Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after qualifying at Jerez:
Álex Rins springs surprise with Jerez pole
Repsol rider takes chance in a difficult qualifying session. Oliveira takes third, Viñales ninth and Márquez thirteenth.
Repsol Media Service - Spain, Circuito de Jerez - Saturday 28/04/2012
The Moto3 riders faced plenty of difficulties in the qualifying session for the Spanish Grand Prix. The rain that had fallen in the morning and that had been present in all three free practice sessions made way for a strong wind that gradually dried out the track. That made it hard work for the riders and their crews, as they weighed up whether to use slick tyres or wet wet weather rubber. Álex Rins and his team played the game most successfully, giving the Spaniard his first pole position for only his second World Championship race.
Prudence was the strategy in the morning session, which took place in wet conditions. Miguel Oliveira was the most comfortable in the rain, earning the fastest time of the run. Maverick Viñales preferred to focus on qualifying and placed eleventh. Álex Rins improved upon his Friday performance and finished fifteenth, whilst Álex Márquez was twenty-second.
In the qualifying session, contested without rain falling and with the track drying out gradually, Rins took a brilliant pole position after timing his switch to slicks to perfection. In doing so, he knocked teammate Miguel Oliveira off the top spot. Oliveira will start from third, after Sandro Cortese also just edged out his time.
Maverick Viñales elected not to use slicks for a final run and will start tomorrow’s race from the second row. The Repsol rider placed ninth in qualifying. With wet weather tyres, the Repsol rider was 1.594 seconds down on Rins and two rows ahead of Álex Márquez, who eventually took thirteenth and improved his feeling from the opening session.
FP3 - 2:00.548, 9 laps, 40 km.
QP - 1:59.101, 14 laps, 62 km.
"That was a difficult session, above all because of the track conditions. We didn’t put the slicks on at the end of the session, although we should have done so. That was more a mistake on my part than down to the team. If the race is wet tomorrow, then we will have to be calm. I feel good in the wet and am happy to be able to go fast. However, if the race is dry then I will have to be aggressive in order to place as high up as possible".
FP3 - 1:58.316, 17 laps, 75 km.
QP - 1:57.975, 17 laps, 75 km.
"I felt alright over the course of the entire day. In the wet in the morning, we were amongst the fastest on track, but in the mixed afternoon conditions things became more complicated. In the end, we were able to complete a lap on slicks that took us up to third. The team did a great job to get us onto the front row. Wet races are usually very long and require much concentration, as you can’t afford to make the slightest mistake. We need to get a good start and keep our cool -above all on the opening laps".
FP3 - 2:00.865, 17 laps, 75 km.
QP - 1:57.507, 16 laps, 71 km.
"It was one of those crazy one-lap runs, as I wasn’t sure which type of tyres to put on. However, my crew saw what the asphalt was like and what the conditions were doing, instructing me that it would be better to put on slicks. They got it right. I want to thank them and my sponsors for making all this possible. This is one of the tracks that I like the most, so tomorrow we will be going out to enjoy the race”.
FP3 - 2:01.399, 16 laps, 71 km.
QP - 1:59.500, 17 laps, 75 km.
"I didn’t have a good feeling about things this morning, mostly because the tyres that we had put on didn’t allow me to ride comfortably. We improved things a little in the afternoon and carried on working on the setup. I needed to push slightly harder than I did at the end of the session, although we are still starting from thirteenth tomorrow and I hope to have a good race".
Bizarre conditions leave RW Racing GP in doubt
The track in Jerez was drying out during the qualifying session for Moto3. Every lap the track conditions were different and dark clouds and some spots kept the threat of rain alive. The ominous weather left the paddock in doubt. RW Racing GP as well: change to slicks or stick to rain tires? Luis Salom and Brad Binder opted for slicks but decided to wait for a while to see what was going to happen.
A few youngsters set the pace halfway through the session. It saw Australians Jack Miller and Arthur Sissis move to the front row. With 15 minutes to go Salom and Binder went out on their Kalex KTM with slicks as well, b ut it was hard to gain confidence on the ever changing track.
