Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after qualifying at Motegi:
ANTONELLI SNATCHES LAST-GASP FRONT ROW IN MOTEGI QUALIFYING. FIFTH ROW FOR BASTIANINI
Junior Team GO&FUN Moto3 rider Niccolò Antonelli produced an outstanding performance during the qualifying for the Grand Prix of Japan, which took place this afternoon at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit: the 18-year-old youngster from Cattolica clinched the second fastest time setting at the very end of the session a good 1’56”899 and therefore he will start tomorrow from the front row of the grid.
This is the third front row start of the season for Antonelli after those claimed in Jerez and Brno: Niccolò took the lead in the early stages with a lap time of 1’57”320, then he was able to improve in his last attempt, closing just behind of Brit Danny Kent, who set the pole position today.
His teammate, rookie Enea Bastianini, on the other hand will start from the fifth row with the fifteenth fastest time, 1’57”533: the 16-year-old rider from Rimini, who had crashed during the third and final free practice session this morning, found himself not perfectly at ease with the bike, especially on the fast corners, and tomorrow he will continue to work with the team to close the gap from the front.
NICCOLO' ANTONELLI (2nd - 1'56"899)
“We worked very well on the bike and I felt very comfortable since the beginning of the qualifying session, therefore I set immediately a very good lap time. Then I put the hard tyres and I continued to maintain a good pace, with all my lap times below the 1'58” mark. At the end of the qualifying session, as always, alle the riders were on the limit and it was not easy to find the right lap in the middle of traffic: I found it right in my last attempt. We knew we had a good chance today and we succeded! However, tomorrow the first part of the race will not be easy with a full tank, but I will give my best and if the podium is within our reach, I will fight to the end to take it!”.
ENEA BASTIANINI (15th - 1'57"533)
“The one this morning was a normal fall, which did not affect the result of qualifications: the front tyre was already quite worn and I wanted to push anyway, so I crashed. Actually, this afternoon I was not able to set a good lap time because I was not feeling really comfortable on the bike and as a result I was not able to ride as I wanted. I struggled especially in the first sector, and in general in the fast corners, where I find it hard to close the line. Tomorrow we will try to solve these problems ahead of the race”.
Third row for Marquez and Rins
Repsol Moto3 riders qualify seventh and ninth, respectively, for Japanese Grand Prix.
The second day of the Japanese Grand Prix decided the grid for tomorrow’s race –the fifteenth contest of the year. Alex Rins and Alex Marquez both suffered crashes on Saturday, eventually taking seventh and ninth place to start from row 3. Danny Kent took pole in a tight qualifying session.
The day started with a scare for Alex Marquez, who crashed on his third lap out. The Repsol rider got back to the garage and finally completed seven further laps, but the mistake saw him finish seventeenth in a morning session in which Rins was fifth. In qualifying it was Rins who fell in the early stages, but he also got back in time for his team to repair his bike, send him out again and look to improve his grid position. Rins was eventually ninth, with a time of 1:57.212 1 tenth off his teammate. Alex Marquez, in seventh, set a time of 1:57.114, leaving him off the front row by just 2 tenths.
Both riders will start tomorrow from the third row of the grid, for a race that will start at 11am local time
Alex Rins 9th 1:57.212 27 laps 130 km
"I'm not too worried about tomorrow, but we'll have to concentrate on making a good start that will be the key to being in the first group. I expect a very tough race, because there will be many people out in front who have never been there, so I will have to watch out. If a rider gets away well and we fight amongst ourselves behind, he could escape. We'll have to start well and stay focused, because I think we have the pace to be at the front".
Alex Marquez 7th 1:57.114 25 laps 120 km
"I'm not entirely happy but am somewhat pleased, considering how this morning went. We suffered a crash that delayed the work we wanted to do and things we wanted to try. For the qualifying session we changed the setup quite a bit and took a step forward. Perhaps in the warmup we can continue to evolve, but the feeling is very good at the moment. We did not achieve the small goal that we had for today –to get onto the first or second row– but we head row 3. Whilst it is not the best position, the race will be very long and ridden in groups. I'll have to be very attentive throughout the race to score as many points as possible".
