Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams ahead of this weekend's races at Le Mans:
Marc VDS to field four riders at Le Mans this weekend
Gosselies, Belgium - 14 May 2013: The Marc VDS Racing Team head this weekend to the French Grand Prix at Le Mans, where Scott Redding and Mika Kallio are keen to continue the run of form that has seen a Marc VDS rider finish on the podium in every Moto2 race so far this season.
Redding heads to Le Mans off the back of a second place finish in Jerez - where he was one of only two non-Spanish riders on the podium - and a successful two-day test at the Almeria Circuit. The 20-year-old Briton currently trails championship leader Tito Rabat by just a single point but is keen to reverse the positions this weekend, on a track at which he finished on the podium last season.
A crash that forced him out of the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez saw Kallio drop to seventh in the championship standings, but the 30-year-old Finn heads to France determined to close the gap to the top five. Kallio has enjoyed success at Le Mans previously, twice finishing on the podium in the 125cc category and taking a hard fought fifth place in last year's French Moto2 Grand Prix.
After an impressive debut that saw him finish in the points last time out in Jerez, Livio Loi heads to France with his sights set firmly on another top 15 finish. The 16-year-old Belgian won the opening round of the French Moto3 Championship at the track earlier this year and arrives in France full of confidence after a successful two-day test at the Aragon circuit in Spain.
Joining Loi in the Marc VDS Moto3 box this weekend at Le Mans will be Frenchman Jules Danilo, who will be making the first of three wild card appearances with the Marc VDS Racing Team.
The Elf logo will be prominent on all four of the Marc VDS bikes and riders at Le Mans, as part of an agreement that will see the French oil and lubricants giant as the primary sponsor of the Marc VDS Racing Team at five races this season, starting with the French Grand Prix this weekend.
Scott Redding #45:
"It's been a strong start to the season and, three races in, I'm just one point off the top of the championship standings. But this early on the championship standings are just names on a piece of paper. More important is approaching the Le Mans weekend as we have the previous three races, putting in the work during practice and qualifying to give us the best chance of a good result on Sunday. It's worked for us so far, so I don't see why it shouldn't work again this weekend."
Mika Kallio #36:
"We've put the disappointment of Jerez behind us now. The two-day test at Almeria was interesting, because we tried a set-up on the bike that is quite different to the one we've used for the first three races this season. The changes worked well at Almeria and we're confident they'll also work at Le Mans, where there are quite a few chicanes and hard braking points. An added advantage is that the revised set-up appears to offer more rear traction, which was our major problem in Jerez. Obviously we will confirm the new settings in practice at Le Mans, but I'm hopeful they'll work and we'll be back to where we were in Austin just two races ago."
Livio Loi #11:
"It was good to finish in the points on my debut in Jerez, but now I need to do the same again this weekend in Le Mans. I won the French Championship race at Le Mans earlier this year, so I know the track, but I'm hoping for slightly less snow when we return for the Grand Prix this weekend! Qualifying on the seventh row of the grid in Jerez made the race more difficult for me, so I need to focus on improving my grid position at Le Mans. I need to be more aggressive, more on the limit in qualifying. I was pushing hard in Jerez, but I think there is still some time to find and, hopefully, I'll be able to do this in Le Mans this weekend."
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"At every race so far this season we've had a Marc VDS rider on the Moto2 podium and this is a trend I'd like to see continue this weekend in Le Mans. It is the first race of the season at which Elf will be our primary sponsor and I'd like nothing more than to give them something to celebrate at their home race, just as we did last season. I know Scott and Mika feel the same way and, as they've shown already this year, both are capable of finishing on the podium. Livio started strongly with a points scoring finish on his Moto3 debut in Jerez, a success I hope he can repeat this weekend, on a track at which he has already won a race this season. I'd also like to extend a warm welcome to Jules Danilo, who joins us this weekend in Le Mans for the first of three wild card appearances he'll make this season."
