Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after qualifying at Qatar:
Alex Rins seals front row start in Losail
Third place for Rins in first qualifying session of 2013, with Alex Marquez ninth for third row start in Qatar.
A strong wind gusting all day in Doha left the Losail International Circuit asphalt dirty, but this did not impede the Moto3 riders taking to the track for the first qualifying session of the 2013 season.
Alex Rins quickly moved to the head of the timesheet and was one of the protagonists of the session until the last lap. In the end he finished third fastest. Alex Marquez will take off from ninth –the third row of the Qatar grid– on his first visit to the track.
The strong wind forced the Moto3 riders to be cautious on track, but that did not stop them from engaging in a battle for pole position. Five minutes from the end, the tussle began in earnest, with Folger, Salom, Viñales and Rins fighting for the top time. Finally, Salom took pole, followed by Viñales and Rins. Alex Marquez had risen as high as sixth, but eventually concluded the session ninth. Tomorrow, Sunday, the riders will be back on track for the first race of the 2013 Moto3 season.
QP: 2:07.596, 16 laps, 86 km.
“I am very satisfied with the work that we have done today, but we struggled a bit to get on the pace. It was a tough session, as at the beginning the track was quite dirty and it took me to get good times. Fortunately, as time went on the track improved and I was able to gain speed up and reach the pace we had yesterday. Nonetheless, I am happy because we took a good time for the race tomorrow. During the final laps I found a good pace, but that does not mean I can break away. I believe that tomorrow's race will be hard fought and tough, because there are four or five very strong riders in high positions on the grid. All have KTM engines, but I'm certain that someone else will also join the fight at the front. We will need a good race strategy.”
QP: 2:08.556, 15 laps, 81 km.
“The session went well, although at first I had a problem with the bike that did not allow me to get comfortable. Fortunately, we solved the issue and finished in ninth place. This is a pretty good position, because I rode my hot lap alone and on a worn tyre. Also, this is my first time at this circuit. Now we just have to try a few things in the warm up, but I think that overall we can be happy and confident for tomorrow's race. It will be important to make a good start and see how far up the order we can go."
First pole position for Salom
Red Bull KTM Ajo rider takes first World Championship pole position. Arthur Sissis, tenth, and Zulfahmi Khairuddin, eleventh, will start from the fourth row tomorrow.
06/04/13 - Losail International Circuit
Qualifying for the Qatar Grand Prix saw the first pole position of the 2013 season go to Red Bull KTM Ajo, Luis Salom. The Spaniard thus takes his first top spot on a World Championship grid. Teammates Arthur Sissis and Zulfahmi Khairuddin also took steps forward and achieved tenth and eleventh place, respectively.
The Losail International Circuit was the scene of a great night for Luis Salom. Never outside the top five in the session, the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider made a perfect final lap to stop the clock at 2'07.229 and gain his first Moto3 World Championship pole position.
His teammates also significantly improved their best times from free practice. Both will start tomorrow from the fourth row of the grid as a result. Arthur Sissis, with a time of 2'08.567, takes off from tenth, whilst Zulfahmi Khairuddin will do the same from eleventh after registering a 2'08.575 lap just 8 thousandths off the Australian.
Tomorrow at 19:00 local time, the red light of the Losail International Circuit will go out to start the first race of the 2013 Moto3 World Championship.
Results (Qualifying practice)
1. Luis Salom (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:07.229
2. Maverick Viñales (KTM) 2:07.337 +0.108
3. Alex Rins (KTM) 2:07.596 +0.367
4. Jonas Folger (KTM) 2:07.894 +0.665
5. Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra) 2:08.409 +1.180
10. Arthur Sissis (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:08.567 +1.338
11. Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:08.575 +1.346
"The qualifying session was very good for us. The entire team are doing a great job and today we continued on the same line. I'm very happy. I have to thank Red Bull, Air Asia, KTM and Aki Ajo for giving me this opportunity. The most important thing tomorrow is to get a good pace and see how we go."
"It was a rather positive session. I wasn't expecting this result after Thursday's free practice and Friday's sessions, because I didn't go so well in those. We took a step forward with our setting and I also improved my riding. In the end, it wasn't bad at all. I rode by myself and was fast, so I think that I can go even better as part of a group."
"The qualifying session went really well. We improved our best lap time and the feeling with the KTM was very good. I'm confident of further improvement in the warmup too. Eleventh place on the grid is not bad at all and, if I make a good start, I'm sure I can latch onto the front group."
Sixth row for Niklas Ajo in Qatar
Niklas Ajo places sixteenth on Moto3 grid in first qualifying practice of the season.
