Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first race of the season at Qatar:
GRAND PRIX OF QATAR
ANTONELLI 9th AND FIRST ITALIAN IN THE GRAND PRIX OF QATAR. BASTIANINI CLOSE TO GET HIS FIRST POINTS
Niccolò Antonelli kicked off his 2014 Moto3 World Championship campaign with a ninth place finish in the floodlit Grand Prix of Qatar, resulting the first Italian under the chequered flag.
After a good start, who saw him up to third place at the end of the first lap, the Junior Team GO&FUN Moto3 rider pushed hard to stay with the leading group in the early stages of the race, but had to back off in the following laps. Later, Niccolò fought with determination within the second group of riders, closing ninth on the finish line. Although the race didn’t go as Antonelli had hoped, the 18-year-old Italian managed to get his first points in the 18-race long Championship.
His team-mate, debutant Enea Bastianini, delivered a determined ride aboard his KTM, closing his first Moto3 race in 17th, going very close to open his points account in the World Championship.
NICCOLO' ANTONELLI (9th)
“I made a good start and in the early stages I was able to stay comfortably with the leading group, but unfortunately later I accused some engine problems, as has happened to us throughout all the weekend. This problem may be caused by the placement of the ballast on the bike: we will make all appropriate checks to try to overcome it. Apart from the race result, I'm happy because during the race I had a good feeling and I was able to keep a good pace, but it’s clear that in the next race we want to achieve more. If we can solve these problems, we have the right potential to succeed”.
ENEA BASTIANINI (16th)
“I can’t find words to describe how I'm happy: I could not get points, but I went close to do it. I made a good start, but unfortunately considering that I was starting behind I knew that it would be difficult to stay with the leading group. During the race I enjoyed a good fought with Loi, winning the sprint to the finish line. In this first race I learned so many things, so I am convinced that the next Grand Prix will go even better”.
“Unfortunately, here in Qatar we struggled a bit over the all weekend and Niccolò’s race result is not what we expected, even though he fought with determination, making it the first of the Italians to the finish. Our goal, of course, is to be more competitive in the next Grand Prix. Enea made a beautiful debut, fighting hard and getting a placement really close to the points. A significant achievement in a category that is certainly not easy for a rookie”.
Unforgettable win for Miller in Qatar
Red Bull KTM Ajo rider takes first victory of 2014 and first career podium at season opener. Karel Hanika debuts in the World Championship with maiden two points.
03/23/2014 - Losail Circuit
The floodlights at the Losail Circuit were on, but it was Jack Miller who lit up the Moto3 Qatar Grand Prix. The Australian had a memorable night, taking the first podium finish of his World Championship career and doing so with a victory. It was a hard-fought win for Miller, who had to battle right through to the final lap of the race. Teammate Karel Hanika marked his first Grand Prix appearance with a fourteenth place finish.
Miller got off to an excellent start from third on the grid, taking the holeshot and breaking away alongside Alex Marquez. The duo took turns in the lead throughout, but with two laps remaining the chasing pack reached them and three riders challenged the pair for the victory. Miller made best use of the overtaking between his rivals and capitalised on their mistakes, snatching the lead in the penultimate sector and never looking back.
Karel Hanika debuted in the Moto3 World Championship with an excellent start, gaining five places on the opening lap and closing out the second group in fourteenth. Throughout the 18-lap contest, the Czech fought against far more experienced riders and was able to hold onto his position until the end, claiming the first two Grand Prix points of his career.
Following this opening race, Miller leads the overall standings. His win was the first for a Australian in the smallest cylinder class since Casey Stoner at Malaysia in 2004. The action returns in three weeks' time, at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin. Miller has already ridden there once in the World Championship, whilst Hanika participated in last season's Red Bull Rookies Cup round at the Texan track.
8 JACK MILLER
"Without a doubt , I could not have ask for anything better from today: My first race with the team, my first podium and my first win -unbelievable. It was a very good race and a great way to start the season. There are still many Grands Prix ahead and have much to learn, but for today I am very happy. Winning a race is an amazing feeling, so I hope I can repeat the feeling more times. Thanks to the whole team for the work we've done together so far."
