Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after qualifying at Le Mans:
Brad Binder takes spot on front row for French GP
World Championship leader sets second fastest time in very close qualifying session, in which Bo Bendsneyder goes less than one second off pole in 21st.
05/07/2016 - Le Mans Circuit, France
The Red Bull KTM Ajo riders had a positive second day at the French Grand Prix, in which the starting grid for the fifth race of the year was decided. Just 0.067s separated Brad Binder from pole position in a qualifying session in which he showed great pace but was hindered by heavy traffic. Such was the equality in times between the Moto3 riders, that Bo Bendsneyder’s lap -0.931s off pole position- saw him claim 21st place and a start from the seventh row.
Sun and pleasant temperatures again provided a surprise boost to the Moto3 class at Le Mans. A tight final practice session in the morning was used by the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders to finish working with worn tyres -with an eye on tomorrow's race. Binder and Bendsneyder worked together and lowered their lap times from yesterday, completing the session in fifth -1:43.278- and eighteenth position -1:43.829-, respectively.
In the qualifying session, Binder confirmed his great pace for the race on Sunday. Halfway through, he was at the top of the timesheets with a time of 1:42.823. However, when the new soft tyres were put on his bike for one final assault on pole position, he was unable to use them effectively due to other riders attempting a tow. Red Bull KTM Ajo teammate Bendsneyder continued to make progress, stopping the clock at 1:43.687 for his best lap of the weekend. He also failed to improve in the second half of the session, as excessive traffic made it impossible to get a clean lap.
In tomorrow's race -which takes place at 11am local time- Brad Binder will have the opportunity to take his fifth consecutive podium finish and defend his lead in the overall standings. Bo Bendsneyder, meanwhile, will look to score points for the second time this season.
41 BRAD BINDER
"Second place is not bad, but I think we could have taken pole -as I set my best time with a medium rear compound and a front tyre that was already fairly worn out. The problem is that when we fitted the new soft compound, I had to abort a lot of laps due to the number of riders who were waiting to catch a tow. I would have liked to have been able to ride completely alone for a lap and could have improved my time quite easily. Unfortunately, these things happen, but I had a good pace in qualifying and so I am eager for the race tomorrow, because I feel strong."
64 BO BENDSNEYDER
"Although I went faster in the qualifying session than at any other point this weekend, I know I can do more, because I was missing an open space on the track that would allow me to complete a good lap. I have to also analyse my performance, because I can improve at some points of the circuit. We still have the warmup tomorrow, which we will have to use well.
The qualifying session is where experience counts more, so I have to adapt gradually. You need to be able to read the session to pick the right moment. Despite my position, we have a good pace and I hope to be fighting to get into the points. I'm looking forward to the lights going off and making a good start."
Moto3 - Steps forward for 3570 Team Italia in Le Mans' qualifying
Stefano Valtulini limits the gap from the first, more troubles for Lorenzo Petrarca.
The qualifying session of the Gran Prix of France at Le Mans was characterized by a gradual improvement in terms of performance for 3570 Team Italia. In a session led by Niccolò Antonelli (Honda),who got his fourth pole position in career, Stefano Valtulini has reduced the gap by less than 1'', while Lorenzo Petrarca, who has still to find the right feeling on the bike, will have to do a comeback race.
Working well with the team and always focused on the goals, Stefano Valtulini was author of a great 1'44''214 (28th) and he halved the gap from the top compared to the first sessions of free practice, which confirms the progress of the weekend.
More troubles for Lorenzo Petrarca, author of the 32nd time in 1'45''526, but he will start from the 31st place of the grid tomorrow due to a penalization to another rider.
Stefano Valtulini (3570 Team Italia - Mahindra MGP3O #43) 28th, 1'44"214
"After the qualifying I can be quite satisfied. We have limited the gap from the pole by 1"4, which proves the progress made during the weekend. This performance, more than the place on the starting grid, doesn't give credit to us, but it cheers me up and it's an injection of confidence for tomorrow's race. In the qualifying I was able to do only a clean lap on low 1'44'', so we will work with the team to find the right way to follow, in order to repeat these times also tomorrow in race."