BUGATTI CIRCUIT SET TO PLAY HOST TO ROUND FOUR
MAPFRE Aspar riders full of confidence with Folger in podium form and Granado closing on points
The 2013 season gathers pace this weekend as the MotoGP World Championship paddock moves north from Spain to France for the fourth round at the legendary Bugatti circuit in Le Mans, home of the world famous 24 hour race. The Grand Prix circuit measures just 4.180km and features a series of short straights, hard braking zones and tight chicanes. After three rounds of the Moto3 season there have been three different race winners and it would be no surprise to see four out of four this weekend given how close the top riders are in the championship - Viñales, Salom, Rins and Folger having all established themselves as the early title contenders.
MAPFRE Aspar Team rider Jonas Folger heads to Le Mans with renewed enthusiasm after scoring his first podium of the season at the third attempt in Jerez. Third place in Spain has given the German a timely boost and kickstarted a Moto3 title push that he hopes to see through to the end of the season. Meanwhile his rookie team-mate Eric Granado also took a step forward in the last round, closing in on the points-scoring positions. Now the Brazilian is looking to break into the top fifteen this weekend.
Jonas Folger: "I like Le Mans, I have always had a good feeling there and we arrive in optimistic mood after my first podium of the season at Jerez. We have shown in free practice that we have the pace but we need to maintain it right through the weekend and be more consistent in qualifying and the race. The goal this weekend is to improve our pace on used tyres because we seem able to run with the front group over the early laps and then struggle to stay in touch at the end. We spoke with the Kalex engineer about it at Jerez and we are going to try some new ideas at Le Mans. The podium at Jerez was a nice bonus but now we must continue to improve."
Eric Granado: "Le Mans is a new circuit for me but I have been watching videos and playing on the games console to try and learn it. It is short but it looks like fun. I am told that it tends to rain quite a lot in France so hopefully the weather is kind to us this weekend. I have been watching my diet very closely since I've been at home and training specifically to lose weight, which is important in this category because the bikes are so close. Hopefully I can learn the track quickly and find a good set-up. At Jerez we were close to the points but we were lacking a bit of race pace so that is what we need this weekend if we want to break into that top fifteen."
MAPFRE ASPAR PAIR LOOK TO CONTINUE FORM AT LE MANS
Nico Terol and Jordi Torres plan more hard work in France to build on positive Spanish results
The legendary Le Mans circuit, home of perhaps the most famous motorsport event on the planet in the 24 Hour race, this weekend plays host to the fastest sport on two wheels as the MotoGP World Championship paddock rolls into France, The fourth round of the Moto2 season sees no fewer than six riders with podium form already this year, with Tito Rabat leading the championship by a single point from Scott Redding and with the likes of Pol Espagaró, Nico Terol and Takaaki Nakagami in close attendance. After three sensational and unpredictable races so far Le Mans looks set to provide the stage for another classic on Sunday lunchtime.
It has been a superb start to the season for the MAPFRE Aspar Team, with both riders already showing signs of a potentially successful season. After taking his first victory in the class in Austin a month ago Nico Terol fought stoically for a valuable fifth place at Jerez, where he had struggled all weekend to find a set-up for his bike, meaning he currently lies fourth in the championship. His team-mate Jordi Torres also had to fight adversity before coming through to take a positive result at Jerez, crossing the line just two places behind Nico to move up to tenth in the championship and another step closer to the battle at the front.
Nico Terol: "I feel in great form at the moment, I feel like we have taken a big step forward. We scored our first win in this category in Austin but then had a tougher weekend at Jerez because of some grip problems but in the end we came out with an excellent result. I left Jerez feeling very happy with fifth place because we showed that we can react to problems. We know we can run at the front now and it is fundamental for us to finish either on the podium or close to it every weekend. All the hard work we have put in so far means that we can aspire to this level of consistency and the goal is to be up there fighting. I love Le Mans and last year I started to find my feet with this bike there. It sounds repetitive but Moto2 is always a lottery. Even so Le Mans is a good track for me and I will be going out there to get the best possible result. It is tight and has some hard braking zones so I think it ould suit our bike well."
Jordi Torres: "We go to Le Mans feeling more motivated than ever after another good result at Jerez. We also worked out a few things with the set-up there and found a really good feeling for the race, which was very satisfying. Now that we understand the bike better we are ready to take another step forward at Le Mans. It is a new circuit for me so I have had to try and learn it on the games console but it looks interesting and not too complicated so I am looking forward to riding it for real. Hopefully I can find my reference points quickly and start to work on the bike as soon as possible."
