Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the races at Le Mans:
Quartararo and Navarro, competitive but out of luck at French GP
After a weekend in which the Estrella Galicia 0,0 riders did an excellent job, Fabio and Jorge left Le Mans with no points after crashing out when fighting in the leading group.
"We are always at the front and fighting for the top positions, so we have to take advantage of everything we learned this weekend and focus on the next race"
"It was a shame because the Estrella Galicia 0,0 riders have shown good pace all through practice and were able to fight for the top places. But we are aware that this year we have a team with young riders who are tackling their first season in the World Championship and are still learning things like knowing the limits of the set-ups of their bikes.
So the assessment is that we have again been competitive, the riders are very fast, the team is working very well and, most importantly, that the crashes did not cause any injuries. We are always at the front and fighting for the top positions, so we have to take advantage of everything we learned this weekend and focus on the next race at Mugello."
Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider
Crashed out. DNF
"I had a strong pace for the portion of the race that I ran."
"I did not have a good start, but it was not too bad. I stayed in the leading group and I had a strong pace for the portion of the race that I ran. On the straight I suffered because I could not overtake any of the guys ahead. In the end I went down with a few laps to go, on the same corner as my teammate. I'm happy with the work we have done throughout the weekend, but we will try to improve for the next race."
Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider
Crashed out. DNF
"Between corners 2 and 3 I accelerated a little earlier, I lost the rear wheel and I could not avoid the crash."
"This weekend we needed more laps to get more comfortable with the bike riding at this track, but still in the qualifying yesterday we had a good strategy and started second on the grid today. We knew it was going to be hard at first because I had to pick up the pace. After the first five laps I saw that the race pace settled down and I was riding more smoothly than the guys ahead, trying to stay in there for a final push, but between corners 2 and 3 I accelerated a little earlier, I lost the rear wheel and I could not avoid the crash. I'm very sorry for the team because they have worked very hard throughout the weekend, especially after yesterday's crash. I wanted to thank them with a good result here in Le Mans, but it was not to be. Now we have to think about Mugello and continue to learn more."
Mahindra fights to podium joy at Le Mans
Le Mans, 17 May 2015: Mapfre Team Mahindra rider Francesco “Pecco” Bagnaia claimed a fine, fighting third place in a thrilling French Grand Prix today – taking a leading role in a fearsome front pack, and missing his and the only Indian marque’s first Moto3 victory by less than half a second.
The 18-year-old Italian had qualified on the front row for the first time, and he didn’t put a wheel wrong throughout a punishingly competitive 24 laps of the 4.185-km Bugatti circuit at the legendary French motor-racing venue.
Pecco started strongly, battled for the lead in the early laps, then played it cool in an eight-bike brawl, saving his strength for the closing battle. The new 2015 Mahindra MGP3O again showed its strength at the highest level, with Bagnaia particularly strong at the crucial corner-entry overtaking points.With four laps remaining, the Italian attacked again. He moved up to second, then took the lead as they started the last lap.
Now it was a four-way scrap, won by inches by Romano Fenati (KTM) and Enea Bastianini (Honda). Championship leader Danny Kent (Honda) was fourth.
Bagnaia proved that Mahindra’s luck seems to have turned and the hard work paid off. Two more MGP3O riders finished in the points. Second Mapfre Team Mahindra rider Juanfran Guevara was a brave 12th, less than a fortnight after surgery for a broken collarbone; rookie Stefano Manzi claimed his first point at 15th.
The next race is the Italian GP at Mugello, in two weeks.
Pecco Bagnaia – Third place
This was for sure the best race of my career. I fought a lot with the other two Italian riders, and that was great. In the remaining two laps, I tried to take first position, and I could make it. But it was so difficult, a real fight. I gave my best, and this third place is the result. I’m very happy, because the team and Mahindra have been working a lot. This is a good reward. Now we have to continue,
Mufaddal Choonia – CEO, Mahindra Racing
What a race! My heart was beating so fast it almost popped out of my chest. We’re very happy. The podium has eluded us so far this year, but now it has come in the fifth race, the earliest top-three we have achieved in a season. Pecco showed his potential, and also proved that the Mahindra MGP3O has race-winning pace. This will drive us on to work even harder. I hope we can get our hands on that elusive first grand prix win as soon as possible.