Lorenzo Petrarca (3570 Team Italia - Mahindra MGP3O #77) 32nd, 1'45"526
"I am disappointed because today it could have gone better . The improvement, compared to the first free practice, was just 3 tenths, not enough to get a good place on the starting grid. We'll try to find a solution for tomorrow, the team is helping me session after session in order to let me ride as I like."
Emanuele Ventura (3570 Team Italia - Team Manager)
"Let's see this qualifying session in a positive way. With Stefano we have find some solutions that helped him to reduce the gap from the first, the gap of 1''4 from the poleman proves it. Concerning Lorenzo, we are trying to help him to improve his feeling on the bike, because he has the potential to improve further and reach higher positions."
Third row for Quartararo in home GP
A good race pace for Locatelli; as Mir is set to attempt a comeback from the eighth row of the grid.
The third, fifth and eighth rows are the loot acquired by the Leopard Racing team on Saturday after qualifying practice at the Grand Prix de France. On the 4.2 km of the Bugatti Circuit in Le Mans, the three riders of the Moto3 category did their best, starting from FP3 in the morning. With temperatures around 17° C, the three KTMs ran a strong final free practice session, consistently in the Top Ten.
Home hero Fabio Quartararo was on track with a set up better than yesterday, honing the mappings of his KTM for the characteristics of this circuit. The 17 year old from Nice, was seventh in the morning session. In Qualifying he managed to set a 1'43.092 lap in the final moments, placing him on the third row between Guevara and Pawi.
Once more Andrea Locatelli started well. The Italian today was immediately fast from the first exit, running in the top positions and showing a good pace. He found a good balance with the bike and ‘Loka’ therefore concentrated on the rear suspension. 1'43.330 was his fastest lap of the day, which earned him 14th position on the starting grid for the French Grand Prix.
It will be an uphill struggle for the rookie Joan Mir. The 18 year-old Palma de Mallorca tried a different frame setup during FP3 but it did not yield the desired results. Going back to his previous setting, the young Spaniard committed 100% to the time attack, but suffered a fall (without consequences) that sent him to 24th on the grid.
Riders will take to the track at 08:40 local time (GMT +2) on Sunday for 20 minutes of Warm Up. Then at 11:00 the lights go out for the fifth round of the 2016 World Championship.
#20 Fabio QUARTARARO – 8th (1’43.092):
“It was a very positive day, we have improved a lot. I could do a faster time, but we have been hindered on track. The important thing is to have made a step forward with the bike. Tomorrow will be a different story in the race, considering the changing track conditions.”
#55 Andrea LOCATELLI – 14th (1’43.330):
“I am very satisfied. Not because of the location itself, but for the race pace. I put all my oomph with the bike today and we were all one. Unfortunately in the last sector when I was just a few tenths from the first, I found two drivers and I lost time to overcome them. But we have worked very well in these two days, finding a good set up especially for the race. I am confident and load!”
#36 Joan MIR – 24th (1’43.766):
“It was a very difficult qualifying for me. I have not found the right feeling with the front and we have little rear grip. The fall made things even harder. I have full confidence in my team. Tomorrow we have to do a great race.”
Le Mans GP: Guevara grabs the 7th position in a hectic qualifying session
Le Mans, France
The Moto3 starting grid for the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France was outlined today, after the qualifying session of this afternoon.
In the morning, during FP3, Guevara and his technicians finalised the plans for the tyres choice for Sunday. In the QP, after a few improvements to the setting of the KTM machine, Juanfran fought to achieve a good position on the grid. The Spaniard set the time of 1’43.084, only 0.328 off the pole position. The work done in the previous sessions was essential to score the seventh placement, a spot which will be useful in the initial phases of the race.
The last free practice was very positive for Rodrigo, who was often within the top-10 during the session, proving to have a good pace. After a strong start of the QP, a crash halfway through the practice limited his chances to keep progressing. Rodrigo ended the session with the 20th time (1’43.643), less than nine tenth off the best lap of a highly battled QP.