98 KAREL HANIKA
"The first race did not go badly. We started from nineteenth position and it is precisely due to that why I think we did not finish higher up. In spite of this, I'm happy because I think I had a good race. My start was very good and I slotted into a large group of riders. Later on we ended up getting in each other's way, and I ended up in a group fighting for thirteenth. I was leading that group, but on the home straight Danny [Kent] got past. I think for a first race this is a good result for me and for the team. I want to thank them all for all the help they are giving me."
AKI AJO - TEAM MANAGER
"It was a great way to start the season: First race, first win. I have to congratulate Jack [Miller] and the whole team for the great work they have done. Nevertheless, this season will be one of the toughest that we have ever seen in the smallest cylinder class, and also one of the most interesting. All this gives us further motivation to work harder, together with our partners, and to never give up.
Karel [Hanika] should be happy with his first race, because he did not start from a great position. I must say that he has not been very lucky with being a rookie this year, because it is one of the toughest fields we've seen in the class in a while. But there is something good about all this, which is that he has seen that he can catch the leading group. He rode a good race and I know that with a good qualifying performance he can be up there with the leaders, so I fully trust in his ability."
Marquez places second and Rins fifth in exciting opening Moto3 race
Good start to the season for Alzamora's proteges, as they fight for the win on the final lap with three other riders.
The first Moto3 race of the 2014 season provided plenty of surprises from start to finish. Poleman Alex Rins made a poor start when the red lights went out and crossed the line in tenth at the end of the first lap, having dropped down as low as twelfth. Teammate Alex Marquez took off better and was second behind Jack Miller, as the duo escaped from the rest of the pack.
Whilst Miller and Marquez broke free, enjoying an advantage of up to two seconds at one point, Rins became involved in a battle with Kornfeil, Vazquez and Oliveira. Lap by lap, the chasing pack cut the gap to the leaders and, on the final lap, Marquez made a mistake at the front. That set up a final tussle for victory, which was won by Miller with Marquez second and Vazquez third. Rins had been up as high as second, but a lack of space on the home straight counted against him and he finished fifth.
Alex Rins - 5th - at 0.369 sec.
"At the start I made a small mistake, because I released the clutch prematurely. Then I tried to push hard during the race to reach the front, waiting to see if the others made any errors. In the end it wasn't to be, but we go to Austin happy with all the work we've done with Honda and even more eager to do well. Most of all, I have to thank the whole team and Honda, because the bike was working very well. Throughout the weekend we had a very good pace and that's what we will draw upon when thinking ahead to Austin."
Alex Marquez - 2nd - at 0.233 sec.
"I made a rookie mistake tonight; I hit a false neutral when cornering on the final lap. Despite that, I am pleased to have taken second place and claimed 20 points, because it is a very good result with which to start the World Championship season. I think that throughout the race I had a good pace when on my own at the front. When Jack [Miller] took the lead, however, we went slower and the chasing pack managed to close in on us. That is why I tried to push as hard as I could on every lap. We have to continue as we have been doing and I am very happy with this first race with Honda."
Positive result for Deroue in maiden GP,
Carrasco not satisfied
With 19th position in his first ever Grand Prix, Scott Deroue can look back at Qatar satisfied and with much to think about. So does his team mate Ana Carrasco, who finished 24th, which was not what she and RW Racing GP had hoped for.
While Jack Millar crossed the line first to pick up his first Grand Prix victory, Scott Deroue and Ana Carrasco were involved in their own fierce battles. Deroue was fighting with Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Philipp Oettl for 18th place, while Ana Carrasco was a bit further down duelling for 23rd.
Deroue ended up with Khairuddin and Oettl after an excellent start which brought him from 18th to 14th. But the first laps were too much of a rollercoaster for the 18 years old Dutchman and he had to let go.
RW Racing GP team manager Jarno Janssen: “Scott has fought like a lion, but it was a bit too much at the beginning. When you are lost for a lap or so, or make a mistake, at this level you can pack it in. This is something he has to get used to and learn from. Scott has stepped into a new world, a new level and he will need time to learn and to adapt. Now he knows... For a first Grand Prix it definitely is a good result and we are happy with it.”
Ana Carrasco has been struggling all weekend and also in the race she wasn’t full of confidence with her bike. After starting from 25th on the grid she was tangled up in a battle for 22nd, 23rd all the time with Luca Grünwald, Alessandro Tonucci and Andrea Locatelli. Grünwald and Tonucci got away and in the final lap Locatelli was able to pass Carrasco and snatch 23rd, leaving the Spanish 17 years old in 24rd.