06/04/2013 - Losail International Circuit
Tonight at the Losail International Circuit, the first qualifying session of the year for the Moto3 class took place under the floodlights. Niklas Ajo took the sixteenth fastest time of the night ─2'09.750─ and will start from the sixth row of the Moto3 grid tomorrow.
Unlike previous years, the dirt covering the Qatari track failed to decrease over the course of the practice sessions, and a strong wind also hampered the riders. Avant Tecno KTM rider Niklas Ajo set a good pace, and on the penultimate of his 12 laps took his best time of the qualifying run. His 2'09.750 time was 2.5 seconds off Luis Salom's pole lap.
The first race of the World Championship 2013 Moto3 starts tomorrow at 19.00, local time. Last year, the Avant Tecno KTM rider finished thirteenth, taking his first three points of the year.
"It wasn't the best qualifying session of my career, because we had a few unexpected issues. These things happen, of course, so we don't have to worry about it. I have to look ahead, solve these issues and make sure that they don't happen again. We can do a good job in the race tomorrow, as in general my feeling is good."
MotoGP Moto3 - San Carlo Team Italia FMI improves with Fenati while Bagnaia prepares for his debut
The first Moto3 qualifiers of 2013 saw San Carlo Team Italia FMI further improve the setup and development of the Honda-FTR bike.
Romano Fenati (San Carlo Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#5) cut the gap since previous sessions and will start from fourth row with the 12th time, + 1.555 behind poleman Salom, who posted a 2'07.229. Looking forward to the race, the Italian is just four tenths behind the fifth-best time.
Francesco Bagnaia (San Carlo Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#4) kept making valuable experience, closing his first QP on the world stage with the 29th time (+ 4.055) despite taking more than a second off his previous best.
Romano Fenati, 12º, 2'08.784
"It was a positive day for us. We kept working well, and I'm quite happy. During warm-up we'll polish a few details. I can do well and hopefully battle at the front."
Francesco Bagnaia, 29º, 2'11.284
"The wrist is ok. We're working on the setup, and we don't have any particular problems. I just need to make more kilometers. I'll try to use the race as a test and improve my confidence."
Roberto Locatelli (Technical Coordinator, San Carlo Team Italia FMI)
"Fenati improved his setup. We're still chasing the positions that we usually obtain easily, but Qatar is an unusual race. We'll make some adjustments during the warm-up. Bagnaia could have avoided race but decided to come here and he's doing only positive things, regaining his confidence after the crash. We're working well and hopefully we'll be rewarded soon."
Rossi and Kent set for season opening showdown in Qatar
Tech 3 Racing Team riders Louis Rossi and Danny Kent will commence their 2013 Moto2 World Championship challenges in Qatar tomorrow night from 22nd and 26th place on the grid respectively.
Tonight's 45-minute qualifying session under the spectacular Losail International Circuit floodlights proved to be a difficult challenge for Rossi and Kent, who are still in the process of working with the Tech 3 Racing Team to get the maximum performance out of the Mistral 610.
Both have been working tirelessly throughout practice and qualifying on continuing to adapt their riding style to suit the heavier and more powerful 600cc Honda-supplied engine after graduating from the Moto3 category they raced in during last season.
A treacherously slippery track surface certainly didn't help preparations this evening, with an earlier gusting wind blowing sand and dust onto the 5.38km surface, which had a significant impact on the amount of grip available once again.
Disappointed not to have challenged higher up the grid in qualifying, both remain optimistic that they can kick off the 2013 campaign with a challenge for the top 15 in tomorrow night's 20-lap race, which is the first of 17 on this year's World Championship calendar.
Frenchman Rossi set a best time of 2.02.607 that placed him just outside of the top 20 and he was just a fraction over one second away from the top 10.
British rider Kent, who won two out of the last four races in the 2012 Moto3 World Championship, will make his Moto2 debut from 26th position on the grid after he set a personal best time of 2.03.039. The tricky track conditions have made it difficult for Kent to find a set-up he is comfortable with and his crew plan further modifications in advance of the race to try and improve his feeling.
Louis Rossi 22nd 2.02.607 – 16 laps:
“I am not very happy with the final position on the grid but it is not too bad considering this was my first Moto2 qualifying session. The gap to the front is not huge and I am not far away from the top 15, so finishing in the points will be my goal tomorrow night. I am sure with a good start I can recover some places and then it will be about learning how to manage the bike over the race distance, which I have no experience of. I am quite confident but I would be happier if I had more feeling from the front tyre. I am not sure where the limit is but I think that is down to my lack of experience in this class rather than it being an issue with the set-up of the bike. I am still adapting my style but I am really looking forward to my first race in Moto2 and I want to thank my Tech 3 Racing crew for working hard to help me progress.”