#58 Juanfran Guevara: 7th - 1’43.084
”We scored the third row for tomorrow’s start, this is our best result in QP of the season so far. After the FP3 the team kept developing the decisions we made yesterday, in order to fix the issues we had and to find a good set-up. We made a step forward in the qualifying, however we still have to improve in some corners and in the final part of a few breaking points. We’ll keep correcting and working on this. Today’s result isn’t too bad, we got the seventh spot for tomorrow. The race will be complicated, we’re all very close: we have 23 riders within nine tenths. Tomorrow any small mistake will make a great difference, we’re all fast here. It’ll be essential to hold on, stay focus and try not to make mistakes.”
#19 Gabriel Rodrigo: 20th - 1’43.643
“Today in the FP3 we made a big improvement, we were faster also in this session and we finished really close to the top-10. In the qualifying session, right at the beginning, we set the same time as in FP3. During the second run, on the first lap, I crashed out - it was quite a tough crash, but luckily I didn’t get injured. The bike, on the other hand, got damaged pretty badly. My mechanics did a great job, they could fix my KTM and when there were only five minutes left I could get out on track. Eventually we couldn’t improve and it’s a shame because I felt confident to finish with a better placement. With just few laps I can’t be happy, but we do have a good pace for tomorrow and we’ll give it all we've got.”
Livio Loi tangled up in poker game
A top 10 position was the goal for Livio Loi and RW Racing GP in qualifying for the Moto3 race of the French Grand Prix. But the Belgian just missed out on his target in the final minutes of the session at the Bugatti circuit in Le Mans.
Not only could Loi not improve the lap time of 1.43,224 he had set in his second run in qualifying, worse was that he lost positions on the provisional starting grid for tomorrow’s race. More’s the pity that Loi knew there had been more in it. He was quite sure he could run 1.42’s. But he got tangled up in a poker game by Brad Binder, who was willing to give his brother Darryn and his team mate Bo Bendsneyder a tow, but not Livio Loi.
Nevertheless Loi was pretty satisfied. Not with the eventual result and position, but with the practices. This morning he ended FP3 in sixth with 1.43,380 and his pace in the qualifying session was constant in 1.43’s.
After qualifying it became clear Loi will move up to eleventh on the grid due to a penalty for Fabio die Giannantonio, who was tenth fasted.
Livio Loi – 12 (1.43,224)
“It’s just a shame. In the second run it was me and Jorge Navarro and we set a pretty good lap time. I was sure I could improve to 1.42’s in the final run. I was fast but every lap something happened. The problem was the group I was in, with Brad and Darryn Binder, Bo Bendsneyder, Philipp Oettl and a few others. It was obvious Brad wanted to help Darryn and Bo, but not me. He tried to shake me off and entered pit lane.
When we came back on track we ran into Joan Mir, who ruined the first sector for me. A bit later the machine got into the limiter and I couldn’t push as hard. In the final lap I was behind Brad again and he made some mistakes – or maybe it was on purpose, I don’t know. Looking back I should not have followed Binder into pit lane and shouldn’t have stayed with that group, because I might have been faster on my own. Without all this disturbance just in front of me, I could have been on the third or even the second row, as the differences are so small. The position could have been much better, but the feeling with the bike and the race pace are good.”
DI GIANNANTONIO JUST 0.4 SECONDS OFF POLE POSITION IN LE MANS QUALIFYING
Gresini Racing Team Moto3 rookie Fabio Di Giannantonio enjoyed a great Qualifying session this afternoon at Le Mans, home of the French Grand Prix, fifth round of the 2016 Moto3 World Championship.
At his first visit on the historic French track, the 17-year-old rider from Rome has taken a big step forward today, improving his performance by 1.2 seconds compared to yesterday and stopping the clock at 1’43”198, just 0.4 seconds off pole position.
However, tomorrow Di Giannantonio will start from the fifth row of the grid in 13th place, following the penalization of three positions imposed by the Race Direction for having slowed during the third and final free practice session this morning.
