Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after qualifying at Estoril:
ANTONELLI TO TAKE PORTUGUESE BOW FROM ROW FOUR
Niccolo Antonelli continued to make progress with his adaptation to the Estoril circuit and the FTR chassis today, qualifying on the fourth row of the grid for tomorrow's Portuguese Grand Prix. The Italian found a good set-up for his bike which will be crucial for the race, when a few further tweaks should see him able to fight for a top result.
Niccolo Antonelli (12° 1’ 48” 696) “It hasn't been a bad day because we've managed to set the twelfth fastest time and qualify on the fourth row of the grid for tomorrow's race, although I think it could have been better. We are slowly finding the best set-up for this bike and that is very positive considering that this weekend has been our first real opportunity to work on it in the dry. With limited track time available we have made a good step forward and I think we can improve it even more ahead of the race tomorrow.”
Fausto Gresini “I am very happy with the way the session has gone today, especially considering that Estoril is a completely new circuit for Niccolò and this weekend is his first on this bike in the dry. New bike, new track and his rookie season... you have to be impressed with how Niccolò is performing. Unfortunately because of his size he has to run with a nine kilo ballast, which is a disadvantage because the other riders are carrying an extra nine kilos of muscle. Anyway, I think we can improve the bike further tomorrow which should allow him to meet our objective of a top ten finish."
Viñales second and Oliveira third on front row for Portuguese GP
Repsol riders occupy two of the top three positions on tomorrow’s grid, where Márquez will start from nineteenth and Rins twenty-second.
Repsol Media Service Portugal, Estoril Circuit Saturday 05/05/2012
Rain was absent from in the World Championship, finally, on Friday, allowing the Moto3 riders two practice sessions on dry asphalt. Repsol riders Maverick Viñales and Miguel Oliveira were fighting for pole position for the Portuguese GP in today’s qualifying run, alongside eventual poleman Sandro Cortese. They will be on the front row, whilst Álex Márquez and Álex Rins will take off from nineteenth and twenty-second, respectively.
Tomorrow’s schedule allows for a warmup in the morning, with everything set for the Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril. The Moto2 and MotoGP races will be first up, in a traditional switch in lineup owing to the time difference in Portugal. Moto3 will be up at 14.30 local time, with Maverick Viñales and Miguel Oliveira two of the favourites for the win. They will share the front row of the grid with Sandro Cortese, poleman for this round. The trio were the dominant riders in the third free practice session —Viñales the fastest.
At the head of the seventh and eighth row, respectively, are Álex Márquez and Álex Rins, who were unable to improve upon their times in qualifying despite a step forward in free practice. Márquez was eleventh in the morning and will start from nineteenth tomorrow, whilst Rins was fifteenth in FP3 and twenty-second in qualifying.
FP3 - 1:47.492, 18 laps, 75 km.
QP - 1:47.460, 19 laps, 79 km.
"Today we had a good feeling, above all because we were working with the race in mind. We were riding with a very good pace and we are strong. I think that tomorrow will be a race in which we ride in a group, and tyres will be decisive. We have a good setting and, even though we will make a few more tests with tyres in the warmup, we are clear about things ahead of the race. We are very confident and have the pace to be fighting with Cortese and Oliveira".
FP3 - 1:48.029, 20 laps, 84 km.
QP - 1:47.916, 17 laps, 71 km.
"I am happy. In the morning we were fast and we remained so in the afternoon. We have a consistent pace, although we needed a little more improvement on our hot lap. Starting from the front row is pretty good at my home GP. I hope that tomorrow everything goes well in the race, as we have a strong pace and are consistent. However, the rest of the riders are very strong and the aim has to be to get off the line well and lead from the front. We are good in the dry, but we are prepared for anything".
FP3 - 1:49.129, 19 laps, 79 km.
QP - 1:49.447, 19 laps, 79 km.
"That was not a positive practice session for us, as we needed to find more pace right from the start. We have to work on the bike quite a bit in order to be able to get off to a good start tomorrow and finish as high up as possible. I am losing a lot of time on the second and third sectors when I open the throttle and I am not feeling at ease with the bike.
We will work on that this afternoon and will try to improve. Tomorrow is going to be a hard race and, although we aren’t getting good times, I will try for a good start and to finish as best I can”.