Gino Rea set for Le Mans Moto2 wildcard
The Gino Rea Race Team, known as GRR8T, are ready for the up and coming Le Mans MotoGP round which will take place this weekend on 17-19th May. Gino will head the only British built FTR chassis in the Moto2 class.
Gino has had a shakedown test on the 2013 FTR Moto2 bike and is eager to get back into Moto2 action at Le Mans where he ran in third position during a wet race last year.
"I really can't wait to get back out on track at a MotoGP event. Up until last week I hadn't rode since November so I thought I'd be very rusty but surprisingly I felt at home straight away on the FTR Moto2 bike. We went through a lot a changes on the bike in a short amount of time to try and learn what works and what doesn't. We only had one and a half days on track so we really could do with another 3 day test. The Moto2 guys have been testing and racing all year so they are all going to be on top of their game. We just have to go to Le Mans and try to do the best possible job we can"
My team have done a fantastic job with the preparation of the whole set up, from designing the bike, stickers, logos, making a race vehicle, organising the bike, etc, etc, the list could go on and on and I'm sure any team owners reading this understand!"
"I feel each person needs a special mention for making this Moto2 wildcard happen- firstly, my Dad David, Mark Taylor and all at FTR, Dave Crawford, Kevin Horne, MotoBreaks, the Dunphys, Through The Wall Paint, Jap4Performance and everyone who has contributed through my www.GinoReaClub.com website."
Interested sponsors can contact Gino Rea Race Team by emailing email@example.com
Ginos fans can help by purchasing merchandise, hospitality passes and lots more at www.GinoReaClub.com
PRADITA HOPES FOR LE MANS PROGRESS
Despite his disappointment after the last race at Jerez, Doni Tata Pradita has picked himself up in a subsequent test at Almeria and some intense physical training back in Italy as he looks to bounce back on the next round at Le Mans this weekend. The Indonesian rider improved his feeling with his bike in the test and has since been working hard on his physical fitness near to the Gresini Racing headquarters in Faenza, readying himself for a positive weekend in France.
Doni Tata Pradita “After a disappointing race for me at Jerez I went to Almeria for a test, where we managed to find a good feeling for the bike. Back in Faenza I have been training hard and I feel strong and motivated to get a good result in France.”
Fausto Gresini “Doni was a little disappointed after Jerez but he has kept up his enthusiasm and determination. He improved his confidence with the bike at the Almeria test and he has been working hard in Faenza. Ove rall we go to Le Mans feeling strong and confident of doing a good job.”
Lenght: 4.180 m. / 2,597 miles
Left Corners: 4
Right Corners: 9
Longest Straight: 674 m. / 0,419 miles
TEAM GRESINI AT LE MANS
The legendary Bugatti circuit has always been a favourable one for Team Gresini, who have recorded important results there over the years. As at many venues the team's first success there was with Daijiro Kato in 2001 in the 250cc class. The next rider to climb onto the top step of the podium there in the team's colours was Sete Gibernau in 2003, a victory the Spaniard repeated in 2004 before finishing a close second to Rossi in 2005. The 2006 race saw the team dominant again as Marco Melandri took a clear victory in a wet race. Melandri was back on the podium after finishing second the following season, again in tricky conditions. In 2010 Toni Elias put the shine on the team's sparkling record at this track with a historic first Moto2 French Grand Prix victory.
The La Sarthe circuit, located just a stone's throw from the city of Le Mans, is home to the world famous 24-hour car race of the same name. Within the confines of the legendary temporary street circuit lies the permanent Bugatti track, which since 2000 has played host to the MotoGP World Championship. Le Mans has a population of around 150,000 inhabitants and it is the capital of La Sarthe, part of the Loire region. The city has an architecturally medieval flavour with Roman walls and the Saint-Julien cathedral and a well-preserved old town (Cité Plantagenêt, also called Vieux Mans), where the cobbled streets and half-timbered house fronts provided the setting for Gérard Depardieu in the movie Cyrano de Bergerac.
