Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after qualifying at Assen:
Viñales, Oliveira and Rins ready to race
Repsol riders continue free practice improvement and close close qualifying in sixth, eighth and sixteenth, respectively.
The second day of practice for the Dutch TT ended with mixed fortunes for the Repsol Moto3 riders. After solid rides on Thursday and Friday morning at Assen, Maverick Viñales, Miguel Oliveira and Álex Rins were unable to make the most of the final moments of qualifying time to catch a drift and take a strong grid position. The top 17 qualified within a second of one another, and the Repsol trio will start from sixth, eighth and sixteenth, respectively, in tomorrow's race.
The morning session ended with all three in the top ten, with Viñales second and Álex Rins third. They, along with Danny Kent, were the only riders to go round in under 1'45 in the 18 laps undertaken. A little further back was Miguel Oliveira, in ninth and steadily improving his setting for Saturday.
In qualifying, Viñales stopped the clock in 1'44.178, riding alone and without any slipstream. With that time he was .533 down on Sandro Cortese, the poleman at Assen. 666 down was Miguel Oliveira, who also rode without riders to tailgate. Álex Rins had improved in every session and is racing for the first time at Assen, and he was 0.897 off pole —taking sixteenth in a tight session.
FP3 - 1:44.439, 18 laps, 82 km.
QP - 1:44.178, 19 laps, 86 km.
“We wanted to go at our own pace and ride solo, and because this is a difficult track and we used no slipstreams, we missed out on pole. Today the important thing was to find a good pace for tomorrow, and I think that we are riding well. We have to improve the engine, but the chassis is working well."
FP3 - 1:45.212, 19 laps, 86 km.
QP - 1:44.311, 18 laps, 82 km.
“I think I am set up well for tomorrow's race, as I have a good pace. What's more, I rode my best lap on my own, so bearing in mind that the four ahead of me were all slipstreaming other riders, we can be positive about tomorrow. I am very satisfied with the bike, despite there always being something that we can improve upon.
Starting from eighth at such a short track is not bad. We improved some technical aspects that were impeding us being fluid in the fast sections and we also dropped our times from yesterday, so we should be happy with our work."
FP3 - 1:45.938, 18 laps, 82 km.
QP - 1:44.542, 20 laps, 91 km.
“The important thing is that we were close to the front and can gain extra confidence to be fighting with the leaders in tomorrow's race. We have to have a good start and push from the beginning, as there will be a tight group who will make us need to be alert at all times. We have been able to find a good setting at Assen and I am satisfied, because we have good pace for tomorrow."
Positions don’t tell the whole story
With their riders on 10th (Luis Salom) and 19th (Brad Binder) on the grid for the Dutch TT RW Racing GP was not too happy. But the positions don’t tell the whole story. Looking at the lap times and the gap with front runner Sandro Cortese the riders did a good job.
Salom is only 0.7 off the pace: better than in Silverstone where he was 6th on the grid but 0.9 off the pace. The team took the gamble to build in a new engine. Normally they would test a new engine first, but this one came in just on Thursday. There was no time for testin g and other riders that got the new engine earlier were faster with it. "In this case the engine was just not good,’’ chief engineer Hans Spaan admitted. "You always want the best material you can get, especially for the teams home race, but this was a wrong gamble.’’
Luis Salom (10th): "I am not happy. We tried the new engine but it is not fast enough. It is a big disappointment because I want to do the best I can. For the race we go back to the old engine. I just have to pass a little more riders, but I can still fight for the podium and maybe a victory.’’
Brad Binder ( 19th): "The position is shit, but the pace is good. I’m only 1.1 away from the pole position. I was riding together with Faubel and Fenati and everything was looking really good but I got held up by a slow rider in my fastest lap.’’
Team manager Johan Stigefelt: "It wasn’t perfect, but in the end it wasn’t too bad either. Everybody is very close. For the race I don’t see any problem. Any of the first ten can win the race.’’