The qualifying session for the Spanish GP closed with Spaniard Alex Rins claiming his first pole position in 1.57.507 and Salom (19th) and Binder (26th) disappointed.
Luis Salom: "I am very disappointed. We have been in the top 5 every session and should have been there in qualifying as well. I decided to go out on slicks as soon as possible. Maybe too early. The conditions were tricky, with dry corners where you could go fast and puddles in others where you had to be very careful. Well, sometimes you have the luck on your side in conditions as these. This time it wasn't. We just have to have a good start of the race and do our very best to get in the front soon.''
Brad Binder: "This was an absurd qualifying. You need some experience on this track and with the bike as the conditions of the track changed every lap and were different in every turn. When I had finally found my rhythm and knew where I could open the gas, I got stuck behind a slower rider in what should have been my fast lap. What a bummer!''
Team manager Johan Stigefelt: "Difficult conditions are the same for everyone, but sometimes it is easier to adapt than other times. I wouldn't call it a mistake. We did everything right. But going out there on slicks and finding the confidence to open the gas, is not that easy. Let's just hope the circumstances for the race are different: full wet or full dry.''
ANTONELLI DISAPPOINTED WITH QUALIFYING MISTAKE
A rookie error of judgement cost Niccolņ Antonelli the chance to secure a top grid position today as qualifying practice for the Spanish Grand Prix took place in gradually changing wet to dry conditions at Jerez. The youngster paid the price for staying out on track with wet tyres instead of coming in to change to slicks, as the majority of his rivals did, and he will now have to try and recover positions in tomorrow's race.
Niccolo’ Antonelli (17th 2’ 00” 009) “I don't know what to say! We made a mistake, or to be honest I should say I made a mistake because I stayed out on wet tyres when I should have come in to change. I'm so disappointed. People are telling me it is all part of picking up experience but it doesn't feel like that right now, I am so angry. I will try to make up for it tomorrow.”
Fausto Gresini “A tough day. Unfortunately Niccolņ still doesn't have the experience to cope with tricky situations like the weather we experienced this afternoon and he stayed out on wet tyres when he should have come in to change to slicks. These things happen when you are young and I feel sorry for him. I understand the mistake and it is all part of the process of gathering the experience that will serve him well in the future.”
QP FOR JEREZ GRAND PRIX: THIRTEENTH SPOT FOR IANNONE, EIGHTH FOR DI MEGLIO ON DRY TRACK
The starting grid for the Grand Prix of Jerez de la Frontera was defined today, with the qualifying session for this second event of the Moto2 2012 season.
The last free practice session was favourable and effective for Speed Master riders, who both were among the protagonists of the morning under the rain: the setting chosen by both crews for the wet proved to be effective on the Spanish track.
After grabbing the third best lap time of free practice n. 3, a technical problem slowed down the work in the qualifying session for Andrea Iannone and his crew, preventing him from taking full advantage of the time at disposal. The rider from Vasto ended the session with the thirteenth time, and tomorrow he’ll start from the fifth row.
Mike di Meglio and his technicians worked on some modifications for today, which helped the Frenchman in improving his feeling with the Speed Up machine. Mike was competitive in both the sessions of today, setting good lap times: di Meglio will start from the third row in tomorrow’s race.
Andrea Iannone #29 - 13th with 1'44.204
“In the qualifying session of today we had an anomalous problem, which we never had in the previous practices. The crew is now checking the bike to understand what caused it and then to solve it. It’s a shame because we would have had the chance to start from a better grid position. In any case it’s tomorrow’s race what counts, as usual we’ll do our best and we’ll see if it’s a dry or a wet race.”
Mike di Meglio #63 - 8th with 1'43.778
“I’m really happy because today things went well. We tried out some new choices and the result was easy to notice on wet track. On dry track results didn’t come as easy as in the morning, it was tough to set my fast lap: we’ll try to take advantage of the setting information we have from the tests, so we can try to improve before the race. This morning I crashed out and I hurt my left hand, but luckily I still can ride with no trouble: I did my best to try to get a good spot on the grid. Now we can only wait and see what the weather is like tomorrow.”
