2012 Estoril Moto2 and Moto3 Sunday Post-Race Press Releases

Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 team after Sunday's race at Estoril:


Marc Márquez wins with authority and continues in Moto2 lead

Repsol rider takes second win of the year in intense duel and spectacular final lap with Pol Espargaró.

Repsol Media Service Portugal, Estoril Circuit Sunday 06/05/2012

Excitement levels couldn’t have been higher in the opening race of the 2012 Portuguese Grand Prix. Marc Márquez and Pol Espargaró were embroiled in a thrilling duel in the Moto2 contest, which went right down to the final lap. Espargaró made continual attacks at his rival in the latter stages of the race, but Márquez stood firm and showed perfect pass defence. In the end, the Repsol rider made the most of a mistake from his rival on the entry to the chicane to créate sufficient breathing space, taking his second win of the season and extending his World Championship lead in the Moto2 standings.

The Moto2 category opened the day at what will likely be the last Portuguese Grand Prix —the round does not feature on next year’s calendar. Marc Márquez had a good start and was able to keep up with the pace at the head of the race. From the midway point onwards, the three favourites for the win broke free: Thomas Luthi, Pol Espargaró and Marc Márquez were the podium contenders, and it was the latter who decided to take the initiative.

Only Espargaró was capable of sticking with the 2011 World Championship runner-up, as Luthi faded towards the end. The victory would not be settled until the final lap, in which both Spaniards were tussling in a series of enthralling overtakes. Espargaró made the definitive error on entry to the chicane, giving Márquez his second win of 2012.

With these latest 25 points, the Repsol rider continues to lead the way in the overall standings. He has now extended his advantage to nine points over nearest rival Espargaró.

Marc Márquez

1st - 44:04.086

“It was a difficult race, because Luthi pushed very hard at the start to try and break free from the chasing pack. I knew that we would get to the end of the race with the tyres very worn down, so I took things calmly. There was a moment in which Zarco got past me, as did Pol and it looked as if I was going to lose touch, but I was able to keep my head and get back through because I knew that I had the pace.

When we got to ten laps to go I decided to wait for the next five behind them, in order to recover and then put myself in front for a final push. Pol reacted very well and we put it all on the line on the last lap, which was like a 125cc race with passes on every corner. I knew that he would brake late and I had to make the most of my strong points, which made it a fantastic final lap. Either one of us could have won, but in the end we planned it correctly.”


TOP 5 FOR ANDREA IANNONE IN THE PORTUGUESE GRAND PRIX, DI MEGLIO CRASHES OUT

The third race of the 2012 season for the Moto2 class was held today, at the circuit of Estoril, Portugal.

After a positive warm up, Iannone started from the sixth spot on the grid. Once he got over the initial phases of the race, Andrea stayed with the leading group, keeping his eyes on his rivals. On the eleventh lap, however, he left the racing line and made a quick trip in the gravel, which made him lose contact with the race leaders. Thanks to some good lap times, the Italian managed to come back and finally crossed the finishing line in a great fifth position.

It was an unlucky day for Mike Di Meglio. The Frenchman, after a difficult beginning, was improving his pace, setting more competitive lap times. On the twenty-first lap another rider collided into him and made him crash out, so that Mike didn’t have a chance to fight for points.

Andrea Iannone #29 - 5th

“Unfortunately we made quite a big mistake on the eleventh lap, which prevented us from achieving a better result. However, for the rest of the race we were fast. The only thing we have to do now is to keep positive and stay calm: we need to work to find some solutions to have a better bike performance. In any case I’m not worried, I’m sure we’ll manage to fight to show our competitiveness. I’d like to thank the team and the people that work for me, who help me to do my best each day.”

Mike di Meglio #63 - crashed out

“I’m sorry the weekend ended in this way. I got pushed out by another rider with few laps to go and there was no way to rejoin the race. In the beginning I was struggling quite a bit to ride my bike, but lap after lap my feeling improved, as well as my lap times. We need to find out how to be faster in the first part of the race, when we’re on full tank. Now we can only look forwards to the Le Mans Grand Prix, which is the race in my homeland. Let’s see what happens there.”


Smith and Simeon collect hard fought points in Portugal

Tech 3 Racing Team riders Bradley Smith and Xavier Simeon secured hard fought 10th and 13th places at the end of an exciting Moto2 race at the Estoril circuit in Portugal today.

British rider Smith delivered on his pre-race promise to attack from the beginning of the 26-lap race and he gained five places on the opening lap to force his way into eighth position from 13th on the grid.

