Previews from the Moto2 and Moto3 riders and teams ahead of this weekend's race at Jerez:
Expectations high as Marc VDS head for Jerez
Gosselies, Belgium - 29 April 2013: The Marc VDS Racing Team's Mika Kallio and Scott Redding head for the third round of the 2013 Moto2 World Championship at Jerez this weekend with some confidence, after an impressive performance from both last time out in Texas.
Kallio secured his 36th Grand Prix podium with a hard fought third place finish at the Circuit of the Americas two weeks ago, which saw him leave America tied for second place in the championship standings. The 30-year-old Finn is keen to repeat that success this weekend in Jerez, a track at which he has previously been successful on both 125cc and 250cc machinery.
Redding started from pole position for the first time in his Grand Prix career in Texas, but tyre issues in the race thwarted his bid for a second successive podium finish. The 20-year-old Briton rode intelligently to fifth place and the points lead in the Moto2 World Championship standings, a lead he is keen to extend this weekend with a strong showing in Jerez.
Livio Loi will make his World Championship debut in the Grand Prix of Spain at Jerez this weekend, after celebrating his 16th birthday just two days ago. The Belgian has already won in France this season and heads to Jerez off the back of two top ten finishes in difficult conditions at the opening round of the Spanish Moto3 Championship, which took place at Circuit de Catalunya last weekend.
Situated in southwest Spain on the outskirts of Jerez de la Frontera, the Jerez circuit has a complex layout, offering riders a real challenge. It boasts 13 turns over its 4.42km distance, with a combination of slow technical corners and fast sweeping turns making stability under braking and a good feeling from the front tyre critical when it comes to bike set-up.
Mika Kallio #36:
"The first few races are the most important, with good results helping to build confidence. Now we're two races into the season and I've been top five in both, so my confidence is high going into Jerez, which is a track that suits my riding style better than Austin. In Texas we managed to sort out the few problems we had ahead of the race and the podium finish showed that I had the pace. For this reason I believe we can fight for a podium again this weekend. That's the goal, anyway."
Scott Redding #45:
"Jerez promises to be a tough weekend, one of the toughest of the season. A lot of riders are fast at this track and the Spanish riders in particular are always keen to do well at home. After just two races the championship is just names on a piece of paper, but at least it shows we've started strongly and that we can be in the hunt for the title. If I'm in with a shout of winning races then I'll go for it, but this year it's not about winning every race, it's more about scoring points every weekend. That's what we did in Texas and that's how we'll continue. If I can come away from Jerez still leading the championship then I'll be satisfied."
Livio Loi #11:
"It's been a long wait but, finally, I get to make my Grand Prix debut this weekend in Jerez and I'm really looking forward to it. I was quick in the wet during preseason testing at the circuit, but we had a few issues with set-up in the dry. This is something we addressed last week while we were at Catalunya and I'm confident that we've made a significant improvement in this area now. My main aim this weekend in Jerez is to continue the learning process but, if all goes well, then I think a top 20 finish is a realistic goal."
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"We head to Jerez on a bit of a high after the success of Texas. We are leading the championship, but the pressure will be on the likes of Nico Terol and Pol Espargaro this weekend. It's their home Grand Prix and I'm sure they'll be keen to put on a show for their fans. For us it's just another race; a race that we'll approach in the same was as we did Qatar and Texas, hopefully with the same result. It's a big weekend for Livio, as he'll finally make his Grand Prix debut for the team at Jerez. He's keen to make his mark straight away, but we need to be realistic with our expectations. He'll be racing at the very top level for the first time, against riders who've already had two races in which to get up to speed, so I'll be happy if he comes away with a top twenty finish this weekend."
MOTO3 HEADS TO JEREZ, THE 'CATHEDRAL' OF SPANISH MOTORCYCLING
MAPFRE Aspar rider Jonas Folger targets podium after narrowly missing out in first two races whilst Eric Granado hopes to impress at a circuit he knows well
After kicking off the season with two flyaway races the Moto3 World Championship arrives in Europe this weekend as the Spanish Grand Prix signals the start of an intense summer of racing on the 'old continent'. The circuit of Jerez will provide a warm welcome to all of the riders but in particular the three home favourites fighting for the championship lead: Alex Rins, Luis Salom and Maverick Viñales. Jonas Folger is hoping to spoil the home party, the German looking to finally make the podium after narrowly missing out in Qatar and Texas.