Three tenth from the front row, Brad Binder will spring into action from an interesting grid position in tomorrow's Japanese Grand Prix: as always, in Moto3 the group that gather nose-to-tail just after the start consists of at least a dozen of riders, and from his eighth position on grid the young South African can take part into the fight for the top prizes. Jules Danilo will face a tougher task, as he has been struggling on a track that doesn't suit his riding style.
Brad Binder (1'57”170 – 8th ) “Not that bad, but we must work to the front because I'm really battling in the fastest corners and to enter the corners. If we gonna fix it I think I'm gonna make a good step forward. I could not put a full lap together: every time people in front, or I make a little mistake and lose 3 or 4 tenth. But even if the qualifying result is not that great – I expected to be in the first two rows - I think we can do a good race”.
Jules Danilo (1'58”674 – 27th ) “Not really the qualify I wanted. It's a difficult weekend, for me. The bike is spinning a lot, we are not competitive and I'm a little worried for race. I struggle in the fast corners: as soon as I get on the gas the bike tends to pick itself up and pushes me towards the side of the track. We are working to find a solution for the race”.
Josè Manuel Ruiz Gomez (Technical Director) “Brad struggled a bit at the very beginning: his target was to get immediately 1'57”, but couldn't and got nervous. We must consider that he has been unlucky, getting often stuck into the wrong groups. When he has been able to relax, we put on the tires we reputed the best for the session. Our target was a low 1'57 or a high 1'56, and if you read the details you can see that his ideal time is precisely 1'56 high. Unfortunately he never has been able to put his best sector times together in the same lap. As he himself has stressed, we could not fine-tune the front at the best. But we are very close. We will work, and are confident in a good race, tomorrow.
Jules is going to face a more difficult task, having a riding style that doesn't suit this circuit. We are going to work on the set-up to help him, and if he is able to modify a bit his riding, the GP can turn into an interesting one for him as well”.
Danny Kent gives Husqvarna first pole position
Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo rider completes magnificent run of free practices with his first pole position of the season. Niklas Ajo will start from the fourth row tomorrow.
10/11/2014 - Motegi Circuit, Japan
Danny Kent gave Husqvarna their first pole position in the Moto3 World Championship this Saturday. The Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo rider and Niklas Ajo have achieved two podiums and four front rows between them to date. In today's session, the Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo rider placed eleventh –a position that will allow him to start tomorrow from the fourth row of the grid.
Yesterday he was the fastest man and this morning, in the final free practice session, Danny Kent was just 0.063 off repeating the feat in second position. The Briton improved for the third consecutive free practice session. Niklas Ajo went very close to doing likewise, but was less than a tenth slower than his top lap from yesterday afternoon –1:58.038, eighteenth.
These times quickly became irrelevant, as in the qualifying session both Husqvarna riders set their best laps of the weekend. Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo rider Kent contributed two quick laps with four minutes left to take first pole position of the year and set a new circuit record of 1:56.555. Ajo rode in the 1:57s for the first time in qualifying, taking eleventh with a 1:57.234 lap.
With this result, Danny Kent has the second pole position of his career –at the scene of his first pole two years ago. Tomorrow, he and Niklas Ajo contest the fifteenth round of the year from 11.00am local time.
52 DANNY KENT
"I'm very happy to have taken a second pole position of my career –once again here in Japan– and the first for Husqvarna. Throughout the weekend I have had a very good feeling with the bike and have been very comfortable right from the first free practice session yesterday. We go into the race tomorrow very confident and I hope to put in a good performance."
31 NIKLAS AJO
"This morning was a little difficult for us, because we wanted to make a few changes from yesterday that did not work as well as we were hoping. I suffered a bit with rear grip and with the front under braking.
For the qualifying session we took a risk and again made major changes –and this time it worked. I felt comfortable right from the beginning. I was able to ride fast by myself, but on my best laps I always had traffic around. So I think we could be higher up. However, this eleventh position is not bad."
Jack Miller takes deserved second row at Motegi
Red Bull KTM Ajo rider takes fifth place on the grid after suffering a heavy highside. Hanika earns a spot on the eighth row after also crashing.
