Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after qualifying at Qatar:
THIRD ROW FOR ANTONELLI AT QATAR SEASON OPENER. PROMISING FIRST QUALIFYING FOR BASTIANINI
Niccolò Antonelli will start from the third row of the grid in the Grand Prix of Qatar, scheduled for tomorrow night at the Losail International Circuit. The 18-year-old Italian has set the ninth fastest time in 2’07”205 in the first 40 minutes of qualifying of the season, ran in difficult conditions due to a strong wind. The windy conditions in particular has hindered Antonelli, who got his best time without following other riders. This is also why, despite a qualifying session below expectations, Niccolò remains optimistic ahead of the race.
His team-mate, Enea Bastianini, has concluded his first Moto3 World Championship qualifying in 21st position with a fastest time of 2’08”255: the youngster from Rimini was halted by traffic on his last attempt, therefore has been unable to repeat the same lap times he had previously done during free practice. All in all, the Italian rookie has started in a promising form the “hottest” part of the race weekend.
NICCOLO' ANTONELLI (9th - 2'07"205)
“Compared to yesterday, we made a significant change on the bike, which appears to be useful: my lap time does not show it, but the truth is that today there was so much wind; in fact, like me, many other riders have struggled more than yesterday. I did my best time on my own, without taking the sliptream of other riders, and as a result we were losing a bit on the long straight line, but the positive thing is that I was faster in the corners. Therefore I’m confident for the race, even though we will start from the ninth position: it will be important to have a good start, then we'll see what pace the other drivers will be able to keep”.
ENEA BASTIANINI (21st - 2'08"255)
“I'm not so happy, because I’ve never managed to get a clean lap: in my last attempt I felt I could do well, but unfortunately another rider passed me, making me lose some time. Too bad, I could have at least repeated the lap time I had set yesterday during practice, but there were no occasion today. Tomorrow the situation will be different: I'll try to score some points, but starting from 21st will not be easy at all”.
“It’s been a tough qualifying, for sure: we will start from thirw row with Antonelli, and frankly speaking we were hoping for a better result. We pay a certain gap from the top, although actually Antonelli has not taken advantage of the slipstreams and the strong wind halted him. Therefore, we remain confident for the race, during which I hope that the situation will change, because to be honest so far we’ve struggled a bit more than our rivals. At the end of qualifying Enea was a bit disappointed because he was slowed by traffic, but these episodes are useful to gain experience. However, I am pleased that he was angry, because it means that it is very determined”.
First row for Jack Miller in Qatar
The Australian Red Bull KTM Ajo rider set the third best time in the first qualifying session of the year. Karel Hanika will start from the seventh row.
03/22/2014 - Losail Circuit
The starting grid for the first race of the year was decided tonight at the Losail Circuit in Qatar. Jack Miller achieved an excellent result, setting the third fastest time of the session with a 2:06.365 -the Australian's best result of his career- and will start from the front row in tomorrow's race. His teammate, Karel Hanika, will start his first World Championship tomorrow from the seventh row after setting the nineteenth fastest time of the day.
Jack Miller made a great start to the season, clocking the third fastest time on his antepenultimate lap with a 2:06.365 in the Moto3 class. This will allow Miller a first row start for the first time in his World Championship career. His earlier best qualifying position had been fourth, which he achieved no fewer than five times.
Meanwhile, the young Karel Hanika had poor luck in his first qualifying session at the World level. The Czech rider, who spent the majority of the 40 minute session among the top 15, was finally relegated to nineteenth position with a time of 2:08.109 after missing out on making a fast lap on new tires in his final outing of the session due to traffic and a small crash.
The first race of the 2014 season will kick off tomorrow at 19.00 -local time-. This will be the first World Championship season for Karel Hanika.
Results - Qualifying Practice
1. Alex Rins (Honda) 2:05.973
2. Alex Marquez (Honda) 2:06.125 +0.152
3. Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:06.365 +0.392
4. Jakub Kornfeil (KTM) 2:06.515 +0.542
5. Isaac Viñales (KTM) 2:06.843 +0.870
19. Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:08.109 +2.136
8 JACK MILLER
"The qualifying session went really well, but I think it could have been better, because during my final laps I was faced with a lot of traffic. With new tires the bike was fine and I could do consistent lap times without a slipstream. I've not been able to lower my lap more, but I was always riding alone and this will help us in the race. Anyway today was a great day for us, I'm happy with how the team is working. This was my first qualifying session with them and everything worked fine, no stress, and everyone did their job. Definitely a good day."
