Press releases after the first day of practice for the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first day of practice at Phillip Island:
Day of trial and error for Rins and Marquez at Phillip Island
Seventh place for Alex Rins and thirteenth for Alex Marquez on first day with new Australian asphalt.
Repsol Media Service - Australia, Phillip Island Circuit - Friday 18/10/2013
The re-laid Phillip Island asphalt may have been new, but the weather on day one of the Australian GP was typical of the circuit; wind, sun and cold temperatures greeted the Moto3 riders on Friday. The participants were happy with the new surface, and in the opening sessions Alex Rins was seventh quickest, just 0.600s off Luis Salom –the quickest in the morning. Alex Marquez was tenth, 0.698s down.
In the second free practice session there was a light rise in temperatures and the two riders were able to lower their times. In the final minutes, Rins had a small crash after swerving off track to avoid a prone Niklas Ajo. He was unable to keep up his improvement and placed seventh. Alex Marquez placed tenth in the second session and thirteenth overall.
FP1 - 1:38.932, 18 laps, 80 km.
FP2 - 1:38.495, 15 laps, 67 km.
“The times were very tight today. Throughout the session we were working on different aspects of the setup, because we couldn’t find the best feeling. Tomorrow I'm sure we can go much faster, and hopefully there will be a little less wind. There is always room for improvement, because today I was riding with used tyres and set a pace that I think is still off what it will be in the race. It’s a shame that at the end, when we fitted new tyres, on the second lap I went off the track to avoid another rider."
FP1 - 1:39.030, 18 laps, 80 km.
FP2 - 1:38.996, 18 laps, 80 km.
“It was a little bit of a tricky day, as from the beginning we struggled a lot and now we have to work with tomorrow in mind. The positive thing is that although I was thirteenth, the difference to the top is not large and we have just 7 tenths between us. This afternoon we will try to solve some of the problems and doubts we have to see how we can continue to improve, because I think we have a lot of room for improvement."
Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Luis Salom amongst fastest five
Red Bull KTM Ajo riders begin Australian GP with third and fourth best times, respectively. Arthur Sissis fourteenth at home track.
18/10/13 - Phillip Island Circuit, Australia
An intense day of work started the action at Phillip Island on Friday. The Red Bull KTM Ajo riders began with very good results in the first practice sessions of the weekend. Zulfahmi Khairrudin, third, and Luis Salom, fourth, were in the top five in both sessions, whilst Arthur Sissis took an important step forward in the second run for fourteenth. The difference between the home rider and the top spot was less than a second today.
Salom and Zulfahmi Khairuddin were amongst the fastest riders in adapting to the new asphalt on the Australian track and the typical gusts of wind. The Spanish Red Bull KTM Ajo rider took the best time –1:38.332– in the first free practice, temporarily setting a new circuit record, and Zulfahmi Khairuddin followed closely with the third fastest time –1:38.538. Arthur Sissis, in twenty-fourth with a 1:39.937 lap, could not enjoy the entire 40 minutes of the session after a Turn 1 crash in the first few minutes of the day.
All three Red Bull KTM Ajo riders improved their times in the second practice session, where the differences between riders was tighter than ever. Zulfahmi Khairuddin –1:38.224– and Luis Salom –1:38.235– pushed right through to the last lap to set their best times and place back in the top 5. Also going faster was Arthur Sissis –1:39.181– who tried out various setups for his KTM.
The starting grid for the Australian GP will be decided on Saturday in qualifying. Zulfahmi Khairuddin will try to improve on his second row from last year, whilst Arthur Sissis and Luis Salom will seek to do better than their third row start from 2012.
Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2)
1. Maverick Viñales (KTM) 1:38.198
2. Jonas Folger (Kalex KTM) 1:38.220 +0.022
3. Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:38.224 +0.026
4. Luis Salom (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:38.235 +0.037
5. Nicolo Antonelli (FTR Honda) 1:38.383 +0.185
14. Arthur Sissis (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:39.181 +0.983
"The truth is that this first day of the Grand Prix of Australia has been difficult. We didn't go badly in either session, but the results have not been as good as we had expected. We are still missing something to find the perfect feeling with the bike, so we're working to improve on that and go faster tomorrow."
