Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after qualifying at Phillip Island:
FIFTH AND SEVENTH ROW FOR ANTONELLI AND BASTIANINI AFTER CHAOTIC QUALIFYING AT THE ISLAND
Junior Team GO & FUN Moto3’s Niccolò Antonelli and Enea Bastianini claimed the 13th and the 20th fastest time, respectively, in a chaotic and congested qualifying session for the Australian Grand Prix, which took place this afternoon at the Phillip Island circuit.
Antonelli, who set 1’37”473 in this morning’s third and final free practice session, was immediately in fifth position in the early stages of qualifying with 1’37”063 then, due to traffic, he managed to improve himself only at the very end of the session, putting in a 1’36”771, thanks to which he will start tomorrow from the fifth row of the grid.
His teammate, Bastianini, suffered a fall in the second half of the session: the 16-year-old rookie from Rimini rejoined the track, albeit he was not able to improve his 1’37”023 obtained in the beginning and tomorrow he will line up his KTM machine on the seventh row of the grid.
NICCOLO' ANTONELLI (13th - 1'36"771)
“All in all, I'm satisfied with today’s result: yesterday I struggled to adapt myself to the track, but today the situation has improved a lot and my lap times improved immediately. Actually I’m only 0.7 seconds off the pole position, despite an heavily congested track, so we can be satisfied. Tomorrow we will try to be even faster to try to make a good race”.
ENEA BASTIANINI (20th - 1'37"203)
“Qualifying went bad from the beginning: In my first attempt there were already a lot of riders on track and I struggled to complete a clean lap, so it was not possible to get a good lap time. In addition, when I went out on track for the last 15 minutes, I crashed, losing the front at turn 6; I was able to rejoin the session, but there was really a lot of traffic, with some riders acting in an irresponsible manner, in my opinion. We are not yet perfectly okay with the bike, but the situation is not so bad; simply, today I was very unlucky”.
Alex Marquez and Alex Rins go fastest in Phillip Island qualifying
Repsol riders escape from heavy traffic at Australian track to claim top two spots on grid.
Saturday was a great day for the interests of Alex Rins and Alex Marquez, who took the first two positions on the grid for the Australian GP in the qualifying session. The day began with the two proteges of Emilio Alzamora amongst the fastest riders in the final practice session. With compatriot Efren Vazquez occupying FP3 top spot, Rins was third quickest with a time 0.094s slower and Marquez fourth, 0.194s back.
In the qualifying session, Marquez looked very comfortable at the Australian track right from the beginning. A few laps in, he had gone quickest and remained in the top positions throughout. Rins grew in strength during a session characterised by heavy traffic on track.
The Repsol riders were able to overcome the stressful situation and managed to find space to complete a lap away from the traffic. As a reward, the dup who currently lie first and third in the overall standings took the top two spots on the grid for Sunday afternoon’s contest. Marquez set a best time of 1:36.050, with Rins 0.014s down on his teammate.
Tomorrow, Sunday, the Moto3 race will be held at 1pm local time.
Alex Rins 2nd 1:36.064 39 laps 174 km
"Starting from the front row is always positive. Today's qualifying session was quite dangerous and complicated, because there was a big group of riders. It will be essential to make a good start in tomorrow's race, but more important will be enjoying ourselves. Tomorrow I think we'll have a race with a very large group. We have a good pace, although I do not know if this will be important for tomorrow because a large group would cut our pace".
Alex Marquez 1st 1:36.050 38 laps 169 km
"I'm happy. Taking a pole position is very important, but I am more pleased about the pace I had on the second stint, in which I was very consistent. I have a good feeling with the bike, although the conditions were not easy because at end the wind picked up a little. Our strategy was good in qualifying, because at the very beginning we set a very good time and then we were able to keep up at the top. Eventually we found a great lap with a slipstream, so I'm happy, but the important thing is tomorrow. We have a very good pace and will have to try to fight for the victory".
Third row for Miller at Phillip Island
Red Bull KTM Ajo rider does not find space to complete a clean lap in qualifying session and ends up with the eighth fastest time. Hanika will start from the sixth row.
