Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi:
Kent wins first ever Moto3 GP; Cortese crashes in last lap to finish sixth
Red Bull KTM rider Danny Kent emerged the winner of the Moto3 GP on the Montegi circuit in Japan after a dramatic last lap cost teammate Sandro Cortese the chance to take the title with three rounds still in hand.
The Championship stakes went through the roof in the final stages of the race when Luis Salom on the Kalex-KTM exited the circuit after coming together with Jonas Folger (Kalex-KTM) and suddenly Cortese was in the lead and facing victory, a 76-points lead and the title at stake. He had to win the race and have his rivals Salom to finish off the podium and Maverick Vinales out of the points and 400 meters to go that was exactly the situation.
Then, with Salom and Folger eliminated, Vinales was back in the running and the lead riders, all hungry for victory, bunched together and suddenly sparks were flying as Cortese’s bike hit the asphalt. The German rider did manage to scramble back and finish the race in sixth place while Kent went on to take the victory with Vinales in second and Alessandro Tonucci of Italy taking the minor podium place.
Other KTM riders to finish strongly were Zulfahmi Khairuddin of Malaysia who was in the mix with the top riders throughout the race. He finished fifth and is very much hoping for a podium next weekend at his home GP. Young KTM riders Arthur Sissis of Australia and Niklas Ajo of Finland finished eleventh and thirteenth.
Cortese now leads by 54 points and his next shot at the title will be next weekend at the Malaysian GP on the Sepang circuit. Should Cortese settle the title he will be the first ever ever Moto3 champion he would also be the first German rider to win the lightweight class world title since Dirk Raudies in 1993.
Comeback of a champion
Repsol rider takes eighth win of the season and moves 53 points clear in Moto2 class.
Marc Márquez performed another historic comeback at the Japanese GP to take his latest victory in Moto2. The Repsol rider was forced to overtake the entire grid after getting stuck on the start. After an excellent opening lap, Márquez crossed the line ninth to begin a comeback reminiscent of a year ago in Australia.
With 14 laps to go, the Repsol rider acheived the impossible, passing Esteve Rabat and taking the lead. For the final 6 laps, the Spaniard engaged in another battle with compatriot Pol Espargaró —besting him by just four-tenths of a second.
With three races to go and 75 points still in play, the Repsol rider leads the Moto2 standings by 53 points.
JONAS FOLGER ROBBED OF VICTORY BY ANOTHER RIDER
MAPFRE Aspar rider leads for almost the entirety of race at Motegi, but is eliminated from the race by a collision from a rival
The Moto3 race at Motegi broke from the established script, right at the end. Folger and Kent set the early pace, but rivals Cortese, Viñales and Salom strangely lacked a consistent pace. The pole lap had been 1'58.37, but nobody was able to go round in under 1'59 in the race itself. Folger led the way as the series leaders joined in the fight at the midway point, but it all led to an unforgettable final lap: On the opening corner, Salom pushed above his capabilities and threw away both his and Folger's chances of victory with a reckless move, then Cortese went to ground after losing his nerve -he later got back on track and was able to finish the Japanese GP. Kent won the race, ahead of Viñales and Tonucci.
If there was a moral victor of the Japanese GP, it was MAPFRE Aspar's Jonas Folger. Seventh on the grid, the German took the lead on lap two and held it four fourteen of the twenty times around Motegi. He set the pace for the lead group, but all this went to waste thanks to the impatience of a rival. Salom made an ill-advised push that denied him the victory. Folger had been going for his and the team's second triumph of the 2012 campaign, but was denied the position that he deserved in Japan.
Teammate Luca Amato concluded a tough weekend of hard work in 22nd place.
The next round of the series takes place next weekend, in Malaysia.
Jonas Folger (DNF): "Today I felt very strong. Although yesterday we had some problems in qualifying, today we had solved the issues for the warm-up session. I started very motivated, I knew I could fight for the win and I tried to split the group from the off. Then I was joined by Kent and we had a tough battle. As the laps went on I started to feel even more comfortable on worn tyres. I felt that the group was having trouble keep up with me, so I pushed to the limit every lap and by now I wanted the win more than anything. I knew that if I kept pushing hard, serious options would achieve. But then, on the final lap, Salom took me out. It was a shame because we had done a great job. I hope to have better luck in Malaysia."
22nd Luca Amato: "This weekend we worked very hard, but we could not find the best set-up for this circuit. Nevertheless, I tried to learn a lot from my second Moto3 World Championship race. It was tough, but at least I was able to finish; little by little I will start enjoying myself more. The bike goes fast and has very good performance, I just need to adapt to it. We must continue working hard next weekend. I am convinced that through hard work, I'll gradually get used to this bike. I know I can ride much faster, and that is what I will try to do by any means necessary."