He was involved in a terrific early battle with 2010 Moto2 World Champion Toni Elias before the frantic action settled down and Sm ith found himself back in 13th position.

Just two seconds split Smith in 13th and compatriot Scott Redding in fifth with 12 laps to go but the field began to stretch out with tyre wear starting to play a key role in the second half of the race.

Smith continued to show his fighting spirit and determination and he was back inside the top 10 with six laps remaining. But despite his best efforts, the 21-year-old was unable to force his way into a pulsating four-rider battle for sixth position and he had to settle for 10th position.

Team-mate Simeon also made an aggressive start to the third round of the 2012 World Championship campaign and he brilliantly carved his way through from 22nd to 15th after just two laps.

Feeling more confident to push his Mistral 610 to the limit after a problematic practice and qualifying, the Belgian rider was locked in an exciting battle for 12th with Dominique Aegerter, Claudio Corti, Ricard Cardus and Nicolas Terol. He did briefly snatch 12th place on lap 20 and the reward for his hard work was a second successive 13th place finish.

Bradley Smith 10th – 18 points:

“That was a tough race but I am still reasonably happy to be in the top 10. We made an excellent choice with the tyres. I lost a little bit compared to the guys in front but I could do very consistent times for the whole race. My pace got quicker as the race wore on and this is the most positive thing from today. The result might have been better but I made a small mistake at the first corner with three laps remaining. I was catching the guys in front of me a nd got in Mika Kallio's slipstream and that meant I was a little bit late during braking. The gap to the front is quite big but the guys around me are really good riders and experienced, so we will continue working hard and preparing for Le Mans in two weeks, which is the home race of Tech 3 Racing. It is a huge weekend for Tech 3, so I will be doing my best to be closer to the front.”

Xavier Simeon 13th – 6 points:

“I'm a lot happier than yesterday and it was a good race. I made a good start and my rhythm improved a lot from practice and qualifying, so thanks to my Tech 3 Racing crew who worked hard to improve my feeling with the bike. Already in the Warm-up session I saw that we had improved quite a lot because I could ride consistently fast and I ended up ninth, so I was convinced that I could score some points. If I had qualified a bit higher up the grid then we could have done better, but I enjoyed the fight with Aegerter and Corti a lot. It was hard but always clean. We will try to improve our pace for the next race in Le Mans, which is such a big race for the Tech 3 Team and I will try to enjoy riding the Mistral 610 as much as I did today.”

Herve Poncharal – Team Manager:

“We are quite satisfied with the outcome of today's race because Bradley and Xavier weren't starting from an ideal position on the grid, but both made a really good start and gained a lot of places. Bradley was able to stay with the leading group for the first few laps and as usual he rode with typical grit and determination and never gave up. During the second part of the race he got stronger and without a small mistake in the final stages he might h ave been able to finish sixth. That was a little unfortunate but a top 10 is still a strong result. I have to say big compliments to Xavier because he rode a really great race. I think he learned a lot today because he was together with really fast riders like Aegerter and had some good battles and he never gave up and deserved to score some points. His confidence is growing and now we can head to our home race in Le Mans optimistic that both of them can be battling for top finishes.”


Top ten for Kallio in thrilling Estoril Moto2 race

Estoril, Portugal - 6 May 2012: Mika Kallio fought his way through the field to finish today's Portuguese Moto2 Grand Prix at Estoril inside the top ten. Scott Redding ran with the leading group in the early stages of the race, before deteriorating rear grip saw him drop down the field to eventually finish two places behind his Marc VDS teammate in 11th.

Kallio got a great start from the sixth row of the grid, making up six places on the opening lap alone. The 29-year-old Finn continued to pick off places as the race progressed, eventually tagging onto the battle for sixth position on lap eight. The Marc VDS rider tried to push his way through to the front of the group, but was thwarted by chatter issues as the fuel load lightened.

From half race distance Kallio, together with Alex De Angelis, was involved in an intense battle with former World Champions Toni Elias and Julian Simon, but dropped back on the final lap and had to settle for ninth place at the chequered flag.

Redding had problems from the start. Throttle response wasn't the same as it had been during practice and qualifying, causing problems on corner exit. As a result the Marc VDS rider initially lost touch with the leading group and then used up his rear tyre trying to re-establish contact.

The 19-year-old Briton fought on, but was gradually relegated to 11th position as rear grip continued to drop off as the race progressed.