FAUBEL ON SECOND ROW IN BEST QUALIFYING PERFORMANCE OF THE SEASON
Spaniard fourth after last lap effort, team-mate Moncayo targets podium fight from eleventh
With no fewer than seventeen riders lapping inside the same second in Moto3 qualifying today it promises to be 22 laps of electrifying racing in the first ever Dutch TT for the new minor category tomorrow. There was a wide-open battle for pole position this afternoon but in the end the experience of Sandro Cortese shone through, with KTM's latest engines seemingly doing the trick as four of the Austrian manufacturers' machines qualified in the top five.
Race pace looks like being around the 1'44 mark and BANKIA Aspar Team riders Héctor Faubel and Alberto Moncayo are both equipped to run with that. The Spanish pair start from fourth and eleventh place respectively, Faubel securing his best grid position so far this season on his final lap and Moncayo also making late improvements to suggest that they can both be involved in the battle for podium positions in tomorrow's race.
4th Héctor Faubel 1.44.074 (17 laps): "We're happy because we've been working hard over the last few races and not had the result to show for it up to today. We only just missed out on a front row start but tomorrow we start with the lead group at last and we don't have to fight our way through. We'll have to make a good start and fight hard to hold our position in the race, try and be a bit smarter than Montmeló and make sure we're still fighting for the podium at the end. It will be a tough race because there are no secrets to Assen and that will make it hard for anybody to make a break but if they do we have to be ready to go with them. We fitted a new engine this morning that has given us more acceleration and hopefully we can feel the benefit tomorrow."
11th Alberto Moncayo 1.44.408 (18 laps): "The weekend has gone well to be honest. This morning we worked on the setting from yesterday and we were up there again. I like the chassis and even though we tried the new engine it was making a strange noise so we went back to the old one. It seems the new engine has better acceleration but we have to work with what we have at the moment and try to keep improving the chassis, which already feels great thanks to the great work being done by the team. The lap times are close with the top seventeen riders inside the same second so it looks like it will be a group race and I hope to be in there fighting for the podium."
MotoGP Moto3 - Team Italia starts from 5th and 6th row in Assen
Tonucci leads Team Italia FMI with the 15th time. Fenati is 17th in a qualifier that showed minimal gaps between riders.
A tight qualifying session saw 17 riders close within a second on the Assen TT Circuit. The Italian riders showed promise but were slowed down towards the end by the traffic.
Alessandro Tonucci, after a little issue due to a sensor yesterday, constantly bettered his times today. He was in the Top 10 until the very end, and closed with a 1'44"541, +0"896 behind poleman Cortese, which puts him on 5th row.
Right behind him, Romano Fenati fought at the top for most of the session but could not find a 'clean' lap and closed on 6th row with a 1'44"561 (+0"961).
Both Team Italia riders showed a strong race pace and, if they can withstand the early fight carefully, will be able to have yet another good GP.
Alessandro Tonucci (Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#19) 15th, 19 laps with a 1'44"541
"I had some problems with my setup during FP3, which I solved in the afternoon. I had a really strong first half of the qualifiers, then the traffic slowed me down a bit. A good start will be the key for tomorrow's race, where I can have a good rhythm."
Romano Fenati (Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#5) 17th, 19 laps with a 1'44"561
"Slipstream is very important on this track and the traffic toward the end prevented me from improving my best time. That said, the bike works well and we have the pace for tomorrow's race."
Roberto Locatelli (FMI Technical Coordinator)
"The team worked well and, if the riders get a good start tomorrow, they can fight at the front. There 17 riders within less than a second, it will be a great show."
CARETTA TECHNOLOGY - Assen GP - Qualifying Practice
Really hard practice session at Assen with 17 riders in less than a second. The determinated Alexis manages to get the seventh time despite the traffic on the track in the second half of the lap. Jack can not end his turn for engine problems.
Giorgio Bertelli (Team Manager): "Too bad about the traffic on the track at the last corner of Alexis ... We have to work hard on the development and hope to be ready for tomorrow. For Jack stopped prematurely for engine problems".
Alexis Masbou: "We have to work hard: the time on the lap is good but I am not able to have this rythms for all the race. I hope to do well tomorrow".
Jack Miller: "Tomorrow I will do my best even if it is not easy".