Viñales places second in crash-filled race
Repsol rider takes to the podium after frantic final lap in which three rostrum contenders crash out. Rins places fourth, Oliveira seventh and Márquez fourteenth.
The Japanese Grand Prix had an unexpected ending for the Moto3 class, with a final lap that allowed a patient Maverick Viñales to move back up to second in the overall standings. The Repsol rider took a deserved podium, with Álex Rins just behind in fourth. Miguel Oliveira was seventh after leading a group of six riders, whilst Álex Márquez picked up two more championship points.
From the start it could be seen that Maverick Viñales was taking things patiently. The Spaniard started from second but was quickly passed by five rivals, remaining in a group of seven riders who fought for the victory until the end. At the beginning of the final lap, a pass from Salom in fourth place went sour and took out Jonas Folger as well as himself. Two corners later, the fight between Kent, Tonucci and Cortese for first ended with the series leader crashing after contact with the Italian, bumping Viñales up to second.
Also benefitting from the crashes was a consistent Álex Rins, who attempted to reach the lead group for the duration of the race and battled with Khairuddin, overtaking him on the last lap to place fourth. Cortese got back up to place behind the two, with Miguel Oliveira the next to cross the line —in seventh. Álex Márquez was again in the points, in fourteenth.
The next round takes place in seven days time, in Malaysia.
2nd at 0.260 sec.
"It was a very difficult race, but Lady Luck smiled upon us a little today. We were able to claw back 10 points and I am happy. On the other hand, I am also displeased because we don't have the bike with which to fight against the rest of the riders. I couldn't do any more today; I went at my own pace and tried not to lose sight of the group. I was at the limit on every lap, which is why I am a little disappointed. We had a very good pace in practices and a strong engine which put me right behind the KTMs, but in the race the engine didn't work like it should have —which was a pity."
7th at 15.523 sec.
“The race didn't go as I had expected. In the beginning I fought to be part of the front group, but on the opening laps I realised that I was getting passed on the straights and I lost contact with the others. In the end I was the first rider in my group and, after crashes for other riders, I gained positions. That gives us a little motivation, but we still need to improve on our engine power. We have to keep positive for the remaining races."
4th at 3.404 sec.
“We are very happy with fourth. On the start I found it a little hard to latch onto the lead group. Then I had a little scare which ran me off-track and took me away from Maverick [Viñales]. I continued at the same pace as them, until Maverick passed Khairuddin. Then my own battle began: I wanted to finish ahead of him. It was a shame that the three riders crashed, but it also cuts the gap to Fenati in the battle for Rookie Of The Year."
14th at 28.375 sec.
“It was a hard race, in which we had problems finding pace. When I felt more comfortable I was able to gain places, but I was part of a group who slowed my progress. I hope to be in the lead group at Malaysia, because I feel more at ease with the bike with every race."
MOTEGI GP: COMPLICATED RACE FOR IANNONE, ANDREOZZI ENDS IN TWENTY-SIXTH POSITION
The fourteenth round of the 2012 Moto2 season was held today, at the circuit of Motegi.
A crash half way through the warm up prevented Iannone from taking full advantage of the session, for which Andrea and his crew had scheduled some modifications for the Speed Up machine. In the race, Andrea started from the eighteenth position on the grid and did all he could to comeback and grab some points. The rider from Vasto ended with the eighteenth placement, and he stays in third position in the Championship Classification (178 points).
In the warm up, Andreozzi and his technicians defined the set-up choices for today’s race. Starting from the ninth row of the grid, Alessandro was struggling a little because of some chattering, but he managed to set a consistent pace and crossed the finishing line in twenty-sixth position.
Andrea Iannone #29 - 18th
“It’s better not to value these results because I’d need to discuss what I’d rather not talk about. I’m sorry for how things went and for this placement in the race, but we are not giving in. I’d like to thank the crew for the work they’ve done, see you all in Sepang.”
Alessandro Andreozzi #22 - 26th
“I didn’t start well, we need to try and improve the initial phases of the race for the upcoming events. Since the beginning we had some chattering problems and I didn’t manage to improve my lap times. There was no chance to push harder as I would have liked, I was hoping for a better result. We ended another race and that’s something useful to get ready and have more data for the next few races.”
