Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after Sunday's races at Sepang:
FOURTH CONSECUTIVE TOP TEN FINISH FOR ANTONELLI AT SEPANG. BASTIANINI SEVENTH IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP
Junior Team GO&FUN Moto3 rider Niccolò Antonelli displayed a determined performance this afternoon in a difficult Malaysian Grand Prix, held with scorching temperatures. The 18-year-old rider from Cattolica, who was starting from the fifth row of the grid, rode to a determined seventh place after putting up a great recovery which saw him catching the leading group with 7 laps to go.
Niccolò then engaged a great battle with Jakub Kornfeil, beating him on the finish line despite a small mistake during the fight with the Czech rider five laps before the checkered flag. For Antonelli this is the fourth consecutive the top ten finish, after the ninth place collected both at Aragon and Motegi and the tenth place at Phillip Island.
The positive day of the team has been completed by the tenth place collected by Enea Bastianini who thanks to this result is now in seventh place in the Championship, in front of Spaniard Isaac Vinales. The 16-year-old rider from Rimini started well from the fourth row, but he was not able to stay with the front group, struggling to find a good rhythm in the early stages and also going very close to crash at Turn 9.
NICCOLO' ANTONELLI (7th)
“I’m really happy! I didn’t start very well, but then I was able to catch the leading group, doing very good lap times. Later, however, I made a mistake at turn 2 while I was fighting with Kornfeil, losing everything I had gained in the recovery with just 5 laps to go, therefore at that point it was not possible anymore to rejoin the leading group. I was physically tired, but I still tried to bring home the best possible result: in the end I still beat Kornfeil, who has always been very fast during the whole weekend, so we can be happy, because yesterday we had some problems, losing a day of practice, but today everything went well and we were fast”.
ENEA BASTIANINI (10th)
“Unfortunately, at the beginning of the race I could not keep the same pace of the fastest riders: I had no feeling with the bike and probably this was also due to the track conditions, with temperatures much higher than this morning. After five or six laps I also almost crashed at Turn 9, but fortunately I was able to immediately raise the bike and continue, even if I lost some time coming off the track. Then I tried to recover, but approaching the end of the race I started to feel physically tired. Anyway, we gained a position in the Championship: now I’m seventh in the standings and at Valencia I will try to maintain this position with a good result”.
“Today has been done a very good team job, despite very difficult conditions: we knew that this would be a very difficult race from the physical point of view, but both our riders performed well. Niccolò displayed a great comeback, reaching the finish line tired but really satisfied. I’m also happy for Bastianini, whose tenth place is a good result considering that this is his first experience here in Malaysia: he only made one mistake which caused him to lose ground in the early stages, by the way then Enea was able to continue his race maintaining a good pace. This experience will be very useful for him ahead of next year. Returning to Niccolò, surely this good performance will give him a big boost of confidence to close the season in Valencia in the best possible way. Well done to both our riders: today they gave their maximum”.
Advancing Scott Deroue stopped by crash in lap 9
Scott Deroue was just on his way to the front of the group he was in, when a mistake of another rider took him out of the Moto3 race of the Malaysian Grand Prix. Entering the final corner of the Sepang circuit at the end of lap 9 Deroue ended up in the gravel bed together with Matteo Ferrari and Hafiza Rofa.
The Moto3 race at Sepang was one of those typical races where anything was possible. With fourteen riders out of the race and only twenty finishers, it could have easily been the race for Scott Deroue to score points. Some of the riders he usually fights with made it that far. But unfortunately Deroue was not one of the twenty to finish but one of the fourteen on the DNF list.
After a good night and a good warm-up Deroue wasn’t bothered by his shoulder he injured yesterday in qualifying. In warm-up he was able to lap in 2.15,980: his best lap time of the whole weekend.
With this promising result the outlook for the race was good and Deroue knew that, with a bit of luck, he had a chance of getting close to the points, even though he had to start from 33rd. The start was good: Deroue entered the first corner in 28th.
