Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first day of practice at Motegi:
JONAS FOLGER SETS EARLY PACE AT MOTEGI
MAPFRE Aspar rider quickest in opening free practice and seventh overall with Luca Amato 30th
There was no time for jetlag for the Moto3 riders at Motegi today as they opened the action at the Grand Prix of Japan with the first free practice this morning. Under bright blue skies and with perfect temperatures as high as 25ºC Jonas Folger set the pace in the opening session before his German compatriot Sandro Cortese took over the reigns in the afternoon, dominating a field that also includes local wildcards Watanabe and Kamei. The fastest lap of the day in Moto3 was a 1.59.448, almost two seconds off Mika Kallio's minor category lap record here (1.57.666).
It was a day of experimentation for the MAPFRE Aspar Team, with both Jonas Folger and Luca Amato testing a variety of new things over the course of the two sessions. Jonas made a strong start, dominating the timesheets in the opening practice this morning before trying a change to his gearbox setting in the afternoon that did not have the desired effect. Time spent in the garage reverting the bike back to its original setting saw the German drop to seventh place by the end of the day but he remains confident that the team have the solution that will see him fighting for top spot again tomorrow. For Amato today was a first opportunity to uncover the secrets of Motegi, the MAPFRE Aspar Team rookie lapping 30th fastest overall.
7th Jonas Folger 2.00.219 (27 laps): "This morning's session was very positive but we made some changes for the afternoon that didn't work out as we'd hoped. We went the wrong way with the gearbox setting and that led to some other problems so we lost quite a lot of time. Even so we managed to try some chassis settings and rule out some things that don't work and now we have a clear idea of what we need to do tomorrow. Today was the day to try new things and I'm sure tomorrow we will find the feeling we are looking for."
30th Luca Amato 2.02.403 (31 laps): "It was another day of adaptation for me. It's a nice track but it's quite tricky and I had to find my reference points. We had a few problems with the bike and struggled for a chassis setting. I was struggling to hold my line in the corners but it's only the first day and we have tonight to work out where we can improve. Tomorrow we will keep racking up the laps to help me adapt and hopefully my feeling will improve little by little."
Positive start for Viñales,
despite small crash
Repsol rider places second on opening day of practice in Japan, in which Miguel Oliveira, Álex Rins and Álex Rins finish eighth, eleventh and fifteenth, respectively.
The first practice sessions for the Japanese Grand Prix took place today at Motegi, beginning round fourteen of the Moto3 World Championship. Maverick Viñales began strong with the second best time of the day, progressively improving despite missing the final quarter of an hour in the second session through a crash. Oliveira, Rins and Márquez, riding in Japan for the first time, were a little further back.
On the opening run, which took place with damp patches on the track from overnight rain, Viñales undertook 14 laps and claimed the fourth best time —2’00.609. He was 0.390 behind fastest rider Jonas Folger. Miguel Oliveira was 0.893 behind the German in his first session in Japan, in ninth. He was a tenth of a second quicker than teammate Álex Rins, who placed thirteenth. Álex Márquez was twentieth after 17 laps, with his best being a 2’01.973 that was 1.7 seconds off the top.
Making steady improvement, Maverick Viñales broke the 2 minute barrier in the second session — stopping the clock on 1’59.799 to take second spot. He was 0.351 behind Sandro Cortese. However, with 14 minutes remaining in the session he lost the front on a left hander and spent the remainder of the session in his garage. Oliveira was again in the top ten with the seventh best time, less than 8 tenths off Corstese and eighth in the combined timesheet. Álex Rins and Álex Márquez were eleventh and fifteenth, respectively.
FP1 - 2:00.609, 14 laps, 67 km.
FP2 - 1:59.799, 9 laps, 43 km.
"We worked hard and analysed different options. I am very happy, because I think that we are finding a very good setting and getting towards feeling strong again. At the end of the session we had a small accident. We wanted to try a new front tyre and it didn't work out for us. It was too hard and that caused the crash."
