Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after qualifying practice at Sepang:
Seventh front row for Miguel Oliveira
Red Bull KTM Ajo rider takes third position in qualifying for Malaysian Grand Prix. Karel Hanika and Brad Binder to start from fifth and sixth row, respectively.
10/24/2015 - Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia
After leading the qualifying session almost from the start with a great lap, Miguel Oliveira only missed out on pole position at the Sepang International Circuit after the chequered flag had fallen. A start from third position on the grid tomorrow for the Malaysian Grand Prix will be the seventh front row for the Portuguese this season. Karel Hanika, fourteenth, and Brad Binder, sixteenth, will take off from the fifth and sixth rows, respectively. All positions are somewhat provisional, as penalties for different riders could alter final grid for tomorrow in the coming hours.
The Red Bull KTM Ajo trio were able to improve their times from yesterday in the final practice session of the weekend. Brad Binder, the first to do this, was fast from the start. He improved further at the end of the session, working together with Miguel Oliveira. The South African –2:13.268– was eventually fifth, with Oliveira setting a time of 2:12.957 to enter into the Top 3. Karel Hanika placed fifteenth –2:13.785.
Oliveira decided to push from the opening minutes of the qualifying session. This allowed him to set his best lap of the weekend –2:12.893– 8 minutes in, and he led the way until after time had elapsed and two riders overtook him with their final laps. Working together, Hanika and Binder –with times of 2:13.641 and 2:13.745– completed the session in fourteenth and sixteenth place, respectively.
The Moto3 race will be held tomorrow at 12pm local time, 5am in Europe (CET). Oliveira, Binder and Hanika will try to fight for a podium and a victory, which the team last earned in Malaysia through Luis Salom in 2013.
44 MIGUEL OLIVEIRA
"The QP today went quite well. I had a really bad last stint, because as I was first from the early stages, everyone wanted to catch a tow from me. I had my good lap from the first stint in the bag, so I could play around with things. I'm happy with the result, although I think at this circuit it is not as important to start from the front row. However, this will help us to get away from traffic on the early laps, even though I think the race will be in a group. Tomorrow in the race it will be important not to make mistakes, have fun and deal with the heat as best we can to try to get on the podium."
41 BRAD BINDER
"The qualifying session did not go as we wanted, because from the first lap I never felt comfortable. We changed the setup from the final practice session and although we improved in some respects, the feeling in general was not the best. I never felt comfortable and despite having tried to solve things throughout the session, I could not do any more. I never managed to set several consecutive laps at a good pace. Tomorrow we will try to forget about qualifying and start well, because I feel able to be in the leading group in the race."
98 KAREL HANIKA
"Today was a good day, because my feeling on the bike was much better than yesterday. We have improved the setup of the bike, and we only have a few small details to work on. In the final practice session we didn’t go badly and in QP I felt I was faster than many other riders, but I couldn’t set a great lap. I think we could have gotten a better result but eventually the traffic put us down to fourteen. Of course, it could have been better, but we have a good feeling about making up positions tomorrow. It will be important to make a good start to have a great race."
Navarro claims place on front row at Sepang
Repsol rider maintains high level and takes second on the grid. Maria Herrera progresses in Sepang and finishes qualifying session twenty-fifth.
Today, amidst temperatures of 33°C and 58% humidity, the starting grid for the penultimate round of the 2015 Moto3 season was decided in qualifying. Jorge Navarro set the second fastest time in the session.
Navarro set his fastest time after overcoming Miguel Oliveira on his final lap, but just moments later Niccolo Antonelli snatched pole position by just 0.047s. Heavy traffic was again the worst enemy of the fastest riders in the qualifying session, making it very difficult to have a clear track. Navarro chose to forget about the group that followed him on the last lap and went after a definitive time, which eventually allowed him to place second.