ANTONELLI ANNOUNCES ARRIVAL AT ASSEN
Niccolò Antonelli announced his arrival as a serious Moto3 contender at Assen today, qualifying on the front row of the grid for the first time. The Team San Carlo Honda Gresini teenager produced a stunning final lap to qualify third fastest, a remarkable performance considering the complexities of the Dutch circuit.
Niccolo’ Antonelli (3rd 1’ 43” 988) "I can finally say I am happy because this is an excellent result with a bike that is improving at every race. The weekend has started well, we've been fast in every session and this afternoon I was able to meet my target of qualifying inside the top five. I had fun out there although it was tough to set the time on the final lap because there was so much traffic out there. That makes it so much more special because I had to get past a bunch of riders and it give me confidence for what I hope will be a good race for tomorrow."
Fausto Gresini "The 'pup' did a good job, setting an incredible pace and making everything look easy. He managed to set his best lap amidst a lot of traffic and that shows how much confidence he has in himself. He likes the bike and the changes we've made and I think he will be able to put on a good performance tomorrow."
Pole Position for Marc Márquez - Dominique Aegerter fifth on the grid
In a dramatic qualifying battle at the Dutch TT in Assen, Suter rider Marc Márquez conquered pole position in the Moto2 category. A few minutes from the end of the session, the Spanish teenager put an impeccable lap together that was almost half a second faster than the lap time of his Spanish world championship rival Pol Espargaró in second place. Just before the chequered flag came down, Márquez tried to go faster again and crashed, but walked away unhurt. “The crash happened in the slowest corner of the track. I wanted to push a bit harder and first lost the front, then I had this big highsider”, said Márquez. “But nevertheless, I am happy. We have a good base for the race and I feel very comfortable on the bike. But I’ll certainly be careful in that corner tomorrow!”
Dominique Aegerter confirmed the qualities of the Suter MMX2 prototype racer on the fast and flowing 4.5-kilometre-track. On the first day of practice, all eyes had been on the young Swiss Suter rider when he took third place ahead of Márquez and on day two he was in great shape again and took fifth place on the grid, his best qualifying result this season so far. Only Tom Lüthi, the second Swiss rider on a Suter MMX2 and one of the favourites in this year’s championship campaign, didn’t find the best possible setting so far and had to settle for tenth position.
In the Moto3 category, Miguel Oliveira from Portugal was best Suter Honda rider in eighth place. “We improved the handling in a way that allows me to ride in a more fluid way in the fast sections of the track. I am very happy with the bike and with our result, especially since I did my lap time without any slipstream”, said Oliveira. “We are currently working on further improved aerodynamics in order to give our riders more straight-line speed. In Mugello, the next ultra-fast venue in the championship calendar, the new fairing will be available”, said Reto Karrer, project leader at Suter Racing Technology.
In difficult conditions with intermittent drizzles in the MotoGP class, Suter BMW rider Coin Edwards finished in 21st position.
GREAT FIRST ROW FOR ANDREA IANNONE IN THE QUALIFYING PRACTICE AT ASSEN, DI MEGLIO 22ND
The third free practice and the qualifying session for the Moto2 class where held today at the circuit of Assen, Holland.
Andrea Iannone, in the session of the morning, stayed with the fastest riders out on track, deciding with his crew to focus most of the work on the rhythm for the race. The rider from Vasto then verified the performance of the tyres and their durability, obtaining some important information to reduce some chattering problems. In the afternoon, Iannone set the third best time, grabbing a perfect third position for tomorrow’s grid.
Today Di Meglio and his technicians tried out some extra improvements to the Speed Up machine, eventually making some steps forwards and setting more competitive lap times. The Frenchman ended the qualifying session with the 22nd position and tomorrow he’ll start from the eighth row of the grid.
