Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first day of practice at Le Mans:
On form Redding leads the way at Le Mans
Le Mans, France - 17 May 2013: Scott Redding wasted no time in stamping his authority on proceedings during the opening day at Le Mans, topping the timesheet in both free practice session to lay down a marker for his championship rivals.
Mika Kallio was a little disappointed to finish the day only 13th fastest, despite improving his lap time this afternoon, to close to within a second of his Marc VDS teammate. The 30-year-old Finn still lacks the all-important confidence in the front of his Kalex Moto23 machine, a situation he is confident will be rectified by set-up changes ahead of tomorrow morning's third and final free practice session.
Jules Danilo, who is making his Moto3 Grand Prix debut as a wild card rider this weekend at Le Mans, ended the day 17th fastest overall. The French rider, who celebrates his 18th birthday tomorrow, is confident of making further improvements ahead of the all-important qualifying session.
After struggling to find confidence in the front tyre in the cold conditions of this morning's free practice session, it was the rear that caused Livio Loi issues this afternoon. Pumping from the rear suspension under acceleration meant the 16-year-old Belgian was unable to push for a fast lap time and he ended the day 20th on the timesheet.
Scott Redding #45: 1st - 1'38.203
"I like the Le Mans circuit, so my confidence was high coming into this weekend, especially off the back of three good results at tracks that were either new or a little unkind to me in the past. I'm feeling good on the bike here; we've had a couple of small issues during practice, but nothing that we haven't been able to sort out quickly. The lap times today came without really pushing hard, so I know there's more to come in qualifying if I need it. But this is Le Mans, so who knows what the weather will throw at us tomorrow. It could be dry or it could be wet, either way I think we're in a good way here with the bike and the set-up."
Mika Kallio #36: 13th - 1'39.174
"We ran the set-up we tested at Almeria this morning, but it didn't give me the feeling with the front end that I was looking for. It meant I didn't have the confidence on corner entry and that lost me a lot of time. We made some improvements to the front for the second session, but there's still something missing. The bike just doesn't feel right when I trail the brake into the corners. We have a few ideas for tomorrow, but we need to sit down tonight and decide in which direction to go. I'm not so happy with 13th but with the problems we've had, to finish within a second of Scott's time is not too bad."
Jules Danilo #95: 17th - 1'46.157
"We had some problems with the bike this morning, but the team managed to get everything sorted for this afternoon's second free practice session. I'm happy with how things have gone today, as I felt confident on the bike this afternoon and we managed to improve the lap time with every exit. We still have a few things we want to improve on the bike but, overall, it's been a good opening day at my first ever Grand Prix."
Livio Loi #11: 20th - 1'46.295
"The track temperature was very low this morning, so it was difficult to have confidence in the front tyre. Conditions had improved for FP2, but I had a real problem with the rear suspension pumping under acceleration. Even with a new rear tyre the bike was unsettled on the throttle and I was losing time out of every corner. We need to fix the problem tonight ready for tomorrow, as you can win a lot of time on a Moto3 bike by getting on the gas both hard and early on corner exit, which I couldn't do today."
FAST FRIDAY FOR FOLGER
MAPFRE Aspar rider makes strong start at Le Mans with second fastest time on opening day; Granado makes French debut in 29th position
The French GP got underway today with the teams looking at the skies but thankfully the black clouds held off until the final five minutes of this afternoon's second session for the Moto3 class, meaning they were able to complete the majority of work planned in free practice. Alex Rins set the pace on the dry track, closely followed by Jonas Folger, Luis Salom and Maverick Viñales, who look to be the main contenders for victory on Sunday should the conditions hold firm, although at Le Mans nothing is ever certain.
MAPFRE Aspar rider Folger has made a typically strong start to the weekend, finishing this morning's session with the third fastest time before going second fastest in the afternoon, losing top spot only in the final few minutes by just 0.006 seconds. On the other side of the MAPFRE Aspar garage Eric Granado completed his first laps of Le Mans today, gradually gathering information about the track and building his pace before finishing with the 29th fastest time of the day.