Maria Herrera continued her learning process at the Malaysian track. This morning, in the third free practice session, the Repsol rider finished twenty-eighth and was just over 2 seconds behind the fastest time –set by Danny Kent. In the qualifying session she was twenty-fifth, around 1.5 seconds off Antonelli.
Tomorrow sees the penultimate race of the season for the Moto3 riders, which will take place at 12.00pm local time –5am CET.
Jorge Navarro 2nd 2:12.700 29 laps 161 km
"The qualifying session was difficult because it was pretty hot and the feeling was not the same at the start as in the morning. I think we did a great job, because we tested different setups for the bike to improve in these conditions and at the end of day we lowered our time from the morning, so I'm very happy. On the final laps, with the traffic on track, I decided to push myself without thinking that they could beat my time, and I think I made a great lap. We are ready for tomorrow."
Maria Herrera 25th 2:14.217 29 laps 161 km
"It was a difficult qualifying session. I did not feel very comfortable with the soft tyre and I did what I could. In the middle of the session I pushed a bit and lowered my time, but there were so many riders in the group that none of us could ride as fast as we wanted. This circuit is a little tough for me, but I'm improving with every session and that is positive. We are not far from the points –I think we're half a second off– so tomorrow we will fight to be in that group like we were in Australia."
THIRD ROW START FOR LEOPARD RACING’S VAZQUEZ AND KENT IN SCORCHING SEPANG
Although title favourite Danny Kent will head from ninth spot on the grid into tomorrow’s most probably championship decisional Moto3 race at the Sepang Circuit, the 21-year-old Englishman endured a frustrating qualifying this afternoon which was also the case for teammate Efren Vazquez who qualified two positions ahead of Kent but both riders were penalized with three positions respectively to drop down the order whereas Hiroki Ono delivered a stunning qualifying performance to start the penultimate race from P11 on the grid.
Weather conditions didn’t change for day two of practice in Malaysia whilst the air pollution situation got a bit worse today, but didn’t affect time schedule or even the riders out on track. World Championship leader Danny Kent put in a great show from the very first moment this morning with the fastest lap time after the final free practice session, so he went into qualifying as the clearly favourite for pole position this afternoon.
However, as long as the 40 minute timed session went on the more riders tried to follow the fastest man on track this weekend thus far. Even a ride through the pit lane wasn’t any help for the ambitious Englishman to get a clear track. Kent’s final time attack sees him to set the sixth fastest lap time but he leave the line in ninth spot on the grid due to a penalty again tomorrow. To secure the title already in Malaysia, Kent has to score ten points more than his only rival in the championship Miguel Oliveira.
On the other hand, the team’s experienced Spaniard Efren Vazquez tried his utmost to help Kent to use the two long straights at the Sepang track to his advantage, but the track was too crowded at this time to give the season’s outstanding Moto3 rider a good slipstream. Vazquez himself was riding behind Kent in his final run for a fast lap time to be recorded fourth fastest man on track finally but he also drop down the order by one row.
Back on form was Japanese youngster Hiroki Ono at his comeback after foot injury, but his strong qualifying performance came more surprisingly after his nasty crash yesterday afternoon. Ono will start the Malaysian Grand Prix from eleventh position.
Moto3™ action gets underway on Sunday at lunchtime, which means one more time an early wake-up call for European race fans. Teams and riders have to endure a demanding 18 laps race distance.
#7 Efren VAZQUEZ, Grid position 7th - 2´12.956 (13/13):
“This qualifying went more or less in the way like at Phillip Island two weeks’ time ago. Everyone wanted to get Danny’s slipstream. However, it was difficult to focus on a really fast lap time because of that. I tried to help Danny to give him a good slipstream on the straight for which I really was fighting for his advantage to try to pull away from the rest during the other parts of the track. But it was impossible. So we have to wait and see again, who of the riders will get a penalty and in which form. In any case, I think we have a good pace for tomorrow’s race but it’s almost impossible to prepare in a better way like this when these kind of things happen.”