10/11/2014 - Motegi Circuit, Japan
The Red Bull KTM Ajo riders had an eventful qualifying session in Japan. Although both riders suffered crashes in the session, Jack Miller managed to qualify in a creditable fifth position that will allow him to start from the second row on the grid for the fifteenth round of the year. Karel Hanika was unable to participate in the last four minutes of the session after his crash, and was relegated to twenty-third position.
A fall at Turn 2 during the first 20 minutes of the final free practice session prevented Hanika from putting in significant kilometres to finish setting up his KTM. He contributed just 6 laps, with a 1:59.885 best putting him 33rd. Teammate Jack Miller used new tyres on his last run to set the best lap of the weekend up to that point –a 1:57.072.
In the qualifying session, the Australian suffered a huge highside fifteen minutes in when coming out of Turn 5. In pain, Miller picked the bike back up to get to the garage and, seven minutes later, went back out on track. This did not prevent the Australian getting back on the pace, setting a 1:57.081 lap for fifth. Hanika put in his fastest lap of the entire weekend –1:58.184, 23rd– before another crash prevented him from riding for the final four minutes.
The race will start tomorrow at 11:00am local time at Motegi. This will be the first Grand Prix in Japan for Hanika, whilst Miller will seek to get onto the podium after finishing in sixth place last year.
8 JACK MILLER
"Today went pretty well. Despite the crash we suffered, we can be really happy because the bike is working very well. Also, the whole team is doing a great job. They managed to repair the bike very quickly and were able to get me back out on track to set a good time, so I am very grateful to them. The overall feeling is quite good and now we have to focus on the race. We have to wait until tomorrow to be able to benefit from the good work we’ve done so far."
98 KAREL HANIKA
"I think today we were a bit unfortunate. Already in morning things did not go perfectly. We have changed some aspects compared to yesterday, but step by step I have been improving and I felt comfortable from the first run this morning. However, on my second time out I made a gear shift mistake, something that we had modified, and I crashed. That meant we couldn’t make full use of the session. I had confidence though. In the qualifying session I started quite well, but maybe I needed someone in front of me in order to improve my time.
I had a good pace by myself and did not make mistakes up until I tried to latch onto someone and made an error on a corner. I hurt my back in the highside, but I hope it is not sore tomorrow. We’ll see if tomorrow we have a little more luck."
Moto3 - Tough qualifying for San Carlo Team Italia at Motegi
Matteo Ferrari and Andrea Locatelli on eighth and eleventh row respectively
San Carlo Team Italia is facing an uphill battle at Twin Ring Motegi tomorrow according to today’s qualifying results. While Danny Kent (Husqvarna) set pole position as he did two years ago, in 2012, Ferrari and Locatelli have had their flying laps affected by several issues.
Matteo Ferrari (Mahindra MGP3O #3) had consistently lapped close to the top-15 positions in the morning session but got involved in a crash with another riders in the crucial final stages of the qualifying run and lost his chance to improved his best time of 1'58"246 (24th). 'Bigin' will therefore be forced to start from eighth row on the grid.
Visiting Motegi for the first time, Andrea Locatelli (Mahindra MGP3O #55) has indeed improved his lap times over the weekend but not enough to go further the thirty-second position, which put him on eleventh row.
Matteo Ferrari (San Carlo Team Italia - Mahindra MGP3O #3) 24th, 1'58"246
"I definitely didn’t need that crash. I was letting the faster riders pass me so as not to slow them down, and unfortunately when I was just about to start to push again me and Masbou touched in the last corner. It was a big shame because we now find ourselves far behind: my best time basically matched my yesterday’s one while just few tenths less would have put me much upper in the standings. We’ll see to recover some ground tomorrow: I’ll do my best as always to close the weekend positively".
Andrea Locatelli (San Carlo Team Italia - Mahindra MGP3O #55) 32nd, 1'59"478
"We were able to improve my bike’s chassis setup overall but we are still struggling with the bike. We lack a bit of power to stay with the others and that’s quite a crucial problem at as a point-and-squirt track as Motegi. Anyway an off-weekend happens sometimes and we’ll try and give our outmost tomorrow in order to recover as much positions as possible".