Already in lap 4 a big group was formed with ten riders from 20th to 29th place, with Deroue in 26th. It took him some time to find his mojo but while the race continued Deroue began to move up slowly but steadily, with lap times of low 2.16’s. In 22nd position and clearly looking for more, Deroue was about to enter the last corner to finish lap 9 when he was touched by wildcard rider Rofa, who made a mistake in braking. Both Deroue and Ferrari, just behind Deroue, were taken down. Rofa was able to rejoin the race and finished in 20th half a lap behind race winner Efren Vazquez, but Deroue and Ferrari couldn’t continue.
Scott Deroue – DNF
“This is part of racing too. While on my way up I was hit. A real shame, because when you look at who are in the points, I could have been there as well. This was one of those races where you need some luck and I obviously was out of luck this time. There are many positive things, like the start, the lap times and the pace, the shoulder that was okay and in the end only limited damage to the bike. It’s just a pity that the race ended before it was half way. There was absolutely more in it. Hopefully the last race, in Valencia in two weeks time, will bring a positive end to the season.”
Juanfran Guevara finally rewarded for flyaway efforts
MAPFRE Aspar youngster copes with gruelling conditions at Sepang to make up for disappointment in Australia and Japan
The most frenetic and aggressive race of the Moto3 season took place today at Sepang. With the championship potentially due to be decided there was high tension and high drama to go along with the high temperatures, as Jack Miller closed the gap to Alex Márquez to just eleven points with one round remaining. The start of the race was reminiscent of the Czech Republic round, when sixteen riders battled to the finish for the win, but eventually a breakaway group was formed by Miller, Márquez, Vázquez and Rins. In a combative race the podium order was anybody's guess but in the end it was the experienced Vázquez who took the win from Miller and Rins as just twenty riders made the finish.
Despite showing his best form of the season in the last two Grands Prix MAPFRE Aspar youngster Juanfran Guevara came away empty handed from both Japan and Australia after crashing in both races. Thankfully today he was able to make it through a punishing race to claim valuable points. After starting from nineteenth place and making up several positions on the early laps, the Spaniard was able to deal with the suffocating conditions and the rapid tyre wear as he negotiated his way through a crash-strewn race to make the finish.
11th Juanfran Guevara: “The team told me to try and keep my composure out there today. We knew a lot of riders would crash or break down so I just had to stay strong and make it the finish whatever happened. It was a very tough race and to be honest I was struggling at the end. I got a good start and got involved with a fast group over the opening laps, but then I didn't have the feeling to push any harder after that. The high temperatures and the humidity really make it tough on the bike and the rider here but I tried to keep a consistent pace and push to the end. I gained some good experience from the fight at the start and I managed my condition and the tyre to make it to the end. I'm satisfied to take home five points and finish the flyaway races in a positive way. It is nice to pay the team back with a result.”
Rins fights back to third and Marquez is made to wait until Valencia
Alex Marquez finishes fifth in an uncomfortable race. Alex Rins moves up through the field for podium.
Alex Marquez will have to wait until Valencia and the closing round of the 2014 season to see if he can achieve his dream of becoming Moto3 World Champion. At Sepang he experienced a tough race and eventually finished fifth, whilst Miller placed second to keep the title fight alive. Following this race, Marquez heads to Valencia with 262 points to Miller’s 251. Alex Rins was third today, climbing from seventeenth.
The race featured, as is customary in this category, bunches of riders battling amongst one another. Marquez and Rins were amongst the candidates fighting for the win. Together with them, Miller, Kent and Vazquez –amongst others– took turns to lead the way. Miller’s strategy was to make things hard for Marquez. He was hit by the Australian on the penultimate lap and dropped to fifth, where he remained when crossing the finish line.
Miller was second, Rins third and Marquez fifth in a race won by Efren Vazquez. At Valencia, Marquez will begin the race with an 11-point lead over Miller.
Alex Rins 3rd at 0.385 sec.
"It was a fun race, in which I learned a lot, but it was also tough both mentally and physically. I think I made the best start of my life and I gained many positions, but I went into the first corner with a little wariness about the other riders because they go beyond their means. Then I pushed until I reached the lead group and eventually I finished on the podium. Overall it has been a tough week as we struggled to find the right setup; I have to thank the team and Honda for their hard work."
Alex Marquez 5th at 0.831 sec.