Andrea Iannone #29 - 3rd with 1'37.956
“This first row is really important. It wasn’t a very easy day, we had to deal with some chatter but, with the guys, we tried out some solutions that are helping us little by little. The race tomorrow is going to be a tough one, Marc Marquez and Pol Espargaró are very fast and it’s going to be quite a battle. Today’s result is a good one, we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”
Mike di Meglio #63 - 22nd with 1'39.207
“I’m sorry I couldn’t achieve a better position in the qualifying session, but I’m happy because, after some modifications, we managed to improve and, for tomorrow, I hope we’ll have the opportunity to make a further step. On the last run I wanted to set a better time, but I made few mistakes. The bike was working well, but in the end I was blocked and I couldn’t really do much. I think that tomorrow there’s a chance to come back.”
Pole and double scare for Márquez
Repsol rider crashes twice en-route to fifth pole position of the season.
Marc Márquez took his fifth pole position of the season today at Assen, following on from his run of consecutive grid top spots in Jerez, Estoril, Le Mans and Barcelona. However, the Repsol rider also suffered two crashes over the course of the day, although thankfully escaped uninjured.
In the morning, Márquez fell at turn one, a right hander in which he lost grip halfway onto the apex, lowsiding over the asphalt. He still managed the fourth fastest time in the session, with a best time of 1'38.581 that was just over half a second off leader Pol Espargaró.
In the afternoon it was a two-way fight for pole position between the duo, who also lead the way in the overall standings. Márquez and Espargaró exchanged the top spot in qualifying, with Márquez ahead on his fourth lap and holding on until Espargaró pulled out a faster time 20 minutes from the end.
The positions remained like that until Márquez responded on his 17th of 20 laps. His superb time of 1'37.133 put him almost half a second ahead of Espargaró and 8 further tenths ahead of Iannone.
However, the session ended with another crash for the Spaniard, who fell in spectacular fashion at turn five in an attempt to improve his time. Fortunately it proved to be another injury-free incident, and Márquez will start from pole for tomorrow's race at the track where he won last year.
FP3 - 1:38.581, 19 laps, 86 km.
QP - 1:37.133, 21 laps, 95 km.
"I feel fine physically. We know why we crashed in practice and we corrected it for qualifying. I was pushing a little bit harder on the slowest corner in the afternoon, because I knew that a crash wouldn't matter too much. I lost control and I was spat off the bike, but we still have a good setting for tomorrow's race.
Our pace is good and I have a lot of confidence on the bike. We knew that we were fine, and that we weren't as far off as it looked, so we just focused on our job. As always, the work carried out on the first two days was focused on preparing for the race, and in qualifying we went with the best solutions to try and get a hot lap in. The important thing is that we are on pole and are not suffering like at Silverstone. We are very prepared to fight for the win".
MAPFRE ASPAR PREPARE ANOTHER CHARGE FROM THE BACK
Elías and Terol need repeat of Silverstone fightback from seventh and ninth rows
After watching a MotoGP qualifying session interrupted by rain at Assen this afternoon the Moto2 riders went out to push hard from the first lap and avoid any nasty surprises in the final action of the day. Marc Márquez smashed the best lap time from yesterday by a full second and at this rate it looks like he and title rival Pol Espargaró could be the men to break the peloton in tomorrow's race.
It promises to be a tough race for the MAPFRE Aspar Team, who require a repeat of their dramatic charge through the pack at Silverstone two weeks ago following a disappointing qualifying session. Both Toni Elías and Nico Terol lost valuable track time today as they worked through a host of set-up solutions, only able to qualifying 21st and 25th respectively.
21st Toni Elías 1.39.200 (20 laps): "I am disappointed that we haven't qualified better. I'll have to get a good start tomorrow and push hard. I know just how tough it is to start from so far back because I had to do it at Silverstone but I am motivated and think I can do the same thing again. There is no point feeling sorry for ourselves, we just have to stay strong and optimistic. I'll talk with the team this evening because there is clearly something we are not doing right but I am sure we can come up with something to salvage the weekend."
25th Nico Terol 1.39.584 (22 laps): "It was a tough qualifying session and the lap times that we hoped for just didn't come. I got a bit lost during the session and also struggled to get a clean lap in because of the amount of riders out there trying to catch a tow. Anyway, now is not the time to feel sorry - we have to keep working hard to turn the situation around and make up positions tomorrow. We know how tough this category is so we need to keep our heads up and work as a team to get something out of this race."