Virginio Ferrari (Riders Manager - San Carlo Team Italia Moto3)
"It definitely hasn’t been a positive day for us. After a good start we have not been able to make another step forward to improve our performances. Clearly we will try to find some solutions for the tomorrow’s race".
Difficult qualifying session for Hafiq Azmi
SIC-Ajo Team rider will start from the tenth row after taking the 29th best time in qualifying for Japanese Grand Prix.
10/11/2014 - Motegi Circuit, Japan
Hafiq Azmi had a tough qualifying session at Motegi for the fifteenth Moto3 round of the year. The Malaysian rider fought to get as high a position as possible, but was unable to find the desired pace. Finally, after a penultimate lap of 1:59.032, he will start tomorrow's race from the tenth row of the grid from 29th.
In the final practice session of the weekend, the SIC-Ajo Team rider did not feel comfortable at the Japanese track. After starting with a good pace this weekend, Hafiq Azmi was unable to improve on the times set in practice yesterday. On his 14th lap he set his fastest time of the session, with a time of 1:58.841.
In the qualifying session the Malaysian rider could not find the feeling he was looking for at the tricky Motegi circuit. Hafiq Azmi set his best time of the afternoon on his penultimate lap, with a time of 1:59.032 that put him 29th.
The first race of the flyaway series is scheduled to start at 11am local time on Sunday. The SIC-Ajo Team rider aims to make a good start in order to gain positions and climb up the field as far as possible.
38 HAFIQ AZMI
"The qualifying session was difficult for me. I did not have a very good feeling on track and I could not improve my time from yesterday. It is not good that my time is now slower, but hopefully in the warmup we can find a good pace. In the race it will be important to start well, to gain some positions and try to finish scoring some points if I can. It will not be easy. I will try to do my best."
Pole position for record breaker Rabat at Motegi
Motegi, Japan – 11 October 2014: An impressive performance from Tito Rabat saw the Moto2 World Championship leader claim pole position and a new outright lap record at Motegi this afternoon.
Yesterday Rabat closed to within 0.1s of the outright circuit record to end the day at the top of the timesheet, a position he also claimed during this morning’s final Moto2 free practice session. The 25-year-old Spaniard carried this momentum into qualifying, where he took pole position from Tom Lüthi with a final flying lap that was 0.032s inside the existing circuit record, set by Pol Espargaro in 2012.
It is Rabat’s eighth pole position in 2014, equalling the record for the most poles in one season, again set by Espargaro in 2012.
Mika Kallio will start tomorrow’s 23-lap Moto2 race from the second row of the grid, after qualifying in fifth position this afternoon. The 31-year-old Finn continued to struggle with a lack of feeling with the front end of his Kalex Moto2 machine, especially under braking and on corner entry. Kallio is determined to find a solution tonight, which he’ll test in warm up tomorrow morning.
Jorge Navarro continued to make significant improvements to his lap time in free practice and then qualifying this afternoon, as his knowledge of the technical Motegi circuit improved. The 18-year-old Spaniard will start tomorrow’s 20-lap Moto3 race from 16th on the grid, after qualifying just 1.188s outside Danny Kent’s pole position time.
Tito Rabat // Pole Position // 1’50.854
“I’m really happy with today’s pole position, as we did a good job together as a team and the bike was working well in qualifying. So everything is good, but I was losing a little time through the final sector, so this is something we need to look at for tomorrow. It will be a hard race, because it always is here at Motegi, especially at the start with a full fuel load. All we can do is try and find some further improvements for tomorrow and then prepare for a tough race.”
Mika Kallio // 5th // 1’51.312
“I’m not happy at all, even if the qualifying position is not so bad. I have struggled with the front end of the bike all weekend and nothing we have tried has brought a significant improvement. We’ve changed everything, working through every option we’ve used this year, but it hasn’t worked. I can feel the difference but while some of the changes brought an improvement in one area, they also caused problems in another. It’s difficult, because I can do the lap time, but I feel like I’m on the limit and likely to crash in almost every corner. We need to find a solution, because it’s not possible to maintain a good pace over full race distance like this. Hopefully we can come up with something for warm up, or tomorrow’s race will be a tough one.”