10/18/2014 - Phillip Island Circuit, Australia
The qualifying session for the Australian Grand Prix took place this afternoon, setting a grid on which Jack Miller will start from the third row and Karel Hanika from row six. The duo qualified eighth and eighteenth, respectively in a session that featured heavy traffic and blocks of riders waiting on track for a tow. Nevertheless, both Red Bull KTM Ajo riders are happy with their pace from the practice sessions.
Despite the asphalt temperature being down 15°C compared to yesterday, the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders were able to match or lower their fastest times from yesterday in FP3. Jack Miller dedicated the session to finding pace on worn tyres, equalling his best lap from yesterday, 1:37.050, midway through the 40 minutes. That put him twelfth, with Hanika a little over a tenth down with a 1:37.178 time in fourteenth. The lap was the Czech rider’s best up to that point.
In the qualifying session, the Red Bull KTM Ajo duo managed to lower their earlier times. However, they did not do so as much as they would have liked. Hanika was the first to set his fastest lap, putting in a 1:37.158 on his second attempt, whilst Miller was able to move up the order on his penultimate lap with a 1:36.672. The pair did not find the space to enjoy a free run at the top spots, nor a good slipstream so essential at the track because of the significant gusts of wind.
The sixteenth Moto3 race of the year will be held tomorrow from 1pm local time, two hours later than the regular schedule. Miller will look to cut the points gap in the overall standings, whilst Hanika will take part in his first race at the Australian track.
8 JACK MILLER
"Today's qualifying session was quite complicated. We have a good pace but we were not able to set a good single lap. In any case, in the end we can be very happy with the position we got. Eighth is good enough to fight in tomorrow's race and I think we can do a good job. Tomorrow we will finish fine tuning some aspects of the bike and work on the rear in the warmup, in order to reach the final laps in the best possible condition."
98 KAREL HANIKA
"Today we started the qualifying session quite well. Our pace is good and I think the setup we have for the KTM is ideal. It was a shame, because when we put new tyres we could not find space to set a good lap and I made some small mistakes. On the last run I did not improve my time due to traffic. The final position is disappointing, as we expected to get a better spot on the grid. However, I am calm because we know that we are faster than other riders who are ahead of us. I think tomorrow's race will be very tight, with many riders close together. We will try to be up at the top and fight for a good final result."
Kent just misses out on front row
Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo rider, fourth in the qualifying session at Phillip Island, loses out on the first row by just 0.030s. Niklas Ajo, nineteenth, suffers a heavy crash at the start of the session.
10/18/2014 - Phillip Island Circuit, Australia
After a good start to the Grand Prix weekend yesterday, Danny Kent continued in the same way this Saturday at Phillip Island. The Briton achieved fourth place on the grid for tomorrow after going fast with both new and worn tyres. Niklas Ajo, nineteenth, was unable to convert his free practice form into a good qualifying session due to a heavy crash 17 minutes in.
The second day at Phillip Island started with a positive final practice session for the Husqvarna riders. The Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo rider, fast again from the early stages, was at the head of the timesheets with 13 minutes to go and finally finished with the fifth fastest time of 1:36.719. Likewise, Danny Kent improved his times with a 1:36.454 to put him second, 0.077s behind the quickest rider.
The qualifying session did not start well for Niklas Ajo, who on his second outing suffered a heavy crash at Turn 1. In the fall he fractured the little finger on his left hand. Despite this, the Finn will start the race from the seventh row, nineteenth with a 1:37.201 time. Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo rider Kent enjoyed a calm and useful stint, in which he claimed fourth. His 1:36.419 lap put him just 0.030s off the front row.
Tomorrow's race in the lower cylinder class will take place two hours later than usual, at 1pm local time.
52 DANNY KENT
"I think today was another day that we should be happy about. We were able to get a place at the head of the second row, which is positive. Our pace all weekend has been very strong, both with new tyres and worn ones. The feeling about the race is very good. We will try to help Jack [Miller] as much as we can, as he needs the maximum number of points possible for the overall standings. We have enough pace to fight for the front positions, and that is what we will try to do."