FP1 - 2:01.112, 17 laps, 82 km.
FP2 - 2:00.246, 15 laps, 72 km.
“Today was a fairly positive day, as we were able to do a good job. In the first session the aim was to learn the track, as it is my first time riding here. I adapted quickly, as it is an ideal layout for my riding style. In the second session we tried to improve a few aspects of the bike, but we found a few problems with the setting. We will try to sort that out tomorrow and place higher up. The forecast is good."
FP1 - 2:01.250, 18 laps, 86 km.
FP2 - 2:00.462, 17 laps, 82 km.
“We adapted pretty quickly to the circuit in the first session, and in the second we were able to improve our times. We still need to resolve a few things with the bike, in order to see if we can up our pace. I like Motegi; it is a track with hard braking and acceleration. It is definitely a nice track."
FP1 - 2:01.973, 17 laps, 82 km.
FP2 - 2:01.112, 15 laps, 72 km.
“The first day in Japan was positive for us. It was my first time at Motegi and I liked the circuit.We took some important steps forward with both my riding and the bike. I feel good ahead of tomorrow and think that we can do a good job. I am motivated for qualifying. We shall see in the third practice session if we can improve on a few things to be even better prepared."
CARETTA TECHNOLOGY - Motegi GP - Free Practice
The MotoGP circus arrived in Japan in Twin Ring Motegi Circuit for the first of extra Europa races. The riders of Caretta Technology team today working to find a perfect set-up and try to learn quickly the track.
Jack Miller: " Yea, I like this circuit and my times have been pretty good. The bikes OK but I need some more feel on the front and then I can go some more. So long as I don’t get held up in traffic again we should be good".
John McPhee: " Lots to learn, as it’s my first time here, but I’m enjoying it and I like the track. The bike and the new engine feels good, we’ll be working some more on gearing before the next session. Once we get the set up right I’m confident I’ll make a step forward again".
FIRST DAY AT MOTEGI: TOUGH SESSIONS FOR IANNONE, ANDREOZZI KICKS IN THE WEEKEND WITH GOOD LAP TIMES
The fourteenth event for the Moto2 class, the Airasia Grand Prix of Japan, kicked off today, at the circuit of Motegi.
In the free practice of the morning, Iannone and his crew used the session to work on some modifications on the Speed Up machine, with the aim to find some effective solutions to improve the set-up of the bike. In the afternoon, Andrea was forced to lose most of the session because of a technical problem that stopped him at the beginning of the session. In the last part of FP2, the rider from Vasto tried to make up for the lost time, without achieving a better result than the twenty-fifth spot.
It was a positive morning for Andreozzi, who got out on the track for the first time in Motegi. Once the modifications to be tried out were outlined for the second session of the day, Alessandro improved his lap time of 1.098 seconds, getting closer to more competitive times.
Andrea Iannone #29 - 25th with 1'53.719
“This was a tough day. We are stuggling to find a good solution to improve the bike: we lack grip and the chattering we have to deal with doesn’t really help. I’m not happy because here, last year, we won the race, whereas now we are having a difficult time. What’s more, at the beginning of the session we had to face a technical problem and we lost most of the time at disposal. I know the crew is working hard and that they’ll do anything possible to help me to improve. Let’s wait for the sessions of tomorrow and hope things will work out better.”
Alessandro Andreozzi #22 - 28th with 1'54.534
“This morning our first session on track went well, considering it was the first time I was out on track here at Motegi. The initial output was positive, and in the afternoon we managed to improve thanks to some important modifications we prepared for the bike. I’m happy because time after time we are improving our pace and we are getting closer to more competitive lap times. Tomorrow we’ll try to keep making some progress.”
MotoGP Moto3 - Team Italia FMI in the Top 10 during free practice in Motegi
Romano Fenati (Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#5), at his debut on the fast and technical Japanese track, showed once again his quick learning capacities, being among the fastest riders since the very beginning despite a humid surface.