BABY STEPS FOR REA AT JEREZ
Team Federal Oil rider Gino Rea was able to make minor improvements on the second day of the Spanish Grand Prix, qualifying in 23rd place. The Brit has yet to gain full confidence with his Moriwaki machine but is hopeful that he can continue building in tomorrow's race.
Gino Rea. (23rd 1’ 45” 095) “It doesn't help us that we've had three wet sessions here this weekend because we haven't had the opportunity to improve the bike as much as we would like. We were making some progress this afternoon but I was having to push very hard to improve the lap time then I made a small mistake in turn two and crashed. I could have gone a little faster but I still feel we're a long way from where we should be. It's tough because the other riders have data from the test that they can fall back on but we don't because our bike is totally new. Hopefully we'll have a dry warm-up so we can try to improve the bike but for the race it's a case of getting the best possible result whatever the weather.”
Fausto Gresini “We still haven't found the right way with this bike but at least we have made some small improvements. Clearly it isn't enough for Gino to ride to his limit yet but we're working on it.”
Second row start for Kallio in Jerez
Jerez, Spain - 28th April 2012: Mika Kallio will start tomorrow's Spanish Grand Prix from the second row of the grid, after qualifying the Marc VDS Racing Team's Kalex Moto2 machine in fifth position this afternoon. A crash during qualifying means that Scott Redding will start tomorrow's race from 12th position on the grid.
Kallio set the fastest time in yesterday's second free practice, which was held in mixed conditions, but struggled with a lack of front-end feel from his Kalex Moto2 machine during this morning's fully wet session. A change of forks for this qualifying transformed the bike, with Kallio immediately matching the pace of the fastest riders. The 29-year-old Finn posted the second quickest time halfway through qualifying, but was eventually pushed back to fifth by the end of the 45-minute session.
Redding got qualifying off to a flying start by topping the timesheet early in the session. The 19-year-old Briton continued to post consistently fast laps, but was pushed down the order as he struggled with a less than perfect set-up. While pushing to secure a front row start towards the end of qualifying, Redding clipped the white line at the ultra-fast Sito Pons corner and crashed uninjured. With the bike too damaged to continue the Marc VDS rider was forced to settle for 12th position and the fourth row of the grid for tomorrow's 26-lap race.
Livio Loi, who this season is backed by the Marc VDS Racing Team, finished his first ever Rookies race in the points. The Belgian rider, who celebrated his 15th birthday yesterday, fought this way through the field after a bad start to finish a creditable 13th, on a track he hadn't seen ahead of free practice yesterday. Loi will return to the track tomorrow for the second Rookies race, which he will start with the aim of breaking into the top ten.
Mika Kallio #36: 5th - 1'43.367
"We received some new front forks for this race, but the feeling wasn't so good with them especially in the wet. We persevered, but after making no progress we switched back to the forks we used during preseason testing for qualifying. The improvement was immediate. This afternoon I was able to put in the lap times on my own, without following anyone, so I know I have the pace for tomorrow's race. Yes, it would have been nice to start from the front row of the grid tomorrow but there are just tenths in it, so starting the race from the second row isn't going to make any difference to the outcome."
Scott Redding #45: 12th - 1'44.144
"Well, that didn't quite go according to plan! I started well, but as the pace increased I was struggling more and more to get the bike to hold a line. Heading into turn five on a fast lap the bike just drifted onto the slippery white line and the front got away from me. I managed to save it and pick it up, but by then I was in the gravel and heading straight for the wall, so jumping off seemed the safest option. Everyone is talking about the weather tomorrow, but I don't really care. Rain or shine, it's all the same to me, I just need to push from the start and try and make up places like I did in Qatar three weeks ago."
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"Mika did a great job today. It was the first time on dry track for everyone this afternoon in qualifying, so Mika and his crew did well to get the bike dialled in so quickly. If the weather is the same tomorrow then I'm confident he has the pace to run at the front. Scott was unlucky in qualifying. He just touched a white line that was still a bit wet from the brief shower we had ahead of qualifying and down he went. Starting from the fourth row of the grid won't be easy, but he showed in Qatar he's capable of fighting his way through the field and I expect he will do exactly the same tomorrow."