THREE POINTS AND FURTHER EXPERIENCE FOR JORDI TORRES AT MOTEGI
MAPFRE Aspar rider places thirteenth and takes points for second consecutive race. Teammate Nico Terol finishes nineteenth
The race pace in Moto2 continued to be fierce in Japan, although maybe not quite reaching the pole time from yesterday (1'50.886). There is normally no margin for error in the category, but today a mistake was made -and recovered from- by Marc Márquez. The Spaniard was stuck in neutral at the start, but made his way back through to win the race. Márquez and Pol Espargaró caught up with Esteve Rabat and there was a three-way fight on the final laps. Márquez won from Espargaró, with Rabat third.
MAPFRE Aspar rider Jordi Torres took three points and further GP experience from the Japanese round. Starting from sixteenth, on the second lap he almost went to ground thanks to another rider, but held on to prevent a crash and complete the 23-lap contest. His comeback was the fruit of an increased pace, and with a little more push in the final stages he could have placed in the top ten -as at Aragón. In any case, the Spaniard was satisfied with his work and is now ready to travel to Malaysia.
Also caught by surprise in the early going was teammate Nico Terol, who dropped from seventh position on the grid to sixteenth. Terol made a comeback but, on lap fourteen, took a trip into the gravel which almost eliminated him from the race. He got back on track to place nineteenth.
13th Jordi Torres: "Today I began the race very motivated. This is a heavy braking circuit and I knew that I had the chance to fight for a good position today. Yesterday I did not qualify as I would have liked, but I was calm about the race. On the first few corners a rider went right through me and I had to hang on tight to keep from falling. I lost many positions from that, but then I started to pick up pace and I began to pass riders. Increasing the pace, I felt more comfortable. Again the bike worked perfectly, but the problem on lap one hindered us a lot. When I reached the group that was ahead of me I lacked a little decisiveness to pass. I stuck with various riders and saw things that could prove useful in the next few races. I picked up a bit more experience today."
19th Nico Terol: "I want to stress that this weekend, once again, we did a great job with the setup. of I was very motivated for the race, but I didn't get a good start. On the second corner I got stuck on the outside and many riders passed me. I acknowledge that on the first few laps I find it hard to find pace and be more aggressive. We have to address this, because later when I checked what others were running, I could have been in the top seven and gone for higher positions. It's too bad that our races are so affected by the opening two or three laps. I'm mad with myself and I hope this serves as motivation. Now I have to go over this race, to analyse all the mistakes and try not to repeat them in Malaysia."
Márquez makes another stellar comeback
Repsol rider takes eighth triumph of the season —one more than in 2011— and moves 53 points clear in Moto2 standings.
Marc Márquez once again made an historic comeback at the Japanese Grand Prix, taking his eighth win of the current season and extending his advantage in the overall standings to 53 points. The Repsol rider had stalled on the starting grid and needed to overtake the entire Moto2 field. It was reminiscent of the 2011 Australian GP but, whilst on that occasion he placed third, this time he went all the way.
When the lights went out and it was time to start, Márquez’ Moto2 machine remained in neutral and the other riders moved ahead of him. That set things up for an epic race from the Spaniard, who reached the first corner ahead of just four riders. He began to pass quickly and was up to ninth by the end of lap one.
The Repsol rider continued moving up the order and finally, ten laps in, he achieved the impossible and passed Esteve Rabat for the lead. On the final six laps he was joined in a tussle for the win with persistent rival Pol Espargaró, who had imposed a speedy pace to catch up. Márquez won by 4-tenths of a second at a track where he won in 2010, the year of his 125cc title win.
With just three races remaining this year and 75 points in play, the Repsol rider has a 53 point advantage in the standings. He could be crowned 2012 Moto2 World Champion in seven days time, in Malaysia.
1st - 42.56.171
“I made a huge mistake on the start —it was a rookie mistake. When I engaged first gear I noticed something strange, but at that moment I was only focusing on the lights and on making a good start. I didn't think to check that the gear had slotted in correctly. When the lights went out I found I was still in neutral and the first thing to cross my mind was to hope that nobody hit me from behind. I wasn't just because I didn't want to miss the race, but rather that the other rider and myself could have been very badly hurt.
I had a lot of luck in that respect, but on the opening corner I was very far back and had to give 100% on the early laps. When I saw that I wasn't with the lead group, my aim was to take as many points as possible. However, I surprised myself with how I moved up places and reached the frontrunners. From then on, I took things much more calmly when it came to overtaking.
From the midway point through to the end we had a better pace than in qualifying, which is very positive as Motegi is a track where the Kalexs go very well. To take 25 points here is important."
Niklas Ajo made his way to the points at Motegi
Niklas Ajo showed his true fighters character when he made his way to the world championship points in season´s 14th Moto3 GP at Motegi in Japan.