"The TV footage speaks for itself; it was a very hard fought race. I had to go very carefully at all times, because there was a title at stake. Perhaps I was overly cautious, but in the end I did the right thing. We stayed on the bike and, although I had to settle for fifth place, luckily Miller did not win. I'm happy because we scored some very important points. I would have liked to have won the race and clinched the title here, but the important thing is that we lead going to Valencia."
Jack Miller cuts the gap with important podium
Red Bull KTM Ajo rider takes second in Sepang and cuts distance to series leader to 11 points. Karel Hanika claims fabulous Top 10 finish with ninth.
10/26/2014 - Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia
It was a great day for the Red Bull KTM Ajo team at the Sepang International Circuit, with a second place for Jack Miller and ninth for Karel Hanika. In front of a packed grandstand, the Australian cut 9 points from the gap to the Moto3 World Championship leader, and will go into the final race of the season 11 points back. Hanika completed the flyaway rounds with a successful first Top 10 placing.
Jack Miller rode a smart and strategic race at Sepang. The Australian, who started from pole position, took the lead of the race from the start, only allowing himself to be passed on a slipstream –and immediately taking back the position on the brakes. This was a constant sight throughout the 18-lap race, until the contest was decided on the final corner of the last lap. Six riders went in, and Miller emerged second to gain 9 points on the series lead.
The flyaway rounds were a big challenge for Hanika, but one that he passed with flying colours. After two Top 15 finishes, today the Czech rider completed the Asian rounds with a spectacular ninth. Hanika overcame temperatures of 33ºC and 56% humidity to find a pace that he kept up until the chequered flag.
The World Championship now returns to Europe for the final Grand Prix, in Valencia. Coming into this last round, Jack Miller has 251 points and is 11 off the top. Hanika has a total of 38 points and is eighteenth.
8 JACK MILLER
"We are very pleased with the result we achieved today. It almost felt like we had won the race. We recovered a few points that we had dropped over the course of a couple of races and now we have only one chance. We have one race remaining in Valencia, for which we will have to work hard and try to do our best."
98 KAREL HANIKA
"I am very happy with today's race. I think we did a very good job all weekend. First we learned the track, then we rode alone yesterday and were fast in qualifying. That’s why today we could ride a little behind the lead group, to which we were closing the gap. In the end we could not reach them. But the race in general was very good. I greatly appreciate the work and the help I have received from the team. Hopefully we can keep this pace up going into the final race in Valencia."
Jordi Torres continues points run in Malaysia
MAPFRE Aspar rider maintains focus throughout nineteen gruelling laps to pick up fifteenth spot
After the skirmishes of the last race in Australia a week ago it was clear that Tito Rabat's objective at Sepang was to make an early break at the front and contend the victory with as few riders as possible. A group of four formed but Dominique Aegerter would eventually drop off, leaving Mika Kallio and Maverick Viñales to keep Rabat company. With the title on the line Rabat knew that third place was enough so the Spaniard backed off, allowing Viñales and Kallio to decide the victory, with the former taking the flag with a three second advantage.
Both MAPFRE Aspar riders were involved in an incident in turn two that saw Gino Rea crash out, Jordi Torres and Nico Terol losing valuable ground as they tried to avoid the stricken rider. Torres established his pace despite having to ride around a chatter problem from lap four, picking up fifteenth place to secure a fourth consecutive points-scoring finish. Torres and Terol, who suffered from a migraine today to compound his difficulties over the weekend and could only finish 24th, are now hoping to sign off from the season in positive fashion in a home race at Valencia in two weeks' time.
15th Jordi Torres: “We knew there would be a bit of trouble at the start of the race so I tried to be aggressive and I got myself into a good position for turn two, because it can be dangerous there if you are in the middle of the pack. After the incident with Rea I tried to focus on setting my pace and recovering ground. Unfortunately the bike started to chatter from the fourth lap, it wasn't stable and it was hard to concentrate. I was uncomfortable for the rest of the race but I did my best to stick it out to the end and not make any mistakes. We have finished in the points again, which is the positive thing.”