Team manager Janssen: “Ana has fought for what she is worth, but she lacked confidence for all the weekend. The bike is the same as in testing. We’ve tried everything in terms of setup, gearing and suspension. We even tried a new engine, but it didn’t make any difference. That’s a shame. Let’s just hope Ana and the bike will have full play and be friends again in Austin.”
Scott Deroue – 19th (+36.691)
“I had a decent start and picked up a few positions immediately, but that first lap: complete madness! I thought I knew something about pushing and jostling from the Rookies Cup, but in Moto3 it is much worse. I had no idea where I was and what was going on around me. That might have cost me some of my concentration and I lost connection to the group that ended up fighting for the points. Consider it a learning point.
I was with Oettl and Khairuddin and I had a good battle with them. In the last lap I came to the front of the group and I was first on the straight to the finish line. I thought I had 18th place in my pocket when Khairuddin came out of the slipstream and nicked me with a difference of 0,005.
I am absolutely pleased with the results of my first Grand Prix, but at the same time I have the feeling there was more in it. I have much to think about on the flight home.”
Ana Carrasco – 24th (+45.650)
“Obviously this is not the start of the season I’ve been hoping for. I didn’t feel comfortable with the bike from the beginning and whatever the team did, somehow I couldn’t get over it. It was a battle with the bike and myself.
The team changed the engine overnight, but that didn’t bring me what I hoped for. The race wasn’t too bad, but I’m not satisfied at all with the result. This just wasn’t my weekend. Hopefully Austin will be better.”
First points for Danny Kent and Husqvarna
Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo rider places thirteenth in first race of the year in Qatar, claiming first 3 points of the season. Niklas Ajo finishes twenty-sixth after suffering a crash.
03/23/2014 - Losail Circuit
The Moto3 World Championship officially got underway at the Losail Circuit on Sunday night, with Husqvarna making their debut appearance in the class. Danny Kent gave the manufacturer its first points in the overall standings of the World Championship, after crossing the finish line in thirteenth place. Fellow Husqvarna rider Niklas Ajo had an unfortunate race, crashing on Lap 5 and placing 26th after remounting.
Red Bull Ajo Husqvarna and Danny Kent debuted together in an intense race. Starting from the second row, the Briton made a great start to gain two places on the opening corners and complete Lap 1 in fifth. After keeping up with the second group in the early going -consisting of nine riders- he would fall back into the fourth group as the race progressed. He crossed the line in thirteenth at the end of the 18-lap contest.
Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo's Niklas Ajo was unable to claim points, despite latching onto the second group on the opening laps. A crash on Lap 5 ruled out any chance of finishing inside the Top 15, but the Finn picked up his Husqvarna machine, remounted, took it back to the pits and went back out to put further kilometres on the clock. He would eventually place 26th, in a race won by Jack Miller.
The second race of the year will be held in three weeks time in Austin -the first of two rounds held in the United States. The venue will be the Circuit of the Americas, the date April 13th, and it will be the second time that Danny Kent and Niklas Ajo will have ridden there.
52 DANNY KENT
"I am very disappointed with today's result, because we had a good start but I wasn't aggressive enough to keep up with the group on the following laps. Later on I was clipped by another rider at Turn 1, ran off-track and lost further ground. It was too difficult to get back -especially as I was riding alone. Thankfully this happened at the opening race of the year, and we have a long season ahead. Now we need to analyse things and improve for Austin."
31 NIKLAS AJO
"This weekend has been very difficult for us. From the start I didn't feel good -neither with my setup nor with my riding. We tried to find better settings, but we couldn't manage it. In the warmup we made a small improvement, but it was too late. In the race I lost touch with the leading group, because my position on the grid wasn't great. I tried to latch onto the leading pack, but couldn't do so. I pushed too hard for that and crashed; it was completely my fault. I apologise to my team because we obviously wanted a better result tonight. However, that's racing and you have to look ahead -I'm sure that we will be faster at the next race."
