Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after qualifying on Saturday at Mugello:
Stunning last gasp pole for Viñales
Repsol rider qualifies on pole with final lap, joined on front row by Álex Rins. Miguel Oliveira to start from sixteenth.
The front row of the grid for the Moto3 Italian Grand Prix will be headed by Maverick Viñales, who put in a spectacular pole lap in qualifying. He will be accompanied by fellow Repsol rider Álex Rins, who put in the third best lap on his first visit to Mugello. Miguel Oliveira had a more problematic time of things and will take off from row six courtesy of the sixteenth fastest time of the day.
Maverick Viñales left it late top ut in the time which earned him pole number four of the season, having shown great pace in free practice. The Repsol rider had made various attempts at a hot lap, but was impeded on a series of occasions by other riders looking for a tow.
However, on a final clean run, the Spaniard used an impeccable final sector ride to his advantage and found a slipstream of his own on the straight, thus lowering the fastest lap time of the day by almost half a second. That knocked series leader Sandro Cortese off the top spot. The front row will be completed by Álex Rins, the reigning Spanish Champion who has made enormous progress in the four sessions at his first Italian Grand Prix.
Teammate Miguel Oliveira also made constant improvement, but it was not enough to give him one of the better positions on the grid. The Portuguese rider broke the two minute barrier in qualifying, but was a little off the leading times and will start from sixteenth —looking to latch onto the lead group with a bit of help from his technicians.
FP3 - 1:58.530, 13 laps, 68 km.
QP - 1:57.980, 17 laps, 89 km.
“That was a very exciting qualifying session; it seemed like a race out there with all the riders who were on track. There were a few times in which I was riding a fast lap on my own and other riders latched on and put me off. I got a little annoyed, but then I thought that it was best just to let them pass and slightstream them on the straight. I was able to take pole on the final sector, despite being behind other riders.”
FP3 - 2:00.102, 17 laps, 89 km.
QP - 1:59.966, 18 laps, 94 km.
“Our objective was to improve upon our times from yesterday, but unfortunately that wasn’t to be. Obviously I am not at all satisfied with the result, as I expected much more from today’s session. I said yesterday that it was very important to qualify well, as here at Mugello that is key to the race, but in the end we lacked pace and didn’t get a consistent hot lap. We have to analyse this with the technicians to see what is happening and to find out where I went wrong too. We will need to attack on the opening laps of the race to keep up with the lead group, as in the first half of the race we can recover the ground lost today.”
FP3 - 1:59.467, 16 laps, 84 km.
QP - 1:58.821, 17 laps, 89 km.
“First of all, I want to thank my team, who worked all night to allow us to have a competitive bike today. In qualifying I got my second best result of the season, which is extremely satisfying. For tomorrow we need to get a good start and latch onto the pack as soon as possible, as it will be a race of groups. We still need to ride our own race, with energy but without losing calm. We have sufficient pace to be up at the front, so we can approach the race positively. It is easier to get fast laps in when in a race situation, as the others help you out —although they can also hinder you when you exchange overtaking moves.”
ANTONELLI ON SECOND ROW FOR HOME DEBUT
Niccolò Antonelli will contest his first ever Italian Grand Prix from the second row of the grid tomorrow after qualifying sixth fastest at Mugello this afternoon. After finishing third fastest in the final free practice session this morning Niccolò found things somewhat more difficult in the afternoon due to the intense traffic on track but he stayed focused to put together a good lap time and place himself well on the grid for what promises to be another highly entertaining Moto3 race.
Niccolo’ Antonelli (6th 1’ 59” 361) “I had to get past so many people this afternoon to set a good lap time. No matter when you went out there were riders everywhere looking for a tow. Maybe I should have backed off and waited for a gap to appear in front of me but anyway I am happy to have qualified on the second row, which isn't bad, and I think we have the pace to have a good race.”
Fausto Gresini “Not bad! Niccolò has qualified on the second row after setting some impressive lap times, especially this morning. For the race Niccolò just needs to stay calm and focused because he has the potential to do very well. He is confirming his progress and that is the most important thing for such a young rider, who we have so much belief in.”