FABIO DI GIANNANTONIO (10th - 1'43"198)
“I’m very happy with my Qualifying! Today we hit our target of getting into the Top 20 and also our race pace is good! The bike is going very well, but we can still improve some areas ahead of the race, so we're confident we can do well tomorrow. Our goal remains to score points, but if we get something more, it will be welcome!”.
“Di Giannantonio has taken a big step forward, with a very good Qualifying. He showed a good potential and we know that he could also get something more today. Fabio is definitely growing, meeting our expectations, and he’s obviously happy to be in a position to fight for a good result and to collect points. However, he’s still very young and this morning in the last free practice session he paid his lack of experience, slowing down and being penalized with three positions on the grid. Anyway, it happens: during this season Fabio needs to gain experience and find the right balance to show his potential; he’s starting to do so, therefore I’m happy for him and for the team”.
Canet takes first Grand Prix front row at Le Mans
Aron Canet places third on grid for tomorrow's race, with Estrella Galicia 0,0 teammate Jorge Navarro heading second row in fourth position.
The second day of practice at Le Mans saw the starting grid for the French Grand Prix established. It was an excellent Saturday for Team Estrella Galicia 0,0, with Aron Canet in a good form. The Spaniard finished third in the final Free Practice session -even leading the way at one stage. With three minutes left, the young rookie stopped the clock at 1:43.142, just three tenths off the top time set by the experienced Jakub Kornfeil. Jorge Navarro was fourth in the session, 0.038s off his teammate.
The results were replicated in qualifying in the afternoon, as Aron Canet and Jorge Navarro started out amongst the frontrunners in the top three. With 17 minutes to go and on his eleventh lap, Canet broke the 1:43 barrier for the first time, putting in a 1:42.825. The third quickest lap of the session was enough to give him his first front row start in the World Championship, and he was just 0.069s off pole. Navarro will head the second row, having clocked a 1:42.842 in his last stint for fourth place. His time was 0.017s behind that of his teammate.
Tomorrow the Le Mans circuit will host the fifth Moto3 race of the year, starting at 11am.
Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider
4th, 1:42.842, 35 laps, 146 km
"We have taken another step forward and I look strong for the race"
"The qualifying session today was very positive. We made significant changes from yesterday with both the rear and the front, to try to find the boost that I needed with my feeling. I felt comfortable riding and we had a good qualifying session. I'm happy with the times I set riding alone and, most importantly, we have taken another step forward, so I look strong for the race tomorrow. As in any Moto3 race, I think we'll start all together in a group, but we have to fight to impose a good pace -because with the narrowness of this circuit it can get tricky at the end of the race if you are in the middle of a pack. I think it will be a tough race and that the pace will be fairly high."
Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider
3rd, 1:42 825, 35 laps, 146 km
"We have managed to get third and earn a place on the front row of the grid"
"Today has been a very positive day. We worked step by step and we were very competitive, sight from the morning practice session. Qualifying was quite difficult, but in the end we managed to get third and earn a place on the front row of the grid. During the first part of the session I encountered a lot of traffic on track, and I struggled a bit to set a good lap. However, in the second part I rode by myself, thanks to my team timing my exit from the pits very well. I was able to set a time of 1:42.825, which was very good. I think we have a good pace for tomorrow's race, but the main goal is to finish and to learn as much as possible."
Morbidelli and Márquez ready to charge in Le Mans
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Franco Morbidelli and Álex Márquez will be on the charge in tomorrow's 26-lap French Grand Prix in Le Mans.
Morbidelli is within reach of a podium finish having qualified in sixth place and frustratingly just 0.16s off the front row.
The Italian rider slipped back from fourth position late in the session as his team continued to work on solving front-end issues in the search for a more comfortable race set-up.
Meanwhile Márquez has set himself a daunting task having qualified 16th for the fifth round of the Moto2 World Championship on the tight, stop-and-go Bugatti circuit.
In a fiercely contested qualifying session just one second covered the top 16 riders from Tom Lüthi on pole to Márquez who heads the sixth row of the grid.
Despite this Márquez is targeting a top ten finish that will require a brave and clever race strategy in heavy traffic on the 4.2km layout, which is not one of his favourites.