"Things have not been too bad today. During the first session I had a crash on lap four when going into the first corner, the fastest of the circuit. Through that I missed almost half the session before I could go back out.
In the second session we made some changes to the configuration of the bike and that brought us results –we went faster. However, it was not enough to get further up the timesheets. It's very tight and the first fifteen riders are practically just a second apart. So we have to be very precise and seek small improvements on different parts of the Phillip Island circuit –especially the first corner."
"I think now is the time to thank all the medical services and physios for their help over these past four days, ensuring that I am as fit as possible here in Australia.
Today I felt comfortable on the bike. The team did a very good job. Tomorrow will be another day, but I hope to keep amongst the top riders –especially in qualifying. Our pace is very good, so tomorrow we shall try to continue in the same way."
AS EXPECTED BOTH ANTONELLI AND BALDASSARRI MAKE STRONG STARTS
Niccolò Antonelli confirmed his recent good progress with some strong lap times on the opening day of free practice at Phillip Island. The Italian youngster rode confidently at the Australian circuit and was consistently amongst the top riders during the two sessions, ending the day in fifth place overall, just over a tenth off the best lap of pacesetter Maverick Vinales. His team-mate Lorenzo Baldassarri immediately felt comfortable at Phillip Island, showing a swift adaptation to the track and good early confidence with his bike.
Niccolò Antonelli (5th 1’ 38” 383) “Not bad for day one! I felt really good with the bike and the track from the start. Obviously we still have to work on a few things and try to improve the feeling with the rear but the good thing is that we have started in the right way and proved that the front row at Sepang was not a flash in the pan.”
Lorenzo Baldassarri (15th 1’ 39” 207) “I liked the track straight away and the feeling with the bike was positive from the start even though the wind was so strong this afternoon. Obviously we still have some things to set up but it has been a good start and our hopes are high for tomorrow.”
Fausto Gresini “We couldn't have had a much better start to the weekend. Niccolò was really fast today and Lorenzo also did a good job. I am satisfied to see our riders build on the positive signs they showed at Sepang and especially with Antonelli showing how far he has come. With the work we have planned for tomorrow I am sure the weekend here in Australia can turn out to be a good one for us.”
JONAS FOLGER BEGINS STRONG AT PHILLIP ISLAND
MAPFRE Aspar rider second on first day of Australian GP. Eric Granado concludes 26th, 1.5 seconds off the top spot
The typical winds of Phillip Island today welcomed the Moto3 riders to the first day of the Australian GP. The conditions –cooler than expected at 16 degrees Celsius- and the wind were no obstacle for fast times, as the lower cylinder category competitors immediately set a pace quicker than the pole record set last year: 1.38.198 to 1.38.334. Times were also tight between the top riders, as from first to fourth there was only a tenth of a second between the best laps. Just a second separated first from fifteenth. Maverick Viñales was quickest, followed by Folger and Khairuddin.
MAPFRE Aspar rider Jonas Folger was in great form today, adapting perfectly to the Phillip Island circuit. He continues to make good progress from his left ankle injury and was in less pain riding today. With little discomfort, and almost fully recovered, the German focused on adjusting the setup of his bike to go faster. And that he did, in second in the first two sessions of the Australian GP. He was less than a tenth of a second off the best time in both sessions.
Also feeling good was teammate Eric Granado. The first half of the afternoon for the Brazilian was one of a strong pace, although the hard tyre compounds used for the second half slowed him down somewhat. Despite this, the MAPFRE Aspar rider was able to finish the day just 1.5s off the best time –significantly lower than at previous rounds.
2nd Jonas Folger 1.38.220 (36 laps): "Today I had a much better feeling than in Malaysia. I guess that my foot continues getting better and the less suffocating conditions are also helping me. I'm happy because we achieved a good result from the first day, and because the performance of the bike was very positive. We have taken the right steps, which has enabled us to feel progressively more comfortable on-track. We have done an excellent job and I'm happy about that. Basically, we worked on getting a good pace from the middle to the exit of the corners. We also sought to strengthen our feeling with the front end, which is very important at this track where the wind is always a constraint. We adjusted the gearing to suit this circuit and I am very satisfied, as all the changes conducted today have helped us to improve.”