FOURTH ROW FOR MAPFRE ASPAR RIDERS AT MUGELLO
Héctor Faubel and Alberto Moncayo tenth and twelfth, respectively, on the grid for Italian Grand Prix
Intense heat made the temperature rise at Mugello on Saturday, with a qualifying session to match for the Moto3 riders. Whilst it seemed as if times would not improve due to the conditions, there were some storming laps put in by riders in the lower cylinder class. 1'57.980 was the best of the bunch. Rossi, Vázquez and Kent all pushed hard and occupied lead positions on the timesheet, until Maverick Viñales put in the definitive lap to take pole position. Sandro Cortese was second and the two will look to break free in the Italian round.
Everything is ready for tomorrow's Italian Grand Prix. The MAPFRE Aspar riders put in further hard work in qualifying, riding at a high level but experiencing slight misfortune in traffic. Neither was able to put in a clean fast lap to move up to the top spots on the grid. Héctor Faubel and Alberto Moncayo will thus start from the fourth row won Sunday. Faubel will need to make further adjustments to his setup to ensure more stability on the fast sections of the track. Moncayo is in search of more acceleration on the exit to corners. Both are hoping to get a good start off the line and move up to the top group when the lights go out.
10th Héctor Faubel 1.59.573 (17 laps): "After seeing how qualifying went, I am happy with our final position. I feel bad about not having been able to put together a perfect lap today. I was losing a lot of time riding on my own and I only came up to slower riders when looking for a slipstream. We have to be optimistic, as we took a big step forward between yesterday and today -lowering our times as a result. In general I am happy, but we still have to reduce the movement on the rear when riding through the fast sections. I hope to get a good start tomorrow and join up with the lead group. Slipstreaming will play a big part. It's going to be a long race and we'll have to be fully focused. I hope that the gap between us and the top three in pace evens out in the race."
12th Alberto Moncayo 1.59.698 (16 laps): "I found myself in eighth with ten minutes to go. I knew that I could make a big improvement, but I came up to a packed group and was unable to qualify as well as I'd hoped. We changed the engine this morning, but I didn't feel comfortable with it. We went back to yesterday's engine, but I also didn't have the same feel with it as before. Either something went wrong or everyone improved without us doing so. I feel comfortable with the chassis and we are using practically the same setup as at Sachsenring. We have had a good base for a number of races recently. Whilst there is still a part of the circuit where we could go faster, we have easily been up at the sharp end all weekend. The problem in qualifying was that we couldn't get a clean lap in. I will treat tomorrow's race as another learning experience, trying to pass as many riders as possible and having fun."
Salom in pain to third row
The crash he suffered in the second free practice pursued Luis Salom in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix. RW Racing GP’s top rider seemed to walk away unhurt from the crash, but woke up battered and bruised with pain all over his body.
In the morning session of the second day on the demanding Mugello circuit he decided not to push too hard to find out what the least painful position on the bike was. In qualifying he had to push as hard as he could. With much pain in his right foot Salom brought the bike to the ninth p osition on the grid for the race tomorrow.
Brad Binder worked hard to find a good setup in the morning practice. He set his fastest lap time early in the qualifying session: 2.00.774; good enough for 18th.
Luis Salom (9th): "Because of the crash yesterday I’m not fit. My right foot is hurting pretty much. Therefore it was difficult to find my rhythm in qualifying and do a series of equal lap times. I’m happy enough with ninth.’’
Brad Binder (18th): "The beginning of the qualifying session was good, but I couldn’t find a good slipstream in the end to make it just a little bit better. One row further to the front is always better. Mugello is one of my favorite tracks: I would love to be in the top 10 here.’’
Team manager Johan Stigefelt: "This session was not so bad. Unfortunately Luis has pain which makes is hard to find a rhythm. Mugello is a difficult and physically demanding track. We just hope he gets a good night sleep and feels a better for the race. Brad did well. He worked hard and had some bad luck in finding a tow.’’
MotoGP Moto3 - Third and seventh row for Team Italia in qualifiers
Fenati will start from 8th position, Tonucci 19th, Rinaldi 20th
Romano Fenati constantly improved his lap times and posted his best lap during qualifiers with a 1'59"465, which grants him third row in Mugello. The rider also showed a strong race pace, and has a chance to fight for the podium tomorrow.