WILAIROT LOOKS FOR BETTER FORTUNE IN FRANCE
Ratthapark Wilairot is looking to make up for a disappointing race in Jerez last time out with a positive weekend in France, where the fourth round of the Moto2 World Championship takes place from this Friday. The Thai rider completed a short test at Almeria, where he was able to improve his feeling with the bike and raise optimism and confidence before heading on to the legendary Le Mans circuit.
Ratthapark Wilairot “I was pretty annoyed after such a stupid crash at Jerez but luckily I wasn't hurt so we were able to move on to Almeria and test as planned. It was a positive day because we were able to improve the feeling of the bike in right-hand corners after struggling in this area at Jerez. We have a new working system which we will put into force at Le Mans, which is to push harder in practice and try to be more focused in the race. I am motivated and determined to do well but above all to pick up my first points of the season, which are overdue.”
Fausto Gresini “Feem crashed again at Jerez and he didn't need that. It was a shame because he had shown in practice that he had the potential to score points in that race and he needs to stay more focused if he wants to finish the weekend off with a good result in France.”
The Monster Energy Grand Prix de France
With 24 World Championship Points in the bag, a magnificent 4th place finish at The Gran Premio bwin De Espana in Jerez, and currently the leading Honda Rider in the Moto 3 Championship – Ambrogio Racing’s Brad Binder is looking forward to another exciting weekend at The Monster Energy Grand Prix de France.
Brad arrived in Paris early this morning, he is “super amped” for the weekend. Le Mans is 200km south-west of Paris and the city is best known for its connection with motorsports. There are 2 separate racing tracks at Le Mans, though they share certain portions. The Circuit de la Sarthe is the longer of the circuits and is composed partly of public roads, which are closed to the public when the track is in use for the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans Sports Car Race, which has been running since 1923.
The 4.180m long Le Mans Bugatti Grand Prix race circuit is named after Ettore Bugatti – founder of the car company bearing his name. It was built in 1965, it has 4 left corners and 9 right ones, it is a tight track dominated by first gear corners, emphasis is on late braking and hard acceleration, rear traction is also a key area.
“I think Le Mans will be good for our Suter Honda because the track suits my bike and the straights aren’t too long. Last year was cold and wet – the weather predicts rain this weekend, my bike handles really well in the rain so I am ready for anything.” Brad Binder
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Now based in Spain for the MotoGP Season, Brad no longer has to make the long haul flights between South Africa and Europe. It seems though that no matter where in the world you are – a little part of home can always be found. Brad and mom – Sharon – have settled in no other than Nelson Mandela Street in Moraira! Brad sees this as being a talisman. Considering Desmond Tutu Street runs next to Nelson Mandela Street in Moraira, Brad will certainly be doubly lucky this Season.
Red Bull KTM Ajo ready for Le Mans after Almeria and Thalgau training
Luis Salom, Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Arthur Sissis head to French Grand Prix after respective preparation programmes in Spain and Austria.
15/05/2013 - Le Mans Circuit
The Moto3 World Championship continues its route through Europe and this week it is the turn of the Grand Prix of France –the fourth event of the year– to take centre stage. The Red Bull KTM Ajo team heads to the historic Bugatti circuit of Le Mans after some very distinct preparation: Luis Salom has been testing on track in Almeria, whilst Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Arthur Sissis have made a trip to the Red Bull Diagnostics and Training Center (DTC) in Austria.
The Spanish rider’s workload with his KTM Moto3 machine did not finish on the Sunday of the Grand Prix of Spain. Salom, second in the Moto3 class, went to Almeria to participate in a private test last week. He finished the trip satisfied with new parts tested in preparation for the upcoming races. In the first of these, this weekend at Le Mans, the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider will be looking to make amends for a DNF last year.
Whilst Salom was hard at work in his homeland, Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Arthur Sissis were also keeping busy. The duo took a trip to Thalgau in Austria, visiting the Red Bull Diagnostics and Traning Center (DTC) facility that provides innovative personalised training programmes for Red Bull athletes –based on their physical and psychological characteristics. This was the first time that Zulfahmi Khairuddin had participated in a week of training and medical tests, but Sissis is a relative veteran of the procedures.