REA UNABLE TO MAINTAIN PRACTICE PACE IN QUALIFYING AT ASSEN
Gino Rea suffered a variety of setbacks in qualifying practice at Assen this afternoon that denied him the opportunity to qualify any higher than 26th position, despite some positive progress in free practice. The British rider is still struggling for confidence in the bike but a solid race tomorrow will no doubt go some way to boosting his morale and help to move him up the order.
Gino Rea (26th 1’ 39” 628) "Qualifying was a disastrous session for us to be honest. We made good progress in practice this morning but went slightly the wrong way with the setting this afternoon. I also had a problem with the bike not revving properly on the straight for some reason and then another problem with a tyre, which almost caused me to crash three times on my out lap. I had to come in and fit a new tyre but then on my best lap I hit neutral on the exit from the chicane. So lots of problems in the most important session, unfortunately, but we will look at the data tonight, try to fix our problems and if we can manage that I am confident we have the pace to make up positions tomorrow."
Fausto Gresini "It's a shame Gino hasn't been able to finish off some good work this weekend with a good grid position. We will try to solve his problems in the warm-up tomorrow, give him a bit more grip and I am confident he will make up positions in the race."
WILAIROT QUALIFIES THIRTEENTH AT ASSEN
Ratthpark Wilairot proved he has the pace to be a consistent points-scorer in the Moto2 class this season as he qualified in thirteenth place for the Dutch TT. The Thai rider continues to make progress with the Suter chassis and was today only three tenths of a second off fourth place, giving him the confidence to fight for a top ten position in tomorrow's race.
Ratthapark Wilairot (13th 1’ 38” 573) "I am happy with the bike and the improvement we made from the morning to the afternoon. We are still further than I would like from the front but the gap from fourth place to us is close so I think we can be in that group fighting for the top ten. I just need to get a good start and stay concentrated and I think it can be a good race for us."
Fausto Gresini "I am really happy with the progress Feem is making. Race by race he is closing the gap to the top and improving his confidence with the bike. Considering his feeling around this track I think he can be fighting for a top result tomorrow."
Tough task ahead for Redding and Kallio
Assen, Holland - 29 June 2012: Scott Redding will start tomorrow's Moto2 race at Assen from the third row of the grid, after qualifying in seventh position this afternoon. Mika Kallio will start from one row further back, after posting the 12th fastest time during today's 45-minute qualifying session.
Having looked strong during all three practice sessions, Redding struggled to turn the bike during qualifying, but it was slower riders on track that proved the biggest problem. After a crash yesterday with a cruising Toni Elias, Redding was wary whenever he came across a rider waiting for a tow on the outside of the track. The 19-year-old Briton only backed off slightly each time, but in such a closely contested class as Moto2, it was enough to stop him qualifying any higher than seventh.
Kallio posted a quick lap right at the start of qualifying, but was struggling to improve on this time as the 45-minute session progressed. The 29-year-old Finn was pushing hard, but the lap times just didn't seem to come. Right at the end of the session a more relaxed Kallio looked set to jump onto the second row of the grid, but then ran into a group of slower riders at the chicane and lost time as a result.
Both Marc VDS riders are confident that they have a good race set-up and, if they can get a good start, are more than capable of securing a good result in tomorrow's 24-lap race.
Scott Redding #45: 7th - 1'38.401
"I just didn't have the feeling I needed from the front of the bike to push hard for a fast lap today, and I was still a little distracted by riders on the outside of the track after yesterday's crash. When I came up behind slower riders I was backing off ever so slightly because I was wary of them turning across my front. When I was pushing I was having problems with the front; the bike just didn't want to turn. When I forced it into the corners then the front was pushing real hard and forcing me wide on the exit. Starting from the third row isn't the end of the world, but we need to find a lot of time tonight and during warm up if we are to challenge the likes of Marquez and Espargaro in the race tomorrow."
