Press release previews from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams of this weekend's races at Aragon:
Kallio and Redding go head to head at Aragon
Gosselies, Belgium - 25 September 2012: The Marc VDS Racing Team return to action this weekend at the Motorland Aragon circuit in Spain, the venue for round 13 of the 2012 Moto2 World Championship.
Mika Kallio heads to Spain with his sights set firmly on the podium and improving his position in the championship. The 29-year-old Finn currently lies sixth in the championship, but fourth place last time out at Misano saw Kallio close to within five points of fifth place, a slot currently occupied by his Marc VDS teammate, Scott Redding.
Kallio is the rider in form at the moment, having received upgrades to his Kalex Moto2 machine during a recent test at the Valellunga circuit, which improved the all-important front end feel and all but eliminated the mid-race chatter that has plagued him all season. But if Kallio thinks Redding is going to give up his fifth position in the championship without a fight then he could be in for a rude awakening this weekend in Aragon.
Redding has more than just his teammate to consider at Aragon, however. Since the start of the season the 19-year-old Briton has been struggling with carpel tunnel syndrome, but the condition has worsened considerably in recent weeks. As a result, the Marc VDS rider had no option but to undergo a carpel tunnel decompression operation on his right wrist immediately after the MIsano race.
Redding is confident that the operation won't cause him any problems on the bike, but he's also well aware that with Aragon coming just two weeks into a four week post operation recovery period, this weekend could well be a painful one for him.
The Aragon circuit is the newest addition to the Moto2 World Championship calendar. Situated inland from Zaragoza and the Mediterranean coast, the 5.078km track features seven right and ten left corners and a main straight almost one kilometre in length. Although it hosted its first Grand Prix only two years ago, the Aragon circuit has already established itself as a favourite with riders and fans alike.
Mika Kallio #36
"With the gap between me and Scott in the championship standings down to just five points, the last five races promise to be quite interesting! The first person you need to beat is your teammate, and that's exactly what I'll be trying to do between now and the last race in Valencia. Scott will be doing exactly the same, so it should make for a good fight, but there are 31 other riders on the grid that we need to beat and we can't afford to lose sight of that while we're battling each other. My feeling with the bike and my results have improved with every race and I hope we can continue in the same direction this weekend at Aragon. I was fourth last time out in Misano, so it would be good to go one better and finish on the podium at Aragon."
Scott Redding #45
"I've had the carpel tunnel problem in my right wrist for a few years, but in the past it was manageable with therapy. This season the therapy hasn't worked and in a few races my right hand has gone completely numb and I couldn't feel how much pressure I was applying to the front brake - not good when you need to be braking on the limit at every corner. That's why I decided to get the operation done now, rather than waiting until the end of the season. It means I won't be fully recovered for this weekend, but I'll be back to full fitness in Japan, ready for the last four races of the season. The wrist won't be a problem on the bike at Aragon, although it will probably be a bit sore, but then I have my championship position to defend from my teammate and adrenaline is the best painkiller!"
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"Mika's consistency this season has been impressive. He's the only Moto2 rider to have finished in the points in every race so far this season, and all but one of those finishes have been inside the top ten. He's chipped away at Scott's lead in the championship and now, after his fourth place in Misano, there is just five points between the two of them in the standings. Both will be keen to finish the season as top dog in the team - it's always the way with teammates - but they also need to remain focussed on beating the other riders, not just each other. Scott also has to deal with the effects of the surgery on his right wrist this weekend. We were hoping to wait until the end of the season before he went under the surgeon's knife, but the problem was getting worse and, in the end, we were left with no choice. He won't be fully fit for Aragon, but having the surgery now means he'll be 100% fit again from Japan onwards and I expect him to finish the season strongly."
ARAGON PRESENTS FRESH OPPORTUNITY FOR REA
Gino Rea travels to Spain this weekend hoping that he left the bad luck behind him in Italy. After a weekend that was promising and disappointing in equal measures at Misano the British youngster is keen to make the most of his recent progress at Aragon, a circuit he knows having raced there last year in World Supersport.