Danny Kent 26th 2.03.039 - 16 laps:
“Obviously I am disappointed to be starting my first race in Moto2 with the Tech 3 Racing Team in 26th position on the grid and it has not been an easy weekend so far. I have struggled all weekend and although we have made a lot of changes to the Mistral 610 machine we have not found a solution that enables me to push with a lot of confidence. We will make some further modifications to the bike for the race and hopefully I can improve my pace and get into a good battle that will help me gain some experience.”
Last lap crash holds Kornfeil back
A crash in his final lap has prevented Jakub Kornfeil to be further up the front of the startgrid for tomorrow’s GP of Qatar. In the last lap of the qualifying practice the Czech came into turn 2 a bit too hot and ended up in the gravel bed. The crash left him in 7th spot in the classification. His RW Racing GP team mate Jasper Iwema will start the Moto3 race from 18th.
Team manager Jarno Janssen was satisfied with the results of his riders. "They both are where we expected them based on preseason results. But looking at the last few days I think they both could have done better.’’
In the case of Kornfeil it was due to the crash. Otherwise he could have been on the second row, according to Janssen. In Iwema’s case it was a matter of using the available time better and more efficiënt. "He started pushing too late. He could have been a row further up.’’
The team used the warm up training as an extra free practice. For Iwema to ride a few long stints and for Kornfeil to get back into the rhythm after his crash.
Jakub Kornfeil (7): "I’m happy with the classification but I do realize it could have been better if I hadn’t crashed. It was in turn 2: the first left hander. I think the tire had lost temperature and I went in a bit too hot. I’m okay, but for my result it was a pity. Tomorrow I will try to fight for a top 5 finish.’’
Jasper Iwema (18): "I don’t know why it took me so long to really start to pace up. Maybe I had to get used to it again: it’s been a while since I had my last real qualifying practice. It’s different than in a free practice or a preseason training. But in the end the result is good enough. For now, because I know now I can go faster. At least I will be able to fight for points.’’
Front row for Kallio in Qatar
Doha, Qatar - 6 April 2013: Mika Kallio will start tomorrow's Moto2 Grand Prix of Qatar from the front row of the grid, after a superb qualifying performance saw the 30-year-old Finn snatch third place with his final flying lap.
Scott Redding will head up the second row of the grid in fourth, after being demoted from the front row by pole sitter Pol Espargaro in the final seconds of qualifying.
With just 0.04s separating the Marc VDS teammates and the top 13 riders all within one second of each other in qualifying, tomorrow's 20 lap Moto2 race, which gets underway at 19H20 CET, promises to be yet another thriller.
Mika Kallio #36: 3rd - 2'01.041
"We decided to go with two longer runs in qualifying and it was a plan that worked well today. The softer option rear we started with had good grip, allowing me to build confidence on a track that was much improved compared to yesterday. When we switched to the harder rear the grip was even better and I knew I could push for the front row. I managed to catch a slipstream down the start finish straight and that set me up nicely for my flying lap. I'm feeling confident, but it's difficult to plan for the race now. Starting from the front row is a definite advantage, so we'll see how things work out tomorrow I guess."
Scott Redding #45: 4th - 2'01.089
"Obviously I'd have preferred to be on the front row, but I'm happy enough to be fourth and just 0.2s off pole for the first race. The bike felt good from the start and I was able to do the lap times quite comfortably. The only issue was chatter in some corners, which I think was coming from the clutch. It wasn't a lot, but it unsettled the bike enough to make pushing for a faster lap a little bit too risky. I was consistent throughout qualifying, with my lap times within a few tenths each time, and that will be critical for tomorrow's race."
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"I said yesterday that I expected both riders to push for a front row start today and they didn't disappoint. Mika did a fantastic job of building pace throughout qualifying to steal third right at the end, while Scott was unlucky to be pushed off the front row by Pol Espargaro after topping the timesheet for most of the session. Both riders showed tonight that they have the speed and the confidence to be up at the front and battling for a podium finish in the race tomorrow, which is exactly the start we need to the new season."
More information and high resolution images are available on the Marc VDS Racing Team website at www.marcvds.com.
JONAS FOLGER TO START FROM FOURTH POSITION AT FIRST RACE OF 2013
The MAPFRE Aspar rider will start from the front of row two and is one of the favourites for Sunday's race. His teammate Eric Granado will start in 25th place.