A continuation of warm and dry conditions is forecast for tomorrow's race with an overflow crowd anticipated at the iconic Bugatti circuit.
Franco Morbidelli: 6th - 1’37.239
“Position six on the second row is a good result and it is a pity that I am so close to a front row start. And if we can make some further improvements to the bike I feel I have the pace to go with the front group and fight for a good result. Le Mans is a difficult track but the racing is always close so I'm looking forward to the challenge."
Álex Márquez: 16th - 1’37.942
“This is not an easy circuit for my riding style and I have tried to make some changes to adapt but I always have the same problem with turning and running wide on the brakes. We have some ideas to try in the warm-up to improve this so I am hoping this will help me make a good race. My first target is to finish the race, hopefully in the top ten."
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“It was a good qualifying by Franco in a tight session and he was just one tenth of a second from the front row which I think has been his potential for some races now. We still need to find some set-up solutions to make Franco more comfortable for the race. With Álex we can see that being just one second from pole means many positions on the grid so he will have to push and take some risks to make progress in the race. I hope Álex can make a good strategy and finish the race strongly."
SECOND ROW FOR ROMANO FENATI AND NICOLO’ BULEGA AT THE FRENCH GP
Fifth and sixth place in qualifying for the riders of the Sky Team Racing VR46. After a big high side Bulega is unharmed without consequence. 17th Migno.
Le Mans (France), May 7th 2016 - The Sky Racing Team VR46 closed the qualifying day with two riders in the Top10 at Le Mans. Romano Fenati and Nicolò Bulega have fought throughout all the session with the fastest and they will start tomorrow respectively from the fifth and sixth place on the grid at the French Grand Prix.
Romano, fast and competitive in all the practice sessions, on the checkered flag signed a positive 1.42.865 which earned him the fifth place just over a tenth from the poleman Antonelli (1.42.756). The young Italian talent has a great pace and he can approach the front positions in the race. Next to his teammate will start Nicolò with a best of 1.42.888. The young rookie is unharmed after a big high side. For him just a severe bruise on the left elbow, already being treated at the Clinica Mobile.
Seventeenth Andrea Migno - who recorded a good 1.43.448. His goal is being in in the second group and fighting for the Top10 and the points.
PABLO NIETO - Team Manager
I'm happy with the results of this qualifying: we did a good job placing two drivers in the second row. Romano has found the feeling with his KTM and signed a good lap time. Nicolò had a big high side, fortunately without consequences, but he has a severe bruise and pain. Andrea made a good step forward, but perhaps lacked a little bit of character. Tomorrow he can approach the Top10.
ROMANO FENATI - Pilota Sky Racing Team VR46
BEST TIME > 1.42.865
It was a good session: in the end, due to the traffic, I was not able to improve my lap time, but the second row is a good result. I have a good pace and I am confident.
ANDREA MIGNO - Pilota Sky Racing Team VR46
BEST TIME > 1.43.448
I have closed not a bad qualifying and despite the position, I’m not far from the strongest. I can fight in the second group battling for recover some positions.
NICOLÒ BULEGA - Pilota Sky Racing Team VR46
BEST TIME > 1.42.888
The sixth position on the grid is a good result, especially if we think at the crash. Suddenly I found myself in the air without being able to do anything. I have fallen to the ground violently – hitting my arm, hip and foot - but I do not have fractures. I have a big bruise on the left elbow and I will remain in the Clinica Mobile for all treatments.
Fantastic Baldassarri and Marini in qualifying at Jerez
Lorenzo Baldassarri and Luca Marini of the Forward Racing team have just completed their best career qualifying on the Le Mans track. The two members of the VR46 Riders Academy have made the most of the last part of the session to place the final attack.
"Balda" placed third, first of the Italians, pulled out a stratospheric 1'37.070 which earned him the first row of the grid tomorrow. Lorenzo recorded a good race pace in the morning and after this performance he finally throws behind his back the Qatar injury.
"Maro" is no less happy by closing for the first time in his career a qualifying session in the Top10. The rider from Pesaro posted a great 1'37.438 which earned him the tenth position on the grid despite being the first time for him on the French track with a Moto2.