FP3 - 1:48.894, 18 laps, 75 km.
QP - 1:49.374, 19 laps, 79 km.
"Things went well in the morning –better than yesterday. I had a fast pace and, even though it was tougher for me to ride by myself, I was much faster with someone in front of me. We finished in eleventh in the end, which wasn’t bad. I ran off track this afternoon and it was a lot tougher than I expected. We placed nineteenth in qualifying, which is a little far back, but tomorrow we will have to come up through the field and see if we can place between tenth and fifteenth.
I want to claim points. We improved by nearly three seconds this morning and the bike was performing a lot better. We shall see if we can have a good warmup and come back in the race".
BROKEN RECORD SYNDROME FOR WILAIROT AT ESTORIL
It was the same old story for Ratthapark Wilairot at Estoril today, the Thai rider again unable to find any confidence with his Moriwaki machine and forced to accept a position near the back of the grid for tomorrow's Moto2 Grand Prix of Portugal.
Ratthapark Wilairot (28° 1’ 43” 450) “We have many problems with the bike and even though we tried to change many things my feeling is not good and I can't push it in the corner. We'll try and find the best setting from what we have got to give myself more confidence tomorrow."
Fausto Gresini “You only need to look at the result to see that this is not a good situation for us. The rider confidence is just not there and nothing we try seems to be improving the situation at the moment.”
PROBLEMS IN QUALIFYING BUT OPTIMISM REMAINS FOR REA
Gino Rea suffered another disappointing qualifying session today but the British rider is remaining upbeat after making improvements with the rear setting of his Moriwaki MD600. Unfortunately a mechanical problem prevented him from making the most of his progress this afternoon but Rea is hopeful he can make up positions in tomorrow's Grand Prix of Portugal from 25th on the grid.
Gino Rea (25th 1’ 43” 032) “We had some big problems in free practice this morning with the quickshifter which meant I had to finish the session early so we had some work to do before qualifying this afternoon. We found a decent setting for the rear of the bike midway through the session but we ran into the same problem with the quickshifter and I had to pull in again. It was a shame but the positive thing is that now we have a setting for the rear and we know which direction we need to go in with the front. I'm confident we could have been in the low 42s so hopefully we can fix the problem and fulfil our potential tomorrow.”
Fausto Gresini “The position is not satisfactory but the good thing is that Rea has been able to make some progress today. We will keep working our hardest to give him a more competitive bike and hopefully he will be able to make up positions tomorrow. It is not an ideal situation but we have to keep working.”
Smith determined to attack in Estoril
Tech 3 Racing's Bradley Smith has vowed to launch one of his trademark aggressive performances in tomorrow's Estoril Moto2 race after qualifying in 13th position.
Smith powered his Tech 3 Mistral 610 machine to a best time of 1.41.733 in today's qualifying session, which left him just over 0.2s away from the top six.
Working closely with his dedicated Tech 3 Racing crew, Smith made big progress with improving the front-end set-up of his Mistral 610 machine, but is looking to make further improvements to gain more confidence with rear grip ahead of tomorrow's race.
Today's qualifying session turned out to be a difficult afternoon's work for Smith's Belgian team-mate Xavier Simeon.
He will start from 22nd place on the grid with a best time of 1.42.377 and he will analyse data with his Tech 3 Racing crew to try and make his Mistral 610 machine a more consistently competitive package over a race distance.
Bradley Smith 13th 1.41.733 – 22 laps:
“I'm pretty disappointed on one side to be only 13th on the grid but happy on another because I have been competitive all weekend and at least I am starting higher up than the 19th place I qualified in Jerez last week. I am quite confident for the race tomorrow because I feel really happy with the front-end of the bike. We have go t that working very well but I would like to be a bit happier with the rear. We've got some ideas for the race tomorrow so I am looking forward to seeing whether the changes we'll try in the Warm-up session help. Each time I pushed to improve my time this afternoon I got a bit held up in different parts of the track. If we put my ideal times together I'd have been much faster and that's why I'm so optimistic of a strong race tomorrow."