31 NIKLAS AJO
"This morning it looked like everything was going well; we were setting good times even when riding alone. The bike was working very well. In the qualifying session, on the first runout, we started strong and were very fast on worn tyres. But on the second outing with new tyres I tried to push and crashed heavily –breaking my little finger. I also have a lot of pain throughout my body. Still, tomorrow we will take part in the race and try to recover from the blow we suffered today. I think tomorrow there will be a large group, so we will have opportunity to be at the front."
Promising qualifying session for Hafiq Azmi
SIC-Ajo Team rider will start from 22nd on the grid after a qualifying session marked by traffic on track.
10/18/2014 - Phillip Island Circuit, Australia
Qualifying for the sixteenth round of the Moto3 World Championship was a complicated affair, due to the abundance of riders waiting on track for a tow. Hafiq Azmi, who had shown a very good pace throughout the day, garnered the 22nd fastest time of the session and will start tomorrow’s race from the eighth row.
The day started out great for SIC-Ajo Team rider Hafiq Azmi, who had his best free practice of the season by taking the 11th best time and stopping the clock at 1:37.008 on his final lap. With four minutes remaining, the Malaysian was 7th in the session, but immediately after, at Turn 1, he suffered a heavy crash that left the body sore for the rest of Saturday.
The fall impaired him in the qualifying session. Despite this, Hafiq Azmi lapped with a good feeling on his KTM, albeit not able to improve on his morning times due to traffic. In the end, the young Malaysian rider claimed the 22nd fastest time on lap 11, setting a 1:37.285.
The sixteenth Moto3 World Championship race will take place tomorrow at 1pm local time. The good feeling Hafiq Azmi had during today onboard his bike mean he is aiming to take his first points in the World Championship.
38 HAFIQ AZMI
"The qualifying session today was quite difficult. At first it was not bad, as I had a good feeling with the bike and I was able to go steadily faster. On the last run I wanted to push hard but it was not possible because of the traffic on track. On my last lap I was going very fast and was on course to lower my time, but at Turn 4 I went a little wide in order to overtake another rider. Then the session was over. In the end we start from 22nd place but with a good feeling.
The KTM is working well and the team has been doing a great job all weekend. It will be important to make a good start and stay in the group. I think that here I have a good opportunity to get my first points in the World Championship."
Last part of Phillip Island remains difficult for Scott Deroue
If the timing of a lap on Phillip Island would stop at Lukey Heights, Scott Deroue would have been ten places up in the rankings. Unfortunately the final sector of the track is counted as well and it is this part that gives Deroue the most trouble and pulls down his lap time to 29th position on the grid for the Moto3 race.
Deroue improved his lap times of the first day of the Australian Grand Prix, but not enough to be satisfied with. Besides the character of the last section of the track, the biggest problem in qualifying was to put all best sector times together in one lap. Would that have been possible, Deroue would have done 1.37,670 instead of 1.38,026 and be at least a few positions further up.
Scott Deroue – 29 (1.38,026)
“I can’t figure out that last section, which is quite frustrating. I’m very fast on this track, except in that final part. We know it is in there somewhere, we just can’t get it out and that is why I’m not satisfied. It is going to be a tough race. I expect it to be a large group as the first 17 are within a second. I hope I can keep up with that group. I’m going to need some luck to get near the points.”
Juanfran Guevara repeats season-best grid at Phillip Island
MAPFRE Aspar youngster completes fantastic day with third fastest time to match front-row start from Aragón
It was a fast and frantic start to Moto3 qualifying at Phillip Island this afternoon, with a host of riders posting fastest laps until Alex Márquez found three tenths to create some breathing space at the top of the timesheets, where he stayed for much of the session. However, the final ten minutes saw another flurry of action that looked more like a race than a qualifying session as up to twenty riders looked to grab a slipstream through the strong winds. Márquez was able to raise the benchmark and seal pole position with the fastest lap of the weekend; his closest challenger Alex Rins was just 0.014 seconds behind him on what would prove to be an all-Spanish front row.
The third amigo was none other than MAPFRE Aspar youngster Juanfran Guevara, who once again rubbed elbows with the best in the category today with a determined and decisive performance. Guevara showed his intentions as early as the second lap as he moved up to third place, an effort that abled him to stay calm and focused for the remainder of the session. Juanfran put together a strong run on used tyres to continue his race preparation before stepping up the pace four laps from the end and taking advantage of a tow from Danny Kent to repeat his front row start from two rounds ago at Aragón.
