Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams ahead of this weekend's race at Austin:
Moto2™ riders ready to bounce back in Austin
A dramatic season opener at the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar saw the race favourites encounter serious problems during the race.
Johann Zarco, Sam Lowes and Tito Rabat had set the pace throughout the weekend in Qatar but all had major problems come the race, with the latter two unable to finish. Austin was not kind to either Zarco or Lowes last year as both riders were unable to finish. The pair did have reputation for crashing but look to have changed that with a change of team and bike for Zarco and bike upgrades for Lowes.
2014 Moto2™ World Champion Tito Rabat and his Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS team showed strong race pace throughout the weekend and will be confident heading to Austin, a track that has seen Rabat claim two second-places from two starts. Meanwhile rookie Alex Marquez will be continuing to learn the Kalex machine and will be looking to recreate the exploits of his Moto3™ World Champion predecessor, Maverick Viñales, who claimed victory in America on his debut last year.
Surprise Qatar race winner Jonas Folger will carry this confidence and the Championship lead to the Circuit of the Americas where he will once again chase a strong podium finish. 2014 saw Folger struggle with pressure after a decent early season showing but spent much of the off season focusing on handling pressure and adjusting his mentality, Austin will offer a good test of his mental strength.
Teammate’s Thomas Luthi and Dominique Aegerter will focus on continuing to learn their new Kalex frames after nearly all winter tests were hindered by rain. Both the Swiss riders had positive races in America last year and Luthi will be looking to continue his podium run after a solid third. Aegerter’s adaption to the Kalex has not been as smooth, the former race winner finishing 15th last time out. However, a third at COTA last year should provide hope for a change in fortunes.
One of the stand out performances of the opening round was Alex Rins who has gelled quickly with the Moto2™ bike, able to fight from ninth on the grid to fourth. The former Moto3™ front-runner has proven he is strong over race distance but will be looking to qualify on the front two rows to ensure he can fight with the leaders from the beginning.
A return to a more standard practice and race schedule should benefit all Moto2™ riders and allow them to explore more set up options.
Moto3™ paddock heads to Austin for more elbow-bashing action
After a stunning race at the Commercial bank Grand Prix of Qatar for the season opener, the Moto3™ class heads stateside for round two.
Last year KTM machines filled the top two steps on the podium with Efren Vazquez putting his Honda in third. After a Honda podium lockout in Qatar, KTM will be eager to secure their first podium of the year after fighting for the Championship with Jack Miller in 2014.
Qatar saw Alexis Masbou take the first pole position of his career and just his second victory; the SAXOPRINT RTG rider will be hungry to continue this form and cement himself as a title contender during his final year in the Moto3™ class. Fellow Honda rider Enea Bastianini claimed his first World Championship points in Austin last year, and after a stunning ride from 21st on the grid in Qatar to second he will no doubt be a threat regardless of Qualifying results.
Mapfre Team Mahindra’s Francesco Bagnaia and Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder both finished as the top Mahindra and KTM in Losail, but will be eager to improve on results that both admit were disappointing. Binder’s teammate, Miguel Oliveira will also be out to improve after a first corner collision saw him finish outside the points despite being a favourite for the win.
Romano Fenati has a point to prove in Austin after a disastrous season opener, failing to finish the first race. The young Italian in the SKY Racing Team VR46 outfit finished second in Austin, but so far has struggled to show the pace of last season.
Impressive rookie Fabio Quartararo and his Estrella Galicia 0,0 teammate Jorge Navarro showed strong pace under the floodlights and will be eager to get another new circuit under their belts.
Stefano Manzi will make his Grand Prix debut for the San Carlo Team Italia Team after being too young to race in Qatar. Ana Carrasco also looks to return to action after missing the season opener with a broken collarbone.
Estrella Galicia 0,0 riders head to the Americas
After leaving Qatar with 9 and 2 points to their name, respectively, Fabio Quartararo and Jorge Navarro now move on to the second round of the World Championship for the Moto3 class.