Gino Rea “The bad luck at Misano was really out of our hands. The first thing was the tyre in qualifying which left us with lots of work to do in the race. When I got up to the group battling for points, my engine blew. It's a shame because we were fast in the wet with second on Friday and continued to progress in the dry too. I'm looking forward to Aragon. Again, we have things to try at the start of the weekend. They are things I would have liked to have tested first but it wasn't possible, so we will adapt during free practice. The circuit at Aragon is pretty cool, I raced there last year although we used a different version of the last corner. I like the nature of the circuit so I can't wait to get back on my bike. I will be working as hard as possible to bring the team a good result, I believe we can do it so I hope some good luck comes our way."
Fausto Gresini “Things have to turn around for Gino soon. At Misano he showed how fast he is but once again he left without a result to show for it because of a series of problems out of his control. Hopefully he gets the chance to make up for it this weekend at a circuit he already knows.”
NO MORE MISTAKES FOR FEEM
Team Gresini Moto2 rider Ratthapark Wilairot is fit and ready for action this weekend despite giving the whole team a huge fright after his crash at Misano two weeks ago. The biggest cost to Wilairot was to his confidence and the Thai rider's main aim is to build towards a good result without any more mistakes this weekend.
Ratthapark Wilairot “At Misano we were able to gather a lot information about the new frame with dry and wet conditions. I am happy with the change and in qualifying we improved it a lot in the dry. I feel more confidence when entering the corner and feel less chatter. That was good for me because I'd crashed on Friday morning and then again in the warm-up, which left me with a lot of pain in my left leg and hip, so I have to stop crashing and keep my confidence up going into each race. Every year at Aragon it's very hot because it's in the middle of the desert but I have looked at the forecast and it looks like it will be a bit colder than last year. This track requires a lot of concentration because it's very long and fast. I don't want to make any mistakes now. We are getting closer to the front and for sure here I have to get points."
Fausto Gresini “Feem had us more than a little concerned at Misano. There were a few horrible minutes when we weren't sure how he was but luckily he was okay and now he can go to Aragon with the aim of putting a difficult weekend behind him.”
Repsol riders race at home before flyaway rounds
Dani Pedrosa and Marc Márquez go to MotorLand Aragón with the aim of taking a first home victory of the season. Maverick Viñales intends to return to winning ways in front of home fans.
Marc Márquez can claim his fourth consecutive win of the season —his 25th in the past three years.
Only Casey Stoner has won a premier class race at Aragon (2010, 2011). On both occasions, Dani Pedrosa has finished second.
Maverick Viñales chases his tenth career Grand Prix victory.
The MotorLand Aragon circuit will host a Grand Prix event for the third time in its history this weekend. With the absence through injury of the winner on both of the previous two years, Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda Team colleague Dani Pedrosa will try to take to the top step of the podium in MotoGP. Marc Márquez, runaway leader of the intermediate category, looks to continue his run of three consecutive victories —and repeat last year's victory at the track. The Moto3 squadron of Maverick Viñales, Álex Rins and Miguel Oliveira will seek to return to the podium in the third Spanish race of the year, whilst Álex Márquez will again try to finish in the points.
The MotoGP World Championship has had only one winner at Aragon: Casey Stoner, undefeated in the 2010 and 2011 races. The absence of injured Repsol Honda Team rider leaves teammate Dani Pedrosa as the favourite to take over his reign. The Repsol rider, second for the past two years and the victor of two consecutive races before being taken out at Misano two weeks ago, is in excellent form.
Sharing the garage with number 26 will be Jonathan Rea, contesting his second MotoGP race. The Superbike rider will once again be onboard Stoner’s bike this weekend and looking to improve further on his strong eighth place debut in the World Championship two weeks ago.