Ajo, who had troubles in qualifying, made a great start with his KTM bike from 23rd place and improved his position by eight already during the first lap. Ajo crossed the finish line being 13th just before his Spanish rival Alex Marquez.
“The beginning went just nice but after that in the next five laps I could´t just do my best”, describes Ajo, “At that stage I perhaps rode even too carefully after my tyres had slipped for the first time.”
18 years old Ajo minimized the risks and admits that he might have been able to push even harder.
“After all the tyres didn´t slip more towards the end. But there is no reason for ifs and buts. This was a good result after a difficult qualifying.”
In the last GP in Aragon, Spain Ajo made his way from 20th place of the grid to 14th. For Ajo the Motegi was like a replay from the race two weeks ago as he managed again to keep Marquez behind him. At Aragon the duo finished only one tenth of a second apart and in Motegi the difference was only seven thousandth of a second.
“I have fought with Marquez all the way since the Spanish series and it seems that the battle goes on. The last ten laps here at Motegi were a really tough fight between us.”
In the hard contest they were also going fairing to fairing.
“Alex hit me once and I went wide but luckily nothing more serious happened”, says Ajo.
The race was won by pole man Finnish team Ajo Motorsport´s British rider Danny Kent. The victory was the first one of his career.
Kent´s German teammate Sandro Cortese crashed in the final lap from the lead. He managed to continue his way and crossed the finish line sixth. Cortese leads the championship standing by 56 points when three GPs remain. The two following ones will be held week a part at Sepang in Malaysia and at Phillip Island in Australia.
“We will go to Malaysia with positive minds and one of the most important target over there is to improve my position in the qualifying. However the Sepang circuit is new to me. I got to know it last year by walking but I wasn´t able to ride then due to the fracture I had in my wrist.”
Hard fought fourth for Redding at Twin Ring Motegi
Motegi, Japan - 14 October 2012: Scott Redding took a hard fought fourth place finish after a hectic battle in this afternoon's Japanese Moto2 Grand Prix at Twin Ring Motegi. Mika Kallio suffered a disappointing end to what was a difficult weekend, finishing 17th after an off track excursion.
Redding got a good start from the second row of the grid and pushed his way through to take the race lead on the opening lap. Tito Rabat forced his way past Redding on the second lap, with his Pons teammate Pol Espargaro also finding a way past the British teenager five laps into the race.
From that point on Redding was involved in a ferocious battle with Toni Elias and Tom Lüthi, with Elias continually diving up the inside of the Marc VDS rider only to run wide on corner exit. Eventually the Spaniard pushed too hard and crashed out of the race, leaving Redding to hold off a hard charging Tom Lüthi to take fourth at the chequered flag.
Kallio got a flying start from the fifth row of the grid and then made up places in almost every corner to complete the opening lap in 7th position. The 29-year-old Finn was embroiled in a battle for a top five position until mid-race distance, when he missed a gear going into the hairpin and ran off track.
The Marc VDS rider rejoined the race in a distant 20th position, but managed to fight his way back to 17th before taking the chequered flag at the end of the 23-lap race.
The Marc VDS Racing Team now head directly to Kuala Lumpur for next weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix, the 15th round in this year's Moto2 World Championship.
Scott Redding #45: 4th Position
"It was a hard race today, especially with my wrist, which took a bit of a beating with the hard braking here at Motegi. I couldn't stay with Rabat and Espargaro when they went past me, as I was having a few problems getting my foot under the gear lever in the final sector and then the rear started spinning up. I thought I might be able to reel them back in, but then Elias started lunging up the inside at every turn and pushing us both wide on exit. It was inevitable that he was going to crash and then it was just a case of holding off Lüthi to the flag. It's another fourth place, which is good for the championship, but I want to be back on the podium again, and soon."
Mika Kallio #36: 17th Position
"I got a good start from the fifth row and just forced my way past as many riders as I could and ended up seventh at the end of the opening lap. The race was going well and I was involved in a battle with Takaaki Nakagami and Tom Lüthi when I missed a gear going into the hairpin. I pulled in the clutch to engage second, but then the bike got out of shape and I had to let off the brake to regain control. Unfortunately I ran off track and rejoined down in 20th place. I managed to finish 17th in the end, but it's not the result I was looking for. It's been a difficult weekend, with the big crash yesterday and the mechanical problems, but now I need to put it behind me and look forward to next weekend's race in Malaysia."
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"It was another good race by Scott today. He had some problems, but managed to maintain his pace and hold off the challenge of Elias and Lüthi to take fourth at a track that doesn't really suit his style. Mika got a great start and looked all set to challenge for a top five finish, but then lost out after missing a gear going into the hairpin. It's been a difficult weekend for him, but he showed once again that he's capable of running a good pace in the race and I'm confident he'll bounce back next weekend in Malaysia."