MAPFRE Aspar rider Folger will work tirelessly towards his top-three target and knows this weekend is a big opportunity for him to achieve it. After struggling to adapt to the Circuit of Americas he knows he has a set-up for Jerez thanks to the preseason testing that took place here and he will be looking to be on the pace from the first session on Friday morning. Eric Granado is also looking forward to riding at a circuit he knows well, having competed here in the Spanish Championship before taking the step up to world level. The Moto3 rookie was the surprise package of winter testing here and is hoping for a similar outcome this weekend.
Jonas Folger: "I am feeling very positive ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix. We struggled to adapt to the circuit in Texas but we gathered a lot of data that should prove useful this weekend. The engine performance improved and we found some solutions for the front end that we will continue to experiment with this Friday at Jerez. I am looking forward to getting there, I have confidence in the job we are doing and I am sure we can take the step we need this weekend to fight at the very front. The objective is to do a good job in practice and be ready to fight for the podium on Sunday. I love the Jerez circuit, I know it well from my time in the Academy and it feels like a home race to me."
Eric Granado: "I am so looking forward to getting to Jerez and starting work. Finally we go to a track I know! In the first race in Qatar I struggled to adapt to the circuit and the second race wasn't easy either although thankfully in Austin we found some solutions that set us on the right path and hopefully we can continue to improve this weekend. I know Jerez really well and I know we are capable of a good result there. In fact, we already had a good feeling there in the final test of preseason and finished in a decent position."
TEROL MAKES TRIUMPHANT RETURN HOME FOR SPANISH GRAND PRIX
MAPFRE Aspar rider targets another podium at Jerez following his success in Texas whilst Torres looks to rediscover best form at home track
After back-to-back flyaway races the MotoGP World Championship returns to more familiar ground this weekend as the European summer kicks off in earnest with the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez. After an opening round that went very much to form in Qatar, the Moto2 class was back to its most unpredictable best in Texas, where Nico Terol picked up his first victory in the intermediate category. The MAPFRE Aspar rider now heads to his home Grand Prix in top form, leading a strong Spanish charge that also includes his team-mate Jordi Torres, not to mention the likes of Pol Espargaró, Tito Rabat and Julian Simón, who all have designs on local glory.
Terol remains on a high after his morale-boosting dominance of the inaugural Grand Prix of the Americas last week. He arrives in his home country lying second in the championship and with a clear target of being a consistent podium challenger for the remainder of the season. Torres is equally eager to get out on track in front of his family, friends and fans after suffering from a faulty tyre in Texas. Having been one of the men to beat in preseason testing at Jerez, Jordi is confident of kickstarting his season this weekend.
Nico Terol: "It is taken some time for the win in Texas to sink in but I have been able to enjoy it at home with my family and friends. It has taken longer than we hoped to happen but sooner or later it had to happen. We have been doing a good job for a while now but hadn't managed to follow it up in a race. Now we have done that it gives me even more motivation to continue like this and my morale is sky high. The win last time out was reward for our hard work and now we have to work hard to maintain this level of performance. We know we can win races now so the target is to be on the podium every weekend. I am looking forward to going to Jerez, where I am sure we can be competitive again. We have a lot of dat from preseason, when we were on the pace."
Jordi Torres: "I am very excited about the second round of the season. We spent most of preseason there and I think we have a good set-up. We had plenty of time to try things in the winter so Friday will be a case of refining the set-up and hopefully setting a competitive pace from the start, which will be important. This is a big race for us. We need to make another step with the set-up and start to compete closer to the front. The fact we are starting out with a good base setting will help us a lot because we have a clear idea about what we need to do. I love the grip at Jerez in the dry and wet conditions and I can't wait to get out on track."