After a stunning final lap in the Misano race, Marc Márquez is positioned at the head of the Moto2 standings with a record advantage this season. He is 53 points ahead of second placed rider Pol Espargaró. The Repsol rider has challenged himself to score his fourth consecutive win this weekend, which would be his 25th victory since joining the World Championship. If he can achieve it, then Márquez would have exceeded his overall total from 2011 —with four races to go in the current campaign.
Maverick Viñales wants to regain a spot on the podium in front of the Spanish fans. The Spanish rider knows what is required, having placed on the rostrum last season, and still wants to push series leader Sandro Cortese all the way. Álex Rins makes a first visit in the World Championship to a circuit that he knows perfectly and at which he intends to continue his magnificent rookie year, in which he lies fifth in the overall standings. Teammate Miguel Oliveira is ninth and will try to finish an Aragón GP for the first time. Álex Márquez has recent experience of the track from a second position in the Spanish Championship a few months ago, as he debuts there in Grand Prix racing.
"Aragon is a very good race and the circuit is impressive. We went there with the team for a two day test at the beginning of this month and we did a good job. Personally, I'm looking forward to seeing the Spanish crowd again, it would be great to see the circuit full of people like we had in the previous years. The bike is working well and I'm feeling good; we go there with the same determination as always and motivated to continue riding well and have another good race."
"I am now in week four of my five back-to-back races including both SBK and MotoGP but I am still really excited about this coming race. Having tested in Aragon on the RC213V a couple of weeks ago I am feeling more confident coming to this race than I was in Misano. Hopefully I will be able to pick up where I left off after the test as I was really starting to bond with the bike. Aragon has a really long straight which suits the power of the Honda and I am really looking forward to working with the Repsol Honda guys again and building on the experience I have gained to date.”
“MotorLand Aragon is a track which went rather well for me last year and at which I felt very comfortable. Let’s hope that it is the same this time. We’ll try to keep calm and have a good weekend in front of the fans. This track has a very technical first section, but the final sector is also very tricky. It is a circuit where you need to be good at cornering. The circuit is very close to Lleida, so I am sure that my friends, family and supporters will be coming along and that I will give my all to get the best result possible.”
“The championship has become an uphill struggle and we aren't just depending on ourselves now —we need to hope for a mistake from the leader. I am going to attack at the Aragón GP for that reason. Strategic riding is useless now. I want to win as many races as possible, force Cortese to the limit and finish the season in the best way possible.
I like the MotorLand track a lot, although it has a very long straight for which you need a good engine. I hope to have one this weekend and get back to the top step of the podium. Riding at home again motivates me a lot, and I'm sure that the fans will push me to take a great result.”
“This is a very interesting circuit. It is fast with long straights and a climb that is very tricky. It is fun to ride and I like it, although last year I was unable to finish the race. This weekend I hope to have a pleasing result, which we will be working for ahead of the contest. The track requires good cornering technique and opening the throttle very early if you want to put in good times. The engine is very important on the climb.”
“I am very excited about this Grand Prix, because a lot of people will be there for me. The town where my family live is near the circuit, so I hope to do as well as possible for them. It is a track that I like and I am motivated after taking fourth at Misano. MotorLand Aragon is a track with few slow corners and a high difficulty level. It was hard for me to feel comfortable the first time I rode there, but as time has gone on I have become more familiar with it and now I like it.”
“We come to the Aragon GP with energy and desire to do well. I like the track and we can go fast there, although we shouldn't forget to take things step-by-step and work methodically with the team. If we carry on working in the same way, then I think that we can have a good race.”
The NGM Mobile Forward Racing Team on their way to Aragon
The 14th round of the season brings the World Championship back to Spain. Aragón will host the Grand Prix for the third time since its opening in 2010. The Gran Premio Iveco de Aragón will be the perfect scenario for the NGM Mobile Forward Racing Team to confirm positive feelings left by the Misano GP.
Colin Edwards is feeling more confident after the considerable setup improvements achieved during the Misano GP. Aragón presents itself as the ideal opportunity for American rider and his Suter – BMW to fight with the top CRTs.