At 6pm in Qatar the first Moto3 qualifying session commenced in Qatar with the riders waiting until the last ten minutes of the session to really up the pace and contest the top spots. It was unclear whether the riders would really be able to push hard due to the wind and dust at Losail, making work even harder than Friday's tricky conditions. Four riders have shown the pace to go for victory on Sunday, Salom, Viñales, Rins and Folger being a notch above the rest. Only those four have broken the 2'08 barrier and they are the most likely pódium candidates.
MAPFRE Aspar's, Jonas Folger, stuck to his plans and headed the timesheet with a couple of early fast laps. He then got on with additional work trying some softer tyres but the feeling was not great so he lost time there. The German then got back on the pace towards the end of the session and showed his strength in this class, contesting the top spot with Salom and Viñales up to the last lap. He eventually ended fourth having shown good race pace. Folger is one of the favourites for the win in Sunday's race having been on the pace all weekend. Meanwhile, his MAPFRE Aspar Team colleague Eric Granado starts from 25th in his first Moto3 race. The Brazilian was hindered by front end issues but is highly motivated for his competitive debut.
4th Jonas Folger 2.07.894 (13 laps): "Qualifying started well with a few good, fast laps but when we went onto a softer tyre the back end was too grippy and it was hard to maintain a line. So we went back onto the same tyres we've been using all weekend and the feeling got better. Talking to the team it seems we have a rear end issue to fix in warm-up, so apart from this small problem I'm happy because we have a generally good setting for tomorrow. I wanted to be on the front row, but we all have a similar pace at the front and as long as nothing unexpected happens we'll be up there tomorrow."
25th Eric Granado 2.10.798 (16 laps): "The trac kwas as tricky or if not trickier than yesterday and it was hard to get started. Eventually I found a group to follow and I watched how they were riding the track. Half way through I tried some intermediate tyres for the race and spent some time on consecutive laps to improve my feeling. On fast corners the front end is a bit unstable so I thought I was going to run off but I stuck to it to get the laps done. We'll make some changes in warm-up and in the race I'll start quite far back. If we can improve in warm-up though I can move up a few places."
ANTONELLI CONFIDENT FOR THE RACE
Team GO&FUN Gresini Moto3 Niccolo Antonelli paid the price of a crash in free practice yesterday as he was forced to experiment with his setting during qualifying and took a step backwards that has cost him places on tomorrow's grid. The young Italian planned to use tonight's warm-up go back to his set-up from yesterday and rebuild his confidence ahead of tomorrow's race. Lorenzo Baldassarri made slight improvements to his feeling with the bike and is gradually finding his feet in Moto3.
Niccolò Antonelli (14th 2’ 09” 107 ) “It wasn't great but not bad either! We made a change to the front that we thought would help but it didn't work and I couldn't push the bike like I wanted. We'll take a step backwards with the set-up and use what we had yesterday and see how it is in the warm-up. I'm confident it will work in the race. ”
Lorenzo Baldassarri (30th 2’ 11” 286) “Step by step we are making improvements and even though it's happening slower than we would like I am finding a feeling with this bike, which isn't easy at this circuit. We'll try to make up some more ground in the warm-up.”
Fausto Gresini “It was a shame about the crash because it cost us a session and we needed it but Niccolò will go back to the setting he was using yesterday for the warm up and I think he'll be ready for the race. Baldassarri continues to learn but it's not easy in such unusual conditions.”
NGM Mobile Forward Racing riders ready for the Qatar race
The first qualifying session of the season has concluded here in Doha for the four NGM Mobile Forward Racing riders and their SpeedUp bikes.
Simone Corsi, Alex De Angelis, Mattia Pasini and Ricky Cardús have tested new settings and have finished the session reducing the gap with the front group to under a second for Corsi and with De Angelis closing up on the Top10.
The expectations for the race are good, with many riders fighting within the same second. It will be a race full of surprises and the NGM Mobile Forward riders are ready to start the season taking home the points.
Simone Corsi – 2’01.619 – 11th
“I was hoping for a little something more during this first qualifying session. We started off really well, the feeling was there but after I changed the tire at the end of the session I was not able to get in the fast lap time due to chatter problems. Tomorrow we will start the race from the fourth row but the race is long and we can still fight to get a good result.”
Alex De Angelis – 2’01.647 – 12th
“There are two aspects to today’s qualifying session. I was able to get very closer to the front group and reduce the gap with them to under a second. The feeling with the bike has improved but we were not able to confirm the Top10 positions that I had during the previous free practice sessions. We have worked a lot to get a good race pace and we want to keep working to keep the positive trend that we have followed so far. For tomorrow’s race my goal is to get the first points of this season for the team.”