Jorge Navarro // 16th // 1’57.743
“I’m happy with qualifying today, as we’ve made good progress all weekend. Yesterday the feeling with the bike wasn’t so good, but today was a new day and we saw an improvement with every lap. Tomorrow I need to improve in some areas of the track, as that’s where I’m losing most of my time, so we have to keep working, but I’m happy enough with what we’ve achieved so far this weekend.”
SUBSTANTIAL IMPROVEMENTS FOR SIMEON AND BALDASSARRI IN TIGHT MOTEGI QUALIFYING
Xavier Siméon will start from thirteenth on the grid for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Japan aboard the Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Suter machine: an encouraging result which is an improvement compared with the performance obtained in qualifying in the last five races. The 25-year-old Belgian rider limited to less than 0.8 seconds the gap from the pole position time, thanks to a new chassis geometry that allowed him to regain competitiveness and good feelings.
Also in the Team Gresini Moto2 garage has been made good progress, with Lorenzo Baldassarri who lowered by almost two seconds his lap time from yesterday’s first free practice session as a proof of steady growth over the weekend. The Italian rookie will start from the 21st position and he will try to take a further step looking for a better rear grip during tomorrow morning’s warm up.
XAVIER SIMEON (13th - 1'51"653)
“I’m very happy because today we took a big step forward with the bike set-up, regaining a good feeling with the bike. We made a change to the chassis geometry that immediately proved to be effective and has allowed me to keep a good pace. I’m just a little disappointed about the final position on the grid, which does not demonstrate how much we worked well today: losing the second row for so little is frustrating, but the important thing is that the sensations are good. This is a good sign ahead of tomorrow and hopefully also for the upcoming races”.
LORENZO BALDASSARRI (21st - 1'52"293)
“Yesterday we started the weekend in a very bad way, but the positive thing is that we improved steadily in every session. Now my lap times are better and also the grid position: it means that we are returning to the attack, even if something is still missing. Tomorrow we will continue to work, focusing especially on the rear end, where there is still a lack of grip. My pace is good, so if tomorrow we can make another step forward we can have a good race”.
Guevara qualifies tenths as lap times tumble at Motegi
MAPFRE Aspar ready for Grand Prix of Japan after setting solid lap time and pace
It was a fast and furious day at Motegi for the Moto3 riders, a number of whom crashed as the lap records also went tumbling. Danny Kent took pole position with a sensational lap of 1'56.555, almost two seconds inside his own previous record from 2012 (1.58.371), giving him a three-tenth advantage over his closest challenger but with the next fourteen riders then separated by less than a second. Not all of them will have the race pace to go the distance tomorrow but the likes of Márquez, Miller, Rins, Oliveira and Guevara look likely to form a combative lead group.
MAPFRE Aspar rider Juanfran Guevara's main goal today was to improve the front-end response of his machine and improve his pace through the final sector of the Motegi, which he managed during this morning's final free practice as he finally broke the 1'58 barrier. In the afternoon he set a consistent pace in the 1'57s as he launched a challenge for a front row start, eventually missing out as he finished six tenths off Kent's pole lap and qualified in tenth position.
10th Juanfran Guevara 1.57.230 (16 laps): “We set a good pace this morning but overall the lap times here this weekend have been very fast. The circuit record has been smashed to pieces, everybody is pushing hard and we did our best on soft tyres. There are some sections of this track that don't really suit our bike but we are working hard and things are working out well. We have taken a big step from yesterday to today, mainly improving in the first sector, which is where we were struggling the most yesterday. We are inside the top ten and that is important, as well as having a good race pace. It will feel like a long race tomorrow, this is a complicated circuit and there are some very hard braking points so I will have to stay focused to stay on the bike.”
Deroue makes impressive progression thanks to hard working team
Hard work from RW Racing GP’s mechanics on the second day of the Japanese Grand Prix helped Scott Deroue to make an impressive improvement. With only 30 minutes left for proper riding, Deroue managed to knock off two seconds of his previous best time. His 1.59,289 brought him to 30th position on the grid for tomorrow’s Moto3 race.