Alessandro Tonucci could not find the right feeling and closed with a 2'00"784, which grants him the 19th spot on the grid. Wild-card Rinaldi closed right-behind him in 20th place with a 2'00"894.
Viñales seized pole position with a 1'57"980, ahead of Cortese and Rins.
Romano Fenati (Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#5) 8th, 17 laps with a 1'59"990
"We tweaked a few things with the team, and we moved forward ahead of the race. The bike works well, and I'm ready to fight. I want to do well on my home track and entertain the fans."
Alessandro Tonucci (Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#19) 19th, 17 laps with a 2'00"784
"I wasn't comfortable on the bike and will have to face a uphill race tomorrow. I'll try to improve during warm-up."
Roberto Locatelli (FMI Technical Coordinator)
"Romano lapped without using slipstreams, and this goes to show the true value of his best time. He can fight at the front. Alessandro faces a tougher challenge, but can still score some points."
CARETTA TECHNOLOGY - Mugello GP - Qualifying Practice
It 's the first time that Jack rides a bike on the difficult circuit of Mugello, but the correct approach allowed him to reduce the GAP by the more experienced classmates. After the podium at the Sachsenring, Alexis suffers a bit here and start from the sixth row.
Alexis Masbou: "Our level is not expressed in Germany, but even this. I found traffic on the track, I could interpret some corners better, the bike was not perfect, the best lap I made a straight. However I like the track and I will try tomorrow to retain fourth place overall".
Jack Miller: "It 's the first time I see this track and I realized that it is not easy! At the end, I am satisfied with how I rode and to have limited the gap, in terms of time, from the firsts".
REA QUALIFIES 25TH AT MUGELLO
Gino Rea made some progress today at Mugello but was unable to significantly move up the order and secure a good grid position for tomorrow's race. The British rider is hoping to make some improvements with the set-up of his Suter in the morning warm-up before attempting to make up positions in tomorrow afternoon's Italian Grand Prix.
Gino Rea. (25th 1’ 54” 513) “I have improved but not enough to close the gap to the top guys. My confidence with the bike still isn't great and I can't push as much as I'd like. We'll have a look at the data tonight and try to work out if we can find a better feeling for the Suter around this track.”
Fausto Gresini “We're still a long way from being able to say that we're on the right lines and I have to say instead that we are in a position that does not correspond to our team or riders. Hopefully things change overnight so that Gino can have a good race tomorrow.”
FEEM CRASHES AGAIN
Unfortunately it was a familiar story today for Ratthapark Wilairot who crashed his Suter machine once again at Mugello. It is a shame for the Thai rider, who has been unable to capitalise on recent progress and now faces another huge task tomorrow as he tries to battle through the pack and make it to the end of the race.
Ratthapark Wilairot (28th 1’ 54” 890) “I don't know what else I can say after another crash that I don't have an explanation for. It happened on the second lap and obviously it took a long time to get the bike back to the box. Despite that the team did a great job to get it fixed so that I could get back out and complete 8 laps but it wasn't easy for me to get my confidence back so tomorrow we'll have to fight through the pack."
Fausto Gresini “My thoughts today are superfluous because the fact is that Feem has crashed again. We will try to understand why and explain it to him so that it doesn't happen again. It won't be easy starting from the back tomorrow but the main thing for him will be to finish the race.”
FIRST ROW FOR IANNONE IN THE QUALIFYING PRACTICE, ANDREOZZI 29TH AFTER A CRASH
The starting grid of the Moto2 class for the Italy GP was defined today, at the circuit of Mugello.
Iannone got out on the track with the “Joe the fireman” special livery, dedicated to his home GP. In the morning, during the last free practice session, Andrea Iannone grabbed the third best lap time, confirming some modifications that were thought after the sessions of Friday. In the qualifying practice, the Italian set the fourth time: after the penality for Zarco, Andrea obtains the third spot on the starting grid for tomorrow, being the best Italian on track today.