Livio Loi: Three points better than nothing
Livio Loi was not very happy at the finish of the French Moto3 Grand Prix, but after reviewing the crash right after the start, RW Racing GP’s rider concluded he had been lucky to be picking up another three points. Loi could only just avoid the crash in Turn 1 that took out four riders but fought his way up through the field to finish thirteenth.
It was to be expected that the start of the Moto3 race would be messy, after a bunch of fast riders missed out on qualifying on their own level because of rain. Loi was one of the riders that had to start way back due to that and got entangles in the jumble of riders diving into the first turn. With too many riders fighting for the same position four bikes crashed, right in front of Loi. The Belgian had to brake hard and swerve to the outside of the track to avoid spinning bikes.
Having to start all over again from the back of the field, Loi had a hard time to recover his position. The fight – and the warmer circumstances than in the past few days – took a lot of the soft front and rear tyres and by the time Loi was in a position to battle for points it had become difficult to control the bike.
Nevertheless Loi was able to keep on attacking, while sliding all over the place. Still he was able to outbrake Fahmi Khairuddin in the final lap to cross the finish line in thirteenth, 26 seconds behind race winner Romano Fenati, and pick up another three valuable points for the championship.
RW Racing GP team manager Jarno Janssen: “It’s obvious that we lost the race already on Saturday, during the first minutes of qualifying. As a team we didn’t respond quickly enough on the changing weather. Therefore we had to start too far back and knew it was going to be difficult. Thirteenth wasn’t the result we aimed for after three perfect free practices, but in the end it’s another three points added to the championship. For sure we have learned a lot this weekend.”
Livio Loi – 13 (+ 26,470)
“I am not satisfied with just three points, but I do realize I was lucky to finish at all. I was in the middle of the riders that crashed out in the first corner and I could only just avoid Vazquez’ bike that was tumbling across the track. After that I had to fight my way back and I couldn’t push as hard as I wanted to because my tyres were worn. I should have been fighting for top 10, even from the position I had to start from. It’s a pity it didn’t work out too well, but looking at the number of crashes I have to be happy with the result and the points.”
KENT PROVES AS THE MAN OF THE RACE IN LE MANS
Leopard Racing’s Danny Kent displayed an outstanding performance today by pulling through the entire Moto3 field to cross the line in fourth place at the French Grand Prix.
After Saturday’s unfortunate qualifying practice, in which Danny Kent qualified down on the grid in 31st position, the young Englishman showed a true champion potential by a superb race in fine weather conditions. Thanks to a great start and even more a clever tactic during the opening laps after which he crossed the line already well inside the top 15, Kent stormed towards the front group lap by lap.
He then took care about tyre wear before pushing harder in the latter stages of the race to close the gap to the leading group with later race winner Romano Fenati, Enea Bastianini, Francesco Bagnaia and Fabio Quatararo, who unfortunate crashed ouf of the race. For the final laps Kent saw his chance for a possible rostrum finish but he preferred to bring home as much valuable points as possible for the championship. Anyway, after his poor starting position this fourth place tastes like a victory for the series leader who extended his gap over Bastianini to a 37 points lead.
Young Japanese rider Hiroki Ono was another joy for Leopard Racing after he crossed the line in a really fine eleventh position. Ono also had to start at the very far end of today’s starting grid but like his team mate Kent, he delivered an outstanding performance during the entire race distance with very competitive lap times and some hard fought position battles whilst experienced Spaniard Efren Vazquez crashed out of the race already in the opening lap.
After a two weeks break the Moto3™ World Championship moves to the picturesque Mugello circuit for the Italian round later this month.
#7 Efren VAZQUEZ - DNF, World Championship position 3rd (60 points):
“First I was lucky that I didn’t get involved in the first corner tumbles but in corner exit after the chicane I suddenly lost control on the bike. It was truly a strange crash which of course cost a lot of points for the championship. I’m really sorry for my team because they did an outstanding job again.”