2nd Jonas Folger 1.44.153 (30 laps): "It has been a very positive first day here in France and I think we have found the way forward for the rest of the weekend. We took a big step forward with the set-up in the second session. We always seem to be fast on Fridays but the important thing now is to maintain this pace consistently throughout the rest of the weekend. According to the forecast it looks likely we'll have rain tomorrow but hopefully we'll get some dry track time because we have a few modifications in mind. We worked on getting the bike turning in better today and tried to improve our pace on used tyres. We learnt a lot about the way the bike reacts to changes with the set-up and it has made me more confident so I am happy."
29th Eric Granado 1.47.112 (33 laps): "Today was my first ever time at Le Mans and I like it. Things went well for us this morning and we were able to gather a lot of information about the track. In the second session I struggled to go as fast so we need to improve this. At the end of the session when we put new tyres on it started to rain so that was a shame. Hopefully the weather is kind to us so that we can get more dry time because I like the track."
RW Racing GP bothered by the weather
With just 5 minutes left raindrops effected Free Practice 2 of the French GP for the Moto3 riders. Jakub Kornfeil had just changed tires and was focused on improving his lap time on the Bugatti Circuit in Le Mans when he saw the drops on his visor. Kornfeil had been on 5th position for a long time during the practice, but was pushed back to 13th when it began to rain. Jasper Iwema had a bad day at the office, with 33rd position.
Both RW Racing GP riders are opposites to each other concerning the Le Mans GP. Kornfeil likes the track, but never gained a point here. Last year the Czech qualified in 4th, but crashed out in the rain. Iwema does not like the track, but the Dutchman has a great record finishing 7th last year: his best ever Grand Prix result.
Today the results where a lot different. Kornfeil finished FP1 in 8th and FP2 in 13th. Iwema was 31st in FP1 and 33rd in the afternoon session. Neither of them was satisfied with his result, nor was team manager Jarno Janssen.
Jakub Kornfeil (13): " We have a different chassis this weekend and I am happy with that. But to make it work we had to make a few adjustments. Unfortunately we didn’t have the time to use those changes, because of the rain. For tomorrow I think qualifying between 8th and 10th should be possible.’’
Jasper Iwema (33): "In the beginning I had a problem with braking and corner entry. We changed something in the setup of the suspension, but I still have a problem with grip of the front as well as the rear. Nothing seems to work properly and I keep making the same mistakes every lap. Hopefully we have some dry time left to put down a few decent laps to get my confidence back, because this sucks.’’
Rins leads the way at Le Mans
and Marquez learns quickly
Alex Rins clocks fastest time of the day, whilst teammate Alex Marquez makes progress on first visit to Le Mans.
Repsol Media Service - France, Le Mans Circuit - Friday 17/05/2013
The opening practice sessions for the French Grand Prix began in normal fashion for the Moto3 riders, with only the slightest interruption due to rain at the end of the second session. In the morning run, Alex Rins showed his comfort at the French track with the second quickest time, behind Maverick Viñales. Alex Marquez was eleventh on his first encounter with Le Mans, just over 1.5 seconds off the best time.
In the afternoon, Rins continued to improve. He was amongst the frontrunners throughout the session and, with 13 minutes remaining, clocked his best time on his 12th of 14 laps. A light shower brought the session to the close with five minutes remaining and nobody was able to better his 1’44.147 lap.
Alex Marquez also made progress in his afternoon runout, undertaking 15 laps of the circuit. On his 12th of these, he took a best register of 1’45.988 that put him 1.841 off his teammate. Tomorrow’s weather forecast is for rain, making the second day of practice a more difficult prospect.
FP1: 1:45.560, 16 laps, 67 km.
FP2: 1:44.147, 14 laps, 59 km.
“The first day has been positive. We are very happy because we have achieved one of the goals we had set before arriving at Le Mans: Beating last year's fastest time. Today we set a good pace, but still need to improve some things for tomorrow. I do not know if we will be able to, because there is rain forecast, but we will try to do a good job under all conditions and have some fun on the bike.”
FP1: 1:46.796, 16 laps, 67 km.
FP2: 1:45.988, 15 laps, 63 km.