Xavier Simeon 22nd 1.42.377 – 22 laps:
“That was a very disappointing qualifying session and it is quite frustrating. Each time we go out on track this weekend I drop further down the rankings and it seems each time we are less competitive. We have tried too many things to find a solution and at the moment what we have tried has not delivered the results we expected. Right now I can't do more than two fast laps in a row and we have to check what is happening because it is clear Bradley made a big step and we need to do the same. It will be a long night checking the data and trying to come up with a plan for tomorrow that will enable me to be much faster and battle for the points.”
GREAT SECOND ROW FOR IANNONE IN THE QUALIFYING PRACTICE FOR THE ESTORIL GP, DI MEGLIO FOURTEENTH
The starting grid for the Moto2 race at the circuit Fernando Pires da Silva was defined today, with the qualifying session of this afternoon.
In the free practice of the morning, Iannone and his crew went for some more traditional choices for the set up of the Speed Up machine, achieving an improvement compared to yesterday and turning into one of the ten fastest riders out on the track. In the qualifying practice, the rider from Vasto made some steps forward in the rhythm for the race, achieving a great second row when he was on his last flying lap.
Di Meglio and his crew, after a good beginning for the first part of the free practice, took advantage of the rest of the time at disposal to try some modifications to the setting of the bike. In the session of the afternoon the Frenchman was fighting for a better position on the grid, but he crashed out and he was forced to finish his QP earlier than expected.
Andrea Iannone #29 - 6th with 1'41.461
“Compared to yesterday, I must say we improved a lot. In yesterday’s sessions I was struggling to ride as I like, I didn’t have a good feeling with the bike and we lacked grip. In the morning we worked to sort the situation out and we managed to make quite a lot of progress. In any case I don’t think it is completely enough for tomorrow’s race: our rivals are very fast and strong, we’ll have to fight quite hard to be competitive in the race. Now we’re going to analyze the data we have, in order to understand where we still have the possibility to improve, we’ll try to understand what direction we need to take and which one we should absolutely avoid. Thanks to the team for their commitment and for the work they’ve done.”
Mike di Meglio #63 - 14th with 1'41.815
“I’m sorry because we could have done better. On the last outing, we were using the tyre that should have made us improve, and effectively I was faster quite soon. Then I was slowed down by other riders and I got stuck in some traffic on the track. We need to fix some things to improve the stability of the bike. For tomorrow’s race we should have a good pace, now we’re going to consider some minor changes to make a step forward and risk a little bit less.”
MotoGP Moto3: mixed qualifiers for Team Italia: Fenati is 6th, Tonucci 21st
The dry track in the morning and afternoon changed all the reference points for the riders.
Romano Fenati managed to interpret the surface correctly, taking advantage of the morning free practice session to get fully acquainted with a track he has never seen before.
During the qualifying session, "Fenny" showed some grit, constantly improving his lap times until he posted a 1'48"191 that grants him a 2nd row start from 6th position on the grid. In pole position, Sandro Cortese was 1''046 faster, but Romano mainly focused on getting a good pace for tomorrow's race.
Alessandro Tonucci struggled throughout the session, staying at the bottom of the sheets until the very end. At last, "Tonu" was able to improve to 21st position with a 1'49"397 (+2"252) and will start from 7th row tomorrow.
MZ riders keep improving – Lundh aims at point rankings
On the second day of practice for the Grand Prix of Portugal, MZ factory riders Alexander Lundh and Toni Finsterbusch kept improving steadily. Lundh conquered 29th place in the Moto2 category, Finsterbusch climbed to 30th in the Moto3 class.
“Alex got better lap times but is still far away from where he wants to be on the starting grid. But he has a good feeling tomorrow and if he can ride at a steady pace in the race, he might be able to fight for some world championship points”, said MZ team manager Peter Rubatto. “Toni improved considerably today, but his problem is the right timing for an attack when it counts. Riding down the back straight alone means a top speed of 210 kph, taking advantage of the slipstream of a faster rider means a top speed of 217 kph. Once he learns how these slipstream battles work, he will be much higher up in the starting grid.”