Moto3™ - Unfortunate first race of the season for the San Carlo Team Italia
Twenty-third place for Andrea Locatelli, DNF for Matteo Ferrari
The season-opening race of the San Carlo Team Italia has been quite unfortunate. In a race that saw the triumph of the Australian Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) who prevailed over a group of six riders fighting for the victory, the pair of the FMI squad had to face some technical issues.
Andrea Locatelli at his debut on the Qatar track finished in twenty-third place, gaining experience for the future. The race of Matteo Ferrari has been jeopardised since the start by a problem with the gearbox resulting in an early crash. The second round of the Championship at the Circuit of the Americas at Austin (Texas, USA), will offer the two riders the chance for a prompt comeback.
Andrea Locatelli (San Carlo Team Italia - Mahindra MGP3O #55) 23°
"It has been a tough race. It is difficult to comeback when you start so back on the grid but all in all the weekend had some positives also. Being at the debut on this track meant that I struggled to find the rhythm at the beginning, but the good thing is that I was able to improve day by day, giving my best during the whole weekend. It was important to make experience and, thanks to my team I’ve learnt a lot. We are really looking forward to the next race in Austin to getting on the track and going back to work".
Matteo Ferrari (San Carlo Team Italia - Mahindra MGP3O #3) DNF
"It was an unlucky race. Unfortunately I had a problem changing the gear in the first lap and I crashed out. I got back on track aiming to recover a few positions but the gear lever and the clutch were damaged and I had to retire. It was a shame because with the team we had found a good compromise for the set-up, and the bike had improved from Thursday. We will comeback in Austin".
Virginio Ferrari (Team Manager - San Carlo Team Italia Moto3™)
"Unfortunately we didn’t get the results we were hoping for but we leave Qatar with useful data that will help us in the future. It was positive for Andrea to finish the race because, whatever the final result, it was important for him to deal with World-class riders and to learn how to find the concentration and the rhythm. It will be useful for him in the future. The race of Matteo has been ruined since the start and when you are forced to race alone, without the direct confrontation with your rivals, it’s impossible to gather those data and information necessary to grow up and mature, also under a psychological point of view, as a rider. There will certainly be further occasions in the future for our riders to increase their technical knowledge and to gather more personal experience. Our target for the next race at Austin is to improve both the engine and the chassis of our bike. Our goal is the top-15 and we are confident we can achieve it as soon as possible, thanks to the strong commitment and the hard work of our team".
Rabat wins and Kallio makes it a double podium for Marc VDS in Qatar
Losail, Qatar – 23 March 2014: Tito Rabat and Mika Kallio got the Marc VDS Racing Team’s 2014 Moto2 World Championship campaign off to a flying start, with the 24-year-old Spaniard winning the opening race of the season in Qatar and his teammate joining him on the podium in third place.
Rabat made a good start from pole, but got pushed out wide in turn one and dropped back to fifth. The Marc VDS rider then battled his way back towards the front, eventually passing his teammate and then pushing past Takaaki Nakagami on lap 13 to take the lead, which he held to the chequered flag.
Kallio pushed hard on the final laps to try and pass Nakagami for second, but lacked the necessary grip from the right side of the rear tyre to make the challenge and was forced to settle for third at the line.
Livio Loi missed out on points in tonight’s Moto3 race, which he finished in 17th place after starting from 20th position on the grid. The 16-year-old Belgian was happy with this pace in the race, but disappointed to finish outside the points.
Tito Rabat // 1st
“I’m happy to have come here to Qatar and taken the first win of the season on my debut for the Marc VDS team. I got a good start, but then Taka Nakagami braked really late into turn one and I made a mistake and ran wide. It took me a good few laps to work my way back to the front, but I was pushed all the way by Taka and Mika. In the end I managed to defend the lead to take the win, but I need to think about the early laps and also how to manage better the end of the race. It was a great way to start the season and now we need to look ahead to the next race in Austin.”
Mika Kallio // 3rd
“I got a good start, making up places off the line and managed to slot into second behind Taka, who’d already pulled a gap at the front. It took me two laps to catch him, and I had the pace to pass, but I decided to sit in behind, stay as smooth as possible and save my tyres for the last few laps. The lap times were quick, but I felt comfortable, until Taka upped the pace again with about eight laps to go. Then Tito came past me and I started to struggle for grip in the right hand turns. I was making up ground in the left corners only to lose it again in the right corners. I lost contact with them on the final lap and decided to settle for third and the points. Although we could have won tonight, I’m happy to finish on the podium after such a big crash yesterday. Thanks to my crew, who put in long hours to rebuild the bike last night. Thanks also to Petronas Raceline Malaysia for the loan of a frame.”