#52 Danny KENT, Grid position 9th - 2´12.994 (12/12):
“First I’ve to admit that a second row wouldn’t be too bad, though we have to deal with a penalty again. However, in general it was a frustrating qualifying today. A lot of riders tried to follow me even when I entered the pit lane to try to come away from them all, but my strategy didn’t work out. It’s even more frustrating as Efren, my teammate seemed like he wouldn’t get away from me as he was always around. So the only thing I can say is that I’m frustrated and hopefully we will stay in the second row if the race direction will penalize us with any points again. But the most important thing is that we’re ready for tomorrow’s race thanks to a fast and consistent pace.”
#76 Hiroki ONO, Grid position 11th - 2´13.282 (8/8):
“I’m really happy because we did a great job today. I think eleventh spot on the grid is a great result in respect to my comeback after injury but also due to my yesterday’s crash for which I felt a bit sore and tired this morning, but fortunately I was able to prepare in the best way for qualifying. Although, I’m a bit surprised by our small gap with just 0.6 seconds off the pole, which is pretty small, especially at this long circuit. During both sessions today, we found some small changes to the chassis and these worked out very well. From this point of view I think we’re able to do a very good race.”
No ‘best qualifying’ this time for Livio Loi
The previous qualifying sessions, in Japan and Australia, Livio Loi set his best ever results. This time, in Malaysia, RW Racing GP’s Belgian rider was far from bettering his personal bests. The 2.14,468 he set in his seventh lap of the session at Sepang brought him to only 26th at the end of practice.
From the beginning of the qualifying session it was clear that Loi was in trouble. He seemed to be stuck to the very last position until halfway through the practice, when he recorded 2.14,468 that brought him to 22nd at the time. In the final laps Loi was in the middle of a group finding a slipstream to lift him up a bit in the rankings, but he didn’t manage to improve his lap time.
Finding the reasons for the struggles Loi has been through from the first practice on, isn’t easy. A combination of several factors seems to be the bother. The team worked their butt off to find a solution, but solving one problem might cause a new one and then the situation grows worse more than better. Whatever the team changed regarding the bike, sector times hardly improved. It is clear however that it’s the corners that are the main problem, as Loi was the one recording the best maximum speed at the end of the straight: 231,5 kms.
Livio Loi – 26 (2.14,468)
“I don’t know what is wrong. The feeling hasn’t been good since the first start on Friday morning and it isn’t getting any better. The problem is that it is very hard if not impossible to change feeling and confidence. Of course I’m not happy at all with this result. It is going to be a very very though race, although I do keep in mind that the last time I qualified in 26th (at Indianapolis), eventually I won the race. Here at Sepang there is always a chance of rain and who knows what might happen then….”
Moto3 - Positive qualifying for San Carlo Team Italia at Sepang Circuit
In Malaysia Stefano Manzi (17th) confirms his convincing levels of competitiveness, Manuel Pagliani gets the 28th place.
The good period of San Carlo Team Italia continues in Malaysia. In the only session of official qualifying that projected in Pole Position, for the second time this year, a rider with precedents with Team Italia as Niccolò Antonelli (Honda), Stefano Manzi gets the 17th place in the grid while Manuel Pagliani is 28th.
Author of a very positive 10th time during the third session of free practice in 2'13"664, Stefano Manzi expressed again excellent levels of competitiveness in qualifying, with a positive 2'13"980, which earned him the 17th place that underlines the brilliant moment of shape started from Misano Adriatico.
It is expected to be a comeback race for Manuel Pagliani, 28th in 2'14"617, but he improved his times session after session, finding a great compromise of set-up thanks to the work of the team.
Stefano Manzi (San Carlo Team Italia - Mahindra MGP3O #29) 17th, 2'13"980
"I am happy with the position on the grid, I am just sorry for the traffic in the last run that didn't allow me to improve further. This morning, in the third session of free practice, I got a good time in 2'13"6 that I wasn't able to repeat in qualifying due to traffic but also to higher temperatures. Anyway I am satisfied because I have good feeling on the bike, this proves that we are working well with the team and the results are coming with continuity."