Toni Finsterbusch (Moto3) – 30th in 1.51,583 min:
“I improved again, by almost one second in comparison to this morning and by three seconds in comparison to yesterday. My position on the starting grid still isn’t good, but considering the progress we’ve made we can be happy. If we find another second per lap tomorrow in the race, I should be able to ride within the last third of the field and to put up a good fight. I hope to be able to take advantage of some slipstream in the race as well, because I did my lap time all by myself today. We left the settings almost the way they were, because for me it is more important to ride and find confidence to the bike than to make set-up changes all the time. I rather concentrate on improving my track knowledge further and on finding the right feeling for the bike.”
Alexander Lundh (Moto2) – 29th in 1.44,105 min:
“Altogether we are getting better and better, but as far as the set-up goes, there is still a lot left to do in the warm-up session on Sunday morning. We need to try something else because the bike feels not so good at the moment. Into the corner it feels very loose and is moving around a lot. It feels like riding in dry conditions with a rain set-up. But I also ride faster and faster each session, so it’s normal that we have to keep adjusting the bike. Some of my split times are quite good, but we lose too much in the last section. One second faster tomorrow is realistic.”
Podium remains goal for Salom
Luis Salom will start the Portugese Grand Prix Sunday afternoon (14.30 local time, 15.30 CET) from 7th place on the grid. Brad Binder will set off from 14th. Both RW Racing GP riders had a tough qualifying at the Estoril track: a challenging circuit not only because of the lay-out but also for the strong winds and fast changing weather conditions due to its location close to the Atlantic coast.
With 22 minutes to go Salom set his first fast lap: a 1.48.565 that brought him to second place. Binder wa s in 6th at that time with 1.49.130. In the following ten minutes the South African dropped back in the standings but with 11 minutes left on the clock he sneaked under the 49 mark: 1.48.900. Binder found his name back at 14th at the end of the session.
Salom in the meantime was riding around in a group with Efren Vazquez and Hector Faubel, doing consistent laps of 1.48. With five minutes left he set his fastest lap time of 1.48.238. In his final attempt to improve the Spaniard tried to hook up behind Maverick Viñales, but he ran out of time. In the last few seconds Zulfahmi Khairuddin knocked Salom off the second row of the grid.
Luis Salom: "I should be happy with my pace, but I'm a bit disappointed with the final outcome. Again I was in the top 5 for most of the time, as in the free practices. That is what I was aiming for. But I just missed out on luck in the crucial last minutes. You have to make one perfect lap in which every piece of the puzzle clicks. That just didn't work the way I wanted. Anyway, in this track it might be better to start from 7th - from the good side of the track to the first corner - than from 6th. The Kalex-KTM feels good, we have the right settings for the race. I know I can fight for the podium again and that remains my goal.''
Brad Binder: "Estoril is a tough track, with some hard braking and difficult corners. But I like it a lot. I have good memories for this track: I won the Red Bull Rookies race here. Maybe that win made my expectations a bit too high in the beginning. I'm satisfied with how qualifying went. Sure, I hoped for top 10, but 14th isn't too bad. It's my best qualifying so far. The setting of the bike is okay. We've worked hard and hopefully hard enough to earn a top 10 finish in the race. Nothing is impossible.''
Team manager Johan Stigefelt: "Luis had some bad luck in the end of the session, but starting from 7th is good. So is 14th for Brad. Looking at the weather forecast the conditions might be decisive again. The setup for the dry is good and we know both riders are good in the wet as well, so we can expect a good race either way.''
Front row for Redding at Estoril
Estoril, Portugal - 5 May 2012: The Marc VDS Racing Team's Scott Redding will start tomorrow's Portuguese Moto2 Grand Prix from the front row of the grid, after qualifying third fastest at Estoril this afternoon. Mika Kallio will start the race from the sixth row of the grid, after struggling with set-up issues in today's two sessions.
Redding was on a charge from the start today, ending this morning's 45-minute free practice session third fastest behind Thomas Lüthi and Marc Marquez. Qualifying played out the same way, with Marquez and Lüthi again pushing the Marc VDS rider back to third place, but this time Redding managed to close the gap to just 0.3s compared to the 0.7s of this morning.
The 19-year-old Briton has looked strong all weekend and goes into tomorrow's race confident of being able to fight at the front. Starting from the front row of the grid is already a big advantage at Estoril, which features a tight first turn into which the Moto2 field will arrive at speed.