24th Nico Terol: “I woke up with a really strong migraine today and after the warm-up I felt weak and dizzy. I was still determined to race but I almost had to come to a complete stop in turn two to avoid Rea. I lost contact with the group and even though I tried to push for a few laps I started with the migraine again and I was struggling to ride the bike. It has been a tough weekend but we finished the race and now we have to put everything into the final race of the season. I always feel comfortable in Valencia and I hope to sign off from the team with a good result in front of my home fans.”
Tito Rabat clinches the World Championship with a podium finish in Sepang
Sepang, Malaysia – 26 October 2014: Tito Rabat was crowned as the 2014 Moto2 World Champion this afternoon, after finishing on the podium in the Malaysian Moto2 Grand Prix at Sepang.
The 25-year-old Spaniard, who has led the championship since winning the opening race in Qatar back in March, only needed to finish seventh today in Malaysia to clinch the world title, but battled throughout the race with teammate Mika Kallio and eventual winner Maverick Viñales to finish third.
Rabat has dominated the Moto2 World Championship this season, winning seven races and finishing on the podium a further six times. With ten pole positions to his name in 2014 he is also the Moto2 rider with the most number of poles in a single season, a record previously held by Pol Espargaro.
The 2015 season will be the first in which the number one plate has appeared on the Moto2 grid, as Rabat will be the first champion to return and defend his crown, again with the Marc VDS Racing Team.
Mika Kallio stood alongside his Marc VDS teammate on the podium after finishing second today. The 31-year-old Finn may have seen the championship slip away from him this afternoon, but he heads to the final race in Valencia determined to secure second place in the standings, a position he currently hold with a lead of 15 points over Viñales.
Jorge Navarro equalled his best result of the season at Sepang today, bringing his Kalex-KTM home in 12th place to claim four more World Championship points.
Tito Rabat // 3rd // 2014 Moto2 World Champion
“I am so, so happy, but I have no words. In the race today I pushed hard at the start, but at the end I decided to just manage the gap back to the riders behind me, to ensure a podium finish. It has not sunk in yet that I am World Champion, so I have no words, but thank you to the team because they pushed me everyday, they helped me everyday and they were with me every step of the way. Thanks also to Marc van der Straten, without whom this would not have been possible, to my family for their support and to Circuit Almeria for their help in recent years. I want to dedicate this World Championship to my mum, because her memory motivates me to be the best I can every single day.”
Mika Kallio // 2nd
“Firstly, congratulations to Tito on the championship. The key to being champion is to be fast and consistent at every racetrack, and he did that this season. At the beginning of the season we could do the same, but we lost too much ground over the last five or six races, where we had some rear grip issues and a good rhythm was difficult to find. But the season is not over and I want to end the year with a good result at Valencia for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s important to secure second in the championship, as Maverick is now only 15 points behind me. Secondly, it’s always good to end the season with a win, as it boosts your confidence going into the winter and, probably most importantly, Valencia will be my last race for Marc VDS and I’d like to sign off after four years from the top step of the podium.”
Jorge Navarro // 12th
“Today 12th was good for me, after what was a difficult start to the weekend. We made some changes to the bike for warm up this morning and there was a big improvement, but then I decided to use the soft tyre in the race, which was maybe a mistake on my part. The tyre worked well at the start, but the rear was sliding around a lot towards the end, which knocked my confidence. But I finished the race and four points more is good for us. Now we need to continue improving at Valencia to end the season on a high.”
Michael Bartholemy // Team Principal
“Big congratulations to Tito. He is a deserving World Champion; of that there is no doubt. His hard work and commitment this year has seen him completely dominate the championship he’s led since the opening round in Qatar. Congratulations also to the team, whose commitment has easily matched that of Tito this season. Commiserations to Mika, who saw his teammate crowned champion today, but its unlikely that Tito would have been so dominant this season without a rider of Mika’s calibre to push him all the way every weekend. But Mika’s job isn’t finished yet; he’s been second in the standings all year and that’s how we want to see the season end in Valencia. Finally huge and heartfelt thanks to Marc van der Straten, without whose and support we wouldn’t be celebrating our first World Championship win today. Merci beaucoup, Marc!”