Simeon and Smith ready for top 10 challenge in Jerez
Xavier Simeon and Bradley Smith are confident they can deliver a double top 10 finish for the Tech 3 Racing Team in tomorrow's Jerez Moto2 race after a difficult qualifying session this afternoon.
Simeon's quest to register his first World Championship points of the season will commence from 17th position on the grid after he set a best time of 1.44.308 in easily the best conditions of a weekend badly disrupted by rain.
The Moto2 qualifying session took place on a full dry track, presenting Simeon and Smith with their first oppor tunity to work on the set-up of the Mistral 610 machine on Dunlop slick tyres.
Simeon was confident of fighting for a top 10 place on the grid but he encountered a lack of rear grip under acceleration, with the rain that disrupted practice resulting in low grip levels. His time was less than 0.4s outside of the top 10 and he will start two places higher up the grid than team-mate Smith.
The British rider's session didn't go according to plan and his bid to qualify close to the top six was thwarted by a crash with just 10 minutes remaining. He was unhurt in the spill and managed to return to the track thanks to the lightning quick work of his Tech 3 Racing crew and he set a best time of 1.44.406 to finish less than 0.1s behind Simeon.
Xavier Simeon 17th 1.44.308 - 18 laps:
“I am a little disappointed because I had a very strange feeling during qualifying and it wasn't anything that I encountered during the pre-season testing at this track. I was lacking grip on the exit of the corner and even if I tried to ride very clean and smooth, I struggled a lot. I wanted to start from a top 10 position and maybe with a bit more luck we would have been able to manage it. I would prefer a wet race tomorrow because I'm sure we will be fast and competitive in the rain. But even with dry conditions I am confident I will be able to climb up several positions and be battling inside the top 10. That has to be my target and I will be giving my maximum effort to make sure it happens.”
Bradley Smith 19th 1.44.406 - 18 laps:
“Today wasn't ideal preparations for the race and starting from 19th we know is going to make it more tricky when the times are so close. We were still able to learn a lot today and that will be very helpful for future races. To be honest I would prefer a wet race tomorrow because we are a lot stronger in the rain. There are a lot opportunities to pass here in the wet, so I'm not worried about that and I will get my head down and attack right from the start. I was very fast in the rain here last year, so hopefully if it is raining I can produce another performance like that to put today behind us with a good result.”
Márquez takes home pole
Repsol rider earns pole position in Jerez, his eight qualifying triumph in Moto2
Repsol Media Service Spain, Circuito de Jerez Saturday 28/04/2012
The Circuito de Jerez today saw the first pole of the season for Marc Márquez in the Moto2 category. The Repsol rider made the most of the first dry session of the weekend to take the top spot and become the rider with the most Moto2 poles in the class -with eight to his name.
The morning session served as a chance for the mechanics to configure an appropriate setting for the Suter in the event of rain tomorrow. A fully wet track meant that the Moto2 riders had to apply a cautious approach to proceedings and the 2011 runner-up decided against attempting fast laps in the first half of the session, although he ended the run inside the top four with a time of 1’54.950.
The gloves were off in the qualifying session for Marc Márquez, however. Eighteen minutes from the end, the Repsol rider grabbed the top spot and maintained it until the flag came out, improving upon his time on a couple of occasions. His final best lap was a 1’43.5 from his 17th time around.
Marc Márquez will begin his quest for a second consecutive victory in 2012 in tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix, which will start at 12.20pm local time.
FP3 - 1:54.950, 19 laps, 84 km.
QP - 1:43.005, 19 laps, 84 km.
"One of the things that I learnt last year was that you have to approach things with calm in this category. This has been a very unique weekend so far, as it is always difficult in the rain and even more so when conditions change over the course of the day. On a wet track this morning I felt comfortable, which is an important sign for tomorrow as we have no idea what the weather is going to do. I took things calmly at the start of qualifying.
On my second stint there was a high wind and a few bumps on the track, making the situation a delicate one, but we took an important pole position. The most important thing for tomorrow is that we keep focused and relaxed, because our motivation is at 100%".