NICCOLO 12TH AT MOTEGI
Niccolò Antonelli came through a difficult weekend at Motegi with a twelfth place finish in the Grand Prix of Japan, after a determined ride. Unfortunately he suffered an early setback with a blow to his foot on the start, which lost him ground. He responded by regaining a lot of places, gaining further experience along the way.
Niccolo’ Antonelli (12th) “At the start I felt a strong pain in my foot that bothered me, I slowed down just enough to see that everything was in order, but this caused me to lose contact with the group ahead of me. After two or three laps I found pace and started to recover positions, even though it was not easy because often there are slower riders ahead who put you in trouble. I could eventually take two more positions on the last lap, but the yellow flags were out for the crash by Cortese and I had to slow down. Overall I'm happy, because we have made important progress this weekend that I will need for the remaining races of the season.”
Fausto Gresini “To have taken twelfth place after a start that slowed him down is not so bad. Unfortunately, the way he felt pain in his foot and tried check that it was alright cost him important positions. In Moto3 if you let up for a moment you are passed by everyone. It’s too bad, because he would have had the ability and potential to be able to stay with the group ahead of him. It’s another experience that will serve him well for the future and he made some brave overtaking moves. I am happy, because his growing process continues and he will find this useful for next year.”
CORSI FINISHES IN 6th PLACE AT MOTEGI
The different condition than yesterday, with cloudy sky and colder air, hasn’t denied to the spectators to see three wounderful races uncertain untill the end.
It was an unlucky race for Danilo Petrucci forced to retire during the last lap because his IODA-SUTER finished the fuel. After a bad start the Came Iodaracing Team rider has got some position raciging for a long time with the other CTRs, but unfortunately during the last lap he had to retire while he was in 16th position.
Simone Corsi has finished in 6th position the Moto2 race. After a little problem at the start, Simone forced the pace fighting first with Zarco, Simon and Kallio and then reaching and overtaking Nakagami getting the 6th place. After that Simone tried to catch also Luthi and Redding fighting for the 4th place, but they were too far and Corsi finished the race in 6th position.
In Moto3 Armando Pontone had to retire during the warm up lap for a problem to the firmware of the ECU of his TR002.
"Unfortunately I hade to retire at the last lap – Petrucci said – while I was doing a good race with good lap times, but it finished the fuel. We did a good job in these days and I’m confident that we could do a good race in Malaysia”.
"I had little problem at the start with the third gear – Corsi declared – and I have lost some time that denied me to fight for the front positions. We still have to work on the suspensions of my FTR to fight for the podium in Sepang”.
"We were very unlucky – Pontone said – because this morning we didn’t the warm up for a probelm to the ECU. We changed it with a new one for the race and during the warm up lap we had the same problem to the firmware. I hope that in Malaysia will be better”.
25TH FOR REA AT MOTEGI
It wasn’t an easy weekend for Gino Rea at Motegi and in the race he suffered from a lack of rear grip, denying him the chance to ride as he would have liked.
Gino Rea (25th) “Again, it’s been a difficult weekend. We started off not so bad on Friday, but on Saturday we had many problems and we started from too far back. We took a big risk in warmup and tried something different with the rear suspension. It’s just a shame we didn’t have more time to check the bike out, because the warmup was like our Free Practice. It’s frustrating, because on the first few laps I had grip and felt confident, made some good passes. In the middle of the race I tried to catch the group ahead, but when we lost a little grip I had to make up a lot of time on the brakes. Trying to push on corner entry I had a chatter problem, but it’s just frustrating because I know I can be with the front group. We just need more time to find a good setting. Saturday cost us a lot, I think. I hope we can have a better Saturday in Malaysia.”
Fausto Gresini “Unfortunately it was another difficult weekend for Gino Rea and the race was not much better. He lacked grip on the rear which gave him little confidence. We hope that in Sepang in a week’s time, things change for the better.”
FURTHER ARM PROBLEMS FOR FEEM
Pain in his forearm experienced yesterday morning continued today for ‘Feem’, who was nevertheless able to recover positions after a tough start.
Rattaphark Wilairot (21th) “Unfortunately the start affected my race. A rival clipped me and I went wide and to the back of the group. I looked to recover, but it wasn’t easy because my arm started to hurt under strong braking. I hope to recover fitness for Sepang, where I want to go well.”
Fausto Gresini “It’s a pity that the start left him at the back of the group. Feem tried, but the pain in his arm didn not allow him to make the comeback that he had wanted.”