98 KAREL HANIKA
"The position today is not what we hoped for. The qualifying session didn’t start out well, we had some problems because the conditions were completely different than yesterday, but we tried to adapt the bike. During the last session out, I couldn’t find the right time to push for a fast time and on the last lap, in turn nine, I lost the front. I think tomorrow will be better."
Kent takes second row start for Husqvarna
The British Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo rider will start from sixth position on row two of the grid for tomorrow's race in Qatar; Niklas Ajo will start from row six in sixteenth position.
03/22/2014 - Losail Circuit
The qualifying session tonight at Losail Circuit in Qatar saw the Husqvarna riders determine their starting positions for the first race of the 2014 season. Danny Kent, who qualified sixth, will launch from the second row on his return to the Moto3 category, while Niklas Ajo, will start from the sixth row after setting the sixteenth fastest time.
The hard work that the Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo team did last night paid off for Danny Kent, who qualified in the top 10. The British rider set his fastest qualifying time during his last outing of the qualifying session with a 2:06.864.
Niklas Ajo also made progress yesterday, though did not succeed in climbing up the timesheet after mounting new tyres in the final outing of the qualifying heat. The Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo rider marked his best time of 2:07.564 in second outing of the qualifying session to place him sixteenth for the race start.
The first race of the year will kick off tomorrow at 19.00 local time Losail Circuit. Last year, Niklas Ajo achieved his best result at this track with a ninth place, while Danny Kent placed eighth at his last Moto3 class race in 2012.
52 DANNY KENT
"We can be quite happy with this first qualifying session of the year and with the second row start. We made a step forward in terms of how the bike feels compared to yesterday, with the drawback that today the track conditions were not as good as yesterday. The sector times had been better. On the last lap I think I was going with the red helmet, but I made a mistake in the third sector. I feel good about tomorrow, I just need to get a good start and try to be ahead of the leaders in the early laps. Then we have to stay consistent with a good pace."
31 NIKLAS AJO
"It's been quite a complicated weekend because we haven’t found the right setting yet and I think we're a little lost with the riding style. However, we have a little more confidence after this qualifying session and we are a little closer to the front. There isn’t much difference between the front and those who are behind the top five. Still, we have a lot work to do to find the right set-up for the bike and also find a correct riding style to suit this track. This circuit is the fastest on the calendar and we have to adapt, so we still have work to do. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow."
Rins and Marquez lead the first row
The 2013 sub-champion sets pole position for the tenth time in his career, followed by Alex Marquez in second for the first race of the 2014 season.
Alex Rins and Alex Marquez, respectively, led the first qualifying session of the year held tonight at the Losail circuit in Qatar. The award for developing an intense preseason NSF250RW Honda has paid off as both riders grabbed the first two spots on the starting grid for the opening race of the year.
From the first lap out of the box today, Rins and Marquez were on form. During every outing, the pair were at the top of the timesheet. By the end of qualifying, Rins took his tenth pole position of his career, with a time of 2 minutes, 5 seconds and 973 milliseconds –just 0.152 seconds ahead of his teammate.
Tomorrow the two will head the grid at the first race of the year, which will start at 17:00 CET.
Alex Rins - 1st - 2:05.973 - 16 laps - 86 km
"This is the first pole of the year and it’s special because we are coming from a very difficult preseason. We've all worked hard, especially HRC, so I want to say thank you. It was quite windy on the straight today and I was alone. If I’d had someone in front of me for reference, it would have helped, but that didn’t happen so I am even happier for the result, having done it alone. Now I just have to wait for the race tomorrow, which I think will be difficult, because there will surely be a group of six or seven riders in the front and it will be hard to get away. I think the race is going to be decided in the last three laps."
Alex Marquez - 2nd - 2:06.125 - 15 laps - 81 km
"I think we've made a good position . We solved some problems we had yesterday, but still have to improve some things during the warm up. I'm happy with how the bike feels and I see that the pace is good. This is important, because the race is where things spread out. We are happy because it’s the first race and we are starting from the front row, which in qualifying is never easy for me. Tomorrow we’ll try to give the maximum in order to fight for the podium."