First Pole Position for Suter Moto3
Márquez dominates Moto2 qualifying
Suter Racing Technology conquered its first pole position in the Moto3 category at the Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez. Local hero Alex Rins took first place with a gap of just 12 thousandths of a second, his Portuguese team-mate Miguel Oliveira completed the success of Spanish Team Estrella Galicia with third spot on the starting grid. “The conditions were very difficult, with lots of rain in the morning and a track that was slowly drying up in qualifying. But all weekend long, the chassis worked fine, I didn’t have a single problem”, beamed 16-year-old Rins. “Our riders certainly made the best out of the tricky conditions. We can really only evaluate the qualities of the Suter chassis on a dry track and we need at least four races to come to a judgement. But so far, things have been very promising”, said team owner and former 125 cc world champion Emilio Alzamora.
In the Moto2-category, Spain’s young hero Marc Márquez conquered his first pole position of the year. His Swiss rival, fellow Suter rider Tom Luthi, was also on an ultra-fast flying lap in the end and would have been able to challenge Márquez, but crashed and dropped back to fourth position on the stating grid. “The front wheel folded away. It was a harmless fall, nothing really happened. And with fourth place on the grid, we still are in a good position for the race”, said Luthi.
Team NGM Forward’s star Colin Edwards, who was fastest rider of all Claiming Rule Teams in both practice and race at Qatar, wasn’t able to continue with the same blistering pace at Jerez. After taking 16th place on the wet first day of practice, he crashed in the dry qualifying session and lost a lot of time with repairs in the garage. Only in the dying moment of the session, he managed another flying lap that was fast enough to qualify for the race.
“The conditions were really difficult today. I want to congratulate our riders and teams for their stunning performances”, said Eskil Suter, CEO of Suter Racing Technology. “Our first pole position in the Moto3 category is a fantastic result considering how young this project is. We are convinced of its future potential.”
“Mar found back to his true form and scored another great result after his victory at Qatar. At the same time, I am sorry for Tom who crashed right at the end of the qualification session. I think it was difficult to find the right set-up and enough traction in the short amount of dry track time, because there was not a lot of tyre grip after the rain!”
WEATHER PLAYS A TRICKY CARD IN MAHINDRA QUEST
Jerez de la Frontera - Saturday, April 28, 2012: Changeable weather in a mainly fully wet qualifying session affected both Mahindra riders, but Danny Webb and Marcel Schrötter are qualified for tomorrow’s first round of the European season, and hoping for kinder and more stable conditions for the race.
Webb (21, from England) placed 21st after a slow start to the session, but Schrötter (19, from Germany) was somewhat bamboozled, missing the brief window of opportunity to use slick tyres, but still managing to place 25th on the 33-strong grid.
Frequent showers have spoiled both practice days for the Moto3 class, with only the first free practice dry, and then only for a spell.
This was the opposite of what the team needed. Mahindra is still at an early stage of development of their independently made machine, one of a small handful on a grid full of fully developed over-the-counter production-racers, and wet conditions hampered the quest. But they did prove that the chassis offers excellent roadholding, and if the race is fully wet both riders are confident they will be able to move steadily forwards towards the points, paid down to 15th place.
The two days also established the reliability of the all-new engine, and allowed technicians to work on electronic mapping to maximise its potential. With riders restricted to eight engines each, it will not be until after the next race that the next major upgrade can be installed.
DANNY WEBB - 21st Position, 2’01.191
I had to run in a new engine at the start of the session, then I put slick tyres on too early. There were still some wet patches. I kept trying, but as it got a bit drier my brain was still thinking that it was quite wet. I hope it is fully wet tomorrow, because I found a good feeling with the bike yesterday. If it is dry, everyone is short of set-up time, and we’ll all just have to press on. We’re still finding out a lot of things about the engine, but it’s difficult when the weather is like this.