MotoGP Moto3 - Team Italia FMI scores an exciting podium with Tonucci, while Fenati is tenth in Motegi
Alessandro Tonucci (Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#19) confirmed his penchant for the Japanese track by scoring his maiden podium.
After the start, he controlled the opponents and counted on a strong race pace. He stayed with the frontrunners scoring the fastest lap (1'59"111) and set himself up to fight against Folger, Kent, Salom and Khairuddin.
Tonucci stayed at the front with some spectacular passes and late braking. During the last lap, after Salom and Folger crashed out, he had a chance at the victory against Kent, Viñales and Cortese. The latter touched the Italian, almost taking him out, but Tonucci managed to finish in third place (his best result in the championship).
Romano Fenati (Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#5) got off a better start, but could not match the pace at the front and stayed at the margins of the Top 10. He confirmed his talent in adapting to new tracks, and fought against Vasquez, Sissis, Rossi and Antonelli to close in tenth place and add more points to preserve his lead in the Rookie standings (+ 7 on Rins).
Alessandro Tonucci (Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#19) 3rd, + 2"352
"It was a fantastic race. I love this track and to conquer my first podium at Honda's home is a dream come true. The team and I worked well all week-end, improving every day. I want to thank my family, my girlfriend, FMI and the team. They supported me during hard times and I dedicate this podium to them."
Romano Fenati (Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#5) 10th, + 16"129
"I started well but I got stuck in the third group after a few laps and lost my rhythm. The tires were gone by the end of the race, so I just tried to avoid mistakes and bring home a good result. I have to compliment Tonucci on his result. We're a good team. I can't wait to head to Malaysia."
Alfredo Mastropasqua (FMI Team Coordinator)
"Tonucci's podium is the reward for many years of sacrifices and teamwork. It's an emotional moment for him and the team. Fenati brought home a solid result, and put up a fight as usual. We got both our riders on the podium this season, and I want to thank Locatelli and the whole team for the hard work. With three races left, we want to keep up the momentum."
Bad luck costs Smith podium chance in Japan
Tech 3 Racing Team rider Bradley Smith experienced a frustrating Grand Prix of Japan at the Twin Ring Motegi this afternoon after a mechanical failure denied him the opportunity to battle for a first Moto2 rostrum of the season.
The British rider has been one of the fastest and most consistent riders on track all weekend and he started the 23-lap race brimming with confidence after finishing second quickest in this morning's warm-up session.
Smith got a typically fast start from seve nth on the grid to immediately thrust himself into podium contention. The 21-year-old ended the first lap in fourth place but his race was to come to a premature and disappointing end when an engine failure forced him to retire on lap four.
Today's misfortune ended Smith's impressive record of finishing in every race in 2012, but he is confident he will able to bounce back quickly and show his true potential when the Championship resumes at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia next weekend.
Belgian rider Xavier Simeon was able to enjoy a more positive afternoon's work and he deservedly ended his long search for a top 15 finish with a determined ride throughout the 23-lap race.
Starting from 22nd on the grid, Simeon went into attack mode right from the off an d his hard work was rewarded when he moved into the top 15 on lap 18.
He gained one more position in the closing stages of the race and superbly fended off pressure from a group behind that included Mike di Meglio, Yuki Takahashi, Mika Kallio and Andrea Iannone to claim his first World Championship points since the German round in July.
Xavier Simeon 14th – 19 points:
“First of all I want to thank the Tech 3 Racing Team because we really had a lot of problems with the temperature of the front brakes this weekend. This track is very stop and go with some incredibly hard braking points and I was a little bit worried how the brakes were going to perform in the race. But my crew and Nissin did everything to put me in the position to do the race without any issues and I'm really grateful for that. And of course I'm more than happy to have seen the chequered flag this weekend. It has been a long time since I have finished with some bad luck and some mistakes and I really needed a positive result. I was at the front of a big group and I just got my head down and attacked as hard as I could. When I realised I was battling for the points I just tried everything within my power to score them. It is a great finish to the weekend but I want to say sorry to Bradley. He was very fast and very strong all weekend and to be denied the chance of a podium by a technical issue is a big pity for him and the Tech 3 Racing Team."
Bradley Smith DNF – 96 points:
“It is hard to put into words how frustrating it is to see a podium chance taken away in circumstances like that. We have all worked very hard to put ourselves into a great position to battle for the top three and then we don't even complete more than four laps. I was fourth on the first lap but I could already sense there was a problem and then it seemed to clear but on lap four the engine just died and it was race over. I'm very disappointed but at least we have the chance to bounce back quickly in Sepang next weekend. I just hope this wasn't my last chance to fight for a podium in Moto2.”