“I felt pretty good on what for me was a day of adapting to a new circuit. Little-by-little I kept lowering my times, and this is important. We still have room for improvement, especially with our lines and with a few things on the bike. Lap-by-lap we have adapted to the circuit. We'll see tomorrow if the weather is dry for us, but if not then thankfully we have a good setup for the dry already. In wet I also feel good with the bike, so I’ll just have to do my best, whatever. I like the first chicane and the second sector is a bit trickier, but from the start things have suited me quite well. For qualifying we are clear about what we need to do, but we still have room for improvement so we will try to lower the times.”
Red Bull KTM Ajo shape up at Le Mans
Luis Salom starts the Grand Prix weekend third fastest in practice. Zulfahmi Khairuddin nineteenth on day one and Arthur Sissis twenty-fifth, after crashes.
17/05/2013 - Le Mans Circuit
The legendary Le Mans circuit today played host to the first day of the fourth round of the World Championship. The Red Bull KTM Ajo team started the weekend strong, with Luis Salom taking the third fastest time of the day. Zulfahmi Khairuddin was nineteenth quickest and Arthur Sissis twenty-fifth, as both suffered crashes in the second practice session. Whilst the tumbles did not result in injury, the duo's planned workload was affected.
Raindrops just before the first practice session of the weekend had many expecting a day of wet practice sessions, as has been the case in recent years at this Grand Prix. Fortunately, heavy showers never arrived and the riders went out on a dry track –albeit cold at 8ºC and with 11ºC asphalt temperature. Arthur Sissis and Luis Salom headed the timesheets at various points in the session, with Salom eventually setting the fourth fastest time of 1:45.902. Zulfahmi Khairuddin was ninth with a 1:46.594 and Sissis nineteenth after clocking a 1:47.836.
The second session did not start well for the team, as first Zulfahmi Khairuddin and later Sissis suffered crashes on the early chicane. Nevertheless, both got back on track and improved their times, as did teammate Salom. The Spanish rider for the Red Bull KTM Ajo team managed to breach the 1:45 barrier and place third in the combined timesheets. A brief shower with seven minutes remaining meant that the day was draw to an early conclusion.
Action at Le Mans continues tomorrow, with the final free practice session and qualifying.
Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2)
1. Alex Rins (KTM) 1:44.147
2. Jonas Folger (Kalex KTM) 1:44.153 +0.006
3. Luis Salom (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:44.678 +0.531
4. Maverick Viñales (KTM) 1:44.823 +0.676
5. Danny Webb (Suter Honda) 1:45.073 +0.926
19. Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:46.264 +2.117
25. Arthur Sissis (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:46.967 +2.820
"Overall, this first day of practice at Le Mans went well. I'm happy with the work we are doing as a team. Little-by-little, lap-by-lap, we are improving. Above all, we can keep calm because the weekend is very long and the weather can change at any time, as happened today. We have started very well, and I just hope that the weather is good for us tomorrow."
"Today was a difficult day, the first session was not the best we've had so far this season and we made some changes to the bike for the second run. I felt very comfortable with the adjustments and I got a good time on some really worn tyres.
Then, on the second time out of the garage, we made some changes. After leaving pitlane I crashed at the first chicane. It wasn’t a big fall and I could go back out, but then it started to rain. We've had some bad luck, but the feeling with the bike is good so we're on the right track."
"The morning did not go badly at all. In the second session we tested new configurations with the bike, focusing on the rear shock, to see which path we had to follow. Later I suffered a crash on Turn 4, but I was lucky and escaped unscathed. I was able to ride again and was pushing to improve my time when it started to rain.
Let's see if it is good weather tomorrow; if it rains, I have to give everything to take the best grid position possible. I feel comfortable with the bike, so tomorrow I hope to place in the top ten —at least."
Niklas Ajo finds good early pace at Le Mans
Avant Tecno KTM rider has positive first day of the French Grand Prix, taking the sixth fastest time in each of the two practice sessions.