With a for Deroue new bike on a new track the Japanese GP means a lot of hard work to both rider and team. It isn’t just getting used to the circuit and setting up the bike to meet the circumstances, but also getting used to the bike and adjusting it to meet the rider. Normally this happens during preseason testing, so that rider and bike fit together. In this case, with Deroue being on the 2014 Kalex KTM for the first time during a normal race weekend, there was only little time to adapt and adjust plus to get the bike setup and ready for the race.
The frame of the 2014 Kalex KTM is slightly different to the 2013 model Deroue was used to and already on the first day it appeared his riding position was different. This especially affected shifting gears – quite important on the Motegi Twin Ring which has a few turns in which the riders have to brake hard and shift down to first gear before accelerating again.
With all the changes the team had performed on the bike on the first day, the third free practice was more or less like a test. Because shifting down was still somewhat of a problem, the team changed the shifting system. Thereby the most important problem was solved and finally Deroue could really concentrate on riding. The work was finished only at the start of qualifying, keeping Deroue sidelined for the first ten minutes of the session. Yet with only 30 minutes left – practically with a delay of three full practice sessions – he finally was in a position that felt right and it showed.
From that moment on Deroue was able to improve his lap times dramatically, knocking two seconds off his previous best time of 2.01,073. The gap to pole position decreased from 3,7 in FP2 to 2,7 in the end of qualifying.
Scott Deroue – 30 (1.59,289)
“The team has done tremendous work. My mechanics Hans Spaan, Gerald Perdon and Rob van de Braak deserve a really big compliment. We didn’t have any time in between the races, because the bikes were transported to Japan straight from Aragon, so all the work we usually do in testing, had to be done in just a few hours. Although the characteristics of the circuit, with this hard braking and short turns, remain difficult, the feeling was good in qualifying. There still is some work to be done in the warm-up, but I feel confident for the race.
I realize the position may seem disappointing, as I am on a theoretically better and faster bike now, but you cannot imagine what it’s like to get to another bike this way. Indeed, having to start the Moto3 race from 30th doesn’t look like much of an improvement, but considering the amount of work, getting used to the bike and the track and the time left for proper riding, I’m satisfied with it. It could have been much worse, looking at where we were yesterday. We’ll never know where I would have been on the 2013 machine, but actually I don’t even want to know. I’m happy and grateful RW Racing GP is giving me this chance and I’ll do everything to get the most out of it.”
Torres ready to race at Motegi despite T4 problems
MAPFRE Aspar rider unable to master tricky final sector of Japanese track
The final sector of the technical Motegi circuit provided more than the odd headache for the Moto2 riders this afternoon, none more so than series leader and pole favourite Tito Rabat, who took until the end of qualifying practice to perfect T4 and overcome the challenge of Thomas Luthi. It is the Spanish rider's eighth pole position of the season but the likes of Zarco, Luthi, Viñales and Kallio have all demonstrated the pace to deny him victory tomorrow.
Jordi Torres managed to improve his performance today after finding some solutions to the front-end problems he had yesterday but after setting potential pole pace around the first three sectors of the track he did not manage to get the better of T4. The MAPFRE Aspar rider starts from fourteenth place on the grid as a result but he is hopeful of learning from other riders during the race tomorrow as he targets a fight through the pack. Nico Terol made a positive start to his weekend yesterday but struggled to build on that today as he qualified in 26th place.
14th Jordi Torres 1.51.715 (22 laps): “Qualifying this afternoon was interesting, we managed to find a way forward with the bike that allowed me to ride with confidence. I like this circuit but we knew it would be tricky for us because you need a perfect set-up to tackle the whole track and we don't have the front-end feel for the hard-braking sections. We took a step forward this afternoon and I enjoyed myself on the bike, the only downside is the final sector, Motegi where we lose time on every lap. We still need to try and improve there and tomorrow I will do my best to learn from the other riders during the race. But I am ready and looking forward to it.”