#52 Danny KENT - 4th, World Championship position 1st (91 points):
“This fourth place feels like a victory because we were starting down on the grid in P31. We knew it would be a tough race but I managed the opening laps very well and as soon I got my rhythm I was able to make a great recovery and step by step I came closer to the front. But during this stage I pushed my rear tyre pretty much to catch the group in front of me. If we had a good qualifying yesterday I think I had the pace to pull away like I did in Austin and Argentina last month. But with today’s fourth place we gained much valuable points for the championship and most important we could open the gap to a 37 points lead. I think we can be happy with the outcome of this weekend. I didn’t realize that Efren crashed out of the race but saw Fabio also crashing. After that I immediately switched my mind to think about the championship even though I saw a small change for a podium during the final laps. After this strong start into the series we’re definitely here to win the championship. Finally thanks to my team and all sponsors because Le Mans was another great weekend to work with them.”
#76 Hiroki ONO – 11th, World Championship position 22nd (3 points):
“I’m so happy about this race especially from this bad starting position. My start was good and the first two laps were even better where I passed so many riders. Of course I took some benefits to follow Danny during this stage but as soon he pulled away from me, I did my own rhythm and this was quite good. I caught up further positions and towards the end of the race it was an interesting battle with Philipp Oettl, which I enjoyed a lot. I’m really happy with my performance today because my lap times were good in the beginning as well as during the final laps. I’m pleased with my result in P11, with these important points and also with the race in overall.”
Stefan KIEFER (Team manager):
“What a great show by Danny today. He made a great start followed by two strong but safe opening laps. He really showed his great potential by starting down on the grid to pull through the entire field and came home in fourth place today. I think we must be happy with P4. I also think Danny would really like to win this race but we gave him signs after Fabio crashed out of the race. Anyway, to win it was a bit too risky at all. On the other side Hiroki did also a fantastic job today as he did what we were telling him before the start in order to bring home a safe points scoring finish. Congratulations, we’re happy with him. Unfortunately, Efren crashed out very early. It was the first time for him this season and in doing so he lost many valuable points for the championship. But this is racing. For sure next time he will do even better.”
First French podium for Rabat
Le Mans, France - 17 May 2015: The French Grand Prix saw Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Tito Rabat cap a strong weekend by finishing on the podium at Le Mans. The reigning Moto2 World Champion finished second behind Thomas Luthi.
Rabat, who qualified fourth fastest, was able to get to the front of the field in the early laps and fought with Luthi and Johann Zarco throughout the race but ultimately the Swiss rider was able to open a gap while Rabat was fighting his way past Zarco.
For Rabat the race was another indication of how he has recovered the form of last year that saw him dominate the Moto2 class and with Mugello next on the calendar Rabat will be looking to build his title momentum, having improved to sixth in the championship standings to trail Zarco by just 36 points.
Alex Marquez had a difficult weekend in France with the Spanish rookie crashing out of the race on the fourth lap. Marquez was starting from 21st on the grid and tried to give it everything to make up places in the early laps but he was struggling for grip from the start and crashed on the fourth lap of the race.
Tito Rabat: 2nd
"I'm happy because we have improved the bike and I'm feeling much happier with it. It was a good race here in Le Mans, but I know that we need to improve even more at the next race in Mugello if we are to start challenging once again for race wins. We've worked hard to get back on the podium, and for that I want to say a big thank you to the team."
Alex Marquez: DNF
"In Moto2 it's so difficult to come through the field and I had some problems in the first corners of the race with other riders and dropped to 25th. From the start I had some problems with the rear and I didn't have much grip so I tried everything that I could. The crash was a bit strange because Louis Rossi crashed in front of me as well. I think that we need to make a reset before Mugello so that we can go there with 100% motivation and make some improvements. We need to get some good results for me, for the team and for my confidence."
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"It was a fantastic race by Tito! I think that we've found the pace that we were looking for from the start of the race and he spent almost all the race in the 37's. Maybe he was stuck behind Zarco for too long and if he had been able to get past earlier he may have been able to close the gap to Luthi. This was a good race for the championship because we finished in front of Zarco, Rins and Folger both crashed and didn't score points so that's good for Tito. For Alex it was a bit of bad luck because I was confident after the warmup that he was faster than the rest of the weekend and he was confident in the bike. To crash out of the race is a disappointment because he could have learned a lot with another finish but I hope that when we go to Mugello he'll be at the same level as he was in this morning's warm up."