Both Marc VDS riders will test for two days at Navarra ahead of the French Grand Prix at Le Mans, which takes place in two weeks time.

Mika Kallio #36: 9th Position

"The start of the race went as planned. The bike felt good and I was able to make up places from the start, fighting my way up to the group battling for sixth place. Unfortunately, as the fuel load dropped I started to have the same problems we had in Qatar and Jerez with chatter. It meant I wasn't able to fight my way through the group to challenge for sixth position and had to settle for ninth at the flag. If we can identify why we have this issue, and find a solution, then I know we can be much stronger over race distance. I wouldn't say I'm happy with today's result, but I'm reasonably satisfied given the problems we've had this weekend."

Scott Redding #45: 11th Position

"The bike didn't sound right on the grid and there was a flat spot from the start. It meant I couldn't pick the bike up out of the turns like I wanted, and it took a few laps to get used to it. I could see the leading group pulling away, but I just didn't have the rear grip on corner entry to stay with them. Every time I tried to push harder, the rear would come round on me and I'd lose ground. Then I had a big moment at turn six and realised that I wasn't going to be able to close the gap. It all went a bit downhill from there. I'm disappointed, but I need to look ahead now to Le Mans, where I hope we can be back where we should be."

Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal

"Mika was aggressive from the off, making up two rows from the start and then continuing to fight his way forward for the first third of the race. He looked good for sixth place, but then chatter problems meant he didn't have anything left when De Angelis, Elias and Simon made their moves late on in the race. The chatter issue is something we'll be focussing on during our Navarra test next week. Scott had problems from the start, lost ground and then used up his tyre trying to regain the leading group. We need to look at the data to see what caused the flat spot in the power delivery, as it wasn't apparent during this morning's warm-up. To be honest I'm a little disappointed with the results today, as I feel we could have done a lot better."


NICE WORK NICCOLO'!

Niccolo Antonelli produced an impressive performance in just his third Moto3 race to charge from the fourth row of the grid to a sixth place finish in the Grand Prix of Portugal, narrowly missing out on fifth. The youngster's first full weekend in the dry on the FTR chassis has proven to be a fruitful one and he is now confident he can show his full potential in the coming races.

Niccolo Antonelli (6th) “That was a nice race and I had a lot of fun at the start lapping with the front group. I struggled a little bit once the tyres started to drop off because we still haven't perfected our setting yet but I was able to fight hard for fifth place at the end and that was nice. Maybe if we hadn't lost ground on third and fourth place in the middle of the race I could have been fighting with them at the end but I am happy anyway. Considering this is only our second race with this bike and our first fully dry weekend we have to be more than satisfied with its performance.”

Fausto Gresini “This kid is getting me excited! He made a great start and battled his way up to fight with the front group. It wasn't easy for him starting from twelfth place but he showed great belief and considering that this has been his first weekend with this bike in dry conditions he did a great job. We are working with him to get the best setting for the bike and slowly we are getting there. I am happy and I have to congratulate him because for a young guy he doesn't make many mistakes.”


Maverick Viñales, second by centimetres

Repsol rider takes second place in tight race to the line. Rins places seventh and Márquez fifteenth after comebacks. Miguel Oliveira retires with mechanical problems.

Repsol Media Service Portugal, Estoril Circuit Sunday 06/05/2012

Only 55 thousandths of a second separated Maverick Viñales from victory at Estoril in the Moto3 race. The youngster eventually finished second and added 20 valuable points to his World Championship total —just two behind series leader and today’s racewinner, Sandro Cortese. Álex Rins made a great comeback from twenty-second to seventh, whilst Álex Márquez also moved up the order and took a point, thanks to his climb from nineteenth to fifteenth. Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira was not so fortunate, as he was forced to retire through a technical issue.

Maverick Viñales, Sandro Cortese and Miguel Oliveira led the way early on. The three fought for the lead on every corner of the Portuguese track, right up until misfortune hit Oliveira on lap three and he was forced to pull his bike in with a mechanical problem.

From then on, Viñales and Cortese exchanged the lead through to the penultimate lap, in which the Repsol rider took the reins and upped the pace. The German was close behind and it was clear that they would be fighting to the last.

Cortese decided to lay his cards on the table on the final lap, overtaking on the straight. Viñalez was faster on the twistier sections and did not back down, as a spellbinding tussle developed between the duo. Arriving at the backmarkers, Viñales attempted to slipstream to cross the line first, but Cortese held on by 55 thousandths of a second to win the race and lead the standings by two points.