"I want to thank the whole team for the great work that was done to allow our riders to start from the first and fourth rows. Thanks to Lorenzo and Luca for the joy they have been able to give to us and to those who believe in our project. "
"I am very happy with this front row, it was much needed as we are really competitive here. After the crash in Qatar we has some hard time, however, with the team and the VR46 Riders Academy I worked really hard and in the end it paid off. I knew I could do well and we have a good pace for tomorrow. The important thing now is to stay focused and give everything in the race. I would like to thank all those who stayed close to me during the last month: the Clinica Mobile, the VR46 Riders Academy, Giovanni and the team. "
"What can I say, Top10 after five races, I'm delighted. Today we worked on the set up of the bike in preparation for the race and we focused on race pace. We made one step at a time and in the end we took home a P10. Too bad for the third row but that's fine. Thanks to all the guys who have worked very hard. "
Baldassarri relegated in eighth place by Race Direction at LeMans
After snatching the third position during qualifying of the French Grand Prix this afternoon, Lorenzo Baldassarri of the Forward Racing was demoted to eighth place by Race Direction for irregular pressure of the rear tire. "Balda"’s best lap was discarded but his second best performance remains valid guarantying him to start from the third row of the grid tomorrow.
Johann Zarco to start home GP from fifth on the grid
Ajo Motorsport rider misses out on pole by 0.333s and will start from the second row at Le Mans, despite suffering a small crash in qualifying.
05/07/2016 - Le Mans Circuit, France
Reigning Moto2 World Champion, Johann Zarco, today set the fifth fastest time in qualifying for the French Grand Prix. In front of his home crowd, the Ajo Motorsport rider put in his best lap of the weekend in the afternoon session, but a small crash in the final stretch prevented him from completing his last attempt at pole position. The Frenchman will instead take off from the second row of the grid.
The last 40-minute Free Practice session was very positive for Zarco, who rode with used tyres and managed a creditable second fastest time in the session -1:37.388-, just 0.030s off the top spot. Despite just missing out on improving his time from Friday, the Frenchman finished the morning run happy.
His confidence was reflected at the start of qualifying. The Ajo Motorsport rider set his fastest time of the weekend in the session, on his third lap. His 1:37.180 time earned him a momentary third position, but he would need another lap in which to chase pole. However, riding with new tyres, he crashed with five minutes to go at the opening chicane of the Le Mans track, and was relegated to fifth.
Tomorrow's Moto2 race starts at 12:20pm local time. Third last year, Zarco will be aiming for his first victory at his home GP.
5 JOHANN ZARCO
"I have been strong right from the beginning of the weekend, and this morning I improved even further, so everything was still positive. In my first outing with a new tire in qualifying I improved my time, although I was not the only one to do so. When I wanted to push to improve my time, I put on new tires for a final run and I crashed. It is not a big problem, and it is also useful information as to where the limit is. Fifth position is not too far back, so we will try to make a good start to fight with Luthi -because he seems to be the strongest rider here."
THIRD ROW START FOR SAM LOWES AT LE MANS
Sam Lowes will start from the third row of the grid in tomorrow’s French Grand Prix: aboard the Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex machine the 25-year-old British rider set the ninth fastest time, 1’37”396, at the end of this afternoon Qualifying session at the historic Le Mans circuit.
The championship leader, who set the pole position in Termas de Rio Hondo and in Jerez, on this occasion struggled to find the right feeling with the front end and will therefore continue to work during tomorrow morning’s Warm Up to improve for the race, scheduled for tomorrow at 12.20.
SAM LOWES (9th - 1'37"396)
“Yesterday we were struggling with the front end and we lost a bit of confidence, so today we continued to struggle a bit to find the right feeling. Anyway our race pace is not bad, even if we are missing something from the top guys: hopefully we can improve overnight analyzing the data and tomorrow we will try to find something in the Warm Up. Then I will try to make a good start and fight till the end!”.
“Recently we have been more competitive in Qualifying compared to what we did today, but actually we are not far away and our race pace is not bad, so we remain confident for the race. Tomorrow morning during the Warm Up we will try some changes to the bike set up to try to help Sam: it won’t be an easy race, but we will try until the end, as always!”.
