the capacity to react quickly even though we are only one race into the season. So there is no need to panic just yet, we just need to keep working hard to achieve our objective of podium finishes."
Alberto Moncayo: "It is going to be a busy weekend because we are going to have to try to be on the pace from the very beginning whilst at the same time testing out some new things on our bike. I am looking forward to it and so are the team. This is the race every Spanish rider wants to win but as you can imagine for a local rider such as myself it would be extra special. My best finish here so far is a sixth place from my first year and I have been out of luck since. I finished on the podium here once in the Spanish Championship so I still don't know what it is like to win a race at my home track. I'll be giving my best to make it happen on Sunday."
MotoGP Moto3: Team Italia looking for confirmation in Jerez
After the pre-season tests, Team Italia returns to the Spanish track ready to play for real: Fenati wants to confirm his competitiveness, Tonucci is eager to score his first points.
About a month ago, right in Jerez, a new Italian talent came of age: Romano Fenati impressed everyone in the last IRTA tests before the beginning of the season. This weekend, the second GP of the championship will take place on the same track: after Qatar, and a wonderful second place behind Viñales at the debut, 16-year-old Fenati will try to put up a performance to confirm his status as a protagonist of the Moto3 scene.
The other Team Italia FMI rider, Alessandro Tonucci, who was stricken by bad luck in Losail (he was hit at turn 1, after qualifying 11th on his comeback from a leg injury), wants to reap the fruits of a winter's work. Last year, he finished the race in 19th position, and he can surely improve that result.
"We leave Italy knowing that we are force to be reckoned with - said Technical Director Roberto Locatelli - The good result in Qatar put us in the spotlight, but this is just the beginning. Both riders are in good shape, and we go into the weekend with great expectations."