Manuel Pagliani (San Carlo Team Italia - Mahindra MGP3O #96) 28th, 2'14"617
"Unfortunately we will be forced to start from behind, but some different signals emerged thanks to this qualifying. In the first run, I rode on my own, without the help of wake of other riders, succeeding in improving the times of the previous sessions. I gave my best to progress in the last exit, but unfortunately I couldn't find the right wake to gain the tenths we needed to start up ahead. It will be probably be a race like Phillip Island, a comeback race, but thanks to the work of the team I feel at ease on the bike and I am ready for an attack race."
Cristiano Migliorati (Sport Manager - San Carlo Team Italia Moto3)
"In every race weekend, our goal is to qualify in top-20 and today with Manzi, as well as in the other rounds of the calendar, we succeeded. We are very satisfied with the performance of Stefano that knew how to manage well a very strange qualifying session, gaining a respectable time. Due to some circumstances, traffic and lack of the right wake, he didn't repeat the excellent 2'13"6 that earned him the tenth time in the final session of free practice,but he's carrying on the good moment of shape with an interesting performance. Talking about Pagliani, he's continuing the progression in terms of time, improving session after session, whatever the position is. It's positive that he found with the team a great set up and the best gear rapport to do his best tomorrow: with a good start and the pace in 2'13" he can repeat the good performance of Phillip Island."
Marquez secures qualifying top ten in sizzling Sepang
Sepang, Malaysia - 24 October 2015: Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Álex Márquez will start tomorrow’s 19-lap Moto2 race from the third row of the grid after a record-breaking qualifying session at a sultry Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia today.
Márquez set a best time of 2.07.515 on his ninth lap, but just when he was preparing to push for an improved lap time in the decisive final minutes, spots of rain emerging from thunder-filled skies prevented lap times from dropping further.
The 19-year-old has been a permanent fixture inside the top 10 throughout this weekend’s action and he is confident that he’s found a set-up to cope with the extreme heat and slippery track surface at Sepang tomorrow.
Tomorrow’s race concludes the demanding sequence of three flyaway races in Japan, Australia and Malaysia on successive weekends before the season ends in Valencia early next month.
Álex Márquez: 9th - 2’07.515
“I am satisfied with a top ten on the grid because this track on a Moto2 bike is a completely different challenge to Moto3. We have concentrated a lot on my riding style and I have made a good improvement in learning the different lines and braking points. We didn’t make a good step in FP3 because we were saving tyres for the time attack in qualifying. In qualifying I am sure I could have improved by another three-tenths before the rain came, so for tomorrow we have to be ready for a very physically and mentally demanding race. My rhythm is good and if I can stay with the front group for the first half of the race then I am sure we can get a positive result. We knew rain was coming so we put in the new tyres at the beginning but I still think I could have done a better lap time without the rain at the end.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“I have to say that I am happy with ninth position from Alex because this is not an easy track to come to for the first time in Moto2. It is very long and technical and you need experience to go fast. So I think he did a good job to finish inside the top ten. It was a shame that we couldn’t use all of the new tyres at the end of the session with the rain because I think it was possible to get on the second row. His pace has improved a lot from FP1 and if we can improve again in the warm-up I’m confident he can go with the second group in the race.”
Zarco take front row start for Malaysian GP
Ajo Motorsport rider claims second place in qualifying for Malaysian Grand Prix, in a session disrupted by rain halfway through.
10/24/2015 - Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia
The penultimate qualifying session of the 2015 season was disrupted by the onset of rain on Saturday at the Sepang International Circuit. Johann Zarco proved adept at handling the situation and, identifying the threat at the beginning of the session, pushed hard early on to take second position. It is the twelfth front row of the campaign for the Ajo Motorsport rider.