3rd Juanfran Guevara 1.36.389 (19 laps): “I am really happy to be back on the front row. The whole team is doing a spectacular job during this second half of the season and I am able to ride harder every week. We have had a couple of rounds now when everything has gone well up until the race so that's something we want to change tomorrow. In general we have set a good pace all weekend and done a lot of work on used tyres, which should be important for the race. Qualifying was a bit crazy this afternoon but we were able to time our run well and post a fast lap. It was important to qualify well because I'm expecting the first few laps to be quite combative, with everybody looking for a slipstream. There were some big groups forming on track today so I think we can expect a difficult race tomorrow. We will have to watch out for the wind, which could easily catch a few people out especially on the first few laps. It's an important race for me, an opportunity to gather a lot of experience and do a good job.”
SIMEON IN LINE WITH THE FASTEST IN PHILLIP ISLAND QUALIFYING. BALDASSARRI 18th
The Australian Grand Prix challenge will start tomorrow from the third row of the grid for Xavier Siméon and the Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2: during this afternoon’s qualifying session at Phillip Island the Belgian rider returned into the top ten aboard his Suter machine, getting the ninth fastest time, less than half a second off the pole position time, set by Spaniard Esteve Rabat.
Both this morning in the third and final free practice session and during the whole Qualifying session Siméon sported an excellent pace, constantly improving his lap times and finally closing the day with 1’32”960.
Aboard the Team Gresini Moto2 Suter, Lorenzo Baldassarri scored his second best qualifying performance of the season, after the 12th place obtained last July at the Sachsenring. The Italian rookie claimed the 18th place with 1’33”379.
XAVIER SIMEON (9th - 1'32"960)
“Yesterday I was not worried about our performance, in fact this morning we were immediately back in the top ten setting good lap times, then in qualifying we made anothe small change to the bike looking for a few more tenths improvement. I have always maintained a good pace, constantly improving: I’m happy with the work we did today: we are competitive and this gives us great confidence. Starting from the third row is positive: however, we expect a hard-fought race tomorrow. I don’t know if we can fight for a podium finish, but we are all very close. We will continue to work to try to shave off one or two tenths more ahead of the race”.
LORENZO BALDASSARRI (18th - 1'33"379)
“It was a tough but positive Qualifying session: in the end I got a good lap time and above all we understood how to work on the bike to fix the understeer I had during practice. Tomorrow we can be competitive: I think I can maintain a good pace, under the 1’34” mark, so I hope to get a good start and fight for a good result”.
Moto3 - Eighth and eleventh rows for San Carlo Team Italia at Phillip Island
Andrea Locatelli limits to 1"3s his gap to the leaders; difficult qualifying for Matteo Ferrari after his crash yesterday.
San Carlo Team Italia experienced mixed fortunes in today’s Moto3 qualifying at Phillip Island. The session ended with Championship leader Alex Marquez (Honda) at the top of the timesheet and with Andrea Locatelli (Mahindra MGP3O #55) and Matteo Ferrari (Mahindra MGP3O #3) on eighth and eleventh rows respectively.
On his first visit to the Australian track Locatelli managed to limit to 1"390s his gap to the top setting his personal best in 1’37.440 (23rd) and confirming the promising feeling he had got from the first day. Ferrari wasn’t at his 100% after his massive crash in FP2 but he toughed it out and set the 31st best lap time in 1'38"707, looking forward to further recover on race-day tomorrow.
Andrea Locatelli (San Carlo Team Italia - Mahindra MGP3O #55) 23rd, 1'37"440
"We are pleased with the result today. I thought the front-runners would pull a bigger gap but we managed to remain around 1”2 / 1”3s off the pole. This weekend we have worked quite well and our race pace is not bad at all, in line with the guys just ahead. We’ll start from a better grid position compared to the last races so I’ll try to make the best of that and to end this weekend with a positive result".