26nd Eric Granado 1.39.709 (38 laps): "I really enjoyed riding at this circuit with the Moto3 bike. This morning I realised that it is very important to be very price with your lines; it is windy and if you lose your way then you can suffer a lot. This afternoon I tried to push hard from the beginning and I got a pretty good couple of laps. This afternoon we tried a hard rear tyre but we had a hard time adjusting to it. We will have to work on the settings to not lose the balance between the chassis and hard rubber. Although I was a little off the pace, I concluded the day with a good feeling, as the difference to the top riders was lower than at other rounds. As we have seen, it is all very tight, and tomorrow we will have to keep working hard to make a leap forward with our times.”
Top 10 for Niklas Ajo to start the weekend
Good feeling and pace for Avant Tecno KTM rider on opening day of Australian GP.
18/10/2013 - Phillip Island Circuit
Niklas Ajo today set the tenth fastest time –1:38.725– in the combined timesheets for the first and second free practice sessions of the Australian Grand Prix. The Avant Tecno KTM rider quickly found a good feeling and a good setup, which allowed him to make the most of every minute on track. The difference between riders was minimal and Ajo was just 527 milliseconds off the top time, set by Maverick Viñales.
Phillip Island is a track that Niklas Ajo likes, and this was shown in the opening minutes of the first free practice session when he led the timesheets. Avant Tecno KTM rider lapped quickly, adapting fast to the typical winds which reached some 29 km/h. He set his best lap of 1:39.256 for fourteenth place. A mistake in the final minute prevented him from once again lowering his best time.
He did manage to lower that time in the second free practice session. Comfortable on his KTM, the Finn improved early and has spent the rest of the session looking for a good pace with the focus on Sunday’s race. The results were very positive. With a best lap of 1:38.725, the Avant Tecno KTM rider took ninth place on the timesheets. Eventually, a light crash with three minutes left in the session terminated his working day ahead of schedule.
In qualifying tomorrow, Niklas' main aim will be to take a position higher than his fifth row placing from last season.
Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2)
1. Maverick Viñales (KTM) 1:38.198
2. Jonas Folger (Kalex KTM) 1:38.220 +0.022
3. Zulfahmi Khairuddin (KTM) 1:38.224 +0.026
4. Luis Salom (KTM) 1:38.235 +0.037
5. Niccolo Antonelli (FTR Honda) 1:38.383 +0.185
10. Niklas Ajo (Avant Tecno KTM) 1:38.725 +0.527
"I think today in Australia we had a good first day of the Grand Prix. During the first session I had a good feeling from the start. I was able to go fast and set my best times on the early laps, but at the end I could not improve because I ran off-track at Turn 1 and got the tyres dirty.
In the afternoon I had a good feeling, riding alone for most of the session. I made a long run in order to prepare for the race and was able to set a good pace –the tyres responded well. At the end I made a mistake and I suffered a small crash, but escaped uninjured. I'm happy with the results today –now I have to keep working for tomorrow and rest up."
AUSTRALIA : ZARCO 8th IN FP2 , PETRUCCI AND PESEK WORKING FOR QUALIFYING PRACTICES
COWES , October 18, 2013 - It's start with an eighth place in the weekend the CAME Iodaracing week end in Australia. Johann Zarco clocked a top ten lap time in the Moto2, on his first day of work on the demanding Phillip Island track. With its 1.33.996 , Zarco is eighth at the end of the second free practice session of the afternoon at 0.742 s from Esteve Rabat, the best of the day.
In MotoGP Danilo Petrucci, despite an improvement of about 1.2s than last year, ended the first day of practice with the 18th fastest in 1.31.985, sixth between CRT and 18th overall . Start in a positive way the Lukas Pesek weekend and in these sessions was not too far from the CRT group. Pesek is 22 ° (ninth between CRT) with his 1.32.943 .
JOHANN ZARCO - MOTO2 RIDER - 8th IN FP2 - 1.33.996 - "This morning didn't go well with the soft tire, due to the new asphalt. We changed to the hard but what Dunlop had brought for Phillip Island has given problems to some riders, and so we went back to the "old hard". In the FP2 , things went better, I was forcing less and are arrived quickly to have a good pace, we couldn't improve at the end of the session. On this track there need to have a lot of confidence , because there are points where you can force . We have to lower our time and I hope to do it tomorrow".