Mika Kallio #36: 12th - 1'38.525
"I am a little disappointed with qualifying, as a second row grid position was possible today. The bike was working okay, but during the middle part of the session I think I was just trying to push too hard. With the Kalex you need to be relaxed on the bike for a quick lap, but I was pushing too hard and when you do that the lap times don't come. Right at the end of the session I managed to find a good rhythm and was on a real flying lap, but then I ran into a lot of traffic at the final chicane and had to back off when a slower rider moved across in front of me. It didn't lose me much in terms of time, but it was enough to stop me achieving my aim of qualifying on the front two rows. We have good pace here, so if I can get a good start tomorrow then I should be able to stay in contact with the leading group. A good result is definitely still possible."
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"Both riders had problems with traffic today. Mika lost out on his best lap when he came across a group of slower riders on the narrowest part of the track while Scott, after his crash with Toni Elias yesterday, allowed the slower riders on track to distract him during qualifying. We had good pace today, although it seems like Pol Espargaro and Marc Marquez had a little bit more in hand during qualifying. It remains to be seen if they can maintain the same pace over a 24-lap race, but Scott and Mika need to make sure they are in contact with the leaders from the start and then take their chances when they can. I know they will push to the maximum, as always, and I'm confident we can secure two good results here tomorrow."
Best Moto3 qualifying for Finsterbusch - Lundh improves but still struggles
At the Assen Grand Prix, factory rider Toni Finsterbusch impressed the MZ Racing Team with his best Moto3 qualifying session so far and conquered 23rd place on the starting grid for the race on Saturday. The German teenager took full advantage of his track knowledge and of the additional power of a new Honda engine and cut the gap to the top of the field to a mere 1.8 seconds. Teammate Alexander Lundh also managed to improve in the Moto2 category but is still working on the set-up in order to be fully prepared for the race.
After receiving a new exhaust system for his bike at the Silverstone-Grand Prix two weeks ago, Finsterbusch now got current evolution parts for his Honda engine, which meant another boost in horsepower across the entire rev-range. “On Friday, we started with the old engine. When Toni went out with the new version on Saturday, it was so much faster that we had to use another sprocket on the rear wheel in order to make the gearing taller”, said MZ team manager Peter Rubatto. “Toni was able to cut the gap to the top down to only 1.8 seconds. If he gets a good starts and if he maintains his rhythm in the race, he has a chance to take his first world championship points.”
MZ CEO Martin Wimmer is considering even further technical options. “As far as gearing is concerned, we have another option that we want to try in the warm-up session before the race”, he said. Finsterbusch knows the Assen circuit and the Sachsenring, venue of the next Grand Prix, from his career start in the German Championship and it was important for Wimmer to supply his rider with the best possible engine option for his favourite tracks. “The problem was that the amount of engines is limited. We had to use the previous engine versions up to their life span before introducing the evolution engine”, explained Wimmer the delay of two races since the new parts had become available.
Toni Finsterbusch (Moto3) – 23rd position in 1.45,391 min:
“At the beginning of the session, I struggled to find my rhythm. I started with used tyres and only came back for a tyre change later in the session. I also struggled to find the slipstream of other riders. Time was ticking away and with three minutes to go, I still hadn’t found a fast group of riders to go with. In the end, all I could do was to try and put a good lap time together all by myself. I pushed as hard as I could and got a decent result – at least a better result than in previous races.”
Alexander Lundh (Moto2) – 27th position in 1.1.39,941:
“In the last free practice session and in qualifying, my lap times were almost identical. This is not enough, I have to speed up. But it’s not that easy to get into the draft of a good rider. This morning, I was behind Max Neukirchner and was able to follow quite easily. But in qualifying, I didn’t find such an opportunity. And even though I could repeat my previous best time all by myself, I’d certaily like to be higher up in the ranking. The lap times are very close together though, so it still could be a good race for us. Before qualifying, we made some modifications on the set-up, but we will return to what we had previously – the bike felt really unstable and I had very little grip on the rear.”
CORSI GETS THE SECOND ROW IN ASSEN
The weather is crazy on Assen for the qualifying practice of Dutch TT where some short rain forced all the riders stay in the pits for some minutes. Fortunately the track didn’t get wet and everybody continued to use the slick tyres.
