Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first day of practice at Phillip Island:
Miller enjoys first day at home
Red Bull KTM Ajo rider achieves second fastest time on first day of the Australian Grand Prix. Hanika completes a fruitful first runout at Phillip Island.
10/17/2014 - Phillip Island Circuit, Australia
Jack Miller was back onboard his KTM machine today to begin his long-awaited home Grand Prix. The Australian made a promising start, setting the fastest time in the afternoon practice session and the second best lap in the combined timesheet for the first day. His Red Bull KTM Ajo teammate Karel Hanika took an important first step in his first contact with Phillip Island, completing the day in seventeenth place.
A sunny morning with 23ºC track temperatures greeted the Moto3 riders at Phillip Island. The first practice session saw Miller and Hanika begin to experiment with setups for a track where it is more important than ever to have the right configuration. The Czech rider quickly took to the fast Australian circuit and ended the first session in thirteenth position. Miller placed sixth as he looked to find his pace on old tyres.
A highside with 3 minutes left in second session prevented Hanika from completing a great first day with an improvement to his morning time. He was one tenth off his best lap of the day, a 1:37.963 that placed him seventeenth. Home rider Miller set his top time of the day on his penultimate lap, with a 1:37.033 that put him best in the session and second overall.
The Australian will look for an eighth pole position of the year –and the first of his career at home– in qualifying from 1:35pm tomorrow.
8 JACK MILLER
"We can be really happy with the work done today. It has been a very productive day. We changed different things with our KTM and I think we are going in the right direction. In the afternoon, when it was windier and we were using new tyres, we were able to go faster and set a good time. We are where we should be, but we still have to work hard to be ready for the race. Improvements can still be made with myself and the bike."
98 KAREL HANIKA
"I think that for the first day at Phillip Island, things went pretty well. It is a very nice track and I like it. Today was basically about learning the track in the first free practice session. We were able to set a good time and find a good pace with the bike. Looking ahead to the second free practice session we changed a few things that made us go better. We rode with used tyres, with which I managed to find a good feeling. Then we put new tyres on and also set good times and a fast pace. If we use a slipstream we can definitely improve our times further, and that's what we'll try again tomorrow in the qualifying session."
Marquez and Rins cautious on first day
Marquez sixth on combined timesheet for two sessions and teammate Rins is ninth.
The two Repsol riders immersed in the fight for the Moto3 title had a normal first day of practice for the Australian Grand Prix. As is customary at Phillip Island, the weather played a prominent role. In the morning, the riders were able to enjoy a track in good condition and with no wind. This allowed them to ride very fast in the first session, at record pace for the Australian circuit.
In the first free practice session, Alex Marquez set the second fastest time –behind Danny Kent– with a 1:37.142. He was two tenths behind the session’s top lap. Alex Rins was fifth, 3 tenths off Kent, with a time of 1:37.258.
In the afternoon the wind picked up and only a select number of riders were able to lower their times –taking risks in the process. Marquez and Rins opted to take things cautiously and did not better their morning laps. Overall, Marquez was sixth and Rins ninth.
Alex Rins 9th 1:37.258 38 laps 169 km
"From the beginning I was able to ride very fast, and at record pace. In the afternoon the conditions were not the best for riding; it was very windy and the track temperature was colder, so it was impossible to improve our times from the morning. Today we finished ninth on the combined timesheet, so we have to continue working ahead of the race on Sunday".
Alex Marquez 6th 1:37.142 34 laps 151 km
"I'm happy, overall I think it was a good day. I had a very good base from the beginning and in the first session we were on record pace, so it was a very fun session. The weather was good, and at this circuit you enjoy yourself a lot when it isn't windy. Although the base is good, tomorrow we can continue to improve and I can also better my riding at certain points. We will try to be just as focused tomorrow. Today we worked very well and tomorrow we will look at the times to start the race on the first or second row, but here the times are tight and it will not be easy".