In Moto2 Alex De Angelis and Yuki Takahashi continue their progress with their FTR bike. The rider from Sam Marino left his home GP scoring valuable points, proving that he has a good feeling with the bike and with a bit of luck he will surely have the chance to fight for the top positions.
For the Japanese rider, after an unfortunate crash early on during the Misano race, is now looking forward to this weekends race to prove his good feeling with the FTR bike and scoring the first points of the season and maybe even fighting for the top ten at this Aragón Grand Prix.
NEW LOOK MAPFRE ASPAR TEAM HEAD TO ARAGÓN
Luca Amato ready for Grand Prix debut as compatriot Jonas Folger aims to continue impressive form
After the brief respite of a weekend off the MotoGP World Championship continues apace this weekend as the series heads off into the Spanish wilderness for the GP of Aragón. Over 5km of fast and flowing elevation changes await the riders, who have enjoyed riding at the Motorland circuit ever since it was first introduced as a replacement circuit before being installed as a fixture on the calendar. In the Moto3 class Sanro Cortese's latest victory at Misano means he leads the championship by 46 points over Maverick Viñales, with the Spaniard now coming under pressure for second place from his compatriot Luis Salom.
Jonas Folger makes only his fourth appearance for the MAPFRE Aspar Team this weekend with a third place and a victory already under his belt. The German finished sixth at Misano, a result that was more in line with expectations, but he is determined to return to the podium this weekend. He will be joined in the MAPFRE Aspar Team garage this weekend by a new team-mate in the shape of Luca Amato. The 16-year-old makes his World Championship debut at Aragón, making the step up from the Spanish Championship.
Jonas Folger: "I love Motorland because of the elevation changes. It is a difficult and demanding circuit and that's why I like it. We were close to the podium at Misano and I'd like to get back there this Sunday. We were just a second off and I know that if we keep working as we have done up to now we'll have a chance at Aragón. We have to work hard on our race pace in practice and then come up with a good strategy for Sunday because as we have seen in recent weeks everybody pushes to the very finish in Moto3. As far as bike set-up is concerned we took a big step forward with the front end at Misano so we'll try and maintain this progress."
Luca Amato: "I am really looking forward to getting to Motorland and making my debut in the World Championship. I am working really hard to be as prepared as I possibly can for this really important weekend. I will try to adapt as quickly as possible to the tam and get a good feeling for the bike from the start. Motorland is a fast circuit with a lot of left-hand corners and personally I like that. I still don't know how the weekend will go but I just hope to learn as much as possible about the bike and get used to the team quickly. I will do my best to make the team proud and I can't wait for the GP of Aragón to get started."
NEXT STOP MOTORLAND FOR MAPFRE ASPAR TEAM
Nico Terol and Jordi Torres target top results in front of home crowd at Aragón
There are only six circuits on the MotoGP calendar that measure over five kilometres and this weekend the series heads to one of them. The 5.078km layout of Motorland this weekend plays host to the thirteenth round of the season for the Moto2 class and the third Spanish race of the year. The spectacular Aragón track features a host of elevation changes, wide corners and a grippy track surface, giving the riders an opportunity to enjoy themselves before a gruelling trip to the far east and beyond. Marc Márquez's latest victory at Misano puts him in a strong position at the top of the championship but his rivals are sure to keep the pressure on for as long as they have a mathematical possibility of the title.
Optimism is high in the MAPFRE Aspar Team camp, with Nico Terol and Jordi Torres both excited to perform on home soil. Both are past winners here - Nico in the 125cc class last year and Jordi in the Spanish Championship earlier this season - and they are both looking to make up for a disappointing weekend at Misano.
Nico Terol: "We get to stop off at Motorland before heading out to Asia. It is a wide circuit with fast and flowing corners and usually I go well there. The track is grippy and you can get leaned over and open the gas without too much fear of the bike sliding. Whenever I rode there on the 125 I felt good and I'm sure it will be the same with the Moto2. Hopefully we can have a good race and get Misano out of our system because we struggled there and lost the momentum that we had built in the previous few races. I have had a tough week training and riding supermoto so my batteries are fully charged. I feel very prepared for the third home race of the season and the end of the season in general. Motivation is high."