Moto3™ - Ninth and eleventh rows for San Carlo Team Italia at Losail
Matteo Ferrari, Andrea Locatelli 26th and 31st in Qualifying
The opening round of the 2014 Moto3™ World Championship expressed the first verdicts after the Moto3 qualifying session took place at the Losail Circuit soon after dusk. The San Carlo Team Italia, debuting this weekend with the new Mahindra MGP3O, is preparing for a comeback race whereas Alex Rins (Honda - Team Estrella Galicia 0,0) tomorrow will start from pole position having set the new benchmark for the Moto3 class with a best lap of 2'05.973.
Having found a promising base set-up during the first two days notwithstanding, Matteo Ferrari only managed to post the 26th best lap in 2'09"183, and thus tomorrow he will have to start form the ninth row on the grid. The Moto3 Italian Champion Andrea Antonelli will make his race debut in Qatar starting from the eleventh row after ending the today’s official session 31st fastest with a best time of 2'09”575
Matteo Ferrari (San Carlo Team Italia - Mahindra MGP3O #3) 26º, 2'09"183
"I certainly can not be satisfied with my position on the grid, but analysing better the timesheets I think it didn’t go totally bad. Looking at my ideal-time, in fact, I lost almost everything in one single turn when a rider went down right in front of me. Besides this we had to modify the bike’s set-up, shortening the wheelbase to cope with the today’s strong wind: this has started a chattering we never experienced before. Anyway, we already understood where the problem is and we will try a last-minute modify in the warm-up to improve the set-up and then we will give our best in the race".
Andrea Locatelli (San Carlo Team Italia - Mahindra MGP3O #55) 31°, 2'09"575
"Unfortunately I wasn’t able to better my lap time in the tricky conditions due to the strong wind following a night rain shower. We've made some changes to the bike set-up to cope with the situation but they didn’t give us the results we hoped for. We struggled with a lot of chattering getting into the corners. In the tomorrow’s warm-up we will go back to the set-up of the first two days because we think that it is the right direction. I’ll try to stay calm in the race: it twill be my debut on this track and the most important thing will be to get as much experience as possible. I’ll surely give my best".
Virginio Ferrari (Team Manager - San Carlo Team Italia Moto3™)
"The final result of the qualifying definitely isn’t very positive for us. We were hoping to improve from our yesterday’s performance but unfortunately during the session we experienced an anomaly in the bike that was never so marked in the previous two days of practices. We are nevertheless confident that we can solve this problem and that tomorrow Matteo and Andrea will be able to come back as soon as the lights turn off".
Fourth row for Corsi and Pasini in Qatar
22 March 2014 at 20:17
The riders of the NGM Forward Racing Team will take the start of the Qatar GP, opening round of the 2014 season, from the fourth row.
After a good work done during the free practices, Simone Corsi was satisfied of the set up of his Forward KLX. Because of a small crash at the end of the practice, he couldn’t further improve his final position and he closed 10th, recording his best time of 2.00.831, 0.750 from the pole. Mattia Pasini was also able to find a good feeling with the bike, he finished 12th with 2.00.914.
Tomorrow both riders aim at getting a good start in order to stay close to the front group. The GP of Qatar will take the start at 20:00 local time (18.20 in Italy).
Simone Corsi 10th
“I’m satisfied with the set up we found today and also the feeling with the bike improved. It was a pity that I crashed at the end of the session. Tomorrow during the warm up we will try to reduce the gap from the front riders. Regarding the race, it will be crucial to make a good start in order to stay with the front group. I’m confident as it is a long race and everything can happen.”
Mattia Pasini 12th
“I’m satisfied of the work done during these days and I expected to get a better result in the qualifying. I decided not to use the soft tyre and I couldn’t be as fast as the other riders. It was a pity for the red flag at the end of the turn that spoiled my fast lap. Anyway I’m confident for the race, I have a good pace and it will be a long race. I hope that my wrist won’t be an issue as I haven’t recovered completely after the surgery I had in December. I really look forward to the first GP of the season.”