26th Nico Terol 1.52.567 (19 laps): “I was pretty happy with our performance yesterday and I was hoping to take a step forward today. I pushed hard this morning and set a consistent pace but in the afternoon I tried to take a big step forwards and, as has been the case this season, we ended up going backwards because I can't get the bike to turn and I run wide everywhere. It is frustrating that I can't ride the bike how I want but we have to keep working to recover my confidence in what is left of the season without obsessing about results. I had a good race last year from way back on the grid so hopefully I can enjoy tomorrow.”
Ideal time puts Gino Rea 19th in Moto2 Qualifying
Gino Rea qualified 23rd in Saturday’s Moto2 Qualifying at Motegi however his ideal time placed him in 19th position and only one second from pole position. The gap to the Top 10 riders was even closer, with Rea only 0.4 seconds off. All in all it was a positive day for the AGT REA Racing team despite electrical problems.
“I’m happy with my pace today considering some niggling bike issues we’ve encountered. We had an electrical problem and it made the bike a bit inconsistent during the braking areas. Although 23rd isn’t where I want to be, my ideal time puts me 19th, only one second from pole and the gap to the Top 10 is close, just 0.4 seconds. I think when we fix the problem areas we can be competitive in the race tomorrow. I need a good start and I need to get up to pace early in the race”.
AGT REA Racing will line up for the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi on Sunday at 12.20pm local time.
Schrotter to launch from 10th on the grid at Motegi
Marcel Schrotter signalled his competitive intent for the Motul Grand Prix of Japan tomorrow by charging to 10th place in qualifying which will see him begin his campaign for a top ten result from the head of the fourth row. The young German who has been running strongly throughout the weekend so far, started the day by completing the morning session in 12th position leaving him full of confidence for the afternoon. Having already set up his Mistral 610 with his Tech3 Racing Team to a standard which he was confident with, the 21 year old rider leapt into a notable performance instantly and powered onwards throughout the session. His relentless drive saw him conclude the practice with a best time of 1’51.555 which was only just over two tenths from fifth in the intensely competitive intermediate class. Tomorrow Schrotter will battle to seize more valuable championship points to boost his 12th place in the standings and score his 11th consecutive point scoring finish this season.
On the other side of the Tech3 Racing Team garage, Ricky Cardus will begin the 23 lap race at the 4801 meter Twin Ring Motegi circuit from the 6th row on the grid. Cardus finished the morning practice in 18th, just four tenths from the top ten which left him fully optimistic of the forthcoming qualifying despite the extremely close competition. As the session began the Spanish rider from Barcelona remained resolute and fought tirelessly to produce a top lap of 1’51.836 aboard the Mistral 610. His performance left him in 18th position but just under three tenths back from the third row, with the top eighteen being covered by less than a second. Cardus will now intend to aggressively leap through the field to score another top fifteen finish in Japan.
Marcel Schrotter – Position : 10th – Time : 1’51.555
“Overall I am pleased with my qualifying performance as it has capped off a strong weekend so far in Japan leaving me with high confidence for tomorrow's race. However, we had the potential to be a bit faster today, but I got held up by some traffic on my fastest laps which is a bit disappointing as I am only two tenths off the second row and I could have reached that. Yet, 10th is a solid place to begin the race from and I feel that I can certainly battle well inside the top ten even though it will surely be a tough one due to the hard braking at Motegi. The bike felt great as soon as we started running here yesterday morning and everything has gone to plan in all of the sessions so far, so I am ready and fully prepared for tomorrow. The team did a superb job as always, so as long as I have a good start I can have a successful race and collect some more championship points as we get closer to the end of the season.”
Ricky Cardus – Position : 18th – Time : 1’51.836
“It has definitely been a tough day today, but all of the riders are really close and we ended up only a few tenths from where I wished to be. Therefore, tomorrow I need to undertake a great start to quickly recover as many positions as possible. However, the most significant thing to remember will be to keep a consistent rhythm for the entire race without doing mistakes which is not an easy task due to the characteristics of the circuit. I really have to say a big thank you to the Tech3 Team because every time I went out on the track, I felt better and more comfortable with the bike and we kept on improving our lap times. I must ensure that I stay calm and that I am not nervous tomorrow at the beginning of the race, as I have been a little throughout this weekend. I really want to show everyone what I am capable of and that I also deserve this ride for next season, so I look forward to the challenge.”