Further back, Álex Rins and Álex Márquez came back through the field after recovering their feeling with their Moto3 machines. With his seventh position today, Rins made up some 16 places from his starting position and claimed nine World Championship points. Márquez also got a point, thanks to his fifteenth place on his Estoril debut.

Maverick Viñales

2nd at 0.055 sec.

"This result is very good, bearing in mind that I finished far back at Jerez and that we had a bad race there. We recovered the good feeling and thee confidence with the bike again, we got a good pace going that was evident in the way that we led the race. Sandro Cortese made a less-than-sportsmanlike move on the final lap. I think that I could have just pipped him on the line, but his move across left me too far off.

These things stay on the track though, so we will see what happens in the next race. We have to wait on some improvements from Honda for Le Mans, because we can still see a big difference between ourselves and the KTMs on the straights. We have to improve the chassis a little as well. I think that Le Mans is a circuit that will go well for us".

Miguel Oliveira

Retired

"I felt good and was riding comfortably, but unfortunately I immediately noticed a problem with the front that prevented me from cornering comfortably. We don’t know where the problem came from, but the result was that I had to retire from a race in which really wanted to do well. We have to keep going forward and focus on France in two weeks time".

Álex Rins

7th at 21.792 sec.

"The team did an incredible job over the entire weekend. We started from 21st today, which is pretty far back, but we got off to a good start and really pushed to be able to recover some positions. I got a bit stuck at the beginning in a group of riders, but later on I saw that I had good pace and could get away. That was partly thanks to a small modification made by my mechanics on the rear end for this race. I am very satisfied, because we made a nice comeback”.

Álex Márquez

15th at 26.450 sec.

"I am rather happy, because at the start of the weekend I was having problems adapting to the circuit. I got a good start and was able to make back some positions, despite it being difficult to overtake on the opening laps. I was in a group of riders fighting amongst ourselves and in the end I was able to gain experience and kilometres on the clock, which is the most important thing. It was very fun out there".


ANOTHER DAY TO FORGET FOR REA

Gino Rea's early season woes continued today, his race brought to an early conclusion in Portugal by a mechanical problem that topped off another difficult weekend.

Gino Rea (DNF) “To be honest I am glad to get this weekend finished. It has been hard. The positive side is that we have shown some decent pace but the downside is that we have had a lot of technical problems. The bike cut out in practice, then we had the same problem again at the end of qualifying yesterday and now it's happened in the race. When your race finishes after three laps it is very frustrating but looking back at the weekend we made progress with the Showa suspension and now we have to look onwards and upwards.”

Fausto Gresini “There is not much I can say about a race we would all rather forget. Tomorrow we will take a close look at this difficult situation and work out the best way to resolve it.”


BAD TIMES CONTINUE FOR WILAIROT

The Grand Prix of Portugal proved to be another race to forget for Ratthapark Wilairot, who struggled home in 23rd position after a disastrous weekend at Estoril.

Ratthapark Wilairot (23rd) “The start was not so good but I tried to push hard and stay with the group in front of me. Unfortunately we still have a lot of problems on the front and the rear and it is difficult to control the bike. I'm afraid to say that this is the best result we could do today."

Fausto Gresini “There is not much I can say about a race we would all rather forget. Tomorrow we will take a close look at this difficult situation and work out the best way to resolve it.”


MotoGP Moto3: Fenati forced to retire in Estoril. Tonucci finishes 18th

It was an unlucky Sunday for Team Italia FMI in Portugal.

Fenati was once again racing toward the front, but he was taken out with 10 laps to go. Tonucci fought hard to close the gap, but closed the race in 18th position.

After two solid races (2nd in Qatar and 1st in Jerez) "Fenny" could not finish the race. After a good start, Romano kept his position, staying within reach of the leaders.

Early on, the 16-year-old from Ascoli opted not to push too hard to preserve the tyres. He then found his stride, and came back together with Antonelli, Vazquez and Kent. While in 5th position, he touched with the latter (foto), losing contact with the front group.

As he was climbing his way back with 10 laps to go, Fenati was hit by French rider Rossi, who was rejoining the race after running off track. He tried to restart the bike, but was forced to retire.

The other Team Italia rider, Alessandro Tonucci, tried a difficult come back after starting from 21st position on the grid and seized 18th place.

Sandro Cortese won the Portuguese GP in front of Viñales and Salom.

Romano Fenati (Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#5) 9 lap rit.