Alessandro Andreozzi continued his progression on top of the Speed Up machine. The Italian improved his rhythm in sight of the race, setting faster lap times than in the previous sessions. In the QP, the rider managed to complete only nine laps, ending the session in advance because of a crash. Alessandro will start from the tenth row tomorrow.
Andrea Iannone #29 - 4th with 1'52.835
“This was a very important day to understand on which aspects of the bike we need to focus to improve. We are still having kind of a tough time, we are working to get a good performance out of the bike in all the parts of the track, so that we can do better in the points where we are struggling more. Tomorrow it’ll be a tough race, it’s very hot and this doesn’t make things any easier. Now we’ll look for a solution in order to make some progress. I’d like to thank my crew and anyone who works for me.”
Alessandro Andreozzi #22 - 29th with 1'55.267
“I’m really sorry, this isn’t the result I was expecting. I crashed out not too long after the beginning of the session, I didn’t manage to complete many laps and that prevented me from achieving a better grid position. I have a good feeling on top of my Speed Up and it’s a shame to be forced to start from the rear. Tomorrow I’ll do my best to come back and to try and fight for a positive result.”
Márquez takes second spot in qualifying
Repsol rider makes Saturday progress and is only denied pole by 69 thousandths of a second at Italian Grand Prix.
The starting grid for the Moto2 Italian Grand Prix will see Marc Márquez starting from the middle of the front row at Mugello. The Spaniard clocked the second fastest time in qualifying on Saturday and had to be alert to the presence of traffic on track, taking a time just 69 thousandths of a second down on Pol Espargaró at the conclusion of the session.
In the third free practice, the Repsol rider wasted little time in beating his times from yesterday and taking a speedy lap of 1’52.867. That time occurred on his fifth of nineteen laps in the morning run. Working on suspension settings and tyre choice, Márquez would not match that time for the remainder of the session and wound up in second —behind Thomas Luthi.
Without dropping the intensity in the slightest, the Repsol rider came out strong right from the first minute of qualifying. He only needed four laps to best his time from free practice by nearly half a second. The Spaniard stopped the clock at 1’52.438, a time that he attempted to improve upon later in the session but was held up by traffic.
FP3 - 1:53.478, 19 laps, 100 km.
QP - 1:52.438, 20 laps, 105 km.
“We felt good today, because we rode at a very strong pace. Taking pole here at Mugello is difficult, as you need to latch onto other riders in order to slipstream. The traffic that this generates on the track can mess up your lap and you have to be very alert as to where the other riders are. Tomorrow will be a long race, ridden in a group and physically demanding. You have to be very focused at this circuit. The most important thing is that we have a good base for tomorrow and that we are starting from the front row.”
Third row for Redding at Mugello
Mugello, Italy - 14 July 2012: Scott Redding will start the Italian Moto2 Grand Prix from the third row of the grid, after a difficult qualifying session this afternoon at Mugello. Mika Kallio will start tomorrow from 22nd position, after crashing out of qualifying at the halfway point.
After making a solid start to the weekend yesterday, Redding struggled to find a good rhythm in this afternoon's 45-minute qualifying session. The 19-year-old Briton couldn't find a good feeling with the bike in today's hotter conditions, and was constantly losing ground on his rivals accelerating out of the slower turns and the many inclines here at Mugello.
Redding managed to salvage a place on the third row of the grid by posting the eighth fastest time right at the end of the session, but will start from seventh tomorrow following a 15-place penalty for third place qualifier, Johann Zarco.
Kallio used the first part of this afternoon's qualifying session to evaluate the harder option front tyres on his Kalex Moto2 machine, with a view to using these in the race tomorrow. The 29-year-old Finn was confident of securing a grid position on the front two rows, until he lost the front exiting turn one and crashed out of the session.
The Marc VDS rider's mechanics worked hard to repair the bike and get their rider back out on track but ran out of time, leaving Kallio down in 22nd position on the timesheet as the session came to an end.
Despite a difficult qualifying session, both riders remain confident they can fight for a top ten position in tomorrow's 21-lap race.