HUSQVARNA LAGLISSE'S ISAAC VINALES 7TH AT LE MANS
VINALES GOES TO NEXT ROUND IN MUGELLO WITH CONFIDENCE
Husqvarna Factory Laglisse rider Isaac Vinales put in a hard fought race at the Le Mans circuit on Sunday to finish seventh in what was one of the most hotly contested rounds so far this season.
Vinales held his nerve to finish 2.58 seconds behind the leader Romano Fenati who was first across the line after a very tough battle with the leading five riders. The Spanish rider is now sixth in the championship points going into the next round at Mugello, a race he will attack with confidence after finishing second there last season.
Isaac Vinales: “The race went quite well even though I finally lost contact with the leading group. I kept up with them for much of the race but the pace was very high.”
Team manager Gelete Nieto: “It was a very difficult race. The leading group was very consistent and the pace was high. Isaac was with them, but dropped back slightly. His speed was very similar to the group. But we did a good job and Isaac is happy with the result and with the team.”
Maria Herrera, Vinales teammate had a difficult weekend and a crash in the warm-up session meant she was lacking a little confidence going into the race. She finished in nineteenth place and continues to collect experience and valuable race time on the FR 250 GP machine.
BASTIANINI COMPLETES AN ALL-ITALIAN PODIUM AT LE MANS WITH THE SECOND PLACE. LOCATELLI 16th
Thanks to an amazing comeback race, Gresini Racing Team Moto3 racer Enea Bastianini took a well-deserved second place finish in today’s French Grand Prix at Le Mans: the 17-year-old rider from Rimini completed an all-Italian podium crossing the line behind winner Romano Fenati and ahead of third-placed Francesco Bagnaia. His team mate Andrea Locatelli just missed out to score points closing the race in sixteenth position.
Starting from the eighteenth position, four laps were enough for Bastianini to go up in fifth place and only nine laps to take the lead, with a nice pass on Romano Fenati. Enea was then involved in a good fight for the victory with Fenati, Bagnaia and championship leader Danny Kent. Fourth at the beginning of the last lap, Bastianini was able to grab the runner-up position under the checkered flag, just 0.1 seconds behind Fenati. With this placement Bastianini is now in second in the overall standings, with 67 points.
After a good start from the fifth row, Locatelli fought with determination to collect some points: a contact with another rider in the final stages, however, didn’t allow him to do it, forcing him to go down from 13th to 16th place.
ENEA BASTIANINI (2nd)
“It was not an easy race: starting back I had to push hard to make up positions and therefore the tyres went down a lot. On the penultimate lap I was in the fight for the victory, but I lost control of the rear, losing two positions. Obviously in the last lap the other riders pushed really hard and it was difficult to recover positions, so all in all I’m satisfied with second place; it’s a good result for me and for the team. In the last two races we had some ups and downs, but during the Jerez test we were able to solve our problems: now my front end feeling is improved and I can ride really well my bike. I believe that from now on we can be able to be more consistent”.
ANDREA LOCATELLI (16th)
“I struggled throughout the whole race because our chassis set-up was not one hundred percent, but we could still bring home some points today; unfortunately with just one lap to go a contact with another rider forced me to run wide and lose some positions, which at that point I was not able to recover. Already halfway through the race I lost ground making a mistake on turn 11, losing contact with the riders with whom I was fighting with. Now we will analyze all the moves we made during this weekend to get prepared to the next round at Mugello”.
“Bastianini was starting the race far behind but we knew that he could keep a good pace to fight for the victory. Fenati made a really good race: when Enea took the lead, he managed to break his rhythm and consequently he didn’t allow him to open a gap. We missed the win, but I'm very happy with this second position, which leads us to the second place in the overall standings. It's nice to have found the right diretcion after going through a difficult time and it is great to see Enea riding again aggressive and fast. I am also satisfied of Locatelli’s performance, although we were hoping to be able to collect points with him. In the end it was not possible, but I think Andrea showed good signs of recovery after two complicated races”.
Miguel Oliveira takes eighth place at Le Mans
Miguel Oliveira -eighth- and Karel Hanika -twentieth- both have intense French GP. Brad Binder DNF's early on after incident with another rider.