Herve Poncharal – Team Manager:
“I am very upset today because I think we have been denied the opportunity to fight for a podium through no fault of our own. A tyre issue cost Bradley the chance to go for the front row yesterday in qualifying and today I am absolutely 100% sure he would have bee n challenging for the podium and we had a problem with the engine. So to see Bradley forced out of the race is incredibly frustrating for him and the whole team. I am very sorry for Bradley because he was very fast all weekend and we were very confident he could score his first podium of the season. After all their hard work, Bradley and his crew deserved this and I am sure they will bounce back from this disappointment to battle close to the front in Malaysia. On a positive note I want to say a big thanks to Xavier. He has not been on a good run but he has never let his head drop and he has never stopped giving 100% effort, and today he got his reward. He pushed right to the end and when you see the level of some of those behind him like Kallio and Iannone, this highlights what a great job he did. I am sure now he will use the confidence gained here to finish the season very strongly.”
Khairuddin heads to his home GP after taking fifth place at Motegi
AirAsia-SIC-Ajo Team´s Zulfahmi Khairuddin heads in great shape to season´s 15th GP held on his home track Sepang in Malaysia next Sunday.
Khairuddin who celebrates his 21st birthday on the qualifying day of Malaysian GP next Saturday was fifth with his KTM factory bike at Motegi in Japan.
Khairuddin had a great start from second row and was immediately fighting in a leading group until the bike slid seven laps before the finish line. After making a mistake he was out from the podium battle.
Khairuddin managed to pass few rides in the end and improved his placement in championship standing being now seventh.
“All in all I have a good feeling after the race and I am in a great situation now to head to my home race.”
“Towards the end I found a good rhythm again and I can be pleased with my performance. I managed to change my riding style as we had planned before Motegi”, Khairuddin confirms.
The winner of the GP was Briton Danny Kent who crossed the finish line 0,260 seconds before Spanish Maverick Vinales. Kent took the first victory of his career. Khairuddin finished in the end only 3,645 seconds after Kent.
Khairuddin missed the first podium place of his career by 1,3 seconds while Italian Alessandro Tonucci surprised everyone by finishing third.
Unexpected results at Motegi for the NGM Mobile Forward Racing Team
Yuki Takahashi and Alex De Angelis did not succeed in their set goal of being in the points at the AirAsia Grand Prix of Japan after a complicated qualifying session and equally challenging race.
The Japanese finished the race in 16th position at only a few thousandths from the getting the first points of the season, while for Alex De Angelis the grip problems condemn his weekend.
Yuki Takahashi – 16th
“Today was the home grand prix for Japan and I wanted to do my best. The start was not so bad and after three laps I made a mistake and did an overland and lost some positions and after that I concentrated on keeping a good pace and recover those positions but it was difficult. This weekend we tried many different settings and during the race we gathered important data. I am happy because I know that if I had not made that mistake I could have taken points and we can see now the potential we really have. I will continue working in this direction in Sepang.”
Alex de Angelis - 20th
“We worked very hard this weekend to try and find the best possible solution but in the race the bike moved a lot because we had no grip what so ever. I tried to push and even changed my riding style during the race but it didn’t make a difference. We have to go over the data from this weekend and try to understand why. The grip on track was non existent and it’s a problems that we need to solve.”
Pietro Caprara – Moto2 Technical Director
“An unfortunate race for Yuki Takahashi who went straight losing many positions after a very good start. Difficult conditions for both of our riders due to the lack of grip. For Alex there was also a lack of grip. He goes to Malaysia with a new take on things, going to a track in which he has been on the podium before in Moto2. We have positive expectations.”
Marc Márquez battles from last to first - Alex Rins takes fourth in Moto3 race
Suter MMX2-Pilot Marc Márquez rode like a champion at the Grand Prix of Japan and overtook the entire Moto2 field on the way to his eighth victory of the season.
When his bike stopped on the starting line, the 19-year-old Spaniard dropped back to last. But starting from the first corner, he went on an incredible hunt and recovered ninth place on the opening lap of the race. On lap seven, he passed his Spanish rival Pol Espargaró to take second place. Another three laps later, he had broken the resistance of Esteve Rabat, swept into the lead and controlled the remainder of the race with ease. With three races to go, Márquez now leads the classification by 53 points and only needs to finish the next race at Malaysia ahead of Espargaró to clinch the title. With the success of Márquez, Suter Racing Technology’s lead in the constructor’s championship increased to 41 points.
“I made a huge mistake on the start“, said Márquez. „When I engaged first gear I noticed something strange, but at that moment I was only focusing on the lights and I didn't think to check that the gear had slotted in correctly. When the lights went out I found I was still in neutral and the first thing to cross my mind was to hope that nobody hit me from behind.