Jordi Torres: "I am really happy to be competing in the Aragon GP, a home race. I spent last week training hard for it and spent a lot of time on the bicycle trying to lose the odd kilo so that I'm at less of a disadvantage compared to my rivals. It would be nice to be up in the top positions from the start this weekend because I know the track. I hope we can find a good set-up from early on so I can focus on finding the time in my riding. The good thing about knowing the track is that I don't have to waste time during practice finding my reference points, just riding. It is a long and demanding circuit and we'll have to stay focused in order to not make mistakes."
NICCOLO LOOKING TO STRIKE RIGHT BALANCE AT ARAGON
Niccolò Antonelli heads to the next round of the Moto3 World Championship at Aragon this weekend looking to make up for the disappointment of his home race at Misano last time out. The youngster struggled to match his practice pace in the race, largely due to the fact that the team are struggling to find an effective position for the extra weight ballast he is forced to carry. The goal is to find a solution as soon as possible so that Niccolò can demonstrate his talent on track.
Niccolo’ Antonelli “We really wanted a good result in my home race but after a good start we struggled with the same old problems. Unfortunately we have a lot of work to do to find the right balance for the bike because at the moment it is a real issue. I'll work hard with the team at Aragon to try and find a solution because I am convinced that once we do so we will make swift progress.”
Fausto Gresini “It was a shame that the result didn't come at Misano for Niccolò but until we find a solution with the ballast he is going to struggle. We are working hard on it and the guys have the ability to work it out. As soon as we get through this issue Niccolò will be able to perform to his maximum on track and achieve the results we are expecting from him.”
MotoGP Moto3 - Team Italia FMI ready to play in Aragon
Moto3 will get on track for the 13th time this year in the recently built Spanish track.
Romano Fenati (Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#5) is ready to confirm the progress shown in Misano (2nd in qualifiers, his best result of the season) and further improve his already solid debut season. This time, he can count on one of the few tracks he already knows, as he was 4th last year during the second CEV race. He already collected 120 points in the championship, with four podiums and the Jerez victory, and wants to extend the streak of 4 races in the points zone to conquer the title of Rookie of the Year.
Tonucci (Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#19) needs to put the Misano race behind. After his best qualifying session of the year, tire issues dropped him back out of the points zone. He will try to recover in Aragon, as fighting closer to the top can give him the right confidence ahead of the last few races of the year.
Massimo Vergini (Team Manager)
"We head to Spain with high hopes. Fenati is following the development path we planned early on this year, he's more mature and able to manage qualifiers and races. He's always been on the podium on tracks he already knows, and we hope he doesn't break this tradition here. Tonucci is hungry after the problems in Misano, and ready to turn his frustration into positive energy to tackle next race."
The final countdown to the concluding 5 races of the Moto GP Season
After a 2 week break, Brad Binder is ready to race again in Spain, this time on a track he's never raced on before: the Motorland Aragon Circuit.
Brad's been "studying" the track at home, watching 125cc class practice sessions and races from the last two years. Obviously, the young South African knows he'll have to wait until he gets on the track on his own bike before really getting to grips with Aragon's layout, he isn't too worried about it since learning new tracks quickly is one of his strengths.
The 2012 season is getting closer and closer to its end, and Brad would like to finish the last 5 races in the points. The Iveco Grand Prix of Aragon will be a special GP for the 17 year old motorcycle racer, because the whole Binder family will be attending, including his dad Trevor and his 14 year old brother Darryn. Darryn is currently leading the South African Moto 3 Championship and will be heading from Aragon to the Red Bull Moto GP Rookies Selection Process, also in Spain. Darryn hopes to join Brad in the MotoGP paddock in 2013.