Marc van der Straten // President, Marc VDS Racing Team
“Today is a great day; for me personally, for the team and for Belgium. Seeing Tito Rabat step up to be crowned as the 2014 Moto2 World Champion is a memory that will stay with me. I am very proud of what he and the team have achieved this season. In 2010 we were the newcomers to the Moto2 paddock but our goal was very clear; to win the Moto2 World Championship. We came close in 2013 with Scott Redding, but this year we have dominated, not just with Tito, who is a worthy champion, but also with Mika, whose goal now is to secure second place at Valencia to give us a one-two in the championship, a feat that has not be accomplished by any team in the intermediate class since 2000. Well done Tito and well done team!”
Moto3 - Unfinished race for San Carlo Team Italia at Sepang
Andrea Locatelli crashes out early in the race; Matteo Ferrari does the same later.
The hard time San Carlo Team Italia are having in the final stages of the Moto3 Championship seems not finished yet. The Malaysian Grand Prix, which today saw Efren Vazquez (Honda) winning his second race this season, proved to be particularly challenging for San Carlo Team Italia and its two riders, who were forced to retire from the race for different problems.
Andrea Locatelli (Mahindra MGP3O #55) pushed his way through the pack starting from 27th on the grid, eventually climbing into nineteenth place before slipping off the race. Instead it was a collision with another rider that forced Matteo Ferrari (Mahindra MGP3O #3) to retire after having made up some ground starting from row eight of the grid.
The next appointment for San Carlo team Italia is the final round of the eighteen-event Moto3 Championship to be held at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit on November 7-9 in Valencia.
Matteo Ferrari (San Carlo Team Italia - Mahindra MGP3O #3) DNF
"I should have finished this race because a result in the points was a real possibility for us. Unfortunately I’ve been forced to retired, but it was not my fault. I was happy with the setup of my bike and I was keeping a good pace but, when I got closer to the group ahead, another rider who completely missed the braking point into the last corner has knocked me down. It’s races but lately we have been really too unlucky. By my side there are no regrets because today I’ve given my best out there".
Andrea Locatelli (San Carlo Team Italia - Mahindra MGP3O #55) DNF
"What a shame today! I felt I could have competed better today and in fact things were going quite well. I was making up a lot of places together with Alessandro Tonucci. We were pulling away from the chasing group and were cutting the gap to the riders fighting to finish in the points. I was having a great feeling with my bike and this pushed me to brake very hard into the corners. Unfortunately I approached Turn 1 a bit too hot, the front end folded and I slipped off. I’m really gutted because a top-15 result was within our reach. I’ll try to learn from that and I’ll go to Valencia ready to do better".
Virginio Ferrari (Riders Manager - San Carlo Team Italia Moto3)
"We are leaving Malaysia obviously very disappointed with our race. “Loka” was fighting hard and was making up a lot of places after starting from spot 27th of the grid. He was fighting with very experienced riders before slipping off, confirming his professional growth this year. There is not so much to say regarding Matteo: he also was recovering ground keeping a good pace before being hit by a wild card rider. We found ourselves with two damaged bikes and a great frustration, but we still aim to close well our season at Valencia in two weeks time".
Determined Schrotter fights through tropical heat to seize 10th in Sepang
Tech3 Racing Team rider Marcel Schrotter powered through the heat and humidity in Malaysia to successfully seize 10th position in Sepang during today’s 19 lap Moto2 battle. The young German rider embarked on his round 17 contest from 11th on the grid after another positive qualifying performance aboard the Mistral 610. When the sprint began, Schrotter surged forward as he rode with tenacity during the opening lap which he completed in 10th. As the GP progressed, the 21 year old remained determined and by lap 4 was running in 11th, as he attempted to close in on 10th place. Schrotter set into his consistent race pace putting in a series of competitive times over the following laps to break away from the pursuing riders, leaving him running in 9th. As the race advanced and the grip level of the tyres continued to drop, Schrotter had to take care of the front compound on his bike, but persisted and became locked in a fight with Jonas Folger in the latter part of the race for 9th. The young German eventually crossed the line in 10th to conclude a challenging Grand Prix with another batch of world championship points, which moves him up to joint 10th place with Luis Salom in the standings.