Rabat smashes the lap record to claim pole position in Qatar
Losail, Qatar – 22 March 2014: Tito Rabat smashed the lap record during tonight’s 45-minute qualifying session in Qatar, to claim pole position for the opening race of the 2014 Moto2 World Championship. Mika Kallio will start from the second row of the grid in sixth, after surviving a big crash on his final flying lap.
Rabat was on top form at the Losail International circuit tonight, topping the timesheet halfway through the session and then seeing off a challenge from Sandro Cortese to secure a third career pole position. Mika Kallio looked set to join his teammate on the front row, but was lucky to walk away uninjured after hitting Sandro Cortese’s bike after the German crashed in the final minutes of the session.
Livio Loi was disappointed to qualify only 20th, after targeting the front four rows of the grid tonight. The 16-year-old Belgian had only one lap to put in a qualifying time on the soft rear tyre, but was baulked by Philipp Öttl crashing in front of him and a slower rider on his line through the final sector.
Tito Rabat // 1st // 2’00.081
“I’m happy to be on pole position for the first race and on my first weekend with a new team. We were missing rear grip in the first free practice sessions, but we worked together on the problem and we improved the situation; that’s important. It was enough to see me on pole position for the first race, which is a good feeling, but the work isn’t done. Tomorrow we need to see how we go in warm up before making a decision on our strategy for the race.”
Mika Kallio // 6th // 2’00.621
“Qualifying went well, right up until the last lap! My pace was good, with a run of consistent laps, but none of them were without incident, as there was a lot of traffic on track. I knew I could improve and I had one chance to do it, but then I saw the yellow flags on my final lap. I saw a bike and rider on the outside of the track as I was turning in, but then I saw Cortese’s bike on the line and I couldn’t avoid it. I’m fine, but the same can’t be said of the bike. The team are assessing the damage now, but I think I will be starting warm up on a completely new bike, which is never good. But, my race pace is good and I’m starting from the second row, so I remain confident for tomorrow’s race.”
Livio Loi // 20th // 2’08.177
“I’m obviously not happy with my qualifying position today. The session started badly when I stalled the bike right at the end of pit lane and my mechanics had to run 500 metres to get me restarted. It meant I was on my own on track for the first part of the session. My lap times during the second two exits were good, but the time lost at the beginning of the session left me only two laps to try and put in a qualifying time on the soft tyre. My last flying lap was looking good for a top 16 start, but then a crash and a slower rider in front of me lost me time. Starting from 20th makes things harder, but we know my race pace is good, so I’ll just have to push hard from the start.”
Michael Bartholemy // Team Principal
“It’s been an expensive season, as we’ve destroyed three bikes and we haven’t even started the first race yet. But that’s what happens when you’ve got two riders pushing the limit and the positive side of that we saw tonight, with Tito taking pole for tomorrow’s race. Mika was also on the pace until the crash, and I expect him to be up there chasing his teammate in the race tomorrow. Livio was a bit unlucky today, as the problem right at the start of qualifying lost him the time he needed to get the best from the soft tyre. He has good pace here so, with a good start tomorrow, I’m confident he can finish in the points.”
Scott Deroue qualifies in 18th for maiden Grand Prix, Ana Carrasco 25th
Scott Deroue set his mark qualifying in 18th for his maiden Grand Prix, as best of the nine rookies in Moto3. His RW Racing GP team mate Ana Carrasco will start the Grand Prix of Qatar from 25th on the grid.
The 18 years old Dutchman didn’t improve his best lap time in Qatar (2.07,984 in FP3) but his 2.08,060 proved to be enough for a good position to start his first ever Grand Prix. A strong wind made it difficult to ride the light Moto3 bikes and many riders crashed. Also Deroue was bothered by the wind and the lack of grip, but he managed to stay on his Kalex KTM and turn the circumstances to his advantage.
Ana Carrasco was hit by a different kind of trouble: a lack of confidence caused by a problem with the engine that could not be fixed at the spot. Together with engine supplier KTM the team is trying to find to solution. As a consequence Carrasco had no choice but to try her best. She managed to get the maximum out of the qualifying session and ride one perfect lap in the final minutes with which she improved her time and her position.