05/17/2015 - Le Mans Circuit, France
Leaving behind the cold and clouds of earlier this weekend in Le Mans, the Moto3 French GP opened Sunday's racing under clear, sunny skies. The Red Bull KTM Ajo riders had plenty of work ahead of them, but the team were able to take points through Miguel Oliveira, who finished in eighth. Karel Hanika placed twentieth, having started from pit lane, while Brad Binder was hit by another rider on the second corner and taken out of the contest.
Miguel Oliveira started from the third row, whilst Brad Binder did so from twenty-fifth on the grid and Karel Hanika from pit lane. Forced to gain positions, Binder had got off the line strongly but was knocked down just a few metres into the race at the opening chicane.
Without losing sight of the front group, at all times Miguel Oliveira was fighting for the top places in the race. The Portuguese was continually exchanging positions with rival riders, moving up as high as fourth place, before crossing the finish line in eighth.
Karel Hanika had to make a comeback through the field of his own, as he was forced to begin the French GP from pit lane due to a penalty from the Jerez round. The Czech gradually closed the gap lap by lap, reaching nineteenth. However, an untimely crash with two laps remaining truncated his progress and eliminated his chance of points. He got back on track to take the chequered flag in twentieth.
After five races, Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira are seventh and eighth, respectively, in the overall standings, with 44 and 41 points to their names. Karel Hanika lies thirteenth with 18 points. The next race, the Italian Grand Prix, will be held at the Mugello circuit on the weekend of May 29th to 31st.
44 MIGUEL OLIVEIRA
"It was a difficult Grand Prix. During the race I did not quite have enough of a good feeling with the rear to open the throttle early. I was fighting at the front, but six or seven laps before the end I ran wide and it was difficult to regain ground.
After the practice sessions and the warm-up, the race was a little disappointing. I know we can be higher up. Now we have to look ahead to the next race and continue going forward with our work to fight for the top positions."
41 BRAD BINDER
"I made a great start; I think we made up ten places, but when I arrived at the first corner and was braking for Turn 2, someone crashed into me and I fell down.
It's been a difficult weekend and it is a shame to have only completed one corner in the race, but that's racing. I have dropped two positions in the World Championship, but now I am focusing on Mugello and fighting to get onto the podium."
98 KAREL HANIKA
"I'm a little disappointed with the race today. We started from pit lane and on the opening laps I had a good feeling with the bike. I had a good pace.
Afterwards I could not keep this pace up, I know that both our potential and the bike's was much higher than we showed today and that we can do well, but we have not been able to get the results we wanted.
We have to work hard to improve for the coming races to fight for the top positions."
AKI AJO - Team manager
"Today was definitely not our day in Moto3. Brad [Binder] had some very bad luck on the first corner when another rider took him out, and he could not do anything about it.
Karel [Hanika] has also had a difficult race so soon after his surgery, as well as having to start from the pit lane. We could not expect much.
As for Miguel [Oliveira], we have to analyse why today we could not be stronger, analyse the setup and see what we can improve for the next race.
It's just one race and we know that are becoming more and more familiar with the bike. I am confident that at the coming races we will be fighting for the win."
Zarco gifts podium to French fans
Frenchman takes third place at his home Grand Prix, a result that extends his lead in the Moto2 World Championship standings.
05/17/2015 - Le Mans Circuit, France
For the fourth consecutive race, Johann Zarco placed on the rostrum. This Sunday, at the famous circuit of Le Mans, a third place finish gave him his best result at the historic track. Riding intelligently, the Ajo Motorsport rider secured a podium which sees him increase his advantage in the overall Moto2 standings to 21 points.
From third on the grid, Zarco made a good start to get ahead of his rivals. As he tried to pull away in the opening laps, he stretched the lead group, defending the lead firmly until the fourth lap -when he was overtaken by Thomas Lüthi. Without dropping his pace, lap by lap Zarco maintained second place with a superb ride, until he was passed by Tito Rabat on lap 18.
With this third place finish, the Ajo Motorsport rider strengthens his lead in the Moto2 World Championship with a total of 89 points. The next race will be the Italian GP, on the weekend of May 29th to 31st at the Mugello circuit.