Another uphill battle for Oliveira & Kent at Le Mans
The two Leopard Racing riders will start tomorrow's French GP from the 5th and 7th row respectively.
A demanding Saturday for the Leopard Racing team at the French Grand Prix, the fifth round of the 2016 World Championship on the Bugatti Circuit in Le Mans. Danny Kent and Miguel Oliveira hit the track on their Kalex machines for the last round of Free Practice and for the official qualifying session that decided the starting grid on Sunday.
It was a good performance for the Portugal’s Miguel Oliveira, the 21 year old been able to recover precious tenths compared from yesterday. He ended the morning session in 12th position after altering the suspension. The intermediate class rookie succeeded in the time attack in the afternoon to close the day with 14th place and a 1’37.764.
Seven positions further back, we find his teammate Danny Kent. The Brit, despite a harmless slip in FP3 which lost him part of the session, did everything he could to be ready for Qualifying. He tried to improve his bike’s setting for a right balance. A 1’38.281 was his best time of the Qualifying session, which sees him closes the 7th row of the grid.
Tomorrow at 09:10 Local Time (GMT +2) the riders will be back on track for 20 minutes of Warm Up before the lights go out at 12:20 Local Time for the fifth race of the 2016 Moto2 World Championship.
#44 Miguel OLIVEIRA – 14th (1’37.764):
“It has been a quite positive day. This morning I was lapping pretty well and then in the afternoon too. It's just a pity I fell towards the end of the session with the new tyres. I was pushing at 200% to improve my position, but I'm happy with my pace and confident for tomorrow's race. I hope to have a good start just like in Jerez and to recover positions without taking risks to finish in the points.”
#52 Danny KENT – 21st (1’38.281):
“It's a very disappointing qualifying for all of us, for me and my team. For some reasons I've lost my confidence since the crash this morning. Somethings needs to change as it's not normal for us to be outside the Top 20. Especially considering what we have done last year. Now we need to sit down all together and try to make a new plan and some steps forward. This is not were we want to be, we just have to keep on working hard.”
3rd Row Start for Pawi with 16th grid for Ono
Rd05 Monster Energy Grand Prix de France : Saturday, May 07 2016
Ambient: 21℃ : Track: 25℃
Having finished forty minutes qualifying session at legendary Le Mans Bugatti circuit, Honda Team Asia riders Khairul Idham Pawi and Hiroki Ono will start the race on Sunday from 9th and16th on the grid respectively.
On another fine weather conditions greeted Moto3 riders for Saturday sessions at the French Grand Prix, both riders from Asian countries concentrated on their preparation for Sunday’s race. In FP3, the Japanese rider improved his feeling on the bike, while Malaysian youngster learned more about the track and bettered his lap time from yesterday.
During the forty minutes qualifying session in the afternoon, both Asian riders improved their best time in this weekend. Pawi will start from 9th grid with his best time of 1m43s106, while Ono set 1m43s620 which gave him 16th on the grid for tomorrow’s twenty-four lap race.
Warm Up for Moto3 class takes place at 0840 local time (GMT +2) tomorrow morning before the twenty-four lap French Grand Prix is set to start at 1100.
Khairul Idham Pawi (9th, 1’43.106, +0.350)
“Thanks to Tady-san’s advice, now I understand how to ride smooth in this track and I was able to set good lap time. I feel good on my bike and there is no wobble now. For tomorrow, I will give my best to follow the leading group, and then…we will see!”
Hiroki Ono (16th, 1’43.376, +0.620)
“This morning, I have improved with my braking, and the exit, too. Although my grid position for the race is 6th row, lap time from PP is 0.6s, which is not so bad. For tomorrow, I will make a good start and try to follow leading group till the end of the race.”
Tadayuki Okada - Team Manager
“Pawi learned a lot about this track and adjusted his riding to go as fast as possible. As a result, he improved his lap time almost one second from this morning. For Ono, unfortunately his grid position was not idealistic, his lap time is competitive. For both of our riders, the key for the race is to make a good start and staying within the leading group till the end. For sure, I believe they can do it.”