Scott Redding #45: 8th - 1'53.059
"Qualifying was disappointing today. I just couldn't seem to find a good rhythm on the bike, the harder I pushed the slower I went and it was difficult to understand why. Right at the end I managed to get myself into a fast group, but even then I was losing two or three bike lengths out of every slow corner, or whenever the track went uphill. We need to have a think tonight about how we can improve, because I think the race will be in very similar conditions tomorrow. The good news is that the third row isn't too bad and I'm still confident we can leave here with a reasonable result."
Mika Kallio #36: 22nd - 1'53.984
"We made a few set-up changes this morning, but they didn't really offer the improvements we expected. We switched back to the previous settings for qualifying and all was going quite well; the feeling was back with the bike. This afternoon we also ran the harder front tyre, to see if it was a viable option for the race. Unfortunately, just as I started to up the pace I lost the front while accelerating out of the first turn and down I went. My crew did their best to repair the bike, but we simply ran out of time. 22nd on the grid isn't where we wanted to be, but our race pace is good and we have a plan that we know can work, as it's not the first time this season we've started from so far back."
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"I expected both of our riders to be on the front two rows of the grid here at Mugello, but it didn't happen for a number of reasons. Scott struggled with the bike in qualifying and didn't have the confidence to push hard for a fast lap. We need to find out why and make sure we rectify the situation ahead of the race tomorrow. Mika was a little unlucky and got caught out on a hard front tyre at turn one. It was a small error, but with big consequences, as it meant he missed the opportunity to put in a fast lap in qualifying. We've been in this position before, and come away with reasonable results, so I remain confident both riders can finish inside the top ten tomorrow."
NICO TEROL HAS BEST QUALIFYING PERFORMANCE OF THE SEASON
Consistent progress manifests itself in MAPFRE Aspar rider's qualifying tenth for the Italian GP
Pol Espargaró and Marc Márquez continued their duel in the Moto2 class on Saturday in the battle for pole position. Behind them, Johann Zarco recorded the third fastest time of the day, but he will lose fifteen places as punishment for a morning collision with Espargaró. Of the Italians, Andrea Iannone and Alex De Angelis were the best performing riders and could have a say in tomorrow's race. The pace from the frontrunners is strong, despite Mugello being one of the trickiest tracks on the calendar: The gap between pole position (Espargaró) and thirteenth place was just a single second. With all these ingredients, the recipe for the Italian Grand Prix looks to be one of the most delicious of the year to date in the closely contested intermediate class.
MAPFRE Aspar rider Nico Terol continued to show how much he is improving in Moto2 with a strong showing at Mugello. The Spaniard's reward for consistent progress over the past two days was a fast pace in qualifying and tenth on the grid. Terol clocked his fastest lap of 1'53.258 three from the conclusion of his run, and he was only eight tenths off the best time of the day. This is his best qualifying result of 2012 and gives him extra motivation for tomorrow's race.
In contrast, teammate Toni Elías is on his worst GP weekend to date this season, lacking front end feel with his Moto2 bike. The former World Champion will take off from 23rd on the grid at Mugello and will be looking for further solutions in the morning warmup in order to be competitive.
10th Nico Terol 1.53.258 (20 laps): "I am very happy with the result from qualifying, as we were due a good session. We improved this morning, particularly under braking and when opening the throttle. We still have to reduce the chatter and carry on working on our lean angle for the changes of direction in which you are off the brakes. We will start from tenth for tomorrow's race, and having seen the pace that I had in practice and qualifying, I can be very motivated for the contest. I hope to get a good start, be alert on the opening laps and latch onto the lead group. I have had to fight my way through at every race so far and now I hope to let the leaders carry me forward."
23rd Toni Elías 1.54.038 (18 laps): "In the final minutes of the session I managed to latch onto a fast group of riders and drop several tenths off my morning time. Even so, I don't think that this was a big enough improvement. We are having perhaps the most difficult weekend of the entire season. I will try and get a good start tomorrow and I want to do my best in order to make up as much ground as I can. I am happy with the team and everyone is helping me tremendously, but I am still not comfortable with this bike."
Smith aims for Mugello podium
Tech 3 Racing Team rider Bradley Smith goes into tomorrow's Gran Premio d'Italia TIM Moto2 race with his sights fixed firmly on a second successive podium finish at the fast and technical Mugello circuit.