The Circuit of the Americas will be the scene for the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 riders’ next challenge. Hot on the heels of the thrilling Qatar Grand Prix, where the riders and team proved to be ready to fight for the top positions, Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 return to a circuit where in 2014 they put on a great performance.
In the Grand Prix of the Americas last season, Estrella Galicia 0,0 riders, Alex Marquez and Alex Rins, placed third and fourth, respectively, on the starting grid. In the race, Rins finished fourth whilst Marquez suffered a crash on the last lap when fighting for a place in the top three.
Quartararo and Navarro are facing an unfamiliar circuit, but they nevertheless are aspiring to achieve great results in Austin (Texas).
Fabio Quartararo, the reigning FIM CEV champion, faces another circuit that he has never visited before. This is also the case for Jorge Navarro. However, both riders face this challenge highly motivated after excellent showings at the Losail circuit, where Quartararo led the first Grand Prix of 2015 twice and finished in seventh place, and Navarro fought in a group of over twenty riders to take a creditable twelfth position.
The Estrella Galicia 0,0 riders will be on track from Friday, April 10th, to contest the first free practice sessions of the Grand Prix of the Americas at 4pm CET.
Did you know?
The Circuit of the Americas, located just over 20 kilometres from downtown Austin -the capital of Texas- is the first track designed specifically for Grands Prix.
During the Moto3 race, riders will undertake 18 laps in an anticlockwise direction -a distance of 99.2km. The track’s construction was completed in 2012 and the first MotoGP round there took place on Sunday April 21st, 2013.
Its layout features a long main straight, with a steep climb of 41 metres, and ends with a very tight left hander. Designed by Hermann Tilke, it is a very technical track that combines long straights, flowing fast corners, hairpins and various sections inspired by the most famous circuits in the world.
"My goal for this Grand Prix is to have a similar race to Qatar, fighting in the leading group."
"I am very happy with the work we did in Qatar and after the first race, in which I was able to lead for a few laps, I feel very confident about the second round of the season. I have never ridden at the Circuit of the Americas but I'm excited to try it, since it has many fast and very technical corners - especially in the first half. My goal for this Grand Prix is to have a similar race to Qatar, fighting in the leading group."
"In Austin I hope to apply some of the lessons learned in Qatar".
"The Circuit of the Americas appeals to me because of the linked chicanes and heavy braking that is necessary. We arrive at a track where I have never ridden before, and we have to adapt as quickly as possible. In the first Grand Prix we had a very intense race in Austin and I hope to apply some of the lessons learned in Qatar.”
BASTIANINI AND LOCATELLI GUNNING FOR GLORY AT SPECTACULAR CIRCUIT OF THE AMERICAS
After the short Easter break, the Moto3 World Championship is back in action this weekend in Texas, where is taking place the second round of the 2015 campaign at the spectacular Circuit of the Americas, on the outskirts of Austin.
The Gresini Racing Team Moto3 has been a key player of the first Grand Prix of the year in Qatar, with Enea Bastianini who missed the victory by just 27 thousandths of a second after a spectacular comeback from 21st on the grid, and his team mate Andrea Locatelli who produced a solid performance, ending the race in the leading group and with a gap of only 1”5 from the race winner.
In the United States both Bastianini and Locatelli can count on an increased knowledge of the Honda NSF250RW Moto3 machine, so the goal is to reach a good level immediately during practice in order to get a good starting position on the grid and try to claim another good team result in the race.
“I can’t say that the Circuit of the Americas is one of my favourite tracks, but all in all I like it and last year I got my first championship points there, making a good race. In Qatar we could learn more about the bike and the weekend ended with a beautiful comeback, so we are confident ahead of this race. We start from a more solid base, so this time it will be definitely easier to try to get a better position on the starting grid”.
“The first race of the season went well and represented a big confidence boost for the whole team: first, we brought home the first points, and this was the most important thing, and above all we understood that we can fight with the fastest riders. If we keep working we can only improve, so we are very confident ahead of this first long trip of the season, with two back-to-backraces in the United States and Argentina. The Austin track is one of those that most fascinated me in my debut season and I love the atmosphere: last year I felt immediately at ease even if my race was compromised by a mistake on the first corner. This year I’m ready and I know that I’m able to get a good result”.