17/05/2013 - Le Mans Circuit
Avant Tecno KTM rider Niklas Ajo achieved his first objective of the weekend today: finding a strong early pace at Le Mans. The weather was good for the Moto3 practice sessions and rain only fell at the end of the second practice session. Niklas Ajo made the most of these conditions to clinch the sixth best time in the combined classification for today.
Low temperatures early in the morning -8ºC atmospheric and 11ºC on track- and the threat of rain forced Niklas Ajo to approach the start of the fourth event of the year with caution. The Avant Tecno KTM rider sought to improve his best lap time steadily and it was on the last of his 16 times around the circuit that he clocked the sixth quickest time: 1’46.442.
He earnt the same position in the second and final session of the day. The young Finn continued to lower his times and showed a consistent pace, besting his morning lap by 1.300. He was the sixth fastest on the combined timesheets and called his day to an end when a rainshower appeared with seven minutes remaining.
The starting grid for Sunday's race will be decided tomorrow at 12.35 pm, local time, in qualifying at Le Mans.
Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2)
1. Alex Rins (KTM) 1:44.147
2. Jonas Folger (Kalex KTM) 1:44.153 +0.006
3. Luis Salom (KTM) 1:44.678 +0.531
4. Maverick Viñales (KTM) 1:44.823 +0.676
5. Danny Webb (Suter Honda) 1:45.073 +0.926
6. Niklas Ajo (Avant Tecno KTM) 1:45.142 +0.995
"The first day went well. In the first session, the track was cold and we all started with a little caution. However, in the second session there was improved grip and the feel of the bike was very good. I am happy and am already planning to continue the same line of work tomorrow. Physically I'm fine to ride, but I cannot force things much when running or walking."
TEAM GO&FUN GRESINI MOTO3 MAKE POSITIVE START AT LE MANS
Niccolò Antonelli and Lorenzo Baldassarri made a positive start to the French Grand Prix at Le Mans today. The Italian youngsters made the most of fair weather conditions to set some strong lap times and raise hopes ahead of tomorrow's qualifying practice.
Niccolò Antonelli (9th 1’45.400 ) “That was a good day and I am happy with our performance in both sessions. To be honest we could have probably gone a b it faster but I ran wide on my best lap and then at the end when we put a new tyre in it started to rain. In any case I am satisfied with our start and looking forward to the rest of the weekend.”
Lorenzo Baldassarri (21st 1’ 46” 410) “It was a nice day for us today because I was able to establish a good feeling with the bike and the track was great fun to ride once I found my references. Now we need to work on making some more improvements tomorrow and I am sure we can do well.”
Fausto Gresini “Apart from a few drops of rain right at the end that stopped Niccolò from improving further it was almost a perfect day. We are satisfied because Niccolò set a strong pace in both sessions and Lorenzo is starting to get confident with his bike as well as adapting quickly to a new circuit for him. This is a positive start that vindicates our decision to test at Almeria following the last race at Jerez.”
NICO TEROL FINDS CONSISTENCY IN FRANCE
MAPFRE Aspar rider sixth fastest and on the pace in free practice, Jordi Torres inside a second of 'pole' in fifteenth
Just a second covered the top fifteen Moto2 riders at the end of the first day of free practice at Le Mans although Scott Redding seems to have the edge at the moment, the British rider ending both sessions on top of the timesheets and inside the circuit record from 2011. With rain forecast for the rest of the weekend, however, it promises to be another unpredictable round of Moto2 action.
The MAPFRE Aspar Team made a strong start to the weekend with both riders satisfied with their performances. Each rider clocked up 44 laps, with Nico Terol fast and consistent throughout and Jordi Torres adapting quickly to a new circuit for him. Terol was fifth fastest this morning and sixth this afternoon, comfortably maintaing a position in the higher reaches of the timing screens. Torres has enjoyed his first outing here at Le Mans and he did a great job to lap within a second of pacesetter Redding and clock the fifteenth fastest time overall.