Matteo Ferrari (San Carlo Team Italia - Mahindra MGP3O #3) 31st, 1'38"707
"I am better off physically but unfortunately I never found a good feeling with my bike. I cannot ride as I like and we are working hard to find a solution. We are facing a tough race tomorrow but we’ll do our best as always".
Virginio Ferrari (Riders Manager - San Carlo Team Italia Moto3)
"Andrea has reached a good level throughout the day and has posted a decent lap time while Matteo has been struggling a lot. He has recovered well from crashing at high speed in one of the fastest section of the track but unfortunately he has not a good feeling with his bike. We have to continue to work hard to find a solution for the race tomorrow in order to put him in the condition to end his weekend in a crescendo".
Fourth row starts for flying Tech3 duo in Australia
Marcel Schrotter undertook a valiant effort to superbly qualify in 10th position ahead of the 25 lap sprint at Phillip Island tomorrow. The young German who is seeking to guide the Mistral 610 to another top ten finish in the race at the 4448 meter circuit, started the day in a highly positive manner. He expertly set the 6th fastest lap in the morning practice, having impressively ran a hot pace for the entire session and holding 2nd place for the majority of it. His time of 1’33.330 was just 0.096 from the front row which put him in a highly confident frame of mind for the qualifying practice. In the afternoon, after making some further adjustments with the Tech3 Racing Team to the setup of his Moto2 bike, he soared to a best time of 1’32.964. This performance was competitive enough to secure a start from the head of the fourth row, plus was only 0.266 from third place with the top twenty riders being covered by a second in the incredibly close session. Tomorrow the 21 year old German rider will confidently stride forward to battle to another high flying finish in the intermediate class aboard the Tech3 Racing Team’s self built and designed Moto2 bike.
Meanwhile Ricky Cardus qualified right behind his teammate in 11th position at Phillip Island as he continues his positive form this season. The Spanish rider proceeded with his relentless endeavours with the Tech3 Racing Team after making some constructive steps forward in yesterday’s practice sessions. In the morning, Cardus plugged away to set the 17th best time of 1’33.849 which was only 0.393 from the top ten. Then when the qualifying began, the Spaniard set a series of rapid laps as he launched his campaign instantly. He eventually closed the session with a top time of 1’32.968 which was merely 0.004 from his teammate, confirming that both Tech3 Mistral 610 Moto2 bikes were less than half a second from pole position. In addition, Cardus’ lap was 0.144 from the second row and tomorrow he will intend to forcefully clinch another points scoring finish in the 16th round of the Moto2 World Championship.
Marcel Schrotter - Position : 10th - Time : 1’32.964Schrotter - Philip-Island - 2014
“When considering the gap to first place, I am definitely satisfied with our performance, even if quite a few guys improved and we ended up in 10th position. However, we were strong from the word go and consistent during the entire session today. This morning we made a good step forward and we did a great time with the slipstream so I was almost doubting if I could go faster this afternoon. Yet we did and I managed to lower my time plus having done the lap alone makes it even better. I feel very comfortable on the bike and although it's a pity that we missed out on a second row grid placement, I am sure that with a good start tomorrow we can have a really strong race.”
Ricky Cardus - Position : 11th - Time :1’32.968Cardus - Philip-Island - 20014
“I'm really happy with today’s result in qualifying as this is one of our best performances during the whole year in Moto2. I finished just four tenths from the top of the time sheets which is very important in a highly competitive class like this one. In addition, we also showed our level of improvement during the weekend because I was able to consistently run low 1’33 lap times and not just one or two quick laps. Therefore, I will need to keep this pace for the entire 25 lap race tomorrow in Australia to show the Tech3 Racing Team furthermore that I deserve the ride with them next season. I anticipate a tough battle but I look forward to riding the Moto2 race at Phillip Island”
Rabat claims his ninth pole of the season at Phillip Island
Phillip Island, Australia – 18 October 2014: Tito Rabat has been in another league this weekend at Phillip Island, topping the timesheet in every session and claiming his ninth pole position of the season with a new outright lap record in qualifying this afternoon.
It means that Rabat is now the rider with the most Moto2 pole positions in one season, having surpassed the previous record of eight, set by Pol Espargaro in 2012. The 25-year-old Spaniard could wrap up the Moto2 World Championship title here tomorrow should he score 12 points more than Marc VDS teammate Mika Kallio.