On the other side of the Tech3 Racing Team garage, Ricky Cardus turned around a difficult qualifying session to impressively complete the tough Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle GP in 12th position. The Spanish rider commenced his race from the eight row of the grid but with high hopes of speeding to a point scoring result at the 5543 metre circuit. As the 19 lap fight began, Cardus had an incredible start to clinch 17th as he crossed the finish line for the first time and then progressed up to 14th a lap later. Following this, Cardus slipped back to 16th by lap three and was involved in a fierce battle with a large group of riders challenging for 11th. With 12 laps remaining, he had climbed up to 13th before being shuffled back again to 15th, but the Spaniard remained resolute and undertook some aggressive overtaking manoeuvres to elevate again up to 13th with six laps left. He continued to fight for 11th right until the end before crossing the finish line in 12th, marking a successful race having incredibly overtaken twelve riders in the highly competitive intermediate class.
Marcel Schrotter - Position : 10th - Championship : 11th - Points : 72
“I’m quite satisfied with today’s result and to be honest, I am pleased that the race is over and done, as it was a really demanding one due to the humidity and the heat. I had a good start as well as a strong first couple of laps, yet I was a bit too keen to push forward and I made a few small mistakes which caused me to loose contact with the leading group. I continued to advance but then Lowes crashed in front of me which left me on my own with quite a gap in front of me as well as behind that remained constant for many laps. Eventually Folger managed to pass me later in the race because I lost a bit of confidence with the front of my bike as both Lowes and Syahrin had fallen for that reason right ahead of me. I was also thinking of the championship standings at this point, so instead of pushing too hard and potentially crashing I decided to stay where I was. This was in order to close in on Morbidelli and Salom in the championship which we achieved. The team did a great job and it’s fantastic to finish the flyaway races with a positive feeling and to head back home with more valuable points in my pocket.”
Ricky Cardus - Position : 12th - Championship : 19th - Points : 41
“It turned out to be a tricky weekend for me in Sepang. I had a great start on Friday, but unfortunately we had to face the beginning of the race from the back of the grid after a not so successful qualifying. However, I still had a good start and managed to recover numerous positions and found myself running in a big group for 11th. In the middle of the race I was a bit worried about losing the front, so I didn’t push too hard as the tyres were dropping quite a bit and I really did not want to risk crashing out. But with just a few laps to go I had Pasini right ahead of me so I decided to try to catch him and get 12th position. I really gave it my all and managed to pass him on the final lap. The team did a truly amazing job and found a good setup for the race which made me feel comfortable again as well as confident on the bike, so I want to thank them for their faith in me and for continuing to push me to good results.”
Hervé Poncharal - Team Manager :
“It was a very good race for the Tech3 Racing Moto2 Team today in Sepang. We were lucky with the weather as there was a chance of rain which we were a bit nervous about, but it remained dry and both riders had good starts and remained consistent in their lap times. Marcel ran more or less on his own for the majority of the event, yet always kept the gap to Luthi constant and in the end only Folger could get past him. It was a strong race and he was clearly thinking of the championship and is now equal to Salom plus, he is only three points behind Morbidelli so there is a really good chance of finishing inside the top ten this season which is our ambition. He was riding wisely and fast on the track so I want to congratulate him hugely as he has shown once again that he is a top Moto2 rider. As for Ricky, I want to thank him for his great comeback from 24th on the grid after a difficult qualifying despite having a strong opening day. However, today he composed himself and showed strong determination in the group that he was battling in, which he finished at the front of. Like most riders he was very tired after the race due to the demanding conditions, but he continued to push right until the very end. Overall, 10th and 12th marks a competitive close to the weekend for the Moto2 boys. This result sets us up well for the next race in Valencia where hopefully we can reach the top ten results which is what we are aiming for.”
Hafiq Azmi takes first three points in the World Championship
SIC-Ajo Team rider crosses the finish line in 13th position in Sepang –his best result of the season. Wild card Hafiza Rofa completes race in 20th.
10/26/2014 - Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia
At the Sepang International Circuit and at his home race, Hafiq Azmi took the first three points of his career in the Moto3 World Championship, with thirteenth place. The Malaysian track was the scene of the best race of the year for the SIC-Ajo Team rider, who finished inside the Top 15 after a great showing. Compatriot Hafiza Rofa also completed his mission, and finished his first Grand Prix appearance in a creditable 20th place.