DANILO PETRUCCI - MOTOGP RIDER - 18th IN FP2 - 1.31.985 - "To be honest I was expecting to go a little better than that. Compared to last year I have already improved my time of 1.2 seconds, but the level here is very high and I saw that the others are already fast . The new asphalt works very well and it shows the times of the MotoGP . We've done some chassis tests but we still managed to find something that will give us that extra, because the wind in some places, such as in curve 3, was so strong that I widen the path. Tomorrow we will try to improve".
LUKAS PESEK - MOTOGP RIDER - 22 ° IN FP2 - 1.32.943 - "To be the first day I am very satisfied . I'm still a second away from the best of the CRT, but compared to the beginning of the last races of the weekend we are very forward. We managed to find a good set-up and I'm sure I can still improve . I don't ride with a GP bike at Phillip Island since 2009, the last time was with a 250, so I'm pretty happy with today".
Crashes ruin good first day
Crashes of both Jasper Iwema and Jakub Kornfeil ruined what seemed to be a good first day of the Australian GP for RW Racing GP. Halfway through FP2 Iwema went down in MG Hairpin (turn 10). He was in 11th at the time. Kornfeil crashed a few minutes later while being 17th and destroyed his bike. Both riders are ok.
Phillip Island suits Jasper Iwema fine. The Dutchman felt confident and was doing a great job, riding well within the top 15 during FP2. While in 11th position – looking at another improvement of his lap time – he made a small mistake and went down in Turn 10. Time was too short to re-enter the practice. Iwema ended up in 23th at the end of FP2.
A few minutes after Iwema crashed the team saw Jakub Kornfeil missing on the time sheets. Kornfeil was riding in 17th position when he crashed as well. His one was much heavier than Iwema’s. Kornfeil was limping away from the scene, but except for a sore hip the Czech is ok. His Kalex KTM was definitely not: the bike was reduced to bits and pieces. Team manager Jarno Janssen: "I’ve seen some wrecked bikes, but not like this. It’s completely destroyed.’’ By the time FP2 was finished, Kornfeil was down to 27th in the results.
Jasper Iwema (23): "Such a shame. I was doing so well. The bike feels good, I am confident, my lap times are fine. It was just a small mistake, but the consequences were too big to finish the practice. I’ll try to pick up the thread tomorrow and continue in this good form.’’
Jakub Kornfeil (27): "That was a big one. I’m so sorry for the team. They will have a lot of work in building up the bike again. I was doing ok, but I have a lot to gain in the first sector. It’s just two corners but I lose over half a second there. After we rebuild the bike, we’ll have to have a closer look at that.’’
POSITIVE DEBUT FOR PRADITA AT PHILLIP ISLAND
Indonesian rider Doni Tata Pradita quickly found his confidence with both bike and track on the first day of practice at Phillip Island in Australia. His successful work focused on getting a good base set-up for tomorrow’s practice sessions and Sunday’s race. If he continues to make positive progress then he has every chance to get into the top 15 during qualifying, which would represent a very good result.
Doni Tata Pradita (24th 1’ 35” 687) “I am particularly happy and satisfied with the work we have done in today’s first practices. Phillip Island is a track I really like, although I’ve only raced here once before. I quickly found a good feeling with the machine and I made further improvements in the afternoon session. I hope to be able to make another positive step forward tomorrow. ”
Fausto Gresini “Today Pradita worked really hard and showed he has got a good feeling with the bike and the track. He is not far from the top 15 today, and if he is able to continue making these big steps forward, then he would get close to achieving that objective.”
WAROKORN LOOKING FOR CONFIDENCE
Although the Phillip Island circuit has beguiled him completely, Warokorn today found it hard to feel confident with the Australian track. Despite his best efforts, he was unable to find the right lines to attack the challenging layout.
Thitipong Warokorn (29th 1’ 37” 354) “Phillip Island is a completely new track for me, and it is a completely different proposition from the ones I have got used to up until now. It hasn’t been an easy day, but I am convinced that with today as a reference we can make significant steps forward tomorrow.”