Kallio was disappointed to end qualifying only 17th fastest, after struggling with set-up issues in both 45-minute sessions today. The 29-year-old Finn simply didn't have the confidence to push for a fast time, on a bike that was moving around underneath him on corner entry and exit.
Despite the problems, Kallio is confident that he and his crew can find a solution overnight and that a top ten finish is still a possibility in tomorrow's 26-lap Moto2 race.
In a change to the normal schedule, the Moto2 race will be the first on the program tomorrow, starting at 11.20 local time.
Scott Redding #45: 3rd - 1'41.278
"It was close out there in qualifying today and right up until the end I wasn't sure I was going to make it onto the front row. I kept chipping away at the time, taking a tenth here and a tenth there, before jumping up to the front row right at the end of the session. It's more important to start at the front here than it is at a lot of other tracks, as it's a long run from the start to a first turn that comes back on itself. Everyone expects carnage in a Moto2 race and, with the top 16 separated by just one second today I don't think they're going to be disappointed tomorrow. Obviously I'm going to be pushing for the podium, but it's not going to be easy."
Mika Kallio #36: 17th - 1'41.990
"Today was tough. A lack of grip has always been a problem here at this track, but I just couldn't seem to find any grip at all today. As soon as I turned in the bike would start moving around underneath me. Then, when I opened the gas on the exit it would start moving around again and I'd lose a lot of ground. I was a second off the pace, but it felt like I was completely over the limit. In qualifying I threw caution to the wind and just went for it right at the end. I was just 0.3s off the fastest time halfway round the lap, but then Zarco ran wide and we collided as he swung back onto the racing line and that was that. If we can make some improvements overnight then I think top ten is still possible, otherwise it's going to be a long race tomorrow!"
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"Scott did a great job in both sessions today. He was fast and he was consistent and he showed quite clearly that we have the pace to run at the front of the race tomorrow. By qualifying on the front row of the grid he's given himself the best possible chance of fighting for a first podium finish this season, and that's exactly what I expect to see him doing tomorrow. Mika has had a tough day. The team have tried a number of different set-up options but we just can't seem to find the feeling that Mika needs to feel comfortable. We need to sit down with Mika and our engineers tonight, because we need to find a solution ahead of tomorrow's race. If we do, then I'm confident he can fight his way into the top ten."
Márquez stars in pole position sequel
Moto2 World Championship leader takes second consecutive pole of the season and displays tremendous pace in qualifying for Portuguese Grand Prix.
Repsol Media Service Portugal, Estoril Circuit Saturday 05/05/2012
Second in both of yesterday's practice sessions in Estoril, Marc Márquez took an all-important step forward on Saturday and topped the timesheet in FP3 and qualifying for the Portuguese Grand Prix —claiming his second pole position in seven days. The poleman at the Circuito de Jerez last weekend, Márquez will be at the head of the grid for the 23rd time in his career tomorrow. It puts him into an elite group of 20 riders and level with legendary Spanish rider, Ricardo Tormo.
The Autódromo de Estoril was the scene of one of the Repsol rider's greatest ever performances, back in the 125cc class, and Márquez was in dominant form onboard his Moto2 today. In both the third free practice session and in qualifying, he quickly laid down the fastest times of the field to lead the way.
His best lap in the free practice session was 1'41.41, but the best was to come in the afternoon run as he became the only rider capable of breaking the 1'41 barrier. His final time in qualifying was 1'40.934, 0.120 faster than nearest rival Thomas Luthi —an expected challenger for the win in tomorrow's race.
FP3 - 1:41.041, 19 laps, 79 km.
QP - 1:40.934, 20 laps, 84 km.
"I was itching to go fast at this circuit, because it is very tough to find that pace at Estoril. However, from the start we felt good on the bike and had a good base setting. We then made progressive improvements. We still need to try a few things in the warmup, but we are obviously happy with things. We have to keep calm, because the race is the most important thing and where the championship points are in play.
We are preparing to fight for the win. We have a good setting and will try to get a good start and see how the race goes —whether it is fast, slow or if we are all bunched up. We will try to give 100% and will see if we can get to the final laps still in the fight for the victory."