Kallio is determined to keep his championship hopes alive by beating his Rabat in tomorrow’s Australian Moto2 Grand Prix. The 31-year-old Finn will also start from the race from the front row of the grid, after bouncing back from two big crashes yesterday to claim third position, just 0.2s off the time of his teammate, in this afternoon’s 45-minute qualifying session.
Jorge Navarro made a big step forward in today’s Moto3 qualifying session, improving on his previous best lap by almost two seconds to claim 11th position on the grid. Most of this time came from improvements to his Kalex-KTM machine, meaning the 18-year-old Spaniard goes into tomorrow’s 23-lap race with renewed confidence, after three difficult free practice sessions here at Phillip Island.
Tito Rabat // Pole Position // 1’32.470
“So far we’ve made a perfect weekend, working step by step and fastest in every session, but I had a small problem in qualifying because I got something on my right glove and my fingers were stuck together, which made things a bit difficult. But I got pole position and I’m happy with that; tomorrow I will try to make a good start and find my rhythm in the first few laps. I’m only thinking about winning the race; if I thought about the championship then that would be a problem!”
Mika Kallio // 3rd // 1’32.698
“I think we can be satisfied today, for two reasons. Firstly, we found a better setting for the bike, mainly for the front and, secondly, but we also found a little bit more grip from the rear tyre. We saw in free practice that it takes around six or seven laps before the tyres are working at their best, so we decided to stay out for the whole of qualifying on one set, which proved to be the right decision. For this reason, in the race we will need to be a little cautious in the opening laps, until the tyres start to work properly, as it would be easy to make a mistake. I have to beat Tito tomorrow to keep the championship alive but it won’t be easy, because he’s riding well with no mistakes, but the difference is only two-tenths, so let’s see. It will be an interesting race I think!”
Jorge Navarro // 11th // 1’36.753
“The feeling now with the bike is much better than yesterday. We made a step forward in free practice this morning, but I crashed and wasn’t able to take advantage of the improvements. In qualifying we made another step with the bike, the feeling was improving and the lap time started to come. To qualify 11th on the grid gives some more motivation for tomorrow and if we can have a good warm up then I think the race will be good.”
Jordi Torres rediscovers confidence to qualify eighth
MAPFRE Aspar rider recovers from his crash yesterday to seal third row start
There was an air of caution about the Moto2 riders this morning after a crash-strewn opening day at Phillip Island yesterday but the pace soon intensified to the point that Tito Rabat was able to break the lap record during qualifying this afternoon. The Spaniard took pole position by just 0.015 seconds ahead of Johann Zarco but the series leader looks to have the pace to make a break tomorrow as he aims to wrap up the title with two races to spare.
Jordi Torres made a strong start to his weekend yesterday with the fourth fastest time but a crash at the end of the day meant that he lost some confidence when he returned to the track this morning. The MAPFRE Aspar rider struggled to find his flow around the fast Phillip Island circuit but in the final ten minutes he put three fast laps together to break the 1'33 barrier and seal a third row start, less than half a second off pole. Nico Terol continues to rebuild after a difficult season and he is aiming for a points challenge tomorrow from 23rd on the grid.
8th Jordi Torres 1.32.941 (26 laps): “The team is working really well and so is the bike here, I'm happy with its performance. I like the circuit and in general I feel comfortable here although the crash yesterday cost me a little confidence. When I was riding alone I was braking too late and the lap times weren't coming but when I got behind another rider it all came more easily and I was able to set a good lap to qualify eighth. I think there will be a good group around me tomorrow and hopefully that can help me get into a groove and go with them.”
23rd Nico Terol 1.33.609 (23 laps): “We made a strong start to qualifying, the feeling was better than yesterday and I was able to easily get up into the top fifteen. I was hoping to stay up there but my feeling changed slightly when we changed tyres and I wasn't able to go quicker. Anyway, I am still feeling more comfortable than at other races this year and even though we are not where we want to be I feel we are working well and things will come good. Hopefully I can get a good start tomorrow and run with the second group.”