Zarco completed the free practice sessions at the Sepang International Circuit in style. The Ajo Motorsport rider took a definitive step forward to top the timesheets and set a new track record -2:06.881. Despite a small crash in the final seconds, the pace he showed in the session allowed him to face qualifying with more confidence.
The skies were overcast at the beginning of the afternoon run, and the Moto2 riders knew that they had to move quickly. In the first two minutes of the session, the new World Champion placed second. He improved on his time over two consecutive laps halfway through the session, setting a 2:06.510 that put him 0.127s off pole. With 18 minutes remaining and Zarco looking to move up to first, the rain flags were shown and the battle for pole came to a close.
Tomorrow, in the penultimate race of the year, Johann Zarco will seek to tie the record for podiums in the intermediate category -14. The Moto2 race starts at 1:20pm local time -6:20am CET.
5 JOHANN ZARCO
"I'm a little disappointed, because had it not been for the session ending early, I think I could have taken pole position. On my best lap I made a small mistake that did not allow me to put myself first, but I'm not worried, because second place is very good and above all my pace is very good for the race tomorrow. I am calm, as so far we have done a good job.
I am not thinking about records; I just want to win, because this feeling is fantastic. This weekend I'm very happy, because in Australia it was very difficult and we were always far back. Here we have always been first or second, so tomorrow we want to have fun."
FOURTH ROW FOR SIMEON IN RAIN-HIT QUALIFYING AT SEPANG
Xavier Siméon will start from the fourth row of the grid with the tenth fastest time in tomorrow’s Malaysian Grand Prix at the Sepang International Circuit: aboard the Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex machine, the Belgian rider clocked 2’07”522, missing the third row for just 0.007 seconds. A good performance, which would however could be even better if the arrival of the rain had not stopped his last Qualifying attempt, during which Siméon was improving his best performance.
Tomorrow’s race will start at 1:20 pm local time, over a distance of 19 laps: given the good pace shown by Siméon during practice, in the Sepang heat the target of the Team is to replicate the top five finish obtained at Phillip Island.
XAVIER SIMÉON (10th - 2'07"522)
“Tomorrow we must start from the fourth row, but nevertheless I’m very happy with how it went today, as we had clearly the potential to qualify on the second row. The bike worked very well and I felt really comfortable. Unfortunately, the rain arrived just as I was in my last attempt. I was able to do only one lap with new tyres and in the second lap, when I was improving my performance, it started to rain... However, we have a good pace, so despite the fourth row start tomorrow hopefully we can enter in the fight for the top five”.
“In the final stages of the Qualifying Siméon was improving his performance, but unfortunately it started to fall a few drops of rain. This didn’t allow us to advance on the grid, but we remain very confident. As happened at Phillip Island in fact Xavier is feeling good on the bike and he can count on a good rhythm, enough to battle for the top five. It will be a long and difficult race in very hot conditions, but we are ready to fight!”.
Second row for Fenati on the Sky Racing Team VR46 at Sepang
Romano will be getting away from fifth spot on the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix starting grid. Ninth row for Migno (27th)
Second and ninth row for the Sky Racing Team VR46 at the end of the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix qualifying at the Sepang International Circuit.
In qualifying, Romano Fenati confirmed the good feeling with the bike he had already got yesterday in FP2 and in this morning’s FP3 (6th fastest time in 2’13.347). Rider number 5 on the Sky Racing Team VR46, initially 7th (2'13.106) at the end of qualifying - tomorrow will be getting away from the second row and more specifically the fifth box, after the penalty inflicted on Efren Vazquez and Danny Kent, which allowed the Italian rider to climb up two grid positions.
Ninth row for Andrea Migno, who did not manage to find the right slipstream and tomorrow will be getting away from 27th on the grid, after receiving a 3-place penalty from Race Direction at the end of qualifying that he had ended in 24th (2’14.200). Tomorrow he will have to pull off a comeback race.