Kent sets the pace to match at Phillip Island
Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo begins Australian Grand Prix as fastest rider of the day. Niklas Ajo completes a good first day with eighth place on the combined timesheet.
10/17/2014 - Phillip Island Circuit, Australia
A week on from the Japanese round at Motegi, a completely different Phillip Island circuit welcomed Danny Kent as fastest rider on the first day of the Australian Grand Prix. The Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo kept up a consistent pace throughout the day, setting his quickest lap in the first free practice session. It was also in that session that Niklas Ajo put in the lap that placed him eighth on the combined timesheet.
The Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo rider started the weekend strong, putting in some fast laps early on –as has been his strategy of late. Second in the first half of the session, Ajo finished fourth with a 1:37.240 time, as Kent led the opening 40 minutes. The Briton led the way with 4 minutes remaining –1:36.906–, completing two consecutive fastest laps.
In the afternoon, the Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo rider kept up his pace during the first half hour. Keeping on using old tyres, Kent finished the session in fifth place, unable to lower his morning time with a best of 1:37.149. Less than three tenths off –1:37.418– was Niklas Ajo who was affected by the high winds so characteristic of this track.
Tomorrow’s qualifying session will start an hour later than usual, at 1.35pm local time. For the Briton, he will be chasing his second consecutive pole position following his first top spot of the year last time out in Japan.
52 DANNY KENT
"Today was another very productive day for us. We were the fastest in the morning and also in the combined timesheet. In the second session we did not put new tyres on, so I set my best time with tyres that had 19 laps in them and were already pretty worn. Still, we were very close to the top in the second session. For tomorrow we may make some small changes to the bike, but I was very happy with our performance today."
31 NIKLAS AJO
"Today we managed to find a good feeling with the bike and with my riding, because I felt quite comfortable. We were able to be high up the order, but in the second session it was difficult to lower our times because the wind was blowing more strongly. In the first session I set my best time on the first run and we found a good slipstream. In the afternoon, although we did not lower our times, I think we improved a lot. Tomorrow we will push more and see what happens."
OPTIMISM HIGH FOR JUNIOR TEAM GO&FUN MOTO3 AFTER SUNNY FREE PRACTICE IN AUSTRALIA
The Junior Team GO&FUN Moto3 took part today in the first two free practice sessions of the Australian Grand Prix: both Enea Bastianini and Niccolò Antonelli took advantage of the time available to familiarize with the fast track of Phillip Island, gradually improving their lap times and closing the combined classification respectively in 12th and 21st place.
Enea Bastianini, who was making his debut at Phillip Island, ended in seventeenth place the morning session with a time of 1’37”962 then, with new tyres, set a good 1’37”458, the ninth fastest time of the afternoon sesion. The 16-year-old rookie from Rimini proved to be immediately fast on a circuit which is certainly not easy for a beginner, losing significantly only in the last sector of the track, the T4, which includes the long left-hander before the start-finish straight.
His teammate, Niccolò Antonelli, improved his best time by 0.7 seconds between the two sessions, ending the day in 1’38”096: the 18-year-old rider from Cattolica is confident he can improve further tomorrow, when he will look for a better compromise that can allow him to be faster on the long, fast corners.
NICCOLO' ANTONELLI (21st - 1'38"096)
“I would call this Friday a normal day: we worked a bit on the bike, but without making any particular change. Simply, I have yet to adapt my riding to this bike on this track; In fact, last year I could do different lines on the long fast corners, but today I struggled a bit. In the afternoon the situation has already improved from the morning and after all we are not very far from the top. We will get there, step by step”.
ENEA BASTIANINI (12th - 1'37"458)
“I’ve always preferred fast and flowing tracks and this is one of them, without a doubt. I like it very much! This morning we started well: regardless of the position, I was able to learn the track well. Then in the afternoon session I put new tyres, thus lowering my lap times: I’m pretty happy with today’s result, although we still have to improve some things. In particular, I lose a lot of ground in the T4, finding it hard to close the line on the last corner. Tomorrow we will focus on this aspect”.