“In Qatar we started the season very well, with Bastianini who ran a great race missing the win for nothing, while Locatelli has already been able to fight in the leading group, ending the race only 1”5 behind the winner. Last year in Austin Bastianini collected his first points, at his second race in the World Championship: therefore, considering this and the recent result obtained in Qatar we look forward to this race with the utmost confidence. Anyway, I think that Enea should just think to have fun riding, without thinking too much about the result; the championship is still long and if he will maintain the right calm and attitude he will surely continue to do well. Locatelli is also in good form and he’s feeling very comfortable with the team and with the bike: anyway we put no pressure on him as well. Andrea must continue to learn and gain experience, even if it’s clear that we are going the right way”.
SIMEON HEADS TO THE USA FOR THE GP OF THE AMERICAS
Fresh from the beautiful podium finish obtained under the floodlights in Qatar, Xavier Siméon and the Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 are preparing for the second round of the 2015 Moto2 World Championship 2015, which is taking place this weekend at the Circuit of the Americas, in Texas.
Siméon will be back on a familiar track, which last year saw him leading the race for 10 out of 19 scheduled laps, before a crash put him out of the game with just two laps to go. Aboard his Kalex machine the25-year-old Belgian rider this time will try to put into effect the good performance he has shown a year ago, returning to fight for podium positions.
“Last year I led the Grand Prix in Austin for a lot of laps, then unfortunately I crashed with two laps to go while I was fighting for the podium: I love the Circuit of the Americas because it combines fast sections with slower parts; it’s something totally different compared to the other circuits we are used to and the atmosphere during the race weekend is incredible. My goal for this year is to repeat the performance of 2014... possibly with a better finish!”.
“We head to Austin aware of our potential: the podium collected in the first Grand Prix in Qatar gave us the right enthusiasm and the right energy to try to fight again at the top, so we start this double header in the United States and in Argentina with great confidence. Moreover, Siméon last year has proven to be extremely comfortable on this track, maintaining the lead for most of the race. Xavier is already at ease with the bike and with the team, but we know that we can improve further: this is our goal”.
Moto3 - San Carlo Team Italia in Texas for the second round of 2015
Matteo Ferrari ready to climb in standings, debut for Stefano Manzi.
After the first seasonal round at Losail on March 29th, San Carlo Team Italia flies to the USA to start the second round of 2015 Moto3 World Championship. The COTA (acronym of "Circuit of the Americas"), located near Austin, has been the scene of the "Gran Prix of the Americas" for three years and it represents for the federal team, the opportunity to carry on the path started in Qatar, with the clear intention of climbing in standings.
At his second season as a rider of San Carlo Team Italia, Matteo Ferrari works for improving the feeling with his Mahindra MGP3O 2015, starting from the encouraging results of last weekend at Losail. Protagonist of a comeback during the race, after starting from the 10th row on the grid, the 2012 Moto3 European Champion trusts in the potentialities of the team, in order to start the weekend in the best way.
Next to Ferrari, the round of Austin is the official debut of Stefano Manzi in a race of World Championship. The young rider from Rimini, forced to skip the first round at Losail since he turned 16 (the minimum age provided for by the FIM rules) only on March 29th, is really impatient to make his debut in World Championship and he is already familiar with the track, as he had the chance to ride there in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup (2013 season).
Matteo Ferrari (San Carlo Team Italia - Mahindra MGP3O #12)
"At Losail we succeeded in completing the race with positive sensations. It wasn't an easy weekend at all, but we found some confirmations concerning the potentiality of the bike. Physically I feel good, the winter training has started to pay off in Qatar and I didn't have any difficulties during the weekend nor the race. This is a positive signal that will help us to start the weekend of Austin in the best way and to work well with the team, developing the good results that we got during the pre-season."