He improved throughout FP2, posting a best time of 1'59"938, + 0"490 behind provisional poleman Cortese.
He closed his session with a few minutes to go due to a highside, without consequences.
Alessandro Tonucci (Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#19) also had a positive Friday in Japan, taking advantage of his experience last year (he was tenth in the race).
After posting the 15th time in FP1, he climbed the time sheets and closed in 10th position with a 2'00"418, less than a second behind Cortese.
Romano Fenati (Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#5) 26 laps, 1'59"938
"I like this track and it's a honor to ride here with a Honda. The team and I are working well, and we'll try to improve ahead of the race. I made a mistake in picking the line and crashed, fortunately I'm not hurt. I actually feel in great shape."
Alessandro Tonucci (Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#19) 28 laps, 2'00"418
"It's been a positive day one. We worked on finding the best setup in the morning, as this track necessitates an aggressive approach. We reaped the fruits during FP2, getting much closer to the front. I'm ready to finish this last leg of the season positively."
Roberto Locatelli (FMI Technical Coordinator)
"Great teamwork today, placing both riders in the Top 10. The atmosphere is great and we're working to find the best technical solutions for the race. Both Fenati and Tonucci rode well and with confidence. We will be prepared during the qualifiers tomorrow."
Marc Márquez fastest in Moto2
World Championship leader clocks fastest time on day one in Japan.
Marc Márquez was fastest out of the blocks on the opening day of practice for the Japanese Grand Prix —round fourteen of the Moto2 World Championship. The Repsol rider was third in the morning session (0.161 down on the best time, set by Esteve Rabat) but dropped nearly half a second in the afternoon to finish at the top of the combined timesheet.
The opening session at Motegi was used by Márquez and his team to look for a setting and pick up pace. The series leader by 48 points, Márquez completed 19 laps —the best a 1’52.285 that was 0.62 off Pol Espargaró and 0.161 off Esteve Rabat, the fastest rider in the morning.
With twenty additional laps in the second session, the Repsol rider continued his habitual steady progress to place at the top of the lap charts. His final burst was enough to knock Bradley Smith from the no.1 spot and made him the only rider to go round in under 1’52. His final time was 1’51.834.
FP1 - 1:52.285, 19 laps, 91 km.
FP2 - 1:51.834, 20 laps, 96 km.
“For the past few races the opening sessions have taken place in the wet, so this morning we used our traditional plan for the weekend and tried out some different setups. Motegi isn’t one of my favourite tracks, but I’ve always gone pretty well here. In the first session I was a little uncomfortable, but we improved in the afternoon.
I think that there are still some points on which to work tomorrow, although we did a good job today. It is still only Friday, so we have Saturday to go in which we will try and move forward. Then we have Sunday, which is when the championship points are really decided."
Redding and Kallio both on the pace at Motegi
Motegi, Japan - 12 October 2012: The Marc VDS Racing Team enjoyed a successful opening day at Motegi, with Scott Redding finishing third fastest and Mika Kallio tenth. Both riders were within one second of the fastest lap, set my championship leader Marc Marquez.
Redding was quick from the start, posting the fourth fastest lap during this morning's 45-minute first free practice session. Kallio struggled to find a good feeling on the brakes, critical to a fast lap time at the stop start Motegi circuit, and ended the morning session 13th on the timesheet.
Track conditions improved considerably for this afternoon's second free practice, with Redding taking advantage of the increase in grip to jump to the top of the timesheet at the halfway point in the session, but he was eventually pushed back to third by fast laps from Marquez and fellow Brit Bradley Smith.
Set-up changes to Kallio's Kalex Moto2 machine ahead of the second free practice brought an improvement in the heavy braking areas that are such a feature of the Motegi circuit. The 29-year-old Finn improved significantly on his earlier lap time to move up to tenth on the timesheet, just 0.734s off Marquez's fastest lap.