Both SIC-Ajo Team riders made a good start and stuck with their respective groups due to pace and consistency. Hafiq Azmi moved up into the Top 15 with 5 laps remaining, keeping a fast and steady pace going to the end. He eventually bested rival Tonucci to cross the finish line in 13th position, to the delight of the home fans and gaining his first Moto3 World Championship points.
Hafiza Rofa will remember his first experience as a wild card fondly. The Malaysian compensated for a crash on the last corner of Lap 10 by moving back to 20th position, successfully completing his first Grand Prix.
After the flyaway rounds, only the season finale in Valencia remains. Hafiq Azmi, 28th in the standings, will try to close the year with another good performance and score further points in the World Championship before 2014 ends.
38 HAFIQ AZMI
"First of all I want to thank the team for all the work they have done this weekend. I am very glad that we were able to finally get our first points in the Moto3 World Championship. I’ve been looking for this since Qatar, but it has finally come at my home race with three points. For the race at Valencia we will again try to finish in the Top15, but the most important thing is to continue the learning process, as I still have much to learn in my first season. I will try to learn everything I can and gain more experience for next year."
88 HAFIZA ROFA
"The race went very well. I was able to get a good start from the back and I was able to overtake some riders. Then on Lap 10 I made a small mistake and I crashed, but I was able to continue and in the end I think I did pretty well. The team is proud and I am too. It has been a great experience."
Gran Prix of Malaysia Sepang, October 26th, 2014
From 25th on grid to 7th in the race, in just three laps. With a bike set up the same way as the day before, for qualifying, when he had not had the chance to get the most out of it, today, in the race, Brad Binder, with a flying start, has been able to join almost immediately the top group. Unfortunately, soon after, while he was seventh in the group fighting for podium and victory, the rider felt something strange at the front and decided to come to the pit to check. Jules Danilo almost got a place in the top fifteen - getting points is his constant target – missing it for just three tenth.
Jules Danilo (41’18”794 – 17.) “I was 15th in the back straight. All the race, I braked hard but keeping the position was not easy. I would have liked to catch a few points, but I am quite happy with how the weekend went as I was quite often in an interesting position and close, today, to what is my target. We have to work a tiny bit more and I'm certain in Valencia we can make it a good weekend”.
Brad Binder (dnf) “Very fast at the beginning, from 25th to 7th in three laps, then I could not understand why, but felt something wrong at the front. I could not understand the reason, so I went back to the pit. I felt so good, and all of a sudden I could not ride well. I could have been fighting in the front group, no doubt”.
Jose’ Manuel Ruiz Gomez (Technical Director) “When Brad came in, we perceived something slightly different and, watching closely the bike, we saw on a side of it a very deep but also very thin cut, almost certainly due to a race contact, because we found a sign on the rim. Probably, it had the effect of a slow puncture”.
Fiorenzo Caponera (Team Manager) “The flashes of speed in free practices and the amazing laps in the race confirms us that the bike was capable of a podium. Unfortunately, it has been one of those weekends in which so many things go wrong. There is still a race before the end of the season, and we are going to do everything in our power to make it something special to remember during the wintertime”.
TEAM FEDERAL OIL GRESINI MOTO2 WRAPS UP MALAYSIAN ROUND WITH NO REWARD
The long flyaway triple-header ended today for the Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 with the Malaysian Grand Prix: in a very difficult race, with scorching temperatures, Xavier Siméon claimed the nineteenth position, slowed down by some physical problems that didn’t allow him to ride at the maximum his Suter machine.
The 25-year-old Belgian rider, who occupied the thirteenth position in the opening laps, struggled with a lack of strength and concentration after only 8 laps, slipping out of the points scoring positions, without the possibility to make a follow up of the two good results obtained in Japan and in Australia.
Lorenzo Baldassarri - Team Gresini Moto2 - ended the Grand Prix in 17th place: the Italian rookie struggled a lot in the heat, but he still fought to the end to try to get into the points.