"What an unlucky day. After touching with Kent, I lost contact with the front group, and while I was coming back, Rossi hit me with a wrong maneuver. I'm really disappointed, because I could have still collected important points for the championship. I'll make it up next time, as I'm continuing to learn new things every day."

Alessandro Tonucci (Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#19) 18° +36"511

"It was a tough week-end, as I learned I need to start closer to the front to be able to play my cards. I tried to come back, but I nearly crashed out with 10 laps to go at Turn 3. After that, I couldn't get any closer and score some points. I'll bounce back in Le Mans."


ELÍAS SHOWS POTENTIAL WHILST TEROL MAKES GREAT COMEBACK

MAPFRE riders Toni Elías and Nico Terol take steps forward on raceday at Portuguese GP.

The Moto2 race at Estoril took place in dry conditions, opening up the day's action in a schedule switch made especially for the Portuguese Grand Prix. The riders in the 600cc category provided plenty of entertainment for the sellout crowd, in a spectacle worthy of being the headline attraction.It was another tight contest in theintermediate class, eventually won by World Championship leader Marc Márquez from fellow Spaniard Pol Espargaró and Swiss rider Thomas Luthi, following a last-lap dice between the former duo.

MAPFRE rider Toni Elias fought his way to a creditable 7th place finish, although he was further off the race leaders than he would have liked. The Spaniard had taken off from ninth on the grid, and became involved in a second pack consisting of the likes of Redding, Kallio, Corsi, Rabat and Simón. He had moved up into sixth for three laps at the midway point, but his lack of a perfect base setting led to him conceding the spot by the time the chequered flag was shown. Elías currently occupies eighth place in the World Championship on 19 points.

Nico Terol was fifteenth in the race, having had problems on the opening corner when looking to make his way through. The MAPFRE rider lost nine places after running off track, riding in 26th by the time lap four came around. Showing a renewed confidence in himself, Terol pushed on to make a fantastic comeback, occupying sixteenth by the end. His improved performance could have worked out even better, had it not been for a scare on the final lap that dropped him two places and put the Spaniard out of the points.

7th Toni Elias: "This isn't the result that I wanted, but it is what it is. I fight and I do what I can. I am more or less in the same spot that I was in at Jerez, albeit just a little bit better. I got a good start, but I lost a lot of time on the first corner. I got stuck with other riders on the opening three laps and lost contact with the leaders. Without much pace, losing touch with the others finishes you off. We have to improve our setup and get on the race pace more. If we have to go elbow to elbow with other riders, then that's what we will have to do. I was in a group of riders who were all fighting hard. I gained three places at the end, which isn't bad."

16th Nico Terol: "I got caught up in a melee on the opening corner. I was feeling good and saw myself moving up the field. I almost collided with another rider, because this bike is more difficult to stop and avoid things, so I ran off the track and had to start again from zero. I had a soft tyre on that allowed me to set a very good pace, around the same as that of Elías and De Angelis, although later on I paid for pushing so hard and my bike gave me a couple of scares. It's frustrating to have just missed out on the points. I was surprised with my pace, as if we take away the first two laps and the last one -in which I was tired and the bike was sliding around- we would have done even better. We have found a good base setting and now we have to work on the details."


Márquez wins, Luthi third: Suter Racing Technology celebrates double podium again

At the Grand Prix of Portugal, Marc Márquez and Tom Luthi rode to the next great success in the Moto2 category. Márquez conquered a hard-fought victory, Luthi third place, which meant the next double podium for Suter Racing Technology after a similar success at the Spanish Grand Prix one week ago. The other Suter riders also were in brilliant shape: Alex de Angelis (San Marino) took sixth place, former world champions Toni Elias und Julian Simon ended in seventh and eighth position. Switzerland’s Dominique Aegerter in twelfth and Spain’s 125 cc champion Nico Terol in 16th place completed a great day for Suter Racing Technology.

The battles for the leading positions made the crowd cheer around the track. Luthi was leading for 19 laps and tried in vain to escape from Marc Márquez and Pol Espargaro. Seven laps from the end, the two Spaniards took command, but Luthi kept close distance despite fading tyre grip. After a small mistake of Espargaro in the final corner, he was almost rewarded with second place – at the chequered flag, it was only seven hundredths of a second that separated him from Espargaro.

The Moto3 race didn’t quite go according to plan. Suter Honda rider Miguel Oliveira started from the front row of the gird and was in a promising second position after two laps. But then the local hero ran into a strange problem with the steering, caused by either the front tyre or the front fork, and was forced to pull in. His Spanish team-mates Alex Rins and Alex Márquez saved the day for Estrella-Galicia Racing with seventh and 15th place.