Six tenths separate Gino Rea from a Top 10 spot after Day One at Phillip Island
Gino Rea concluded day one of the Australian Grand Prix in 23rd position. An incident in the first free practice session saw Rea’s progress hindered as he attempted to save a crash before succumbing to the gravel trap. Later in the afternoon session, Gino improved his time by 1.3 seconds, with only six tenths of a second separating him from 8th on the grid. Rea is confident of further progress ahead of Saturday at Phillip Island:
"It’s been quite a difficult day as it started off with a crash. The hard tyres here are making it challenging for us but considering we lost the majority of set up time in FP1, our pace with the harder option tyre is really not too bad. Apart from Rabat, the times were close. I was only 0.639 from 8th position so I’m hoping we can keep the progress going. As well as using the softer tyre option, we have work to do with our set up so I’m looking forward to getting back out there tomorrow.”
AGT REA Racing will be back on track tomorrow for the final free practice of the weekend and the Moto2 qualifying session at 16.05 local time.
Positive first step for Hafiq Azmi in Australia
SIC-Ajo Team rider closes first day at the Australian track with the 24th fastest time of the combined session.
10/17/2014 - Phillip Island Circuit, Australia
The Moto3 World Championship continues on from last weekend’s Japanese GP with a visit to Australia for the sixteenth race of the season, which began today at Phillip Island. Hafiq Azmi was back riding at the circuit where he earned his first race finish in the World Championship and ended the first day of practice with the 24th best lap overall –a 1:38.301.
The first free practice session started with cold in the air and a track temperature of 23ºC. The SIC-Ajo Team rider began to regain his feel for the track and improved lap-by-lap. The young Malaysian put in 19 laps and set the 24th fastest time of the morning, a 1:38.758.
In the afternoon the track temperature rode sharply to 36°C, although there were also strong winds. Hafiq Azmi lowered his times from the first session by nearly half a second, a feat that little more than half of the lower cylinder category field managed to achieve. The SIC-Ajo Team rider claimed the 22nd fastest time of the second session, stopping the clock in 1:38.301.
Tomorrow morning will see the final free practice session and in the afternoon, at 1:35pm local time, the Moto3 qualifying session will see Hafiq Azmi try to get as close as possible to the positions that give him a chance of points.
38 HAFIQ AZMI
"I think today was a good start. The track is very nice and I like it a lot, but there was a lot of wind blowing through. The bike is working quite well, thanks to the team managing to find a good setup. This made me feel comfortable and confident on track. I have a good feeling with this track and I hope to do well here. I have to improve a bit with my riding style and cornering at some spots, but we will maintain the same setup with the KTM for tomorrow."
Guevara sets solid base with fourth fastest lap at Phillip Island
MAPFRE Aspar rider makes strong start in Australia to finish first day amongst Moto3 pacesetters
Phillip Island provided the perfect cure for jetlag today with perfect conditions welcoming the Moto3 riders on track for the first day of free practice at the Australian Grand Prix. Despite the bright sunshine and blue skies there remains a fresh spring breeze coming in from the Bass Strait and several riders found out to their cost that the intermediate compound tyres were required to cope with the cooling effect of the wind. Just like last week at Motegi Danny Kent was the dominant force in free practice today, the Brit setting the fastest time of the day (1'36.906) in this morning's opening session. The entry list is boosted this weekend by local wildcard Remy Gardner (son of former 500cc World Champion Wayne Gardner) and Olly Simpson.
The best way to start a Grand Prix weekend is with pace and confidence and that is exactly what Juanfran Guevara has done in Australia. The MAPFRE Aspar rider spent the first session getting to grips with the fast and flowing nature of the Phillip Island, a stark contrast to Motegi, before pushing on in the afternoon. Halfway through the second session and still on the same tyres as this morning, he matched his best lap whilst establishing a fast and consistent race pace. With new tyres on towards the end of the session he pushed for a quicker time and finished just two tenths of a second off the day's quickest, the MAPFRE Aspar man also clocking the highest top speed at Phillip Island today in Moto3, registering 238.6km/h.