6º Nico Terol 1.38.907 (44 vueltas): "We set a good consistent pace today and were constantly in touch with the top guys. I am happy about that and also about my feeling for the bike here. We still have some corners to improve but that is what the second day is for and we can be satisfied so far. Redding is the only guy who seems to have a bit more pace than the rest but otherwise it is extremely close. I have changed my riding style a little today to try and improve in certain areas compared to last year but there are still some places where I need to improve more. We are on the right lines though and tomorrow we will work hard to find what we are missing. We need some more grip and there are two corners in particular where we need to find the right gear ratio."
15th Jordi Torres 1.39.271 (44 laps): "After seeing the track so many times on television it was different to how I expected it. It is quite unusual and a lot of fun and it was quite easy to learn. Our pace is good but we need to get a better understanding of some of the linked corners and then we will be a few tenths quicker still. This morning was a good shakedown and then this afternoon we made some important changes to the set-up and pushed from there. We have worked on improving the response from the rear shock and I think this is the way for us to go, although we need to confirm it tomorrow. The lap times are close here, you only have to look at the fact that I am a second off the top even though I am in fifteenth. It will be a tough battle tomorrow but I am happy and I know we can be even more competitive."
TEAM LA FONTE TASCARACING - Le Mans GP: Free Practice
Le Mans (France) - Free Practice
ALESSANDRO TONUCCI (N. 19) - 8°
HYUGA WATANABE (N. 29) - 35°
Giorgio Bertelli: "Good improvement of Tonucci that today has tested the new hulls that we will use from the next GP in Mugello, better performance in speed and in the handling. We are pleased with the team work that finally seems to be on the right way.
Regarding Watanabe continues his apprenticeship, even here in France".
Alessandro Tonucci: "We changed the work system and is starting to give us fruit. The bike is improving and today's times make me hope. Hopefully the weather will help us, ride in good weather conditions facilitates the work of the technicians."
Hyuga Watanabe: "It is not easy to understand the circuit and quickly learn the line, I'm trying. I like this track and I hope to get better tomorrow".
MotoGP Moto3 - Positive start for San Carlo Team Italia FMI in Le Mans
Romano Fenati is tenth and working on race pace, Francesco Bagnaia gets acquainted with the track.
During the first day of free practice for Moto3 in Le Mans, Romano Fenati (San Carlo Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#5) worked on race pace, finding his stride and posting the 10th best time, 1.253 slower than Rins, who set the best lap with a 1'45.560.
Francesco Bagnaia (San Carlo Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#4), who was lapping for the first time on the historical French track, progressively improved and found a good feeling on the bike, but only managed to post the 32nd provisional time (+ 3.386) as the rain came just as he was about to go into "time attack" mode.
Romano Fenati (San Carlo Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#5)
"These first sessions were positive. The team and I are working in synergy and we found a good race pace ahead of Sunday. Now we're ready to attack the qualifying practice."
Francesco Bagnaia (San Carlo Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#4)
"The sessions were positive as far as working on the setup is concerned, even though the time sheet don't show it. I found the feeling faster than in the past, and we only missed a good lap time. Unfortunately it started to rain just as I was about to head out with a new tyre and I had to come back to the pits. We'll try with even more determination tomorrow."
Roberto Locatelli (FMI Technical Coordinator)
"We can be moderately satisfied with our first day. We tried to get ahead with setups for the race as it is supposed to rain tomorrow, and with Romano we got off a good start and we'll fine tune to allow him to do a good qualifier. Pecco had some extra issues, but concerning with the weather rather than the bike. He's growing and can improve significantly tomorrow."
WILAIROT MAKES CONFIDENT START
Ratthapark Wilairot made a positive start to the French Grand Prix at Le Mans today. The Thai rider struggled a little but in the opening session but in the afternoon he made progress and established a good base to work from in tomor row's qualifying practice.
Ratthapark Wilairot (19th 1’ 39” 675 ) “I was struggling to get out of the corners this morning and couldn't push the bike as I wanted. The changes we made this afternoon worked well and I felt more confident with the bike. There are still a couple of corners where I don't feel comfortable but I am sure that by looking at the telemetry and with the help of the team we can find some solutions and make more improvements tomorrow.”
Fausto Gresini “Feem showed his potential again today. A top fifteen finish is within his reach this weekend and if he can solve some little issues tomorrow I am sure he is capable of a good grid position.”