5 JOHANN ZARCO
"It was very good. The victory was the target but, as I said yesterday, if that meant taking too many risks, it was important to get a good result instead.
I was able to lead the race, I was happy and tried to push hard, but Luthi was very fast. I fought with him, but not for long. He opened up a small gap that I was able to limit for a long time, but when Tito Rabat passed me at the end I slid slightly and was a little tense on the bike -because I wanted to get on the podium in France.
It was difficult to keep up the pace, I was focused right to the end and things went very well. This was my best Grand Prix here since the beginning of my career and I'm very happy.
The team did a great job; we were fast in qualifying and fast at the start of the race. Now we have to analyse the race to improve at Mugello, because I think it's a circuit at which I can do better than at Le Mans.
Fighting for victory again and keeping the lead of the World Championship is the main target for us until the end of season."
AKI AJO - Team manager
"Home races are always a challenge and I am very happy that Johann [Zarco] has done well and finished on the podium.
Thomas Luthi was very strong here at Le Mans and I think Johann handled the situation very well; he did not get into a fight with Luthi and focused on scoring points and getting a podium at home."
Italian triumph at Le Mans: Sky Racing Team VR46 rider Fenati takes victory at French GP. Best race of the season for Migno (9th)
Romano is back into winning ways after riding a perfect race.
Migno inside the top 10 for the first time this season
Romano Fenati took a resounding victory in the French GP heading up an all-Italian podium at Le Mans. The Sky Racing Team VR46 rider got back into winning ways (sixth career win) at the end of a hard-fought race featuring great talent, skill and character (41'22.829). Getting away from fifth spot, the Italian rider showed great form right from the start and after a few laps started to set the pace, getting ahead the front pack.
A lead he was able to manage for long stretches of the race, until the checkered flag, defending himself from the attacks by his fellow-countrymen Enea Bastianini and former teammate Francesco Bagnaia, respectively second and third at the finish.
With Fenati’s victory, KTM put an end to the winning streak of 4 wins by the Honda in the Moto3 Championship. In the overall standings, Romano climbed up from tenth to fifth position.
It was a good day for Andrea Migno as well, ninth in 41'37.705 and for the second time in the point-zone, after the twelfth finish in Austin. It was the best finish of the season for the Italian rookie who was able to keep an excellent pace fighting in the top 10 throughout the race.
PABLO NIETO / Team Manager
I want to thank the whole Team first, because behind a great result there is always great teamwork. This weekend has given us a lot of satisfaction, we have worked well and we must continue on this path, even if we know there is still a long way to go. I am very happy for Romano and for Migno as well. Andrea put in a great race as he was very skillful and fast. There could not be a better way to buck us up ahead of Mugello GP.
ROMANO FENATI / Rider
I struggled a bit early in the season, the bike was not performing as well as last year and we had a few problems. But we have worked hard race after race, without losing our spirit and all our efforts were repaid with a great victory. I am happy because today the bike was perfect and on the last lap the tires were still okay, whereas in Jerez they had worn out just 5-6 laps into the race. The leading pack was very crowded, I tried to stay in front and set the pace. On the last lap I pushed as hard as I could and I managed to gain some ground that allowed me to break away from the pack and be the first to cross the finishing line.I did not think we could achieve such a result so quickly. I have been training with all the other guys from the Riders Academy, those very guys against whom today I fought through the very last turn.
ANDREA MIGNO / Rider
I got off to a flying start managing to stay in the leading group. I tried to fight with them as long as I could, then Kent passed me and he kind of wake me up. From then on it was a solo race, I saw the leading group in front and I had another group behind to watch out to in order to preserve the lead. It was pretty tough, but the ninth place is a good finish. We always had a good pace and rode fast, if we consider that we still have some work to do on the bike. At Mugello we must build on the good things we have done so far, not to be too far behind in the race. I want to thank the whole team, who always believed in me and helped me a lot. We have been working hard and doing our best to improve day by day.
Moto3 - San Carlo Team Italia in the points at Le Mans
First point in the World Championship for Manzi, Ferrari out due to a crash.