Weekend weather forecasts for Le Mans predict another wet French GP.
Circuit information - Le Mans Circuit
Length: 4.180 metres / 2,597 miles
Width: 13 metres
Left corners: 5
Right corners: 9
Longest straight: 674 metres / 0,419 miles
"I'm happy with the work we did last week with KTM in Almeria. We tested different aspects of the bike and were able to analyse different options. The result was very positive and the feeling on the bike is very good.
Le Mans is a very nice circuit, but it rains a lot there. The grip is excellent in the dry, but when it rains that disappears completely. Also, it is always cold there and the track temperature is very low. In any case, we are all facing the same conditions, so we have to adapt to them. It will be a very difficult race.
I have ridden very little in the wet with the KTM –just a few laps in testing. If the weather doesn’t favour us, then we will have to make the most of the entire weekend."
"I come to this Grand Prix after an intense week of work in Austria alongside Fahmi [Zulfahmi Khairuddin]. I've also had some time to unwind by playing golf or hiking. That has been a good way to prepare for this Grand Prix.
Hopefully this year the weather is good for us. Last season we did not have many dry sessions, and the track was slippery in the wet. In such conditions, the track isn’t really to my liking. if we are lucky and don’t have rain, however, is a really nice circuit. It has some corners with an interesting camber and some very fast corners as well; I like it.
I have pretty good memories of Le Mans, even though we never rode here in the Red Bull Rookies Cup, as last season I placed fifth in the wet."
"This past week I was with Arthur [Sissis] in Austria at the Red Bull DTC. It’s the first time I had been and I was impressed with my time there.
Le Mans is a bit of a special track, because it doesn’t have many corners –and those that it has are either very closed or very fast. Last year I performed strongly in the French Grand Prix and I hope that this week I can do likewise from Friday onwards. We must try to get some good practice and qualifying sessions in order to have more of a chance in the race. We’ll see if we're lucky and the weather helps us."
Niklas Ajo looks to continue quest for points at Le Mans
Avant Tecno KTM rider comes into French Grand Prix off the back of his best ever World Championship result.
15/05/2013 - Le Mans Circuit
Niklas Ajo could not hope for better form heading to the fourth race of the year, to be held this Sunday at the French circuit of Le Mans. The sixth place finish in the previous race, the Grand Prix of Spain, was the best result for the Avant Tecno KTM rider since his World Championship debut in 2011. With eighteen points and lying eighth in the Moto3 World Standing, Niklas Ajo has finished in the top fifteen at three consecutive races to kick off the campaign –his best season start ever.
The weather forecast for this weekend is not the most optimistic, suggesting a wet Grand Prix. If that is the case, then Niklas Ajo’s experience from last season will serve him well, as he took a points-earning finish. The historic 4.180 metre Le Mans circuit is characterised by its narrow layout and a combination of inclined and fast corners.
The Avant Tecno KTM rider is almost 100% recovered from a big crash suffered in the warmup session at Jerez, which left him battered and bruised for the race. He has a chance to match his best run of points-scoring finishes, with a fourth in a row.
"I’m happy after the good result at Jerez, but not completely. I suffered two crashes before the race; without them, I'm sure we could have finished the race with more options to place higher. Luckily, every day I feel better and my legs should be 100% for this weekend.
I can’t wait to go to France and get back in the fight for the top positions. However, it is very likely that we will not have good weather there. It is clear that the rain is always a factor at this Grand Prix, because at this time of year the weather changes all the time. In addition, the grip on the track isn’t very good when it rains, as we saw in last year's race. Despite this, wet riding does not bother me, because it will be the same for everyone.
This is a 'stop and go' kind of circuit, with some heavy braking points. It will be very important to find a good setup on Friday and get up to a suitable pace."
MotoGP Moto3 - San Carlo Team Italia FMI ready for a comeback in Le Mans
Romano Fenati keeps improving, Francesco Bagnaia is hunting his first points on the world stage.
Romano Fenati (San Carlo Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#5) comes to Le Mans as the only Italian with points in the championship. After a strong comeback in Jerez, where he was ninth, he is ready to redeem himself on the French track where last year he crashed.