Brad Binder: " It's always exciting for me to race on new tracks, and it seems like every rider likes Aragon, so I'm definitely looking forward to racing on this track! After Misano, I went back to Spain and kept on training every day. I also had some good fun with my mate from last year's Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup James Flitcroft, plus my dad and brother have just arrived from SA, so I'm very happy to see them! Just 5 races to go before the end of my so far unlucky rookie season, but I won't give up and I'll do the best I can to make my team, fans and sponsors proud!"
Motorland Aragon is located near the city of Alcañiz in the Spanish autonomous region of Aragon. Motorland Aragon boasts an ultra-modern facility and its roots are firmly established in street racing – which took place between 1963 and 2003. Heeding safety calls the construction of a sporting complex dedicated to motorsport was proposed and renowned German architect Hermann Tilke was commissioned to design the facility.
From a spectator’s point of view you can see a lot of the track from any one position. It is a high speed, anti clockwise circuit and has 17 turns. The 5.078km circuit has 10 left hand corners, 7 right hand corners and is 15m in width. In its first year as a Grand Prix Circuit in 2010 Motorland Aragon was awarded the IRTA Best Grand Prix of the Year Award, the first time a circuit has received the prize in its debut year.
Dunlop’s Durability Demonstration
Dunlop’s Moto2 tyres return to Spain for the third of four visits this season for the Gran Premio Iveco de Aragón which takes place at Motorland Aragón on September 28 – 30.
All out at Aragón
A recent addition to the MotoGP calendar, with the first event taking place in 2010, Aragón was designed by F1-famed designer, Hermann Tilke. The track has an even layout in terms of demands on both sides of the tyres. Incorporating undulation, there are fast downhill sections which include right hand turns. High braking demands are notable, especially for the downhill turns 14/15.
As a new facility, surface abrasion was notable. This diminishes over time so it will be interesting to see how harsh the surface is for its third MotoGP. The circuit is 5.077km long with 17 turns.
Dunlop will unleash the Group C Durability Focused combo of the 3855 & 3838 compounds to withstand the rigours of the Aragon circuit. These two compounds are well suited to high wear circuits affected by local weather conditions such as high temperatures.
3855 is a new medium compound for 2012 for Moto2. Tested and used in the FIM Endurance World Championship at Qatar. 3838 is the harder option core compound. High wear resistance with good consistency over distance. Both rear tyres are in the ATR05 construction and are joined by the season-familiar front allocation of the 717 and 302 compounds.
Dunlop’s Moto2 Operations Manager, Clinton Howe:
“Aragón has presented us with some interesting challenges in the past. We’ve tested there and seen extreme track temperatures of up to 56˚C, which is as hot as we’ve seen anywhere in the world. For the 2010 event we experienced track temperatures of 16˚C – a massive 40˚C cooler.
“This prior experience means our tyre allocation choice very difficult as we could be faced with the hottest track of the season, or the coolest.
“The layout itself has long corners which put high forces through the tyres and create a lot of energy as the construction and compounds react to this energy, which creates heat. This is intensified if there are very high ambient and track temperatures, of the likes we experienced at the 2010 test.
“If the track temperatures are much lower, and you have a scenario where the tyre compound does not work as it should have this can cause high levels of wear through abrasion.
“This means you need a tyre allocation capable of reacting to a range of conditions, which is quite a tough request. In this regards the Group C Durability Focused allocation should serve us well, especially with the ATR05 construction which showed well at Aragón last year, despite a 20ºC difference in track temperature seen over the course of the weekend.”
Moto2 Rider Quote: Nicolas Terol, Mapre Aspar Team Moto2, Suter:
“I like Aragon very much. It´s a very wide circuit, combining fast sections with slow ones. The fast corners are very important. Then it is also important the 'corkscrew' because after that it comes a very fast corner, you have to be clever, otherwise you can lose many time. In the last corner of the circuit bike slides very much, so you have to be confident with the rear tyre. The track has much grip, so the only think we can ask to Dunlop tyres is durability, in order to arrive at the end of the race with good feelings. Yes. To be honest my beginnings with Moto2 were quite hard, but my adaptation has been great. I have always ridden with Dunlop and it´s the best tyre I can use.”