Sunday 17th May: an unforgettable day for the Italian motorcycling. In the Moto3 race at the Circuit Bugatti of Le Mans, Romano Fenati (Sky Racing Team VR46), Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Team) and Francesco Bagnaia (MAPFRE Team Mahindra Aspar) realized an all-Italian podium, that reaffirms Italy in the elite of the international motorcycling. It's a pride for the Italian Motorcycling Federation and San Carlo Team Italia that, in the recent past, introduced into the World Championship two of the protagonists of today, such as Fenati (125cc European Champion in 2011 and winner at Jerez in 2012 in Moto3 World Championship) and Bagnaia (with the federal team in 2013), training at the same time other promising talents of the "Italian breeding ground".
Among these talents, Stefano Manzi shone during the 24 laps of race and finished 15th, conquering his first point in the World Championship at his fourth race. It's a prize for the excellent work done this weekend by the rider from Rimini and his team and it's a good omen for the Gran Prix of Italy at Mugello, planned from 29th to 31st May.
Matteo Ferrari was not particularly lucky, since he was out due to a crash on the twelfth lap, while he was fighting for the points. The 2012 Moto3 European Champion has still the satisfaction for a weekend in which he qualified in 12th place, his best position on the grid in the World Championship.
Stefano Manzi (San Carlo Team Italia - Mahindra MGP3O #29) 15th
"I am happy with the result and the performance. During the race, I had competitive times, which were faster than in practice and this allowed me to fight for the points. Thanks to the work done on the bike by the team, today I had a good feeling and I succeeded in conquering this first point in the standings. Now we want to repeat and improve in the next races."
Matteo Ferrari (San Carlo Team Italia - Mahindra MGP3O #12) DNF
"Unfortunately I didn't start well and I had to recover positions from the first laps. When I found the right feeling, I was able to overtake several riders, keeping a good pace in line with the points. The crash was a shame, it could have been a positive race and weekend for us, but we will leave Le Mans with the awareness in our means, thanks to the excellent work done by the team. Now we have to give our best to improve at Mugello."
Cristiano Migliorati (Sports Manager - San Carlo Team Italia Moto3)
We are satisfied with the first point of Manzi, but we are sorry for the crash of Ferrari, who could have been in the top-15. Matteo had to recover from a bad start and at that point, his race was already uphill. He remounted positions, with interesting time on 43'', and then unfortunately he crashed and he couldn't get a good result. The race of Stefano was great instead : he started discretely and he kept a competitive pace with times that he never reached before in the weekend, signal of his determination and dedication. The point that he got with the 15th place gives us hopes to be at Mugello, for the Italian Gran Prix in two weeks, with the right determination."
Paolo Sesti (FMI President)
"For the FMI, the all-Italian podium with Fenati, Bastianini and Bagnaia in the first places of the Moto3 class at Le Mans is a motivation of pride. It's a result that awards the talent of our guys, the determination of the teams that follow the best talents of the Italian motorcycling and the policy of support to the young riders that the FMI started few years ago. Since 2011, with the Team Italia project, we have been training several riders, among these Fenati and Bagnaia, today protagonists of the international Motorcycling. We are confident that our riders will give us a lot of satisfaction from here on out."
EIGHTH PLACE, EIGHT POINTS AND EIGHTH IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP FOR SIMEON AT LE MANS
Eight is the number that has characterized the French weekend of Xavier Siméon and Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 at Le Mans: the 15-year-old Belgian rider in fact completed a determined race in eighth position, placement that gave him eight points and thanks to which he’s now eighth in the Championship, with 39 points.
Started well from the third row Siméon, fresh from yesterday morning’s big crash during the last free practice session and with a sore left ankle, took some laps to get a good rhythm, losing a few positions in the early stages of the race. Later, however, he managed to stay in the fight for the top five, his stated goal for today, battling with Morbidelli, Simon and Nakagami, eventually crossing the finish line immediately behind them.
XAVIER SIMÉON (8th)
“In the early stages of the race I lost ground because I was not aggressive enough, probably because of yesterday’s crash and my injured left foot. After the start I lost some positions and I struggled to chase the riders in front of me, then later I found my rhythm and I managed to stay with the group fighting for the fifth position. The bike worked well, even if I was losing a lot of time in a couple of corners: probably without this problem we would have been able to fight for a better position. However, I'm still happy with this placement: maybe I was a little more anxious than usual because I thought a lot about last year's race, in which I crashed on the first lap, and this time I really wanted to avoid another mistake. Now we look forward to Mugello with great confidence”.