Stefano Manzi (San Carlo Team Italia - Mahindra MGP3O #29)
"The wait has finished and finally, in Texas, I will be able to make my debut in World Championship. I really want to get out on track and start my path with San Carlo Team Italia and the Italian Motorcycling Federation, that supports me since I was riding in Mini Bike. I am familiar with the track of Austin, because I raced there in the Rookies Cup, but I will have to start all over, facing a new reality as the World Championship. I will try to learn as much as I can and to work well with the team: this is my goal for the weekend."
Cristiano Migliorati (Sports Manager - San Carlo Team Italia Moto3)
"After Qatar we have analyzed with the team all the mistakes, trying to find a solution to what didn't work properly during the weekend. This examination was very useful and we are ready to start the round in Austin with new confidence and certainty in our means. Mahindra is a fast bike, so we will work tirelessly during the weekend to get some points, which remain our main objective. Before Austin we want to thank once again Marco Bezzecchi for his "substitution" in Qatar; we will start again in Texas, with the regular formation composed by Matteo Ferrari and Stefano Manzi, two young riders, talented and motivated to give their best. Matteo is looking for the perfect feeling with his bike, while Stefano will make his absolute debut in World Championship. We will go with him through his debut, without any kind of pressure, and we will try to work as better as we can in order to help him in his growth path."
Johann Zarco looks to carry good work through in Austin
Ajo Motorsport rider wants to bounce back from bittersweet first race of the year with an excellent Grand Prix of The Americas.
04/08/2015 - Circuit of The Americas, USA
Only a mechanical failure prevented Johann Zarco from taking his first win in Moto2 in Qatar, on his debut with the Ajo Motorsport team. A superb weekend, in which he never placed outside the Top 3 in practice, was halted only by bad luck preventing the French rider from opening 2015 with a win. In the end he had to settle for a creditable eighth place. Still smiling, Zarco heads to the United States confident and convinced that following the same working formula will bring success soon enough.
Eighth position at Losail was his best start to a season in the intermediate category, but not a just reward for a weekend in which his chances of a win were high. Zarco arrives at the Circuit of The Americas optimistic and aware of the potential of the package available to him. Despite a crash in the race last year, a front row achieved in 2014 and sixth –gaining 11 places– in 2013 are two happy memories of the track.
After the nighttime opening round in Qatar, the Grand Prix of The Americas returns the World Championship to its usual format of daytime action from Friday to Sunday. The Moto2 race is set for 12:20pm local time, as part of the first of two consecutive weekends of racing.
5 JOHANN ZARCO
"The end result in Qatar was unfair after the great weekend we had, but that’s racing and anything can happen. Anyway, I will keep a smile on my face because the work we did –throughout the whole team– was excellent and I felt very comfortable on the bike, it was very easy to ride and the times were good every day. In the end we picked up eight important points. The objective in Austin will be to copy exactly the same way of working and hope that luck is on our side on Sunday. Last year I failed to finish the race but started from the front row and in 2013 I was in the Top 10, so it's a circuit I think is fairly good for me. Every year is different, so I’m eager to finish off a good weekend with a result on raceday."
Red Bull KTM Ajo look ahead
Brad Binder, Karel Hanika and Miguel Oliveira face the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas looking to show their true potential.
04/08/2015 - Circuit of The Americas, USA
The first Grand Prix of 2015, held two weeks ago in Qatar, was not as successful as the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders had hoped. Thus, the second event of the year this weekend in Austin, Texas, has been eagerly awaited by Brad Binder, Karel Hanika and Miguel Oliveira. Raring to get back on their KTM bikes, the trio hope to return to fighting for the podium on the Moto3 World Championship’s first US visit of the season. Last year a Red Bull KTM Ajo rider, Jack Miller, took victory at Austin.
Despite making their best starts to a World Championship season so far, Binder and Hanika were not completely satisfied with their respective tenth and thirteenth places at Losail. Aware of their potential, both had expected to be higher up the order and to fight for the rostrum. Teammate Miguel Oliveira had looked a likely Top 3 contender, but contact with another rider in the race left him out of the battle.