Fourth fastest on the Mistral 610 machine in practice, Smith was looking a strong contender to register his second top five qualifying result of 2012 in scorching hot conditions this afternoon.
The British rider was attacking hard on his final lap to improve on his best lap of 1.53.029 when he suffered a cras h at the second corner. Smith is confident he could have qualified on the second row because his best lap time was just over 0.2s away from the front row. But the 21-lap race will get underway with Smith's Mistral 610 machine sat in seventh position.
Last season Smith produced arguably his best performance in the ultra-competitive Moto2 category when he battled for victory in a thrilling tussle with Marc Marquez and Stefan Bradl. The 21-year-old is confident he can battle for his first podium of 2012 to help consolidate his place inside the top seven in the World Championship rankings.
This afternoon's qualifying session came to a premature and painful end for Xavier Simeon, who was positive he could improve on the 20th position he achieved in practice.
The Belgian rider was gradually building up his pace in the opening 10 minutes when he suffered a heavy fall exiting the fast right-hander leading to the final corner.
Simeon landed heavily on his back but he was able to slowly walkaway from the spill and will be fit to start round nine of the 2012 Moto2 World Championship from 26th on the grid. Simeon is expecting a physically tough race after suffering bruising to his back, but he is determined to try and fight his way into the points tomorrow.
Bradley Smith 7th 1.53.029 – 16 laps:
“Firstly I need to apologise to the Team for the crash on the last lap but unfortunately that can happen when you are pushing for a fast lap time in qualifying. Practice was very positive for us finishing fourth and this afternoon again I felt quite good, so I am very optimistic for tomorrow. At the end of the session I was trying to pick up some tenths and get on the second row at least but I lost the front at the second corner. Seventh on the grid is still not bad and as always it will be important to get a good start to try and get away with the leading group. It will be physically demanding tomorrow with the heat and nature of the circuit making it very tough on the body. All weekend though we have been competitive and I am looking forward to tomorrow. Last year's race was awesome and I'd love to be in another battle like that. It will be difficult but I will be giving it my all.”
Xavier Simeon 26th 1.54.726 – 4 laps:
“It was a really big pity to crash out so early in the session because we had some important work to do on the M istral 610 machine. We have found it difficult to find a good set-up and this afternoon in the hotter conditions I didn't have a very good feeling with the bike. Each time I tried to push into the corner I could lose the rear on the entry and that's what happened when I crashed. When I went to change direction I lost the rear and unfortunately the bike was too badly damaged and I could only complete four laps. Starting 26th means I have given myself a difficult job tomorrow but I will try my best to recover as many places as I can. It will be a long race and I will probably be hurting a bit from the crash, but I am determined to put in a strong performance for the Tech 3 Racing Team.”
Finsterbusch misses out on a perfect lap; Di Meglio scores best qualifying result for MZ this season so far
Toni Finsterbusch pulled all stops in qualifying for the Moto3-Grand Prix of Italy in Mugello, but even though he tried everything, he was not able to put a perfect lap together on the demanding 5.2 kilometer-circuit. He had to settle for 21st place on the grid, but is nevertheless confident about his chances to score world championship points. His team-mate in Mugello, Frenchman Mike di Meglio, was 16th in the Moto2 qualifying session and gave MZ Racing the best grid position in this class and in this season so far. But even Di Meglio is not happy with what he achieved and aims higher in the race.
To end up almost three seconds behind Maverick Viñales, who scored pole position in the Moto3 class, was not good enough for German GP rookie Finsterbusch, who struggled a little bit with tire grip, but who also learned the tricky side of the slipstream battles on the fast Mugello track. Mike di Meglio’s problem was on the technical side, since he battled front end chatter throughout the session, a phenomenon that eventually contributed to a crash on his last flying lap. Before the incident, from which di Meglio walked away unhurt, he had pushed his bike to a lap time that was good for 17th position on the grid. Since fellow Frenchman Johann Zarco lost his third position on the grid due to a penalty, di Meglio is now even higher up and can start from 16th place.