Livio Loi // 17th
“We knew it was going to be hard tonight, starting from so far back on the grid, and that’s exactly how it turned out. I got a reasonable start but, by the time I’d worked my way through the group I was in, the leading group had gone. I was on my own for the remainder of the race, so just focussed on being as consistent as I could. I’m not happy to miss out on points, but we know how important qualifying is to the result, and this is something we need to address next time out in Austin.”
Michael Bartholemy // Team Principal
“Firstly I want to say a massive thank you to Petronas Raceline Malaysia for loaning us a frame, without which Mika would not have been able to race after his qualifying crash yesterday. Tito did a fantastic job today. He could have panicked after getting pushed out in turn one, but he kept his head and brought it home for the win. Mika also rode a great race, bouncing back from his big qualifying crash yesterday and putting what was effectively a brand new bike on the podium. It was a great effort by the riders and the team this weekend and a great way to start the season. I know Livio is disappointed, but his result wasn’t unexpected given his qualifying position. His race pace was good, but qualifying is something we need to work on with him in Austin.”
MIXED FEELINGS FOR JUANFRAN GUEVARA AFTER FIRST RACE
MAPFRE Aspar rider improves weekend pace for the race and joins lead group until being taken out by another rider
The 2014 season got officially underway tonight and the pace couldn't have been hotter in the Moto3 class as Jack Miller and Alex Márquez backed up their preseason pace with some low 2'06s in the early stages of a race that they would dominate from start to finish. Alex Rins led the charge behind them and the group almost reeled them in, Rins clocking a new record (2.05.862) as they closed the gap but Miller held on to take the first win of 2014 and break a run of Spanish Moto3 success that stretches back to 2012.
MAPFRE Aspar rider Juanfran Guevara could not have done anything better on his first appearance with the Valencian team but luck proved to be against him as, after a good start when he latched onto the front group and dipped into the 2'06 pace, he was taken out by another rider on the seventh lap. It was a bitter pill for the youngster to swallow, having qualified with a 2'07.111 but comfortably setting a 2'06.493 in the race, but he can now take the positives and head to the next round in Austin in optimistic mood.
Juanfran Guevara (DNF): “Even though we didn't finish the race tonight we have to look at this as a positive weekend. We have worked hard, improved our lap times and feeling over the course of the weekend and in the race we were able to get into the mid 2.06's, which we hadn't managed all weekend. I got a decent start, found myself a position in the front group and I was battling well, which was something I wasn't sure I could do. It's annoying because just when I was feeling most comfortable on the bike I was taken out by another rider and now I have to put it all behind me and look ahead to the next race in Austin”.
EARLY FINISH FOR SIMEON AND BALDASSARRI AT UNLUCKY QATAR SEASON OPENER
The Grand Prix of Qatar finished earlier than expected for Xavier Simeon and the Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2: the Belgian rider, protagonist up to that moment of a very positive weekend, has in fact been involved in a crash after another rider collided with him just off the start. Siméon was then back on track and finished the race in 25th position. A real shame for the whole team, who had worked well during all practice and expected to be able to stay with the leading group.
The bad luck has hit also the rookie Lorenzo Baldassarri, who delivered an outstanding performance aboard the Team Gresini Moto2 Suter: the 17-year-old Italian was in fact in 12thposition on the last lap when, in an attempt to overtake Ricard Cardus, the latter closed the line hitting the front wheel of Lorenzo’s bike, causing him to fall.
XAVIER SIMEON (25th)
"I'm very sorry, because they ruined us a great weekend. I don’t know who hit me from behind, however I was doing the first lap quietly, while it seemed that other riders were already fighting for the world title at the last lap. I think that they would take a little more calm. I'm sorry for the team because they worked very well and when I re-joined the race I managed to keep a good pace and I felt at ease with the bike. Too bad, we could have done a really nice result. Now we will try to forget this race as soon as possible and focus on the next race”.