MARCEL SCHRÖTTER - 25th position, 2’01.450
That was a very strange qualifying. At the beginning everyone had rain tyres but the track was drying. I was always thinking about changing to slicks, but I waited because there were still a few wet points. When Danny went out on slicks I waited a couple of minutes to see what would happen ... then it started to rain again. I put on new rain tyres, and in the end the track was not too bad, but by then my tyre was destroyed. I never had the chance to use slicks, and now we are behind again. We’ll wait and see what it is like tomorrow.
MotoGP Moto3: weather spoils session as Fenati and Tonucci qualify in 4th and 8th row respectively
In Moto3, a damp track and difficult conditions characterized both the last free practice and qualifying session after the morning rain, making it difficult to find a good setup. In these conditions, "Fenny" tried to use slick tires at the end of qualifiers, posting a 1'59"155 (10th best) that grants him a start from 4th row. "Tonu" experienced a highside due to the wet track and qualified in 24th position with a 2'01"364.
Alex Rins seized the pole position with a 1'57"507, preceding Cortese (+0.012), Oliveira (+0.468), and Masbou (+0.794).
Romano Fenati (Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#5) 14 laps, 1'59"155
"The qualifiers went well overall, but I was slowed down a little bit by the track conditions. The rear tire slid a lot, but my team was great at fixing the problem. I hope to get a good start tomorrow and climb back right away. My goal is to score good points."
Alessandro Tonucci (Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#19) 15 laps, 2'01"364
"I was pretty fast in the morning on wet conditions, but in the afternoon the track was a bit of a mix, being dry in some spots and damp in others. When we tried to use slick tires the surface was still humid and I crashed. I hit my right shoulder pretty hard, but I don't think it will be a problem for tomorrow's race. I hope it will be a dry race."
BANKIA ASPAR TEAM CONTINUE HARD WORK IN JEREZ
Héctor Faubel and Alberto Moncayo not quite able to improve in difficult conditions.
Debuting rider Álex Rins took pole for the Spanish GP at Jerez in the Moto3 category. It was a day in which three home riders took first place in qualifying, the first time that Spain had experienced a qualifying treble since the 2011 Czech Republic GP. Aspar rider Nico Terol was one of the trio on that occasion.
The Kalex chassis and KTM engine have shown to be strong at Jerez and in Moto3 so far this year, and qualifying was no exception. KTM rider Danny Kent hit the top speed on Saturday in Spain. The BANKIA team consider their engine to be performing well, although an exhaust change has brought on problems. Various solutions have been attempted over the weekend in order to improve the bike, with one eye on collecting data for work on a new chassis.
The BANKIA riders had contrasting weather conditions to contend with in the morning and afternoon sessions. The morning was wet and rainy, with Héctor Faubel placing ninth in the session (1.9s off the fastest time) and Alberto Moncayo twenty-seventh. Track temperatures never went above 14ºC. In the afternoon the track started drying, although the majority of the field kept wet tyres on at the beginning of the run. In the final minutes of qualifying, some riders decided to go for slick tyres.
The hope for tomorrow is to avoid the middling conditions experienced in qualifying and either have a fully wet or fully dry race. The BANKIA riders clearly favour the wet this weekend.
16th Héctor Faubel (1.59.925s, 16 laps): "My leg is still hurting a little, but I can put up with it. We are more competitive in the wet, which was shown in the morning practice session; when the track dried out we experienced more problems. There has been a small improvement if we take Qatar as the starting point, but I am hoping that tomorrow the weather is either fully dry or fully wet. I am going to sit down with my team and evaluate the situation ahead of tomorrow's race."
20th Alberto Moncayo (2.01.153s, 17 laps): "I made a small mistake in the morning session, at the same corner where Héctor crashed yesterday. We aren't feeling comfortable here and these things happen when you don't have your limits clear. I don't think my fitness will be affected tomorrow, but I will go to the Clinica Mobile in the morning so that they can make sure I am in the best condition possible for lasting the race. I still don't feel at ease here and we don't know why, which isn't a situation that benefits us. I can say that the bike is performing adequately, but it is I who is not feeling comfortable. We aren't at the same level as the bike right now and we have to recognize that. We shall see what tomorrow's race is like, as they say that it is going to rain."