The Red Bull KTM Ajo riders are heading to a circuit which is to their liking. Last year Hanika achieved the best result of the trio, claiming his first Top 10 finish. Oliveira had to settle with a fifteenth place and Binder did not complete the race. This year the track hosts a MotoGP round for the third time, and is renowned for its technical layout with a 1200 metre-long back straight. The first objective for the riders will be to improve on their qualifying from Qatar.
The Grand Prix schedule returns to normal this weekend, starting on Friday with free practice and ending on Sunday with the 18-lap Moto3 race at 11:00am local time.
44 MIGUEL OLIVEIRA
"I am very motivated for the second round of the World Championship. We had the last couple of days to think over and analyse the race, and also to study what others have done. It is important to keep up the pace, to constantly be at the front and also to get a slipstream on the long straight.
This is a circuit with flowing corners and hard braking. The track is also wide, which allows for many different lines and provides many overtaking opportunities. As such, I anticipate a very interesting race. Our goal is to regain points and move up positions in the championship."
41 BRAD BINDER
"Obviously, in the end, Qatar was not quite as we had expected. It is true that the qualifying session did not go as we had hoped, but we knew we could be up at the front and we did so for much of the race. It’s a pity about the end, where we could not stay in the podium spots. It is not the end of the world, because it is only the first race, but I really want to show our potential in Austin. We have to go step-by-step, session after session. COTA is a track that I like more than Losail. I am excited to get back on my KTM for this second race and fight for the podium."
98 KAREL HANIKA
"I think the first race of the year was ok, but the end result could have been better. So I am eager to race in Austin, because last year I managed my first Top 10 in the World Championship there. It's a circuit I like, very nice and fun on the bike. I sincerely believe we can get a good result. Learning lessons from Qatar, we must improve our position in the qualifying session and the race, stay in the first group, but being more incisive. Let’s go!”
Destination Austin for Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS
Gosselies, Belgium – 7 April 2015: Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS head west to the United States this week, for the second round of the 2015 Moto2 World Championship at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
For Moto2 rookie Álex Márquez the opening race of the season in Qatar was something of a step into the unknown, but the 18-year-old Spaniard marked his debut for Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS with a solid points scoring finish in 11th place. The reigning Moto3 World Champion heads to the Circuit of the Americas looking to continue his familiarisation with the Kalex Moto2 machine; with a top ten finish his ultimate goal in Sunday’s 19-lap Moto2 race.
Tito Rabat heads to Texas determined to get his title defence back on track, having crashed out of the opening race in Qatar after just three laps following a collision with Simone Corsi. The reigning Moto2 World Champion has twice finished second at the Circuit of the Americas, but heads into the second round of the 2015 season determined to go one better and aiming for the top step of the podium.
The Circuit of the Americas was the first purpose built Grand Prix circuit in the United States and is one of the most varied on the MotoGP calendar. The 5.531km track features fast straights linked by slow and fast corners, most of which were inspired by famous turns from around the world. The track’s most distinctive feature, however, is the elevation change of 41 metres at the end of the main straight, with the sharp incline leading into the tight left-hander at turn one.
“I learnt a lot in my first Moto2 race in Qatar, so we head to Austin with a clear understanding of where we need to improve, not just in the race but also in qualifying. The Circuit of the Americas didn’t really suit my riding style on the Moto3 bike last season, but with twice the power I think the Moto2 bike will be very different indeed. The first sector is critical to a good lap time, so we need to find a good compromise with the set up between agility – allowing the bike to quickly change direction at high speed – and stability under braking, as this is one of the areas we know we need to improve. My motivation is high and I’m looking forward to the weekend ahead.”
“We head to Austin knowing we have the pace to run at the front, but I need to remember this in the race. In Qatar I maybe made some mistakes; I saw Lowes and Zarco going away on the opening lap and I pushed too hard, too early. In Austin I need to use the opening laps to find a good rhythm and only then start to push, as this is what worked for me last season. The first time we raced in Austin I finished second and it was the same last year. Hopefully, this time around, I can go one better and fight for the win. That’s the goal, anyway.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“This weekend Álex just needs to continue with the same approach he used in Qatar, working to improve his feeling with the bike during practice and qualifying and then riding another intelligent race. If he can do this, and I’m confident he can, then a top ten finish on Sunday is definitely possible. Tito can’t afford to make any mistakes this weekend if he is to get his title defence back on track. Unforced errors cost him dear in Qatar and he was lucky that his main title rivals also suffered with bad luck in the race. In Texas he needs to reassert his authority on the championship with a trouble free weekend and a podium finish on Sunday.”