Red Bull KTM Ajo return to Europe
Moto3 World Championship returns to Europe for first of this season’s four Spanish rounds. Salom, Sissis and Zulfahmi Khairuddin take on latest challenge after strong opening two races.
01/05/2013 - Jerez Circuit
The Red Bull KTM Ajo team arrive at Jerez with one of their riders, Luis Salom, leading the standings. After a maiden race at the Circuit of The Americas, the Spanish rider and teammates Arthur Sissis and Zulfahmi Khairuddin will share a track once more at the scene of a great preseason test. The Red Bull KTM Ajo will be looking to add a further podium to the fifteen that they have taken in consecutive races, stretching back to the 2012 Catalan GP.
The most recent two of those rostrums were taken by Luis Salom, who leads the Moto3 World Championship with 41 points. He is level on points with fellow Spaniard Alex Rins. Salom made his debut in Grand Prix racing at Jerez in 2009, riding in the 125cc class, and would take his first Moto3 podium there three years later. This past March he was the fastest rider in the final preseason test of the winter.
Like the Spanish rider, Arthur Sissis and Zulfahmi Khairuddin are having their best ever start to a Grand Prix season. The Australian hopes to bounce back from a difficult weekend in Austin, in which he managed to salvage a points finish. Last season he did not make the chequered flag at the Spanish GP.
Zulfahmi Khairuddin has finished tenth at Jerez for the past two seasons. In 2012 he was able to move up 18 places, having started 28th on the grid. He aims to improve his times in every session this weekend, having been made to make comebacks in the opening two rounds to place sixth and seventh.
This will be the first of four rounds —Jerez, Catalonia, Aragon and Valencia— to be held in Spain in 2013.
Circuit information - Jerez Circuit
Length: 4.423 metres / 2,748 miles
Width: 11 metres
Left corners: 5
Right corners: 8
Longest straight: 607 metres / 0,377 miles
"We come to Jerez having ridden a great race at a tough track. In the first part of the race we had some problems, but in the second we led the way until the final corner. We showed that we can always be part of the fight for the win, and this is important. Jerez is a track that I like and that I think suits my riding style. It has all sorts of corners, whether they be fast or slow, and the last few are really nice.
Riding at home, in front of your supporters, is always extra motivation that we will have to manage. We got the best time at Jerez in preseason, but now all the other riders have more laps under their belts and things will be different. It is going to be a hard race."
"After the race in Austin, I’m raring to get back on the bike. Jerez has slow and fast corners and I like it a lot. I have mixed feelings about my previous visits there, because last season I crashed when fourth, but it is also where I took my first victory in the Red Bull Rookies Cup, back in 2011. I don’t know if the times will be much different to the preseason tests, but if the weather improves –and with the advances that we have made over the past two races– they will be faster. The aim in the race is to keep improving. Riding with the lead group will be difficult, but placing in the top six or seven would be a good result."
"The Grand Prix of The Americas didn’t go badly. The practice sessions and qualifying were difficult for me, because I found it hard to feel comfortable on the new track. In the end, in the race, I was able to make up places to finish seventh. I am happy with that. I hope to improve my final position this weekend, however. Jerez is a track where all of us riders have undertaken many laps, and we know it very well. I will have to give 200%, every day. I don’t really have fond memories of this track, because bad weather has always made things tough for us. Also, in 2010 when I rode there for the first time, I remember that I was very slow.
There are three or four riders who are going very quickly at the start of the season, and we are amongst a second group who are trying to match their pace. I will have to work, lap by lap, to try and get closer to their times. I am confident that I can do that."
Niklas Ajo aiming to continue strong season start in Jerez
Avant Tecno KTM rider Niklas Ajo travels to Spain for third race of Moto3 season –the first of four Spanish rounds.
01/05/2013 - Jerez Circuit
The first two races of the year, held at Losail and Austin, have allowed Niklas Ajo to make his best ever start in the World Championship. After scoring points in both races, the Avant Tecno KTM rider arrives at the Grand Prix of Spain excited and pleased with the pace achieved in the second round –at which he rubbed shoulders with the leading riders. The third race of the campaign is the first of four to be held in Spain, along with Jerez, Montmelo, Motorland Aragon and Cheste.