Suter MotoGP rider Colin Edwards was unable to take part in the race due to a fractured collarbone, consequence of an accident in qualifying that was caused by another rider.

“It was a sensational day for us. Marc took a big risk to beat Espargaro, who was right at the limit himself. The three leading guys made a sensational show for the spectators and it’s great that the battle ended with victory for us”, said Eskil Suter, CEO of Suter Racing Technology. “It is also nice to see that Toni Elias is back within the top group of riders and that Julian Simón is so competitive in his first race on our bike with regular track conditions.”

“It’s a pity that Oliveira was forced to pull in, because he would have scored a great result in the Moto3 race for sure. He had some problem with either front fork or front tyre, which we are still trying to analyse. Rins battled his way to seventh from a poor starting position and I am also happy for Alex Márquez who took one world championship point!”


Another podium for Luis Salom

His second consecutive podium was the reward for a hard-fought race by Luis Salom. In the final lap of the Portugese GP Salom put so much pressure on Zulfahmi Khairuddin he forced the Malaysian to make a mistake, handing over third place to Salom.

Salom delivered some breathtaking battles all over the race. At first with Sandro Cortese and Maverick Viñales for the lead. In lap 11 Khairuddin joined the leading group. Cortese and Viñales managed to break away from Salom and Khairuddin and had another exciting duel for victory. The gap between the two frontrunners and the battle for third grew to eleven seconds, leaving Salom with third as his best option. The Spanish rider of RW Racing GP rode a strategic race following Khairuddin without leaving him much space. In the penultimate lap he raised the pressure on the Malaysian who ran wide in the end, leaving Salom the gap to pass.

Brad Binder grabbed his first championship points of the season by finishing eleventh. The South African fought a brave battle with Alex Rins, Danny Kent, Alexis Masbou and Jakub Kornfeil all the way. For a long time Binder was leading the group fighting for seventh place. Worn out tires prevented him from keeping up that battle until the end.

Luis Salom (3rd): "It was a tough last lap, with Khairuddin and me touching each other several times. His bike seemed a little bit faster than my Kalex-KTM and I had to fight really hard for this third place. It was another exciting race with a great result. It’s a perfect start of the season, with two podium finishes in three races. We are expecting some new parts from Kalex, so it can only get better.’’

Brad Binder (11th): "I was so fast immediately from the start. I felt really strong in the battles we had. Unfortunately this cost me the tires. In the final two laps they were too worn out to be able to keep up my pace. Seventh would be better off course and I am a little bit disappointed, but I’m pretty satisfied with my race and the championship points.’’

Team manager Johan Stigefelt: "Both Luis and Brad did a great job. As did the team and our partners to give them a good bike. We have to keep on working, but for now we just take it in and enjoy this success.’ ’


De Angelis smiles at Estoril while Takahashiis out of luck

Good news for Alex De Angelis and the NGM Mobile Forward Racing Team at the Estoril circuit in Portugal. After yesterday’s crash during qualifying, the rider from San Marino started today’s race from the ninth place on the starting grid and was able to reach the sixth place proving that he has finally found the feeling with his Suter bike.

Unfortunate race on the other hand for Yuki Takahashi, who crashed only four laps into the race while he was trying to gain positions. The important modifications made to the number 72´s Suter do not completely satisfy the rider, who will seek to make up at Le Mans in less than two weeks.

Alex de Angelis – 6º

“Very positive race, my best result so far this season with the team. The start was a bit complicated; starting from the back rows did not help me at all and prevented me from getting in a good pace. In the end I felt good in relation to the other riders and decided to fight and in the last few laps I made series of overtakes to get in front of the second group. We leave this weekend with this sixth position that lift the spirits of the team, mechanics and sponsors put this does not stop here, we want to continue to work in order to get further up the grid, where I think I can be fighting.

I have accepted the team’s offer to test on Colin’s CRT tomorrow since he was injured after yesterdays crash and will not be able to ride at the test. I know the team has many things to test and its with great honor that I have accepted the proposal because I think I can be useful, even if I my lap times will not anywhere close to Colin’s I still hope I can contribute to the development of the bike because I really think the team disserves it.”

Yuki Takahashi – NQ

The race start was good. On the second lap I checked my laps time and it was very good. I pushed a little bit and same problem I was having yesterday and crashed. The team is working really well and we have made progress this weekend. I hope that in the next few races we will continue to push and hopefully be able to get better results.