Francesco Bagnaia (San Carlo Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#4) was hindered by a tire issue in Spain but is ready to confirm the progress made during the last race, where he finally found the right setup on his Honda-FTR, getting closer to the lap times of his teammate.
Roberto Locatelli (FMI Technical Coordinator)
"We are hoping first of all for decent weather in Le Mans as we'd like to find conditions in which we can work regularly throughout the week-end. Fenati fought hard in Jerez, where he could have been fifth. I think of him as one of the best young riders out there for style and speed, and I'm awaiting confirmation in Le Mans. I hope Pecco doesn't have any more technical issues. In Spain he lapped closer to Romano, and now he just needs to score points to gain confidence."
ANTONELLI AND BALDASSARRI HOPING FOR BETTER LUCK AT LE MANS
After a crash-strewn Spanish Grand Prix Team GO&FUN Gresini MOTO3 head to the next round of the World Championship in France this weekend hoping for better fortunes for both Niccolo Antonelli and Lorenzo Baldassarri. The pair went straight from Jerez to Almeria for a short test and they are now ready to tackle the demands of the legendary Le Mans circuit.
Niccolo Antonelli “Jerez was an important weekend because we showed throughout practice that we were on the pace and we had every chance of running at the front in the race. I got a good start and everything was going well, I felt comfortable with the bike and was running between fourth and eighth place when I suddenly lost the front and crashes. It was a shame because we had the potential to score a good result. After Jerez we went to Almeria and in reality had my first test of the season because I had so many problems with my shoulder in the preseason. It was a positive test and now I am really looking forward to getting out on track at Le Mans with an improved feeling for the bike. ”
Loreno Baldassarri “It was a shame about the crash on the Saturday at Jerez because it limited our possibilities on Sunday but I was happy that I at least made it to the end of the race. I was even happier that we got to test at Almeria. It was really hot and I obviously wasn't in the best physical shape because of the pain in my shoulder but we did a good job and it should prove useful at Le Mans, where I really want to score a good result.”
Fausto Gresini “Unfortunately we didn't have much to smile about on race day at Jerez but we have to stay calm and keep looking forward, which is why we went straight to Almeria to test. Now we can go to Le Mans with the motivation and confidence to do well with both Antonelli and Baldassarri. They are enthusiastic young riders and I am sure they will be celebrating soon.”
Moto2 and Moto3 Riders Take Their Turn To Add Dunlop Kilometres At Le Mans
Le Mans hosts the forthcoming fourth round of the Moto GP World Championship. The French circuit sees more Dunlop kilometres than anywhere else in the world. Bikes and cars compete in 24 hour endurance races in addition to classic car, French Promosport bike rounds in addition to the Moto2 and Moto3 sprint races taking place this weekend.
The riders will be hoping for a dry race after 2012 saw rain make the already low-grip track a challenge. To give the best traction, Dunlop is allocating tyres at the softer end of the range. In Moto2, the same front options as used at the last round in Jerez are available for Le Mans, the ‘302’ soft and the medium ‘345’, while the rear options are the ‘3854’ soft option and the ‘3757’ high temperature soft tyre that retains grip when temperatures exceed 35°C.
Moto3 riders have again been allocated ‘M’ medium and ‘H’ hard front tyres along with ‘S’ soft and ‘M’ medium rears.
Le Mans is prone to varied weather conditions and the wet tyres will be available as usual if necessary.
At Jerez, Esteve Rabat took his first Moto2 pole position, first race win and broke the lap record in front of a massive crowd of 111,259 fans. Rabat is one of six riders to appear on the podium for the three events so far. No Moto2 rider has finished in the top three at all events so far while Viñales and Salom have both managed the feat in Moto3.
Clinton Howe, Operations Manager Motorcycle Grand Prix
“Jerez was a great success. The times were very consistent throughout both the Moto2 and Moto3 races. It was really good seeing Rabat doing so well.
“For Le Mans we have to consider the weather conditions very carefully – that is our biggest issue and one of the things we can’t control. If it’s cold it’s not so good for the riders because of the already-low grip on the track. The wets do their job but again it’s harder for the riders than at the majority of circuits. Sunshine would make it much more enjoyable for everyone.”