After debuting in Austin and battling for second place at one point, Niklas Ajo will now compete on a circuit he knows to perfection and has ridden on in preseason. In the last two years at Jerez, the Avant Tecno KTM rider has not been able to finish the race, but the ninth fastest time achieved in the March pre-season IRTA test has given him optimism. At present he lies thirteenth in the overall standings, with 8 points.
The Grand Prix of Spain is one of the showcase events of the season, with amongst the highest number of visitors and a motorcycle atmosphere in the city all weekend. Practice starts the party on Friday, with qualifying on Saturday and the races on Sunday.
Circuit information - Jerez Circuit
Length: 4.423 metres / 2,748 miles
Width: 11 metres
Left corners: 5
Right corners: 8
Longest straight: 607 metres / 0,377 miles
"After the Grand Prix of The Americas I'm satisfied with my performance, although not the end result. I was pleased with my pace, which allowed me to fight in the leading positions. Jerez has never been one of my favourite tracks but in the recent IRTA test I felt good, so I hope to continue the same progress made in Austin. I’m sure the testing there will help us, because on the last few days the weather improved and we found a good setup. This is a track that all the riders know perfectly, because we have ridden here many times. The most important thing is to find a good pace from the first practice session and adapt to the conditions quickly, because over these days we will have less time than during the pre-season test."
Ready, Set, Jerez!
Following a highly successful weekend in Austin at CoTA, the Binder Brothers returned to South Africa for a week’s stay before jetting off to Spain for the Gran Premio bwin de España.
Currently both Binders are lying 9th in their respective Championships. 17 year old Brad Binder is 9th in the Moto 3 Championship and is the top Honda Rider after his top ten ride in Texas.
15 year old Darryn Binder showed magnificent form in Race 2 at CoTa finishing in 5th place and elevating him to 9th place in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Championship standings.
The 4.423 metre long circuit of Jerez de la Frontera was built in 1986 against the spectacular backdrop of the rolling Andalusian hills, providing the ideal setting for a natural amphitheatre that has become known as the Spanish Mecca of motorcycle racing, and one of the most popular Moto GP Venues. It has 8 right hand turns and 5 turns to the left. Blessed with good weather and beautiful scenery, Jerez provides perfect viewing facilities for up to 250 000 spectators.
Following extremely successful pre season testing at Jerez, Ambrogio Racing’s Brad Binder on board the Suter-Honda is confident ahead of the Gran Premio bwin de España. Brad has a great affinity for Jerez and the technical nature of the Spanish circuit will play to the strengths of the agility and responsiveness of his Honda powered 250cc four stroke machine.
“You don’t need big top speed at Jerez so we expect it to be much better there. I’ve got to say thanks so much to the team. The bike is handling like it’s on rails. Jerez is one of my favourite tracks of the whole season, so I expect to do well there.”
The 23 fastest teenagers in the world are ready to race at Jerez this weekend. Following thrilling action at CoTa, the teenagers are returning to the circuit where they enjoyed their pre season testing. Darryn Binder only made one of the tests when a broken arm put paid to his second test at Jerez. Completely undeterred and not one to rest on his back foot, Darryn is really excited and extremely confident for Round 3 and Round 4 of The Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup at the Gran Premio bwin de España
Darryn is proudly sponsored by Arai, Pole Position Travel and Oakley.
MotoGP Moto3 - San Carlo Team Italia FMI ready to fight back in Jerez
After an unlucky week-end in Texas, San Carlo Team Italia FMI heads back to Europe on the Jerez de la Frontera circuit for redemption.
Romano Fenati (San Carlo Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#5), who suffered a technical failure in Austin after a strong comeback during the race, will try to replicate his performance from last year, when he scored his maiden victory on the Spanish track.
Francesco Bagnaia (San Carlo Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#4) will face his first race on the world stage on a track that he already knows. Without having to start from scratch, he will be able to focus just on his riding, and the goal is to score points.