Double podium and great team result for Suter in Spanish Moto2 Grand Prix
Marc Márquez and Tom Luthi conquered second and third place in the Spanish Moto2 Grand Prix and presented Suter Racing Technology with a fantastic double podium finish. Young Swiss rider Dominique Aegerter and former Moto2 world champion Toni Elias completed the success with eighth and nineth place.
After two mostly wet practice days, it started to dry up for the Moto2 race on Sunday, but the Jerez circuit was still damp and slick in some patches besides the fastest riding line, which made overtaking and position fights riskier as usual. Luthi was leading for the first seven laps of the race and then got caught in a battle with the following group of riders. But Luthi never dropped further back than third and crossed the finish line only half a second behind the race winner.
Márquez was fourth after the start of the race, but took the lead three laps from the end and lost against his Spanish rival Pol Espargaro only because it started to rain and the race was stopped after 17 laps. When the red flags came out, Márquez had already re-passed Espargaro.
“Congratulations to Marc and Tom. It was a bit unlucky that the race was stopped at that stage, because with another lap, we could have celebrated a victory”, said Reto Karrer, Moto2 project leader at Suter Racing Technology. “But even though, it was a great day for us. Marc finished on the podium for the second time in two races, and Tom showed again that he is fully competitive. Dominique Aegerter went from zero to 100 in the race, even though his clutch lever broke off in the first corner when he banged into another rider. Toni Elias also showed his true potential again!”
In the Moto3 category, Suter riders Alex Rins and Miguel Oliveira seemed set for a great success. Portuguese rider Oliveira was leading in lap two and three, but then slid off the track in damp and treacherous conditions, which eventually were to claim half the field of this class. His 16-year-old team-mate Rins, who had conquered the first pole position for Suter Racing Technology in the Moto3 class the day before, then took the lead, but also crashed by mid-race. Rins managed to continue and to come home in a strong fourth position.
The only Suter rider in the MotoGP class, Colin Edwards, had to line up on the last row of the grid after a crash in qualifying, but still was awarded with 16th place after a lonely race, due to the incidents of five other riders. “Because of our starting position, we took this race just as a test, which was very successful. We learned a lot”, said Alessandro Guissani, project leader MotoGP at Suter Racing Technology. “We were not far away from the lap times of the best CRT bikes. Our main problem currently is that we can’t control the engine power as well as other teams with years of experience in electronic engine management!”
BEST-YET QUALIFYING FOR MAHINDRA IN MOTO3
Estoril – Saturday, 5 May, 2012: Mahindra rider Danny Webb proved the steady progress of the all-new all-independent Mahindra MGP-30 Moto3 bike at Estoril today, claiming his best qualifying position so far, putting him within sight of a points-scoring finish in tomorrow’s race.
Webb (21, from England) put the white-and-red machine 18th on the 34-strong grid, in spite of a niggling gear-shifting glitch. “I think I could have been higher if not for that,” he said.
Team-mate Marcel Schrötter (19, from Germany), qualified five places lower, after a fresh engine helped him to turn round a difficult weekend at a least favourite track, carving almost a full second off his best time from the morning free practice.
The first Indian team in motorcycle GP racing has chosen a hard road in the quest for racing success. Almost all the rivals in the new-for-2012 Moto3 class use over-the-counter production racers from established racing factories. Mahindra is developing its own machine, to take greater benefit from the lessons in technology. The machine is very young compared with well-developed rivals, and already well up among them.
Mufaddal Choonia, chief operating officer of Mahindra Racing, was on hand to see the step-by-step improvement ... one clear area being a top speed gain that puts the Mahindra within 10 km/h of the fastest bike down the Estoril circuit’s long straight.
“This has been our best qualifying so far, and the top speed of the MGP-30 has definitely improved. It means the hard work of the development engineers has been in the right direction,” he said.
DANNY WEBB: 18th Position, 1’49.326
We’ve improved – could have been more but I was having some problems shifting and jumping out of gear. It might be a clutch problem: we’ll have a look now. We still have a bit of work to do setting up the chassis, but we’re closer and I feel confident. I’m learning a different way to ride to get the most out of our bike, with more corner speed and getting it to turn differently. I’m hoping for points tomorrow.