Pietro Caprara – Moto2 Technical Manager

“Yuki has a very fast beginning of race, too fast even. After comparing the data specially in turn 3 and 4 he was faster than Alex at the beginning of the race. He was probably being too fast and that caused him to crash. Once again Yuki´s result does not do justice to his real potential. We are struggling but working really hard to get the best performance from him and to setup the bike for his riding style. We hope in Le Mans to have more luck since he has performed really well back when he was in 250cc.

For Alex this was a good race, at the beginning he took a few laps to fight with the riders he had just in front of him which increased the gap with the first group and this because even if the start is good because the gap increased lap by lap. We are happy with the setting we have found now since we have been struggling all winter to find the feeling with the front and now we are in a good position, we have data and enough information to make him be in a better position. He was constant and was able to fight with riders like Julian Simon and Toni Elias, we are very happy ”

Giovanni Cuzari – Team Owner/CEO

“We are very happy with Alex’s race result. He is constantly improving and this means that he is acquiring feeling with the bike. It is a pity Yuki crashed today after such a good start, he had a good pace but unfortunately he lost the feeling on the front at a very fast turn. We relieve he is progressing in the right direction and that in the upcoming race he will be able to prove this constant development.”


MIXED FORTUNES FOR MAHINDRA AT ESTORIL

Estoril – Sunday, 6 May, 2012: Mahindra rider Marcel Schrötter overcame first-lap problems to secure a solid top-20 finish in today’s Portuguese GP. But team-mate Danny Webb succumbed to a small but costly problem, forced to pull into the pits to retire after only eight of the 23 laps of the 4.182-km Estoril circuit.

His problem was a split radiator hose – the most minor of peripheral components, but a heartbreak for the 21-year-old British rider after his best-yet qualifying position on the all-new Mahindra MGP-30 Moto3 machine. Webb was 18th on the grid, with high hopes of a top-15 points-scoring finish.

Unlike the majority of the Moto3 field, made up of proprietary over-the-counter production racers from established firms, the white-and-red Mahindra is an all-independent venture, which will give the first Indian company in motorcycle grand prix racing the benefit of developing technology on its own account. The 250cc single-cylinder four-stroke is still in its earliest stages of development, but already moving forward in the pack.

“We have been working to achieve reliability, so it is a pity that a small low-cost component like this should stop Danny,” said team manager Nicola Casadei.

By contrast, Schrötter’s bike didn’t miss a beat. He had qualified 23rd, but a slow getaway put him 28th at the end of the first lap. By the finish he had picked his way through to 19th, well ahead of the group behind him, but with those ahead still tantalisingly out of reach.

The race was won by German rider Sandro Cortese (KTM).

MARCEL SCHRÖTTER – 19th Position

My start was good, but as I went up through the gears it seemed to lose power and five or six riders went past. I had the same thing at the last race: it is something we must fix. After that it was difficult, because I was with slower riders who held me up on the corners, but were a bit faster on the straights. Eventually I got ahead. After that I was alone, keeping a constant gap behind me, but with the others too far in front.

DANNY WEBB – Did Not Finish

Sometimes you have days like this. I had high hopes for the race, and the bike has been running well ... then a little ten-cent component failed. As you can imagine, I’m not happy. We’ve been improving steadily, so I don’t think we deserved this.


BANKIA ASPAR TEAM JUST OUTSIDE TOP TEN IN PORTUGAL

Faubel and Moncayo take points at Estoril, but are looking for more at Le Mans next time out

The final contest up on a modified Grand Prix schedule in Estoril was the Moto3 race, taking to the track after the MotoGP riders had done their thing in Portugal. In dry conditions, the race saw victory go to German Sandro Cortese, ahead of Maverick Viñales and Luis Salom. The packed grandstands of the Portuguese autodrome were treated to an exciting event in the new Grand Prix racing class.

BANKIA ASPAR rider Héctor Faubel started the race from ninth place on the grid, hoping to latch onto the leaders in the early going. That he did, until rookie Romano Fenati clipped his bike and forced him off line, conceding positions as a result. He was able to continue, but the contact cost him the chance to ride with those further up the order and he eventually came home in twelfth.

Teammate Alberto Moncayo took off from seventeenth and took things more slowly at the start, lacking feel with his Moto3 machine. The Spaniard was in the same position as he had started by lap six, before making a gradual push to gain three places and claim two World Championship points.