LORENZO BALDASSARRI (DNF)
“My start was not so good, but in the early laps I was able to regain positions and then I started to run at a good pace, also improving the trajectories with respect to the practice. In the end I managed to catch the group of riders in front of me and at that point I tried to gain another position; On the last lap I tried to overtake Cardus, who closed his line in the middle of the corner, hitting my front wheel and making me fall. It's a shame, but I am convinced that we can succeed soon”.
“It’s been a very unlucky race for Xavier: in fact, we basically hadn’t the opportunity to compete today. After the fall in which he’s been involved, Simeon re-joined the race, but at that point the gap with the other riders was too much. A race to forget also for Lorenzo, who crashed on the last lap when Cardus closed his line when Baldassarri tried to overtake him. Unfortunately, that’s racing: sometimes happen even these episodes. However, we know that we are competitive with both riders and that we have a very good team. We will prove it at the next opportunity”.
Opening night concludes prematurely for Hafiq Azmi in Qatar
SIC-Ajo rider crashes out on opening laps of Moto3 race, unable to complete the first Grand Prix of the season.
03/23/2014 - Losail Circuit
The lights at the Losail Circuit were shining bright for the start of the Moto3 World Championship season -the first in which Hafiq Azmi will participate as a full time rider. The SIC-Ajo man was unlucky at the opening race of the campaign, as a collision with another rider sent him crashing out and unable to complete the contest.
The Malaysian was starting from the tenth row of the grid. The SIC-Ajo rider made a good start, but was unable to get through the typical early traffic of a Moto3 race and contact with Philipp Oettl on Turn 3 of the opening lap knocked him to the ground.
Hafiq Azmi will be able to start afresh from his Qatar experience at round two of the season, which takes place on April 13th at the Circuit of the Americas, Austin (USA). Like at the Losail Circuit, this will be a first time at the track for the Malaysian rider.
Hafiq Azmi - SIC-Ajo rider - Audio
“The race was a little difficult for me. I was starting from the penultimate row, because I didn't get a good time in qualifying. I started well, I felt good on the bike and overtook a number of riders. On the second corner I continued to gain places, then I got to Turn 3. I was looking to overtake Luca Grunwald and Philipp Oettl, but I was hit from behind and crashed. I picked myself back up and approached the bike to try and restart, but the handlebars were broken and my race was over. I learnt a lot this weekend and hope to do better in Texas. Thanks to my team for working so hard all weekend."
FIRST POINTS OF THE SEASON FOR JORDI TORRES
MAPFRE Aspar rider makes up seven positions to finish ninth as Nico Terol's comeback is thwarted by technical problem
At around twenty past eight in the evening in Doha the green light for the Moto2 season finally illuminated the starting grid at the Losail Circuit, where Tito Rabat lined up in pole position only to be beaten to the holseshot by Takaaki Nakagami. With Kallio in close pursuit his team-mate Rabat recovered from a bad start to form a group of three that escaped from the rest and set a strong pace at the front, including a new lap record (2.00.168). Rabat and Nakagami battled for the win until the final lap, the Spaniard coming out on top to lead the championship after one round.
The weekend did not go to plan for the MAPFRE Aspar Team, who had Jordi Torres starting from sixteenth place and Nico Terol from 21st. The Spanish pair did their best to recover ground in the race and they were in twelfth and thirteenth respectively after one lap, already stepping up their pace from practice, but two laps later Jordi missed a gear and lost positions, coming back to take ninth. Nico was up to tenth place on lap eleven but he lost positions after running wide and was then forced to retire with a technical issue on the 16th lap.
9th Jordi Torres: “It was a tough race because we started from so far back but we improved in every session and we knew that our potential was good for the race. I made a fast start and I was in a good position to make up ground but I made a mistake and hit neutral in a fast corner, which cost me a lot of positions. I had to take a lot of risks to make the ground up and my tyres suffered as a result so ninth place was the best I could do. In general I am happy with the result because it has been a difficult weekend but we have worked hard to improve and achieved a good result from a long way back. It was a shame about the mistake because without it we could have been close to a podium.”