4th Juanfran Guevara 1.37.077 (34 laps): “My first feeling when I went out on to the track this morning was that I was going to find it difficult today. We came from Motegi, a circuit with a lot of hard braking, to Phillip Island, which is much faster. I had to change 'chip' but we managed to do that quite quickly and I thanks to that I was able to set a really fast pace from the start of the second session and we spent more or less the whole day on the same tyres. With the wind here the hard tyres get cold too quickly so we stuck with the intermediate compound and this afternoon I was able to match my time from this morning. A few minutes from the end of the second session we put fresh tyres in and tried to take that extra step toward the top positions and managed to move up to fourth place. To make such a strong and confident start to the weekend is always positive.”
Phillip Island a place of opposites for Scott Deroue
The Island has many secrets. Scott Deroue divulged some of them quickly, but others were kept covered on the first day of the Australian Grand Prix. The opposites of very good (13th in sector 1) and kind of bad (32nd in sector 3) brought Deroue to an average of 1.38,972 on 27th position.
Phillip Island, south of Melbourne, is known as one of the fastest and most technical tracks on the calendar. With its spectacular layout and scenery it isn’t the easiest circuit, as Scott Deroue soon found out.
In the first free practice Deroue got to know the complex character of Phillip Island. In the second session he managed to unravel part of the secrets, which was clearly seen in the results: over a second faster. Many riders (15) did not improve in FP2 compared to FP1.
Deroue’s lap time is an assembly of contrasts. The Dutchman proved to be very fast in the first sector of the track, holding one of the fastest split times for quite a while during FP2 and finishing 13th fastest. His average was lowered dramatically by the third sector, in which Deroue struggled with the complexity of Lukey Heights, costing him a really good result.
Scott Deroue – 27 (1.38,972)
“Phillip Island is a tremendously beautiful track and I really like this place. But it isn’t easy. I’m very happy with some parts of the track but some others present me with real difficulties. Those difficulties – like Lukey Heights, the last turn of T3 and the corner entering Gardner Straight – are of too much influence on my lap time. I posted 13th fastest time in the first sector, but I end up in 27th overall, so there is still a lot to gain. I have to, because to be part of the game and be in a position to get points, I need to find at least a second of improvement.”
Rabat dominates on opening day at the Island
Phillip Island, Australia – 17 October: Tito Rabat set the pace on the opening day in Australia, topping the timesheets in both free practice sessions at Phillip Island to finish more than half a second quicker than his rivals.
It was a perfect start to a weekend when, for the first time this season, Rabat can wrap up the championship that he’s led since the opening round in Qatar more than six months ago. The 25-year-old Spaniard needs to score just 12 more points than teammate Mika Kallio if he is to be crowned as the 2014 Moto2 World Champion this weekend.
In comparison Kallio had a difficult first day down under, as he struggled once again to find the feeling with the front that is so important at the ultra-fast Phillip Island circuit. The 31-year-old Finn crashed and somersaulted over the tyre wall at turn nine without injury this morning, but bruised his ankle after going over the highside at turn 10 this afternoon. Despite the crashes Kallio ended the day fifth with his lap time from the first free practice session.
Racing at yet another new track for the first time this weekend, the Marc VDS Racing Team’s Moto3 rider, Jorge Navarro, finished the opening day 29th on combined times, after improving his best lap time in FP1 by almost half a second this afternoon.
Tito Rabat // 1st // 1’33.057
“We made a really good job today, but we won’t be resting on our laurels, because we were fast on both practice days in Japan and then lost out in the race. So, while everything is working well at the moment, we need to carry on working to find improvements ready for the race on Sunday. There were a lot of crashes today and when you see people crash in front of you then you always close a little. The track conditions are different to when we were here for the winter test and we need to take that into account when we set up the bike for tomorrow. So, a good first day, but we still have work to do.”