Danilo Petrucci gets the 16th position, his best qualifying result in MotoGP class, with the time of 1’36.397 at 3.254 from Stoner’s pole position. The young Umbrian rider increased a lot his results than yesterday, getting five positions, finishing in front of Abraham’s MotoGP and reducing his gap between the CRTs.
Simone Corsi gets the 6th time in Moto2 class with 1’38.400 at 1.267 from Marquez’s best lap. The Came Iodaracing Team rider was very competitive on the dutch track, fighting for all the practice for the first row.
Luigi Morciano has finished in 29th position at 2.382 from Cortese’s pole position. Jonas Folger tomorrow will start from the last place because he had an electronic problem during the third lap of the qualifying practice.
"I’m very happy – Petrucci declared – I didn’t expect this result, the TR003 was much better than yesterday thank to the incredibile work of my team. Tomorrow I’ll do my best and I’m sure that we could get a good result”.
"I’m satisfied – Corsi said – I have a good feeling with my FTR and I did a good pace. Tomorrow we will work also during the warm up trying to reduce the gap from Marquez and Espargaro for fighting for the podium”.
"My TR002 is growing up – Morciano declared – we have reduced a lot our gap and I think that I could do a good race tomorrow”.
"Unfortunately during the third lap my TR002 switched off – Folger said – at the beginning I thinked to the engine but then we found a problem in the ECU. Now everything is solved and I hope to do a good race”.
Smith sets sights on top six in Assen
Tech 3 Racing Team rider Bradley Smith is confident he will be battling for his first top six finish of the 2012 Moto2 World Championship in Assen tomorrow after an encouraging qualifying performance this afternoon.
The British rider will start from inside the top 10 for the second race in a row after a best lap of 1.38.414 secured him eighth position in another closely contested Moto2 qualifying session.
Smith's growing confidence with the 2012 Mistral 610 machine was on display and his quickest pace was just over 0.1s away from the fourth best time and he is optimistic he can challenge for the top six in tomorrow's 24-lap race.
Smith has once again worked closely with his Tech 3 Racing crew to improve the performance of his Mistral 610 machine and after leading his home race and finishing seventh at Silverstone 12 days ago, the 21-year-old is looking to finish higher up the leaderboard tomorrow.
It was a difficult qualifying session for team-mate Xavier Simeon. The Belgian rider is still working his way back to full strength with left hand and foot injuries picked up in Le Mans not yet 100% recovered.
Simeon though was unfortunate to encounter slower riders each time he tried to push on fresh Dunlop rubber and he will start from 24th place on the grid. He clocked a best time of 1.39.302 but is confident without heavy traffic slowing his progress at the end of qualifying that he could have been further up the grid and his target i s to fight his way through for a top 15 finish.
Bradley Smith 8th 1.38.414 – 23 laps
“It has been a very positive weekend so far and we have improved the bike in every session and gone faster and faster. My feeling with the bike is getting better and better and we have definitely taken another step this weekend, so I am really happy about that. There is a bit of a gap to the top three but between fourth and tenth it is pretty close and it is going to be really important to get a good start. The first part of the track is pretty tight so I need to be aggressive like I was in Silverstone to pick up some places early on. It looks like it could be an exciting fight tomorrow and I am looking forward to it. It would be nice to be back inside the top six, which would be a step in the right direction and a reward for all the hard work my Tech 3 R acing has been putting in.”
Xavier Simeon 24th 1.39.302 – 24 laps
“The session was going quite well and I felt in a good rhythm and happy with my pace but at the end when I put in new tyres to push for a good grid position I came across a lot of traffic. There are a lot of bikes on track but in Moto2 some riders can be a little bit stupid because they ride slowly on the racing line and they don't care about who is approaching from behind. After I put the new tyres on I had one clear lap in my last eight and I am really disappointed I could not be higher up the grid because the bike was a lot better today. I don't think it was unrealistic to think I could have been in the top 10, but I kept getting blocked and now I am not even in the top 20. My pace is good enough to get into the points tomorrow and that will be the target because t oday we deserved a better result after the Tech 3 Racing Team gave me a good bike.”