Faubel is tenth in the Moto3 standings on 15 points, whilst Moncayo in eleventh on 13. Both will be looking to add to that at the next round, the French Grand Prix at Le Mans.

12th Héctor Faubel: "I did not have a good start, remaining in the same position as I had taken on the grid. I was up with the frontrunners for eight laps, but then Fenati made contact with me and that pack escaped. I think that I spent too long on a change, which is where they got away. I was then part of a second group, which had many more battles for position and slower times as a result. If I were to have broken free, I would have gone two seconds a lap faster. I am angry, because I think that this result could have been a lot better."

14th Alberto Moncayo: "That was a difficult race. My start wasn't great and it was hard for me to pick up the pace. I started to go faster later, but in a group in which everyone is tripping over themselves to lead the pack you lose all progress. I ended up riding a second slower when amongst that group. After 23 laps I put in my fastest time. I also think that we made a mistake in running a hard front, because I didn't have a good feel under heavy braking. This is becoming difficult, because we are not developing the potential that we had in preseason. We are going to try a few things and will arrive at Le Mans with more hunger, ready to fight for better positions."


Excelling at Estoril - Great 11th place for Binder in the Grand Prix of Portugal

It was a great race for 16 year old Brad Binder, who ended the Grand Prix of Portugal in 11th place. He has shown he's a real racer and that he can definitely fight for Top 10 on his KALEX-KTM!

Brad had won last year on the Portuguese track in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, so his expectations were high, but he and team RW Racing GP had some challenges during free practice; nevertheless they didn't give up, and worked hard to solve the issues in time for the race.

Brad had a really good start, and went up to 12th place; he started battling with much more experienced riders, and stayed with the top guys for at least 1/3 of the race, then found himself in 9th position leading the second group. Luckily he escaped from the clash between Fenati and Rossi and started an exciting fight for the 7th spot with Alex Rins, Alexis Masbou, Jakub Kornfeil and Danny Kent. Worn out tyres prevented him from keeping up that battle until the end. Brad ended the race in 11th place, missing the Top 10 by just 0"069.

When Brad got back to his pit box he was a bit disappointed he hadn't gotten a Top 10 finish, but after two very unlucky races, this 11th place certainly feels good.

Brad Binder:“I was so fast immediately from the start. I felt really strong in the battles we had. Unfortunately this cost me the tyres. In the final two laps they were too worn out to be able to keep up my pace. Seventh would be better off course and I am a little bit disappointed, but I’m pretty satisfied with my race and the championship points. Congratulations to my team mate Luis Salom for another great podium!"

Team manager Johan Stigefelt:“Both Luis and Brad did a great job. As did the team and our partners to give them a good bike. We have to keep on working, but for now we just take it in and enjoy this success.”


Strong 21st place for Finsterbusch – Lundh struggles with new tires

MZ factory rider Toni Finsterbusch, who had improved steadily over the practice days at the Grand Prix of Portugal, confirmed his good shape with a strong 21st place in the Moto3 race. Team-mate Alexander Lundh also had high expectations for the Moto2 GP, but ran into strange chassis problems with new tires and had to settle for 25th position.

“I am happy for Toni. He rode a good race, he put up a fight and he did his fastest lap time of the weekend in the race. He is going the right direction, which is positive”, said MZ team manager Peter Rubatto. “Alex has a problem with new tires. At the beginning of the race, he couldn’t go as fast as later on when the tires were worn. I think his suspension set-up was too soft for the grip level of the new tire.”

Toni Finsterbusch (Moto3) – 21st position:

“My start was good and I recovered some positions in the first lap. Later on, I was in a group of four riders and when Jasper Iwema crashed, there were three of us left. I tried to attack in the last fast corner of the track in order to catch both of them before the finish, but ran wide. At least, I got one of them. 21st place is not a bad result for me, especially since I managed to improve my lap times here every day.”

Alexander Lundh (Moto2) – 25th position:

“It was a lonely race. We did some changes to the set-up this morning, which was better and on old tires, we went a whole second faster than yesterday in qualifying. For the race, we used new tires, but it was not good. It was almost impossible to ride. I rode in the 1.45’s for the first 15 laps and later on I was able to do 1.43’s easily, so there is something completely wrong with the bike. On fresh tires, it was very unstable under brakes and also into the corners. This is something completely new to me, I never had this problem before.”


2012

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Comments

Brad ran a great race, fighting hard with several more experienced riders. It was a shame he got shuffled back a few positions on the last lap but it's a good foundation to build on.