Nico Terol (DNF): “I made a good start tonight and I pushed hard over the first few laps, I was happy because it was the first time I had felt happy on the bike all weekend. We made a positive change for the warm-up, going back to some of the settings from last year, and I was able to make up some positions to move up to tenth until I had a big slide. A lot of riders came past but I made some positions back again, and then the engine started cutting out before stopping altogether. It was a shame to finish like that but after such a tough weekend I am happy with the feeling I had with the bike in the race. That is the big positive to take from today and I hope it can be the start of our progress.”
Cardus finishes in point scoring position
Spanish stand-in rider Ricky Cardus produced a strong finish in 12th position on his debut outing for the Tech3 Racing Team aboard the Mistral 610 at the floodlit opening Qatar Grand Prix.
Replacing the injured Alex Mariñelarena, who returned this week to his native Spain as he continues his recovery programme, Cardus qualified in 18th position, having only ridden the French team’s exclusively designed and built Moto2 bike at the final pre-season test in Jerez before the Commercial Bank of Qatar Grand Prix.
Cardus undertook a positive start and progressed up to 10th place during the race. He consistently challenged for a top ten position and became embroiled in a thrilling battle with for example Kallio, West or Simeon. A last lap fall by another rider caused Cardus to take evasive action to avoid the crash, and slowed his rhythm meaning he ultimately crossed the line in 12th position.
Marcel Schrotter’s debut on the Tech3 Racing Team’s Mistral 610 for the 2014 Moto2 World Championship unfortunately came to a difficult end having crashed out on lap 12 after fighting for a points scoring finish. After having worked restlessly to solve chatter issues during the practice sessions, Schrotter qualified in an impressive 13th position and was fully confident of challenging for a top ten finish. The young German rider had a positive start before running wide and losing positions but showed grit and determination and rode at a rapid pace to regain ground and overtook several riders, whilst closing in on a point scoring position. Unfortunately he fell at the final corner of the Losail International Circuit, with 8 laps to go, whilst trying to overtake Baldassari.
Ricky Cardus – 12th - 4points:Ricky Cardus - Losail 2014
“I’m happy to finish the race with a few points as a thank you for the Tech3 Racing Team and the faith they put in me, but on the other hand I’m also a bit disappointed because I think we still could have done better. I really had a positive start and moved up the order quite smoothly. So I found myself battling with Lowes and Kallio at the early stages, but I had to push hard to follow them and when they lowered the lap times I decided to keep my rhythm in order to feel a bit more comfortable without taking too much risk of crashing as I was determined to score points for the team. During the last lap, I was touched by a falling rider on the back of the bike, but luckily I managed to avoid a fall. Straight afterwards in the last corner Simeon run into my bike pushing me outside and both him and Folger managed to pass me. I definitely needed to be a bit more aggressive but for sure I won’t make the same mistake during the next round in Austin”.
Marcel Schrotter - DNF:Marcel Schrotter - Losail 2014
“I am truly disappointed with today’s result as we lost a good possibility to start the championship in a strong fashion. My grid position was promising and also the feeling with the bike had improved after a tricky weekend so far. The start itself was not bad either, but in the first corner I decided to stay outside, and unfortunately could not keep my line as I got pushed wide and had to avoid a crash. I started to recover quickly until I made a mistake a few laps later running into the gravel. I was 21st when I came back to the track, but again I was able to catch up the riders in front of me. This shows how positive my feeling with the bike was and I am really confident in saying that a top ten position would have been possible, but crashed at the last corner as I lost the front whilst trying to pass Baldassari . Now I can just looking forward to the next round in Texas in a couple of weeks.”
Herve Poncharal – Team Manager:
“The first race of the 2014 Moto2 season was an incredible one with an amazing fight at every level. For us it has been quite a challenging weekend, especially on Marcel’s side. Today he made a good start, but unfortunately got pushed wide and fell back a bit. He was riding well and showed great spirit and determination as he caught back up, but then unluckily crashed while fighting for a top 15 position. However today was just one race, there are still 17 more to come and I’m confident Marcel will show his true potential. On the other side of the pit box we are truly happy with Ricky as he only had a very limited time on the bike. He had a good start, never gave up and could have finished inside the top 10. Unfortunately he got caught up in the last corner which allowed some riders to overtake him. Still 13th is a good result and I want to thank Ricky for what he has done. We want to send our best wishes to Alex who was most certainly watching. We hope to have him back as soon as possible and are confident that he continues to recover well“.