RW Racing GP team manager Jarno Janssen expressed his anxiety towards Carrasco. “Ana is very upset. The team has done everything to improve the bike but it turns out to be more complicated than we expected. It’s obvious we continue working on it to give Ana the best possible material. It’s going to be another long night of hard work to get it right.
As for Scott: he did a terrific job. And it can get even better, as we know he is a racer. Let’s hope the expectations will not exaggerate by this fine result.”
Scott Deroue – 2.08,060 (18)
“In the beginning it went really bad: the wind was strong, there was sand on the track and already in the first lap Ramos crashed right in front of me. It wasn’t great.
Gradually I found back confidence and I was able to do 2.09. When I came in for the second time Jarno told me I could be in the top 20. So I put my head down and gave it a go.
I hooked up with McPhee, together with Ajo and Hanika, but unfortunately he couldn’t ride the top 10-times he did earlier. Otherwise there might have been more in it than P18. But I could have crashed as well…
I am more than satisfied with 18th in my first Grand Prix qualification and the fact that I’m ranked first of the nine rookies. I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow.”
Ana Carrasco – 2.09,084 (25)
“I’m totally upset. I’m happy that I could improve my time and move up a bit with one perfect lap, but that’s about it. There is something wrong with the engine and the team cannot fix it. My mechanics have really put their back into it, until deep in the night, but it still doesn’t feel good.
Hopefully there is a solution so that I can start tomorrow’s warm-up with a good engine and we’ll be able to try something to improve the setup as well.”
Hafiq Azmi with a tenth row start
The Malaysian SIC-Ajo rider was unable to improve on his best lap time of yesterday and qualified thirtieth for the Grand Prix of Qatar.
03/22/2014 - Losail Circuit
The 2014 World Championship will begin tomorrow at the Losail Circuit with Hafiq Azmi launching from the tenth row. The starting grid was decided in today’s qualifying session in which the Malaysian SIC-Ajo rider set his quickest time of 2:09.483 -a pace he was unable to better from yesterday’s practice session- to place him thirtieth on the grid.
Despite starting the session with a small off-track excursion -rain the night before left the track dirty and slippery with sand- Hafiq Azmi started the 40-minute qualifying session motivated and strong. The first session out saw the Malaysian rider set his fastest lap of 2:08.768. On subsequent outings, the young rider was unable to better his time nor take advantage of new tires after a crowded track did not allow him to find a clear path for a fast lap.
Tomorrow the SIC-Ajo rider will begin the first race of the year when the lights go out at 19.00 local time. Hafiq Azmi hopes to improve on his World Championship best result thus far, a twenty-fifth place finish at the final round of last season in Valencia.
Hafiq Azmi - SIC-Ajo rider
"This qualifying session was difficult for me because I hadn’t yet found a good feeling on the bike. The track conditions and weather weren’t the same as yesterday. It was really windy, and while it didn’t bother me too much, it kept me from going fast. We’ll see if the conditions to ride in the morning are better than today and will allow us to have a good performance."
SIMEON NARROWLY MISSES THE SECOND ROW AT LOSAIL. BALDASSARRI 23rd IN HIS FIRST MOTO2 QUALIFYING
Aboard the Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Suter, Xavier Siméon has successfully completed the first qualifying session of the season with the seventh fastest time in 2’01”696, narrowly missing the second row of the grid for a few thousandths of a second. In a very fought session, which saw the 13 fastest riders all within a second, the Belgian rider has shown once again a great rhythm, similar to the rider that tomorrow will start immediately in front of him on the grid.
Lorenzo Baldassarri will take part in his first Moto2 Grand Prix starting from 23rd position on the grid: a promising performance for the Italian rookie, with a gap of only 1”3 from pole position despite a mistake in his fastest lap aboard the Team Gresini Moto2 Suter.
XAVIER SIMEON (7th - 2'00"696)
“It's been a positive qualifying, although frankly I would have liked to stay in the first two rows, but we missed it for a few tenths. Today it was important to be able to take slipstreams over the long straight, but I haven’t had an opportunity to do it and we know how one or two tenths of a second make a big difference in this category. However, we have a good pace for the race: we did a good job with the bike, making very few changes from winter testing, which means that the base is very good. Tomorrow we will push to fight for the top positions”.