Both Marc VDS riders are confident of further progress tomorrow, as the track conditions continue to improve and they further refine the set-up of their Kalex Moto2 machines.
Scott Redding #45: 3rd - 1'52.160
"The feeling with the bike was pretty good from the off today. I get some pain from my hand on the brakes, especially at the end of the downhill straight into 90° corner, but it's not a big problem and it's certainly not enough pain to justify painkillers. For tomorrow we need to work a bit on the set-up to allow me to brake a little bit later; today it was pretty good, but I also felt like I was right on the limit. Today has been a good start to the weekend and I'm looking forward to more of the same tomorrow."
Mika Kallio #36: 10th - 1'52.568
"This morning I was losing a little bit of time at every turn because I didn't have a good feeling with the bike, especially on the brakes. For this afternoon we made a few set-up changes to improve stability under braking and that made a big difference to the lap times. The braking areas are critical here because there are so many places where you're really hard on the brakes. You need to be able to go deep, not just for the lap times but also for overtaking in the race. Unfortunately, we lost a little bit of the turning and also some rear grip, both of which we need to improve for tomorrow, but not at the expense of the braking performance. As always, it's all about compromise with the set-up."
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"It was a solid opening day for both riders here at Motegi. Scott looked comfortable from the first lap and that was immediately reflected in his lap times. He was third quickest today, but is confident that some small refinements to his set-up tonight will lead to further improvements ahead of qualifying tomorrow. Mika struggled a little this morning, but changes to the bike made a big difference this afternoon and he was less half a second off Scott's time. Like his teammate, Mika is also confident of further improvements tomorrow. If we can continue the progress made today then I think we could see both riders challenging for a front row grid position in tomorrow afternoon's qualifying session."
NICO TEROL SEVENTH FASTEST ON FIRST DAY AT MOTEGI
Torres also on the pace with fifteenth fastest lap time in free practice
Conditions were perfect for the Moto2 riders as they took to the Motegi Circuit for free practice today, with sunshine all day and temperatures above 20ºC. Lap times are already well within record pace, Tito Rabat the man on top of the time sheets in the intermediate class this morning before fellow Spaniard Marc Márquez took control in the afternoon, not without overcoming the strong challenge of Pol Espargaró, Bradley Smith, Scott Redding and Takaaki Nakagami at his home Grand Prix.
MAPFRE Aspar riders Nico Terol and Jordi Torres shook off the jetlag with some fast and consistent times although their focus was on race pace rather than a flying lap. Terol built up steadily to clock his best lap on his final effort and end the day in seventh place. Torres set his best lap midway through the afternoon session and lies fifteenth on the overnight time sheets in Moto2.
7th Nico Terol 1.52.294 (35 laps): "I am happy because I think we have worked well. This morning I was struggling to turn the bike in tight corners so we made a change for the second session. We shortened the rear of the bike and the feeling improved immediately. The bike felt better in the tight corners and the direction changes. My pace was decent in the afternoon and the lap time was good on a used tyre. The most positive thing is that I set it on my own and I am very satisfied with how the day has gone. We have started well and I hope we can continue like this tomorrow."
15th Jordi Torres 1.52.734 (37 laps): "We took things very carefully this morning to get laps in and get a rhythm together. We hardly touched the bike so I could get used to it again, considering that I raced in the European Supersport Championship last weekend so I needed to get my feeling back for the Suter Moto2. We did the same thing this afternoon on used tyres and got comfortable. The goal tomorrow is to improve the lap time because we know we have a good consistent pace. A flying lap will close the gap to the guys at the top."
PRACTICE CRASH FOR ANTONELLI
Niccolò Antonelli luckily escaped unhurt from a crash in the second free practice session but it set his work programme back on his first visit to Motegi. The Team San Carlo Honda Gresini Moto3 youngster struggled for front-end confidence in the numerous hard-braking zones here but his engineers will study the data tonight and try to give Niccolò the opportunity to perform better tomorrow.