“Today Siméon made a really good race because it was not easy to avoid mistakes: yesterday morning’s crash definitely affected him, but nevertheless he finished the race very close to the top five, which was basically the goal that we set for today. We bring home more valuable points for the championship, waiting for a very important round the Mugello one. We look forward at it aware of being very competitive”.
Schrotter battles to clinch points at Tech3 Home Grand Prix
Tech3 Racing Team rider Marcel Schrotter closed the team’s home race with a points scoring finish in 13th after an intense battle in the final laps at the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France. Schrotter who started from 14th on the grid slipped back to 16th at the end of the fiercely contested first lap. He pushed onwards and lapped consistently to climb up to 14th by lap ten and in a group of three riders fighting for 13th, before dropping back two positions in the middle of the race. With five laps remaining the 21 year old German was back in the points and in a tough battle with Sandro Cortese. On the last lap the two swapped positions several times in a battle that went right until the finish flag, with the Tech3 rider coming out on top and snatching 13th position. This positive result marked a good end to a tricky weekend for Schrotter and having gained a few more valuable world championship points, he now looks towards the next race at Mugello with confidence.
Meanwhile, Ricky Cardus concluded round five of the 2015 Moto2 World Championship in 16th position after a hard fought battle at Le Mans. Cardus undertook a rocket start to overtake five riders by the close of the first lap. He then set about picking his way through the ultra competitive intermediate class back to a point scoring position after running a series of consistent and fast paced laps. Cardus was in 17th with twelve laps remaining as he kept plugging the gap to the position in front and he eventually crossed the finish line in 16th place and agonisingly close to the points, after moving up nine places from his qualifying position in today’s 26 lap Moto2 race.
Marcel Schrotter : 13th - Championship : 19 - Points : 12
"I am happy that I could score some points at the Tech3 Racing Team’s home GP even though it was not the dream ending to the weekend. I really pushed at the beginning of this race and was aggressive as soon as the lights went out. However, I lost grip on the rear tyre after only two or three laps which caused me to struggle with getting a good exit out of the corner. I lost time in many turns because of this and so I had to overtake on the brakes in order to compensate. There were a lot of good fights in this race and I felt that I could have overtaken the group in front of me as my lap times were strong and quicker than them. However, I passed Cortese in the final third of the race but he came back and kept doing the same move on me every lap. During the fourth time, he hit me even though I had closed the line. It leaves a bittersweet taste in my mouth as if there were a few more laps, I could have probably reached the group in front and then fought for 11th. Nevertheless, it’s still great to score some points after a hard weekend, so now I’m looking forward to the next race."
Ricky Cardus : 16th - Championship : Not classified
"The race was quite good for me even though it’s annoying to try so hard and just miss out on the points. My lap times were decent and I aimed to run at the same pace every lap, which I almost managed to do. Finally, my feeling with the front of the bike got better which is something that we have been struggling with the whole weekend. After the start, I pushed continuously and concentrated on carrying as much corner speed as possible and I feel that I improved every lap. In the end, I finished in 16th which is just outside of the points, but the positive to take from this race is that I was only 3 seconds from 11th position. I can’t leave France without saying thanks to the team who did a great job and I am grateful for the support they give me plus I must also thank the sponsors."
Hervé Poncharal - Team Manager
"Although we didn’t finish right at the front, it was a good race for the Tech3 Racing Moto2 team. We managed to score some points which is positive especially as it is so competitive in this intermediate class. Both riders rode well, showed spirit and pushed from the word go. Marcel was in a tough group and he was not too far off 11th, which he could have reached if there were a few more laps, however we are still happy that he managed to collect some points at our home GP. Ricky was so close to being in the points, but was unfortunate to get overtaken by Axel Pons as he really went for it in this race. So overall I am reasonably happy as both of our riders finished in the top 16 and I hope this result will act as a confidence boost for the riders and the team for the next race in Mugello. The Mistral runs well at that circuit so we are positive about two strong results in a fortnight’s time."