Fausto Gresini “Phillip Island is a beautiful track, but it isn’t easy for a debutant like Warokorn to find their way around. However I am convinced that with the data we have collected today and with the help of his team, then he will be able to make big progress tomorrow.”
Strong start for Redding at blustery Phillip Island
Phillip Island, Australia - 18 October 2013: Scott Redding was back on form for the opening day of the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island, ending the two free practice sessions second fastest and just 0.116s behind provisional pole sitter, Tito Rabat.
Mika Kallio, who at just 58kg is one of the lightest riders on the Moto2 grid, ended the day in tenth position, after being buffeted relentlessly by the strong and unpredictable winds that are such a big part of racing at Phillip Island.
For all the Moto2 riders the main topic of conversation after today's two free practice sessions was tyres. The tyre that Dunlop developed specifically for resurfaced tracks, and tested in Argentina earlier in the season, was withdrawn and replaced with an older option tyre after some issues with punctures in this morning's free practice session.
This afternoon's second free practice session saw more punctures, but tyre degradation was the main issue, with riders reporting that grip dropped off significantly after just a handful of laps, raising concerns about safety in Sunday's 25-lap Moto2 race.
The wind was also an issue for the Livio Loi on his first visit to the spectacular Phillip Island circuit, with the Marc VDS Moto3 rider ending the day in 30th position on combined times.
As well as learning his way around a track that he saw for the first time this morning, Loi, who weighs in at just 45kg, also had to contend with being repeatedly blown off line by the wind, particularly around the exposed Southern Loop section of the 4.448km circuit.
The 16-year-old Belgian improved his lap time by more than a second this afternoon, despite continuing problems with the wind and getting the bike to turn into the corners. Loi is hoping for calmer conditions tomorrow, when he returns to the track for the final free practice session and the all-important qualifying.
Scott Redding #45 // 2nd // 1'33.273
"I feel good, like I'm back a bit more and I'm looking forward to the last three races now. I did a lot of work between Malaysia and here, the confidence is back and I think today showed that. The new rear tyre this morning was good, but they had some problems and took it back of us, so this afternoon we were back on the old tyre. Initially the grip was good, but after two or three laps it had started to drop off. For me it wasn't such a big problem. I was losing some time out of the last turn because the rear was spinning up and I had a bit more chatter, but you just have to adapt your style to compensate. Over race distance it may be a different story, but I made some laps today and felt not so bad."
Mika Kallio #36 // 10th // 1'34.086
"The wind here disturbs you a lot, particularly at two or three points on the circuit, but the wind we can't change, we just have to deal with it. The tyres on the other hand... I don't really understand why Dunlop withdrew the tyre we used this morning, because it was really good. This afternoon we tried both of the option tyres but, after just four or five laps, they were completely destroyed. Even when new the grip just wasn't there and no amount of set-up changes made any difference. When there's no grip to push from the rear then you lose front grip too, so we learnt nothing. Now it looks like they'll give us back the new tyre for tomorrow, which is good news, but it means this afternoon was a wasted session. Hopefully this will work like it did this morning and we can be back on the level we need to be."
Livio Loi #11 // 30th // 1'39.942 // @LivioLoi
"The wind was the main problem this morning, because I've never experienced anything like it before. It was so strong, especially out of the Southern Loop and down towards turn three, where it was pushing me across the track and towards the grass every lap. This afternoon I was a bit more used to the wind, but then I was struggling to get the bike to turn into the corners. I had to hold onto the brake and stay off the throttle for too long to get the bike to turn in, which lost me every exit. This is something we need to look at for tomorrow, as I'm currently losing time in every corner."
Michael Bartholemy // Team Principal
"The new rear tyre worked well for both Scott and Mika this morning, but apparently a number of riders had punctures during the session and, on safety grounds, the tyre was withdrawn and replaced for the second practice session. Scott was as quick on the older tyre as he was on the new, but endurance is an issue, with grip dropping off a lot after just five or six laps. I think the decision to withdraw the new tyre may have been a little hasty, as there were at least two punctures with the older tyre this afternoon. Hopefully they'll make the decision tonight to use the new tyre again tomorrow; otherwise we're probably looking at a shortened Moto2 race on Sunday. Tyre issues aside, both Mika and Livio struggled with the wind today, so I hope conditions will be a little calmer tomorrow. Scott, on the other hand, had no such issues and, once again, he looks both fast and comfortable on the bike. It's good to see him back on form and confident again here at Phillip Island."