LORENZO BALDASSARRI (23rd - 2'01"431)
“All in all it’s been a positive qualifying, although today I missed a bit of consistency. In fact, during my fastest lap I went a little wide, losing some precious time. Otherwise, I could have been able to get a lower lap time, but that's okay”.
“We are a little bit disappointed because with Siméon we missed the second row for a few tenths: starting as far forward as possible is very important in an hard fought category like Moto2. However, apart from Rabat that is really fast, Xavier has a pace very similar to all the other best riders, so we can be protagonists in the race tomorrow. Baldassarri could have done a better lap time and that's why at the end of the session he was a little disappointed, but that's normal: it is a young rider with so much determination, now he only needs to bring to an end in the best possible way his first experience in this category”.
IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia
No. 30 Takaaki Nakagami：2:00.451 – 3rd
No. 25 Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman: 2:02.355 – 28th
The 45-minute Qualifying Session of the first Grand Prix of the 2014 season was held at the Losail International Circuit.
Despite of the windy conditions, IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia rider Takaaki Nakagami secured the front row start at the race tomorrow.
Malaysian rider Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman was improving his riding form and marked his best lap time.
The 20 laps race is scheduled for 20:20 p.m. tomorrow at a local time.
I’m not 100% happy for today’s position but starting from the front row tomorrow is positive. The windy conditions today interrupted to improve my pace but I will check the setup for the race in Warm Up session tomorrow!
Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman:
I could improve my lap time today and I’m working hard on riding form. Riding on Moto2 and ST600 are totally different. Because with ST600, breaking early and opening throttle late. To rider Moto2 class is totally opposite!
So it’s not easy to change riding form but continue on working, and I will do my best.
Tadayuki Okada - Team Manager:
It’s been a difficult day to adjust in turing area for Nakagami so we will try different setup at the Warm Up session tomorrow.
Azlan has started to improve his riding form thanks to Nakagami’s advice to him. Starting position of Azlan is not good but we expect that he will improve his best result in Moto2 class.
JUANFRAN GUEVARA TO START OPENING RACE FROM THIRTEENTH POSITION
MAPFRE Aspar rider pushes hard to qualify on fifth row for first race of the season
The first Moto3 qualifying session of the season got underway at 6pm this evening under the floodlights of the Losail circuit, where some morning rain had made for tricky track conditions that were exacerbated by strong winds. After 22 minutes of the 40 both Márquez and Rins took the pace into the 2'06s and they maintained their dominance to the end, reversing the dominance of KTM so far here this weekend in favour of Honda. In the final ten minutes Rins stepped up the pace again to break the 2'06 barrier (2.05.973) and seal the first pole position of the season ahead of Márquez and Jack Miller.
Juanfran Guevara admitted to feeling some nerves before the start of practice after seeing the windy conditions, having struggled in similar circumstances during preseason tests at Jerez. The MAPFRE Aspar youngster showed good patience as he built his pace and on his fourteenth of sixteen laps he closed in on his best time of the weekend, clocking a 2.07.354 to secure his career best grid position. Guevara starts the opening race of the season from the head of the fifth row.
13th Juanfran Guevara 2.07.354 (16 laps): “We had problems with the wind in preseason and I was concerned about the conditions tonight but I am happy that we were able to adapt, we got down to the lap times from yesterday and finished in the same position. I did the lap on my own, with no slipstreams, and I think that's also a positive for us. I will have to get a good start tomorrow to latch on to the front group but this is my best grid position in Grand Prix and I don't have much experience of the battle but I am excited and looking forward to having some fun. The objective is to finish in the top ten.”
MAPFRE ASPAR RIDERS IMPROVE LAP TIMES AT LOSAIL
Jordi Torres and Nico Terol find more improvements on third night in Qatar but only manage to qualify in 16th and 21st respectively
Qualifying practice for the Qatar Grand Prix took place on a dirty track this afternoon after light rainfall this morning and high winds made it a difficult quest for the opening pole position of the season. Despite the tricky conditions the extra competitive edge of qualifying saw the lap times improve again and the final ten minutes of the session saw an intense battle for top spot between Rabat, Cortese and Nakagami, with Rabat beating the previous pole record here (Bradl/2.00.168/2011) with a lap of 2.00.081 to take the honour.