Mika Kallio // 5th / 1’33.759
“Even if I ended the morning session in third, today hasn’t been good. The last few races have been difficult because the bike feels different to how it did earlier in the year, and the same was true today. Something isn’t right, because the feeling isn’t even consistent; it changed today from morning to afternoon. We will switch to a new frame for tomorrow, as we’ve changed everything else without any improvement. The rear grip is also an issue here, as there is none. This afternoon I was on my second lap when I crashed, after the rear let go with no warning. The tyres just aren’t working in these conditions, which is why there were so many crashes today. It’s frustrating, but we need to work to find a solution for tomorrow.”
Jorge Navarro // 29th // 1’38.850
“Phillip Island is a very fast track and it was very difficult to figure out at first. You need to take the correct line in every corner, otherwise you lose a lot of time on a lap, but that will come with more circuit knowledge. The feeling with the bike wasn’t so good today, but we know in which direction we need to go in tomorrow, so I’m confident we can make another step forward. Turn one here is special and very, very fast. It’s difficult, yes, but also enjoyable.”
Moto3 - First day of free practice for San Carlo Team Italia at the Australian circuit
Promising start to the weekend for Locatelli at Phillip Island; nasty crash for Ferrari
Mixed fortunes for San Carlo Team Italia in the opening day of the Moto3 Championship at Phillip Island, which saw home-boy Jack Miller (KTM) at the head of the timesheet with a best time of 1'37"033: Andrea Locatelli showed a good potential while Matteo Ferrari alarmed the team suffering a nasty highside early on in the FP2.
'Bigin' suffered a crash at turn 11 with a highside spitting him off his Mahindra with no warning. The 2012 Moto3 European Champion landed heavily on his back, but has never lost consciousness. Luckily, exhaustive examinations in the medical centre revealed there were no major injuries. Matteo will be able to get back in action on his Mahindra in the FP3 practices starting tomorrow at 10:00 local time.
Reassured about Ferrari, San Carlo Team Italia cut to just 1,2s their gap to the front group with Andrea Locatelli (Mahindra MGP3O #55). Even if only 23rd in the combined standing 'Loka' has proved his worth running at the Australian track for the first time ever the day after his 18th birthday.
Andrea Locatelli (San Carlo Team Italia - Mahindra MGP3O #55) 23rd, 1'38"250
"It was not a bad start. Phillip Island is a demanding track, not easy to learn in only two sessions. I’m happy to be just a little over 1s off the top and a few tenths down on the top-15. We have to continue to work hard for tomorrow but we have started better to the weekend compared to Motegi and this is encouraging as regards the qualifying tomorrow and the race on Sunday".
Matteo Ferrari (San Carlo Team Italia - Mahindra MGP3O #3) 26th, 1'38"512
"I had a nasty crash. I was trying the rear “H” tyre (the harder compound available): I was mid corner at turn 11 and, with no warning, I suffered a highside and ended up in the gravel. I was lucky to get away unharmed. I was checked over at the Medial Centre and cleared off any injury: I feel a bit of pain in my back but I’ll be able to get back in action tomorrow morning".
Virginio Ferrari (Riders Manager - San Carlo Team Italia Moto3)
"Unfortunately this day has been marred by Matteo’s crash but this also will be part of his growth path. He escaped unharmed and that is great news. Tomorrow he will be able to regularly take part in the practices and, together with Andrea, he will have the chance to confirm the promising signs we got from today’s first two sessions".
ISLAND CHALLENGE STARTS POSITIVELY FOR SIMEON AS BALDASSARRI ESCAPES CRASH UNHURT
Xavier Siméon and the Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 completed today at Phillip Island the first two free practice sessions for the Australian Grand Prix, round number 15 of the Moto2 World Championship: the 25-year-old Belgian rider continued to work with the team on his Suter machine, starting from the base set-up that had given good results at Motegi.
Using a new tyre that Dunlop provided specifically for this event, which however didn’t gave the expected results, Siméon set a time of 1’34”238, closing the day in 14th position.