The rider from Emilia Romagna had done better in the last FP session this morning (16th fastest time in 2’13.908), but then failed to repeat the feat in qualifying.
PABLO NIETO / Team Manager
I'm happy because Romano has got a great feeling with the bike and this is the most important thing ahead of the race. I believe that today we have taken another step forward, as we were not only fast in the single qualifying lap but we also had a good pace. Too bad because we were in the front row with just a few seconds left in the session, then we lost some positions, but we are satisfied anyway as Fenati will get away from immediately behind the leading pack. Migno did not go so well in qualifying and will start from farther behind than expected. We must continue to work to improve this aspect because I am convinced that Andrea has what it takes to be permanently in the top ten group.
ROMANO FENATI / Rider
Qualifying at Sepang is always very exciting because here, more than in any other GP, is important to be able to make the most of slipstreams to try to get ahead. We waited so long in the pits for the right time to get out on the track. Unfortunately we could only ride a lap, but the pace is good and this is what boosts my confidence ahead of tomorrow’s race.
ANDREA MIGNO / Rider
I am a bit disappointed because the feeling with the bike was good, this morning in free practice I had managed to set a good time and stay close to the point-scoring zone. Unfortunately in qualifying I could not find the right slipstream and so I will be getting away from the back of the grid. I was hoping I could start from higher up on the grid, but tomorrow I’ll give my best to pull off a stunning comeback race.
BASTIANINI POWERS THROUGH TRAFFIC TO TAKE THIRD ROW IN SEPANG QUALIFYING
Gresini Racing Team Moto3 racer Enea Bastianini will start from eighth on the grid in tomorrow’s Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang: in a qualifying session characterized by traffic on track, the 17-year-old rider from Rimini set a lap time of 2’13”232 at the end of the session, improving by half a second his performance from this morning’s third and final free practice session and resulting the ninth fastest rider. Enea then gained a position after the penalties given to Efren Vazquez and Danny Kent, which will line up alongside him on the third row in 7th and 9th position.
ENEA BASTIANINI (8th - 2'13"232)
“We have improved compared to yesterday, so we are quite happy: I have better feelings when I’m on the bike, although we still have some vibrations that bother me while riding. The track is very ruined, so we will have to continue to deal with it, but I think that we can try to further improve the situation in tomorrow morning’s Warm Up. Now I can turn the bike better now and due to the ruined asphalt is better to take a wider line, not so close to the apex. In qualifying it was also difficult to make a good lap because there was a lot of traffic: in some places the slipstreams helped me, while in other places some riders slowed me down, but we know that it’s like this in Moto3”.
“I think that the Qualifying we saw today it was the strangest of the year... many riders proceeded slow waiting for a slipstream, so I think that the penalties were right. Despite the traffic Enea managed to do a good lap, although maybe we could have done something more, and eventually the starting position for tomorrow is good. We therefore look forward to the race: I think that no one will be able to go away, so I expect a hard-fought race at the top”.
Excellent fifth place for Baldassarri in qualifying at Sepang
In a qualifying session under the uncertain weather conditions, Lorenzo Baldassarri conquered an impressive fifth place on the grid and tomorrow he will start from the second row. Good session also for Simone Corsi, 11th on the starting grid.
After the great podium at Phillip Island, Baldassarri today signed the best result of his career in qualifying. With the excellent 2.07.199 scored, he will be close to the front row for fighting with the Top guys.
Positive qualifying also for Simone Corsi, who will start from the 11th place. Corsi, because of the strange weather conditions, was unable to improve his lap time in the last part of the session. With a best of 2.07.533 he will start from the fourth row.
“I'm really satisfied: this is my best result ever in qualifying. We did a great step forward from yesterday and I am happy with this result, conquered on a difficult track as Sepang. I’m confident for the race: full gas, we can achieve a great result”.