XAVIER SIMEON (19th)
“Today I can only apologize to the team, because I was not in the best physical condition to ride. I was already weakened in Australia and I did everything to get back in good shape for this event, where we knew it would be very tough, but unfortunately I was not well, and probably feverish. In the first part of the race I felt good, but after 8 laps I started to lose strength and I could not keep my concentration. I was not able to ride, really, but I still continued to the end, even though I knew that I could not get a good result”.
LORENZO BALDASSARRI (17th)
“It was a tough race! At the start there was a lot of confusion and I have touched several times with other riders, going also wide at Turn 2. Then I tried to follow the group of riders in front of me, but then my physical condition dropped down: I was feeling not so lucid, but I still pushed to the end. The bike was sliding a lot from the start, as soon as I was opening the throttle, it was difficult to hold the right line. Moreover, I was losing so much under acceleration on the straights. Too bad. Anyway, I’m happy because I fought and I saw the checkered flag”.
Danny Kent just misses out on podium at Sepang
Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo rider crosses the finish line in fourth place after an excellent end to the race. Niklas Ajo retires in the early stages of the Malaysian GP.
10/26/2014 - Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia
Danny Kent and Niklas Ajo had mixed fortunes in the Malaysian Grand Prix. The penultimate race of the 2014 Moto3 World Championship, held at the Sepang International Circuit, allowed the Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo rider to add 13 points to his tally after finishing fourth. The Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo rider was forced to retire with a mechanical problem on lap four.
Despite not having the best feeling throughout the weekend, Danny Kent showed that he is at his best form in this final stretch of the season. The Briton quickly caught the front group, but after losing touch with them at the midway point, he had to close the gap again with 7 laps remaining. In the final part of the race, Kent went on the attack and moved up to fourth. The Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo rider remains ninth overall, with 116 points.
Less fortunate was Niklas Ajo, who could not complete the race. The Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo rider had a mechanical problem that forced him to enter the pits to retire after four laps. The Finn, with 52 points to his name, is fifteenth overall.
The Moto3 World Championship season closes with the final race in Valencia, which will take place at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in two weeks’ time.
52 DANNY KENT
"It's been a very tough weekend. We worked to get a good feeling on the bike. We can be very happy with how the race went. We have maintained a strong pace and we showed that we can ride with the front group over recent races. Since Aragon we have been fighting to be at the front and I'm very happy with the big step that we have taken in this second part of the season. Once again, the team did a great job all weekend."
31 NIKLAS AJO
"We still do not know what the problem we had with the bike was. It started to lose power and the top speed was nothing like what we had before. It was safest to return to the garage, because every lap was different. I'm a little disappointed, because I was catching people under braking and when cornering, but if you don’t have straight line speed you can’t do anything.
We are already focusing on Valencia to try to finish the season well, because it's one of my favourite tracks. The team did a great job all weekend and, although we had many problems from the start, we could really show our level."
TOUGH WEEKEND FOR LOWES IN MALAYSIA
Sam Lowes leaves Sepang after a difficult weekend which concluded with the British rider crashing out of the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Lowes made a strong start to the weekend on Friday despite having never ridden the Sepang circuit before. He set the 11th fastest time in first free practice and maintained a similar pace on used rubber in the afternoon’s second session.
Clutch problems on Saturday restricted Lowes’ track time and despite improving his time, the Briton qualified 15th for Sunday’s race. The lack of time on track meant Lowes and the Speed Up team had to work hard in Sunday’s morning warm-up session to find a set-up for the race.
After a steady start, the 24-year-old picked off his rivals to move onto the back of the top ten. Before he could make further progress, he ran wide on the final turn with fourteen laps to go and tucked the front, crashing out of the race. He re-joined the race but was subsequently forced to retire.
Sam Lowes: “It’s been a tough weekend. I spent Friday learning the circuit and then we lost Saturday with a clutch issue so had to set the bike up in morning warm-up! The track temperature in the race was very hot but we managed to make good progress in the first few laps. We changed something with the front for the race but we went in the wrong direction, I ran wide at the last corner and tucked the front trying to square it off. It’s been a hard first time here but the team have worked really hard all weekend. I think we’ll be stronger in Valencia as there are still positives to take.”
Lowes will be back in action for the final round of the Moto2 World Championship at Valencia in Spain between 7-9 November.