Aboard the Team Gresini Moto2 Suter, Lorenzo Baldassarri showed a good rhythm closing the morning session in the top 15 with a time of 1’34”651, then in the afternoon he was not able to improve suffering a crash while he was using a harder compound tyre.
XAVIER SIMEON (14th - 1'34"238)
“Today we completed two positive free practice sessions, obtaining a good feeling both in the morning and in the afternoon. We tried a new tyre that Dunlop made available for this race, but without finding any advantages, so I’m not worried about the position we occupy today. Tomorrow we will return to the other tyres and I know we can improve. We are working on the set-up we found in Motegi and I’m comfortable on the bike”.
LORENZO BALDASSARRI (23rd - 1'34"651)
“I’m disappointed, because this morning I started the weekend very well, gradually progressing, but then in the afternoon the decision to try the hard tyre proved not to be good. As soon as I put it on, I rode carefully for the first two laps, then on the third lap, on the penultimate corner, the bike threw me in the air, even though I had not yet opened the throttle. Luckily I’m fine. Tomorrow we need to forget the crash and return to push hard, trying to do a lot of laps to pick up the pace”.
Jordi Torres starts with fourth best time, despite crash
MAPFRE Aspar suffers fall at end of first session but has positive Friday at Phillip Island
There are not enough adjectives to describe the myriad of falls suffered by the Moto2 riders today, on the first day of the Australian GP. Unlike in MotoGP, where most riders lose the front, the dominant trend in Moto2 was the rear slipping out. If last year the tyres too soft, causing uncertainty because of disintegration, this year the opposite was the case: Their hardness prevented them from getting up to temperature amidst the cold wind. Besides the crashes, there was also a dominant display by Tito Rabat, who topped both sessions with authority and led the way by six tenths of a second.
It is no coincidence that Jordi Torres placed third last year at Phillip Island. The Australian circuit is a favourite of his, and this morning he enjoyed himself once again with the second fastest time. The MAPFRE Aspar rider started strong, but was not immune to the host of crashes. Shortly before the conclusion of the first Moto2 session, he fell at Turn 1. Fortunately he emerged unscathed, but in the second session of the day he showed increased prudence. After coming up against a defective tyre and another which almost disintegrated by the end of the session, he concluded the day in fourth position and ready to continue to improve tomorrow.
Teammate Nico Terol completed no fewer than 48 laps, in order to find the pace at Phillip Island. Whilst in the morning the MAPFRE Aspar rider suffered from a lack of grip, at the end of the second free practice he experienced a significant improvement with his feeling and ended in twentieth position.
4th Jordi Torres 1.33.696 (39 laps): "This morning we started strong, the bike is going well here and I felt comfortable. The setup gives me confidence and allows me to corner well. Best of all is that I think we can still improve a lot. It was just a pity today that we had a crash this morning at the end of the session. Because of a cold tyre I lost the front end on the straight. Fortunately it was just a scare and in the afternoon we could keep working. We have a different rear tyre that tried to throw me off three or four times. It bucked several times when accelerating. Between that and the crash, I lost a little confidence. So to conclude the session we went back to the used tyre from this morning, wanting to regain feeling. I needed to get back on the pace, and after many laps the tyre was shredded, with several holes. That’s something relatively normal considering we did more laps than in a race."
20th Nico Terol 1.34.581 (48 laps): "Today we were brought some harder tyres than we had during the winter here at Phillip Island. It is also colder now than it was then. The truth is that they are not going well for us and it is difficult to find feeling with them. If this season we have been having problems with the lack of grip, then today with this change the problems have increased further. Also today we saw a lot of crashes because of the lack of grip. Despite suffering this morning, we took a very important step forward this afternoon. I’m still finding it hard to ride, but we have progressed from one session to another, which is very positive. What we have to do now is keep working hard to take small steps. Tomorrow we will try to gain more grip and also look to turn the bike in better."