Roberto Locatelli (FMI Technical Coordinator)
"We are ready to get back on track with optimism. We are finally back in Europe, the upcoming races will be on tracks we know well and we will be closer to our fans. Romano won his first race in Jerez and we face this race knowing that we still have to work hard, without letting our guard down. We suffered some technical issues in Austin but both Romano and Pecco like this circuit, so we are confident we can get some good results here."
Iwema will start in Jerez
Jasper Iwema will start in the first free practice for the GP of Spain in Jerez. The medical director of the circuit gave the green light to RW Racing GP’s Dutch rider. Iwema sustained a concussion after a big crash in Austin, almost two weeks ago. He has not recovered completely. "But I want to try anyway,’’ Iwema said after seeing the doctor. "I can quit any moment if it doesn't feel good.’’
Iwema took a lot of rest the past 10 days as was advised by doctors in Austin and Almelo. Thanks to that he feels much better. "In a situation of rest I feel good. Almost as if nothing happened. But when I make an effort I still get a headache and become dizzy.’’
To find out in what state he actually was Iwema made a bike ride around the circuit in Jerez in the afternoon. "If that would turn out to be a problem, it would be silly to start in the free practices. But it went well, so I’m going to give it a try.’’
Earlier in the day Iwema and RW’s team manager Jarno Janssen paid a visit to the medical team. The medical director gave Iwema permission to try. "I am allowed to start, but the permission is based on what I feel,’’ Iwema explained. "A concussion is difficult to test. It is not a broken bone of which it is easy to tell if is healed enough. That’s why I took my bicycle to test for myself if I could bear the effort.’’
Janssen keeps a close eye over his rider. "Jasper isn’t a 100 percent yet. That’s why we remain extra carefull. We don’t want him to sustain an even more serious injury because he gets on the bike too soon. If it doesn’t feel right, he has to stop. He has to listen to his body.’’
Moto2 and Moto3 Riders Likely To Turn Soft On Return To Europe
After tough conditions at the untried Circuit of the Americas track last time out, the Moto2 and Moto3 riders are heading to the Spanish circuit of Jerez where there is a wealth of experience and data. While America called for the harder tyres to combat the abrasive new asphalt, riders will be given softer options for Jerez. Two IRTA tests before the start of the season were held at Jerez and the tyre allocation has been based on the findings.
In Moto2, teams will have the choice of the ‘302’ soft and the medium ‘345’ for the front. ‘345’ is the most recent addition to the compound range and was used during the final four events of 2012. For the rear the riders will be able to choose from the very popular ‘3854’ soft option and the medium compound ‘3855’.
As for Texas, Moto3 riders have been allocated ‘M’ medium and ‘H’ hard front tyres along with ‘S’ soft and ‘M’ medium rears.
Both classes have the use of three sets of wet tyres which can be increased to four if all practice sessions are affected.
Clinton Howe, Operations Manager Motorcycle Grand Prix
“Texas put the Dunlops to the test because of having no track data, the cold weather conditions and continuous cold wind. We took our harder option rears to combat the heavy abrasion levels that we expected and it proved quite capable of achieving good consistent lap times. It was on the hard tyre that Johann Zarco rode from 17th on the grid to finish sixth. Surprisingly some riders chose not to test the hard option but it shows how different riders use their tyres – Nico Terol went for the softer option and by setting up his bike for used tyres managed to win the race, having only used five rear tyres throughout the whole weekend. We now have plenty of information to take forward for 2014’s Circuit of the Americas round and there are already plans to develop a rear tyre that will work well for everyone.
“Looking ahead, Jerez is a circuit we know well. Last year a large proportion of the Moto2 riders chose the ‘302’ soft fronts and the ‘3854’ rears. It will be interesting to see how many move to the new medium’345’ which offers similar grip with added stability in hotter conditions but maybe doesn’t have the early warm-up that the softer tyre has. Both tyres will work – it will be a case of finding which suits each rider the best and that should bring us great racing.”