MARCEL SCHRÖTTER: 25th Position, 1’49.752
Every year I struggle at this circuit. I try to push and do my best, and it feels not so bad, but the times don’t come. Both sides are struggling to improve: me and the technicians. Until this morning I was a lot down on speed and acceleration, and too much slower than Danny. I think the engine was tired: this is its third race – so we fitted a fresh one and it feels much sharper. But we had no time to get it set right in just one session. We made a good step today, and I’m expecting more tomorrow.
BANKIA ASPAR RIDERS IN THE HUNT AT ESTORIL
KTM-powered riders took up the leading seven positions on the top speed charts today at Estoril, with BANKIA Aspar rider Héctor Faubel the third of them thanks to the added boost of a brand new engine for today's qualifying practice. His team-mate Alberto Moncayo also benefited from a new motor although he was out of luck due to a technical problem at a crucial moment of the decisive grid shootout.
After qualifying ninth fastest Faubel is now hoping to solve a clutch problem before taking his place on the third row of the grid whilst Moncayo, who missed the final few minutes of the session today also due to clutch problems, starts from seventeenth. The third race of the inaugural Moto3 season gets underway at the later time of 14:30 BST.
9th Héctor Faubel (1.48.349, 18 laps): "I'm happy today. Yesterday we had a problem with the engine but we put a new one in today and it enabled me to pass guys down the straight and set a good lap time. It felt more like a race at the end of the session with so many guys out on track but we're happy with the third row. The team are working hard and so am I and gradually the results are coming. I'll try to get a good start and get involved in the fight for the podium. We're only three tenths off the front row today and if I can get behind somebody tomorrow that will help minimise our chassis problems".
17th Alberto Moncayo (1.49.154, 12 laps): "We went out with a lot of determination in qualifying but things didn't work out. I felt something strange at the start of the session and the lap times weren't coming, then the clutch failed. The important thing is that we are quick tomorrow. We start from 17th, basically like Jerez, so I want to get a good start and catch the guys at the front. I want to at least be able to see the podium."
Bad luck for De Angelis, Takahashi making a comeback
The search for the setup for Estoril of the Moto2 bikes seems to come close to an end but not without any difficulties. Alex De Angelis suffered a crash early in the qualifying session, preventing him from improving his best lap time after the setup modifications made after the third free practice.
Yuki Takahashi will be starting from the twentieth position tomorrow on the starting grid, which does not reflect the potential of the Japanese rider give that he is only 1.3 seconds from the pole position time.
Both riders and the team are confident on the changes made this weekend, thanks to which they have achieved a better feeling with their Suters. Alex De Angelis will aim to be with the top group tomorrow and Yuki Takahashi will search to gain positions early in the race to be within the points.
Alex De Angelis – 9º (1´41.536)
“I am really sorry about crashing because today finally I have regained confidence on the bike. The crash actually happened because I was pushing really hard because I felt good on the bike, I was finally able to follow Marquez. Even if the feeling with the bike has improved there are still a bit of trouble with the front of the bike, which moves a lot and because of this I actually crashed. Overall I’m happy because even if I crash early in the session and I wasn’t able to improve my lap time but it is still the best starting grid position so for this season. I am convinced that tomorrow during the warm-up session we will be able to make few minor modifications that will help improve the feeling. “
Yuki Takahashi – 20º (1´42.319)
“From Jerez to here, this race we changed a lot. For me this is a very important race to make and today we have good weather and we were able to modify some things that really made a difference for this weekends setting. The position is not great but the feeling with the bike has improved. I feel we are working in the right direction. Tomorrow for the race we will se what happens after all that we have changed today.”
Pietro Caprara – Moto2 Technical Manager
“Yuki has improved since thee Jerez race in terms of the setting, specially in the front of the bike where he has found more confidence. Even if tomorrow’s starting grid position does not represent his real potential, we are all confident for the race but yet again the weather could be a determining factor.
Alex´s position today is better if you take into consideration the last races. We have found a very important point this that has contributed to improve his feeling with the front. It is a shame that he was not able to improve his position because he crashed but we are very confident because he seems happy and is looking forward to the race. Obviously the weather can still change but overall we have good expectations for tomorrow.”