MAPFRE Aspar rider Jordi Torres was involved in a nasty incident at the end of the session when he ran into the back of Cortese after the German had shut off the throttle in the middle of the track. Kallio then collided with Cortese's stricken bike and suffered the biggest impact, Torres thankfully escaping unhurt but with his best lap ruined. However, having already improved on yesterday's best by seven tenths he qualified sixteenth on the grid, from where he will look to mount an attack from in the early stages of tomorrow night's race. His team-mate Nico Terol enjoyed his best laps at the end of the session and qualified 21st.
16th Jordi Torres 2.01.111 (17 laps): “We continued to improve the set-up of the bike today and I felt more comfortable, which had a good effect on our pace. I spent most of the time lapping alone but the wind was particularly strong during qualifying and with us already struggling with my size and weight in terms of top speed, it didn't help. We are constantly evolving though and each day that goes by here I have a better feeling. We could have perhaps gone a bit quicker at the end but another rider decided to shut off the throttle in a dangerous place and when I went to pass him he closed the line and I couldn't avoid the crash. Luckily I got away with a few bumps and bruises.”
21st Nico Terol 2.01.319 (15 laps): “We have made small steps forward in every session so far but in qualifying we went backwards. It is annoying because myself and the team are working hard but we are still not finding the right way forward with the new bike. The wind aggravated our situation tonight so now we need to try our best to pick the right setting for the race, make a good start and fight. I am sure we can turn this situation around. We have to keep working hard and try to enjoy riding the bike again.”
Tech3s Schrotter and Cardus ready for season opener in Qatar
Tech3 Racing Team’s Marcel Schrotter and stand-in rider Ricky Cardus will begin the opening race in 13th and 18th position after today’s Moto2 qualifying impress at the flood lit Losail International circuit in Qatar.
Both riders made their Tech3 Racing Team debuts on the exclusive French designed and built 600cc Moto2 motorcycle, and qualified within the top 20 with high hopes of challenging for championship points in tomorrow’s race.
Marcel Schrotter produced a solid and confident qualifying debut aboard the Mistral 610 in preparation for the 20 lap race around the 5.38 kilometre circuit tomorrow. Overnight rain and wind initially impacted upon the amount of traction levels, however grip improved as the track cleaned. Nevertheless, Schrotter worked relentlessly with the Tech3 Racing Team, and after undertaking changes to his set up, completed the qualifying session with a best time of 2:00.994, leaving him in 13th place. The young German’s time was less than a second behind the Moto2 lap record at Qatar in the fiercely fought intermediate class.
Ricky Cardus completed the qualifying session for the Commercial Bank of Qatar Grand Prix in 18th place, with the young Spanish rider standing in for Alex Mariñelarena who continues to recover from injury. Cardus who only had limited time during the preseason to familiarise himself with the Mistral 610 Moto2 bike, finished with a best personal lap time of 2:01.185 with this time was over a second quicker than his qualifying time from last year.
Marcel Schrotter - 13th -2:00.994:
“Overall I am happy with how we finished today, although it has been a bit of a tricky week so far. We arrived here from the Jerez test with a really good base setup, but unfortunately, it didn’t work as well at this circuit. Today we changed the bikes settings before qualifying and these modifications helped me improve, although there was still a small issue with chatter. This meant I had to change some of the riding lines to solve the problem, but I managed to qualify as well as possible, which I am happy about. There is still some work to do, and I still need to choose the tyre we will use for the race during tomorrow’s warm up but I like this track, and of course, the aim is to finish in the top ten. I am excited for tomorrow’s race with the Mistral and am also really happy with the work the Tech3 Racing Team is doing.”
Ricky Cardus - 18th - 2:01.185:
“I am happy with how everything went today, and the lap times up to 11th place were really close and I could have reached them. I know I can still improve quite a lot as I every additional minute on the bike helps me to understand it better, and it was unfortunate that I had a small crash at the end of the session which happened because I lost concentration for a second. However, I am determined to score points as a thank you to the team for the faith they have placed in me and the Mistral feels really good. The Tech3 Racing Team is working very well with me, so I am pleased, and I look forward the race tomorrow. I also want to say that I am very happy to hear that Alex is recovering well and is now back in Spain.”