Niccolò Antonelli (22nd 2’ 01” 472) “Unfortunately the front closed under braking and I couldn't save the crash. It is a shame because without the problems on the front we could have done much better. Overall the bike didn't feel bad but I didn't have any confidence on the brakes. We will look at the data together with the engineers and try to fix this problem for tomorrow.”
Fausto Gresini “The crash for Niccolò at the start of the second session set us back this afternoon but we were able to get some work done with a view to tomorrow. The position is quite far back but the gap to the top is not huge considering how few laps he did. I am confident and as I have said many times before this is all experience that will serve us and Niccolò well next season, when things will be completely different. The problems are all on the front and we're struggling to solve them at the moment although we are doing our best to improve as much as we can.”
Fine start in Japan for RW Racing GP
With Luis Salom in 6th and Brad Binder in 21st RW Racing GP made a fine start at the Motegi TwinRing. The only problem the Dutch based team had was the same for almost everyone else: bad grip. There was a lot of dirt on the track which made it difficult to find the right tires.
Luis Salom – the number two in the standings of the Moto3 world championship – was on top of the charts half of the time. He didn’t the whole session due to the lack of grip. Brad Binder had a small crash in the end of the second free practice after pushing the front harder than possible.
Luis Salom (6th): "It was too dangerous in my opinion to keep on pushing harder and harder. I had some front grip issues and it was wiser to stop a bit earlier and think about what we can do for qualifying tomorrow. My goal is set on pole position.’’
Brad Binder (21st): "The position doesn’t tell the whole story. My lap times were better than that, but because of my crash I couldn’t do a flying lap. It was nothing special, just a new rear tire that prevented me to push the front harder. Looking at both the sessions of today I’m satisfied. I started with new setting for the clutch and it is an improvement.’’
Team manager Johan Stigefelt: "Actually you could call it an average first day: you try some new things, solve some problems and learn what you have to do better. 21st does not show the potential Brad has. Neither is 6th for Luis. We will make a good strategy for qualifying and for the race.’’
WILAIROT RESTRICTED TO AFTERNOON OUTING AT MOTEGI
A technical problem with his bike meant that Rattapark Wilairot was only able to complete the second free practice session at Motegi today. The Thai rider had an intense session this afternoon focusing all his set-up work into the short time available and building up his confidence with the bike ahead of tomorrow's qualifying session.
Ratthapark Wilairot (26° 1’ 53” 731) “We had a problem with the clutch and engine this morning and we lost the whole session. This afternoon we worked step by step on the setting of the bike and even though we made progress we were still behind the top guys. We know which way we need to go though so we will make some changes to the setting tomorrow.”
Fausto Gresini “Feem was unable to get out this morning and that's disappointing because the thing he needs most is track time to rebuild his confidence after the crash at Misano. He made constant progress this afternoon though and we are optimistic about tomorrow.”
REA FINDS HIS FEET AT MOTEGI
Gino Rea enjoyed two dry free practice sessions at Motegi today, building his confidence and finding his way around the Japanese track for the first time. The British rider is showing points-scoring potential here after improving his feeling with the Suter chassis and he is confident of securing a good grid position in tomorrow's qualifying practic.
Gino Rea (21st 1’ 53” 382) “The position isn't where I want to be but the lap time is decent. It's my first time here so I'm trying to learn the track as well as building my confidence with the bike. With a new tyre I think we could have been in the top fifteen today so I'm feeling much better than I did on the first day at Aragon, when we struggled for dry track time. Today we were able to make the most of the good conditions and I am happy with our progress.”
Fausto Gresini “Finally we've had two dry sessions which has allowed Gino's engineers to improve his bike set-up. He is satisfied and confident for tomorrow. I am encouraged by his determination and we hope that this weekend his good form in practice can be converted into a good result.”