RW Racing GP ready to make up for lost points
After the disappointment of crashing out of the GP of Qatar, RW Racing GP and Livio Loi are ready to make up for the lost points in Austin. The team has already arrived in the United States to be optimally prepared.
The team and its rider are looking for revenge after technical problems in Qatar forced Loi to drop back. The problems with shifting gears made Loi crash eventually and left both the Dutch team and the Belgian rider empty handed.
The opening weekend of the season nevertheless showed the potential and the speed were there to fight in the top 10 and so that is the goal for the second race of the year, at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
“I’m a fan of the Circuit of the Americas. Last year I qualified in 24th and in the race I worked my way up to 12th, which was a great result. But it is not just because of the result. I like the layout of the track. It suits my riding style. I’m really looking forward to this Grand Prix, especially with the Honda. Besides that I’m just eager to prove the potential of the bike, the team and myself after the disappointment of Qatar. Looking at how close the results of Qatar were, with the first nine riders within 0,909 seconds, I realise this race too will be a challenge, but I’m ready for that. The weather looks to be challenging as well, with the chance of thunderstorms. It will be hot and humid, but I usually don’t have a problem with that.”
The first free practice is Friday at 16.00h Central European Time.
The second FP starts at 20.10h CET.
Dunlop Riders Forever Forward Onto Texas In Moto2 & Moto3
Riders including Dunlop #ForeverForward leader Enea Bastianini will be making their way to Austin, Texas for the USA Grand Prix round of the FIM Moto2 and Moto3 World Championships on 12th April. The new Dunlop #ForeverForward league table ranks the riders who have made the biggest improvement from starting position to race finish.
The last race in Qatar saw some fantastic overtaking manoeuvres, the highlights appearing in a video compilation featured on www.motogp.com. Austin promises more action with the undulating Circuit of the Americas adding the challenge of elevation changes to the usual twists and turns.
Dry Tyre allocation
Moto2 Option 1 Option 2
Fronts: 120/75R17 Medium ’2’ (black 'Dunlop' on silver) Hard ’123’ (yellow on black
Rears: 195/75R17 Hard ’3’ (yellow on black) Special Hard ’4’ (white on black)
Moto3 Option 1 Option 2
Fronts: 95/75R17 Medium (black on silver) Hard (yellow on black)
Rears: 115/75R17 Soft (black on yellow) Medium (black on silver)
Austin 2014 Highlights
In Austin last year Dunlop was able to prove its latest tyre performance in both the Moto2 and Moto3 classes. From the first practice to the race the circuit developed and changed and lap times fell in both classes. The Moto2 race was eventually one minute eleven seconds quicker than in 2013 with Viñales crossing the line first. In Moto3 Jack Miller was the winner.
2014 Fact: Maverick Viñales’ fastest race lap of 2’ 10.103 in Austin was a staggering 1.639 seconds faster than that set by Nicolas Terol in 2013.
Simon Betney, International Event Manager, Dunlop Motorsport:
“Qatar was a great start to the season with Folger and Masbou taking their first and second ever wins respectively. You don’t get racing much closer than the Moto3 race where the top 18 riders all finished within one second and then in Moto2 the pace was incredible. From the first free practice onwards times were under the 2014 lap record. The Dunlop #ForeverForward league highlights a different kind of performance. Bastianini’s surge from 21st to second was very impressive with five riders then tying on 10 position gains each. It’s also interesting that there is an even split between Moto2 and Moto3 with 10 riders from each category in the top 20.
“Austin holds great promise for another epic battle. It’s an interesting track to both watch and ride and I’m sure there will be close racing and maybe another surprise result or two.”