I had a lot of luck in that respect, but on the opening corner I was very far back and had to give 100 per cent on the early laps. When I saw that I wasn't with the lead group, my aim was to take as many points as possible. However, I surprised myself with how I moved up places and reached the front runners!“
Fellow Suter MMX2 rider Tom Luthi was one of the riders that found it impossible to match the pace of Márquez and to move up with the Spaniard to the leading positions. With a lack of acceleration in comparison to the riders around him, the 26-year-old from Switzerland missed out on the podium finish that he had aimed at and settled for fifth place. “The positive aspect of this race is that I am now only one point behind Andrea Iannone in the point rankings, which means I have all chances to finish third in the championship”, said Luthi.
Dominique Aegerter in tenth, Julian Simon in eleventh and Jordi Torres in 13th place rounded the race off for Suter Racing Technology, with a total of five Suter MMX2 riders in the point rankings.
In the Moto3 class, Suter Honda rider Alex Rins showed his remarkable talent again and fought his way to fourth place. The Spanish Grand Prix rookie had started from 13th place on the grid, overtook half a dozen riders on the opening few laps of the race and settled into eighth position.
On the last lap, things took a dramatic change when Rins overtook Malaysian KTM rider Khairuddin and won another three places due to a multiple crash of Jonas Folger, Sandro Cortese and Luis Salom. “We are very happy with fourth place“, said Rins. “On the start I found it a little hard to latch onto the lead group. Then I had a little scare which ran me off-track and took me away from Maverick Viñales. I continued at the same pace as them, until Maverick passed Khairuddin. Then my own battle began: I wanted to finish ahead of him. It was a shame that the three riders crashed, but it also cuts the gap to Fenati in the battle for Rookie Of The Year!”
His team-mate Miguel Oliveira also made a strong comeback and rode to seventh place, Marc Márquez’ younger brother Alex was 14th and finished in the point rankings.
In the MotoGP class, Suter BMW rider Colin Edwards rode to a strong 13th place, which was the second best position of all CRT teams. Fellow Suter rider Danilo Petrucci ran into bad luck and retired one lap from the end with technical problems.
“Marc was riding like a true champion”, said Eskil Suter, CEO of Suter Racing Technology. “To be almost dead-last in the first corner and to still win the race speaks for itself – he is just amazing!”
“But I am also happy for Tom that third place in the championship is within reach again. Tom is always very strong in Malaysia, so his fight with Iannone will be very exciting.”
“Once again, Alex Rins showed his great potential in the Moto3 category. The track was new for him, but he still managed to go the same pace as the race leaders.”
“Colin Edwards also impressed me today, he achieved the best possible result with our MotoGP bike. We keep improving the package and we are happy with what we achieved so far!”
Unfortunate race for RW Racing GP
Luis Salom crashed in the final lap and Brad Binder had to retire with engine problems. RW Racing GP did not have the race it hoped for in the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi.
Luis Salom, starting from the second row of the grid, immediately worked his way to the front and took the lead. Together with Jonas Folger and Danny Kent he changed positions in the leading group. With also Sandro Cortese and Maverick Viñales joining the group a bunch of six, seven riders entered the final lap. When Salom, in fourth, tried to outbreak Alessandro Tonucci for third he made a mistake. In his move he had to break harder than he expected and couldn’t hold the bike. In his crash he took out Jonas Folger, who was leading the race.
Nobody got hurt but Salom got a penalty for his mistake. He has to start the Malaysian GP next weekend five places back from what he qualifies for.
Brad Binder had to ride his Kalex KTM to the pit due to an engine failure. After a good start and a little mistake the talented South-African worked his way to the front. He had found a place with a group of four when his gear jumped out between third and fourth. The problem got worse until shifting gears became almost impossible and Binder had to retire while in fifteenth place.
Luis Salom (DNF): "It is a pity and I am really sorry for Jonas Folger, but it was not on purpose. I was fighting for victory and just made a mistake. It was a racing incident. I am back to third in the championship standings. That’s the worse.’’
Brad Binder (DNF): "I don’t know what to say. I was running well all weekend and even in the race everything seemed to be working fine. I was fighting for championship points when I had to retire. Such a shame to have another DNF.’’
Team manager Johan Stigefelt: "This is a very bad result for the team but we have to keep our heads high. Apart from the race we had a good weekend and we have to take that spirit to Malaysia for the next race. Luckily Luis is not hurt, because we have three races in a row with hardly any time to recover. We know what caused the problems for Brad and we can work on that. It is a gearbox problem so it will not cost us an engine.’’