PHILLIP ISLAND WELCOMES JORDI TORRES WITH OPEN ARMS
MAPFRE Aspar rider takes fourth fastest time in opening practices, four tenths off the top spot. Nico Terol rounds off the day in eleventh
Perhaps it was the new asphalt at Phillip Island, or perhaps the ever-present wind, but something strange meant that today some riders in Moto2 clocked their best times in the morning and others in the afternoon. The main candidates for the Moto2 crown fought for the fastest time in both sessions of the day. Esteve Rabat has went fastest in both, continuing his dominance from Sepang, although on the opening day the times were tight and the situation differed markedly from that of last weekend.
MAPFRE Aspar riders Jordi Torres and Nico Terol were putting in the laps today, with 44 and 43, respectively, upon arrival at Phillip Island. Torres has the good memories of his comeback last year to fall back on, so started with a buzz on Friday. He concluded the first two practice sessions for the Australian GP in fourth. His best time came in the morning and he was just four tenths off Rabat. Teammate Nico Terol established his best lap in the morning as well, although an issue with his tyres prevented his improvement in the second session. He placed eleventh and will look to move higher up tomorrow.
4th Jordi Torres 1.33.615 (44 laps): "Last year we had a good feeling at this track and made a big comeback. If I remember correctly, I went on to finish in eleventh place. You have to be ready and take advantage of those good memories to push strong all weekend. Obviously you also need to rectify the mistakes made then, to avoid a repeat. So far we have done well today, our result has been positive and we still have room for improvement. The wind has been bothering me all day, but this is something inherent to this track, so I will get used to it soon. The wind made us imprecise when taking some corners but the rest of our work has been very productive. Tomorrow we will work to try to make the bike turn in a little more at maximum lean. I'm happy because today we found a good feeling and a good pace, so I hope we continue like this tomorrow."
11th Nico Terol 1.34.128 (43 laps): "Today I had a good pace, and followed an upward progression for most of the day. However, I destroyed three tyres, which took us slightly away from our intended workload. If this had not happened, then I think I could have gone quicker, but late in the afternoon I noticed that the bike lost a lot of grip. Fortunately, this problem happened to us the first day rather than later, and I’m sure that tomorrow both my mechanics and the Dunlop technicians will work to ensure the situation doesn’t repeat itself. The new asphalt Phillip Island is really good; it means the track has more grip and this gave me much better feeling when opening the throttle. We have to keep working, and I think we can get the bike turning in more. On the fast turns I have very good cornering, but we have to improve on the slow ones."
MotoGP Moto3 - Positive start for San Carlo Team Italia FMI in Australia
Narrow gaps: Romano Fenati and Francesco Bagnaia are one second off the front runners, thirteenth and twentieth respectively.
The first two free practice sessions of Moto3 in Australia ended with Maverick Viñales provisionally on top with a 1'38.198. The narrow gaps recorded sixteen riders within a second. Romano Fenati (San Carlo Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#5) ended with the 13th time, Francesco Bagnaia (San Carlo Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#4) with the 20th, and both riders laid the foundation for a solid QP.
Romano Fenati (San Carlo Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#5) 13th, 1'39.179
"In FP2 we made a setup modification that turned out to be wrong. In fact, I was two tenths quicker in the morning. Anyhow, we're not far from the top, and we already have ideas on how to get back on the right track immediately. Tomorrow, during QP, we will aim at the front rows."
Francesco Bagnaia (San Carlo Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#4) 20th, 1'39.374
"I'm very happy because, together with the team, we found a regulation on the front that allows to ride with great confidence, something I've been looking forward to. Now I want to stay on this track, tomorrow we won't change much and I hope to be able to make my best QP of the season."
Roberto Locatelli (FMI Technical Coordinator)
"We can be satisfied with today's results. Both riders are close to the top as far as gaps go, and only two tenths separate one another. Romano started well but in the afternoon we couldn't find a setup that would suit entirely his riding style. We know how to fix it anyway. Pecco found himself comfortable on yet another new track, making constant progress and staying close to the front pace-wise."