"Despite the weather, that prevented me to improve my lap time, I’m satisfied with this qualifying session. The feeling is positive, especially with the used tyres, and my pace is good. I’m confident for the race”.
Schrotter battles to sixth row qualifying result at Sepang
Tech3 Racing Team rider Marcel Schrotter concluded today’s qualifying session at the Sepang International Circuit in 17th position as he confidently looks on to tomorrow’s 19 lap race. The young German started the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix with a run to 22nd in the opening shakedown on Friday. From there, he embarked on undertaking the necessary setup work on his Mistral 610 in order to make it suit the characteristics of the 5.5 kilometre track. His initial best lap of 2’09.581 was cut down to 2’08.659 by the close of FP3, which left the 22 year old optimistic of lowering his time further and clinching a strong qualifying position. When the all important shootout commenced, Schrotter got straight to work as he began lapping the world famous circuit at speed. The young German made consistently improved before setting a personal best of 2’08.195 on his sixth lap. However, with 20 minutes left to run, rain began to fall which interrupting Schrotter’s efforts of attempting to score a top grid position and left him in 17th, but he still remains optimistic of a points scoring finish tomorrow. Schrotter will now aim to climb through the intensely competitive field and then close the final flyaway race with a solid result before heading back to Europe for the final round at Valencia in two weeks.
Meanwhile, young Spaniard Xavi Vierge will contest the penultimate round of the 2015 season from 25th on the grid after attacking the Sepang International circuit at full speed today. The rookie started the weekend with an opening display that left him in 26th with a lap time of 2’11.023 as he fought on track at a circuit that he has previously never ridden on. He persevered and continued his thorough effort aboard the Mistral 610 as he made continuous steps forward. Vierge closed the final practice session in 25th position, but he had cut his lap time to 2’09.613, marking an improvement of almost a second and a half. This left him fully charged and primed for a solid qualifying campaign. When the 45 minute practice kicked off, the 18 year lunged forward and after some meticulous work with the Tech3 Racing Team, Vierge, posted a time of 2’09.066 on his 12th lap out of 14 as he built up his speed. Yet, despite this time being his quickest of the weekend, his attempts to lower it further were thwarted by the rain and so the young Spaniard will kick off his Malaysian Moto2 battle from 25th on the grid.
Marcel Schrotter – Position : 17th – Time : 2'08.195 - Laps : 8
““It has been another challenging weekend for us, but the qualifying went ok and I am confident for the fight tomorrow. In terms of the performance, it took us a fair amount of time to get up to speed. Yet, we did our best and the end result is satisfying although we need to be faster. Having said that, compared to where we were this morning or even yesterday, we made a big step up. In FP3, I rode on a new tyre and followed some of the other riders on track, but this left me with just one unused tyre for qualifying. As a result, we started on an old one and ran quite a few laps on it. I felt good, but there was a lot of traffic, so I pitted and put the new tyre in as the weather was not looking good and no one knew when the rain would come. When I returned to the track, most of the other riders were in their garages, so I did my lap time alone which is positive. I am happy that I could do this time on my own, yet if there were a few more laps or some slipstream, which is very important here due to the long straights, then I am certain that we could have easily been inside the top fifteen. Anyway, I think that I will be able to fight for the points tomorrow and as always I will do my very best. I also want to say thanks to the Tech3 Racing Team because it is almost the end of our partnership together which makes it emotional for me, but I am determined to get a good result for them in the final flyaway race.“
Xavi Vierge – Position : 25th – Time : 2'09.066 - Laps : 14
“I am quite pleased with my qualifying performance today even if the starting position for tomorrow is not too positive, plus I’m a bit disappointed that the rain stopped the session because I’m certain I could have improved my lap time further. Yesterday was a difficult day and I finished free practice 2 with not such a confident feeling with the bike. Yet, today I threw my leg over the Mistral and I felt completely different straight away. So the team and I worked together and we improved the bike even more and my riding style too. The negative point of today was that it started raining as soon as we had put a new tyre on the bike and I could only run on it for one lap before we had to come in. Anyway, my qualifying lap was my fastest of the weekend but I know that I could have been even quicker if the rain had stayed away. Nevertheless, I am happy and looking forward to tomorrow’s race. It’s going to be long as it’s 19 laps in length, but I will do my best to end it positively as a way to thank the team for the great work they have done this weekend.”
IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia
#30 Takaaki Nakagami
【FP3】7th 2’07.813 (17 laps)
【QP】 7th 2’07.422 (14 laps)
#25 Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman
【FP3】16th 2’08.565 (16 laps)
【QP】 15th 2’07.643 (13 laps)
Second day of Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix took place under the thick and grey clouds. It rain-flagged with 18 minutes left in the Qualifying session and 8 minutes later all riders forced pit-in. The rain didn’t stop and all riders remained in pit box to the end
IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Takaaki Nakagami climbed up to provisional 4th place improving his own best on just his third lap of the session. However, he couldn’t have further improvement due to the rain and finished qualifying in 7th place. He will start tomorrow’s race from the 3rd row.
Malaysian rider Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman improved his own best dropping down 2’08 second, however he didn’t have another chance for the time attack and forced to go back to pit box. He will start tomorrow’s race from 5th row 15th position on the grid.
Tadayuki Okada (Team Manager)
As the weather condition was getting worse, Nakagami tried time attack from early stage of the qualifying session. We had a plan to challenge again the time attack in last 10 minutes, but because of the rain we could not complete it as we were planning. Azlan also was trying to secure higher position, but I am disappointed that he had to complete the session without having last chance for the time attack. I’m sure that tomorrow’s race will be so hard and tough for the higher temperature and sticky climate, but I really expect that both riders will show good performance.
#30 Takaaki Nakagami
I improved the time from Free Practice yesterday, but I couldn’t break the 2’07s which I aimed. I’m really disappointed for today’s result and got frustrated that the rain didn’t allow to me completed my challenge in last 10 min. It will be tough race tomorrow, but I try to make a good start and to push hard paying attention also on tire management.
#25 Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman
I had good feeling with machine and tire in qualifying and set the 2’07s shortening 0.8 second from yesterday. During my last attack it started raining. I’m so sorry that I couldn’t have further improvement. Tomorrow’s race will be difficult starting from 15th position, but I will do all my best to catch up rivals and battle in top group!
KENT AND ROSSI CLOSE IN ON WORLD TITLES
The Sepang circuit in Malaysia is completely sold out for the penultimate round of the MotoGP™ World Championship tomorrow where Britain’s Danny Kent and legend Valentino Rossi could clinch their respective world titles.
Wiltshire-based Danny Kent has a 40 point lead in the Moto3™ World Championship as he attempts to become the first British Grand Prix World Champion since the late great Barry Sheene 38 long years ago. Unfortunately for the 21 year old Leopard racing Honda rider he starts the 18 lap race from the third row of the grid after falling foul of race direction for the second grand prix in succession and being moved back three places on the grid. His only championship contender Miguel Oliveira has qualified on the front row in third place, with 21 year old Scotsman John McPhee in 12th place despite a big practice crash.
Thirty six year old Rossi leads Movistar Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo by 11 points in their epic MotoGP championship battle. Rossi took a pyschological advantage by qualifying in third place and knocking Lorenzo off the front row of the grid for the 20 lap showdown right at the end of an electric qualifying session. Dani Pedrosa riding a Honda annihilated the old lap record and starts from pole, with world champion and team-mate Marc Marquez in second place on the grid. Isle of Man–based midlander Cal Crutchlow survived a crash on Friday to grab a second row start on the LCR Honda in fifth place behind Lorenzo. Oxfordshire’s Bradley Smith came through Qualifying One to finish ninth and a third row start. Scott Redding was 15th with Eugene Laverty 22nd.