Toni Finsterbusch (Moto3) – 21st position in 2.00,925 min:
”We tried something with the gearing today, which was a step in the right direction this morning. In qualifying this afternoon, we tried another gearbox setting but then went back to what we had previously. In the second part of the session, I also struggled a little bit with my new tires. But the main problem was the dens traffic on the track: Whenever I found a fast group of riders and wanted to catch their slipstream, some slower riders would get into my way. I just couldn’t get a perfect lap together. But we are stronger than my 21st position shows and I could as well have ended up in 15th place. What counts tomorrow is not to drop back and to stay in the slipstream of the others – then world championship points will be within reach.”
Mike di Meglio (Moto2) – 16th position in 1.53,672 min:
“I am not happy with 16th place in qualifying. I was slowed by another rider on my best lap and could have been 0.2 or 0.3 seconds faster quite easily and I would have gained one or two rows on the grid. I crashed in the end because I had lots of front end chatter and eventually, the front just folded away. Of course it was also my mistake to keep on pushing and I’m sorry for the team that has a lot of work with the bike again. I hope to be able to do my lap times in the race consistently and to get a good result.“
Marc Márquez almost on pole position-
Alex Rins scores third place in Moto2 qualifying
Suter MMX2-Pilot Marc Márquez made the Moto2 qualifying session at the Italian Grand Prix especially exciting: On the fast and demanding 5.2 kilometre-track of Mugello, he rode to a superior lap time in only his fourth flying lap, in which he also marked the best topspeed of the category with 290.0 km/h, thanks to improved aerodynamics of his bike. For 31 opponents, Márquez’ time of 1.52,438 minutes remained out of reach – only his Spanish rival Rivale Pol Espargaró (Kalex) managed to turn things around two minutes from the end and edged past by 60 thousandths of a second to snatch pole position.
Whereas Espargaró was the hero of the day – in the morning he had suffered a heavy and painful fall when Frenchman Johann Zarco lost control and crashed into him at the end of the fast main straight – Márquez was not worried about his chances in the race at all. “For a fast lap time here at Mugello, you need the slipstream of other fast riders, which makes things a bit more complicated than usual. But as far as the bike and the set-up go, we have a good base for tomorrow”, said the 19-year-old super-talent, who was officially confirmed as a future Repsol-Honda MotoGP rider at the beginning of the weekend.
Like Márquez, Swiss Suter MMX2-rider Tom Luthi is also using a new rear swingarm for more grip and stability, and a modified front fairing at Mugello. The 25-year-old rider of Team Interwetten Paddock scored best time in the third free practice session on Saturday morning and confirmed that he also has a strong base for the race on Sunday. Only when it counted in qualifying, he fell victim to traffic on the track and to a lack of slipstream and was forced to settle for sixth place. Due to the penalty for Zarco – the race direction put him back 15 positions because of riding in an “irresponsible manner” – Luthi is now allowed to take position in fifth place on the grid.
In the Moto3 category, Spanish youngster Alex Rins showed his true talent once again when he put his Suter-Honda into third place on the grid. Eskil Suter, CEO of Suter Racing Technology, was one of the first people to congratulate in the garage. “We brought new and improved aerodynamics for our Moto2 riders as well”, said Suter. “They are definitely another good step in our Moto3 development, but it was Alex who made it all happen today and who timed his attack perfectly.”
In the MotoGP category, Suter BMW rider Colin Edwards used a completely new chassis for the first time on Saturday morning – and was immediately thrilled with the feeling for the bike. His reaction made the effort of the technicians at Suter Racing Technology worthwhile: In the factory at Turbenthal, they had worked until late at night on Friday to complete the new chassis, before bringing it from Switzerland to Italy by car. Early on Saturday morning, they arrived at Mugello and started to mount the chassis immediately. Right before the start of the third free practice session at 10.10 h on Saturday, the bike was ready to go. “We based the modifications to stiffness, to the geometry and to the engine mounts on Colin’s requests”, said Alessandro Giussani, MotoGP project leader at Suter Racing Technology. „Colin’s feeling with the new chassis was so good that he decided immediately to use it in the race. Of course we n ow have to work on a suitable set-up!”