Ricky Cardùs – 2’02.266 – 18th
“Today we have tested a new setting solution on the bike that has made helped the handling of the bike become smoother compared to how it had been on the last few days. We are sure that the race pace can be greatly improved. Tomorrow’s race will be an exciting one with many interesting fights. Today we have made a very big step and tomorrow we could make another.”
Mattia Pasini – 2’03.006 – 25th
“I can’t say I’m satisfied I expected to do better. Today we have had some problems with the rear brake but the team spirit remains positive, we are united and in terms of tomorrow’s race we will try to pull out a joker out of our sleeve.”
TEROL IN AMONGST TOP RIDERS AND SEVENTH OVERALL
MAPFRE Aspar rider makes improvement to settings and his teammate Jordi Torres will make his Losail race debut starting on the sixth row
Nakagami was the man on the pace during free practice but then it was Redding who started to become the protagonist during most of qualifying in Moto2. The first QP of the year in this class showed us various things, the first being that although free practice saw a few unexpected lap times once things got serious in qualifying the normal order was restored. That was demonstrated by how tight the lap times were, with only a second splitting the top 13 riders. The second was that the preseason favourites are on the pace here and will be the ones going for victory tomorrow. The wind made things hard on Saturday and the riders struggled to beat their Friday best times.
Nico Terol worked studiously to make gradual improvements around this Middle Eastern circuit and he was amongst those who managed to bring his times down for a third consecutive day. With a few moments remaining Terol was lapping fourth fastest and he stayed in the top ten throughout the session. A run-off track hindered further progress and he concluded the QP in seventh, with seven tenths reduced from his best Friday time and his confidence growing on cornering. His teammate Jordi Torres was also improving, taking his best time down by over a second. The Catalan rider ended just 1.1s off the top spot and was happy with his progress. With some final warm up tweaks made he will be ready for his Losail debut.
7th Nico Terol 2.01.454 (17 laps): "I'm very pleased because I went fast from the start and it was great to be in the top five for so long. The pace was good so we're ready to race. Towards the end I was fourth and pushing to win a few more tenths of a second but I got too straight and I decided not to risk it and ran off. The bike is much better than in first free practice and there is less front end chatter. We're turning better but we still need a bit more grip, though in general the sessions have been good. We're at a good level and we're getting closer to the front. I want to start the race aggressively and not let the front runners get away."
16th Jordi Torres 2.02.001 (17 laps): "It was a busy qualifying session and we tried a lot of stuff, some of which worked and some didn't. Generally I'm pleased because I'm able to finally realy ride here at Losail, I'm growing in confidence and we're improving constantly since we got here. The rhythm is good and we're getting closer to the front. We're quite sure of our plan but in warm up we still have to work a bit more. I want to adjust the front end still so that we can make turning a bit easier."
ANOTHER STEP FORWARD FOR PRADITA
Doni Tata Pradita continues to work with humility and dedication as he tries to accelerate his adaptation to the Moto2 World Championship in Qatar. The Indonesian rider is still suffering from his lack of experience and qualified in 27th place tonight but he is hopeful of improving on that position in tomorrow night's opening race of the season.
Doni Tata Pradita (27th 2’ 04” 177 ) “I am quite satisfied because we are making slow but constant progress. I think we did a good job in practice tonight but unfortunately we got caught in traffic at the end. My feeling with the bike is good and I think I can make up positions tomorrow in the race.”
Fausto Gresini “The way Doni is adapting to Moto2 is impressive and he has made progress here at a circuit that is very difficult to come to terms with. I am happy and convinced we will see much more progress in the coming races.”
WILAIROT LOSES POSITIONS IN QUALIFYING
Ratthapark Wilairot made a nervy start to the first meaningful Moto2 action of 2013, qualifying in nineteenth place and well below expectations after an otherwise impressive weekend in free practice so far. The Thai rider will look to make up positions early in tomorrow's race and finish with as many points as possible.
Ratthapark Wilairot (19th 2’ 02” 335 ) “I don't know why I was so nervous tonight! It was a shame because we went well in free practice and I knew I had good potential for qualifying but it didn't turn out that way. Now I have to keep calm and do myself justice in the race.”
Fausto Gresini “It is a shame Feem hasn't been able to confirm the pace he showed in free practice over the past couple of days. He lost his concentration at the wrong time and didn't ride as well as we expected so he has to find the determination from within himself to make up for this tomorrow.”