Tech3 pair ready to take on Le Mans battle
Tech3 Racing Team rider Xavi Vierge will begin the team’s home Grand Prix from the head of the 8th row of the grid, after a determined effort in what was a challenging qualifying session today. The young Spaniard, who is making his first race appearance at the stop and go circuit, got straight into action in qualifying and posted a fast lap on his fourth as he looked to improve further, yet he was unfortunate to fall shortly after. By the time the team had repaired the bike, there was under ten minutes left in the session but Vierge determinedly returned to the track and upped his speed. However, he was unlucky again as he took evasion action to avoid making contact with another rider and he fell. Nevertheless, Vierge resolutely intends to undertake a strong start in the GP and then finish in the points.
Meanwhile, Isaac Viñales will begin his Le Mans campaign from one position behind his teammate as he looks to follow up his debut point scoring result in Jerez with another solid performance in France. The Spaniard leapt into gear when the 45 minute session commenced and he increased his pace before setting a personal best on the 9th lap. Despite continuing to push, this time confirmed his grid placement on the 8th row and tomorrow he intends to finish strongly whilst obtaining more experience in the fiercely competitive intermediate class.
Position: 22nd - Time: 1'38.326 - Laps: 9
"The qualifying session was tricky today, but we have some positives to take and I will still do my best in the race. Yesterday went well for me because I improved my riding style a lot and we also made some constructive adjustments to the bike. This left me confident for the qualifying and I went out and set my fastest time on my fourth lap, which was with an old tyre. We then put in the new compound and we knew that I could ride a 1’37.7. I was pushing hard and running at this pace, yet, unfortunately I fell. The team did a great job to repair the bike and I managed to get back out on track for the last nine minutes. During the first few laps I felt good, but then my confidence fell again and on the 4th lap I was pushing hard when suddenly another rider appeared in front of me. So to avoid contact with him, I had to run wide and I fell again. I am sorry to the team because it was a real shame that this happened. However, the big event is tomorrow and I’m ready to give it everything I’ve got.”
Position: 23th - Time: 1'38.550 - Laps: 17
“It was a complicated qualifying session for me today but I did my best and now we will have to see what we can achieve in the GP. This afternoon, I was lacking confidence with the front tyre, which limited our progress. So we need to work on this issue for the race in order to make another step. Having said that, I am sure that I can still have a positive time at the Tech3 Racing Team’s home Grand Prix and I will try my hardest to give them a good result."
7th Grid for Nakagami - 8th Row Start for Wilairot
Rd05 Monster Energy Grand Prix de France: Saturday, May 07 2016
Ambient: 22℃:Track: 35℃
IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia rider Takaaki Nakagami set strong seventh quickest this afternoon at Le Mans Bugatti circuit. Nakagami’s best lap time 1m37s324 was only 0.477 from pole position. His team mate Ratthapark Wilairot will start from eighth row twenty-fourth position on the grid for tomorrow’s twenty-six lap race, with his best lap time of 1m38s748.
As was the case yesterday, weather conditions today were fine and dry, with the peak track temperature of 35℃ recorded during the qualifying.
In the morning FP3, Nakagami continued to work on tire evaluation and finding competitive setup for the race. Meanwhile, Wilairot concentrated on his riding and leaned more about the track.
In the qualifying, Nakagami and his team decided to modify the front end setup to make the bike more competitive, which rewarded the Japanese rider to post the 1m37s brackets consecutively. On the other hand, Wilairot had to come through the difficult qualifying with crashing twice during the session.
The next Moto2 session will be the warm-up session at 0910 local time tomorrow (GMT+2) before the French Grand Prix commences at 1220.
Takaaki Nakagami (7th, 1’37.324, +0.477)
“In this morning, we have decided which tire to use for the race. Then after FP3, we changed geometry on front-end to improve our race pace. It worked well and I was able to set 0.4s to 0.5s quicker than in the morning. This modification also gave me a good feeling in sector4, which I had to struggle yesterday. For tomorrow, I will make a good start and follow the leading group till the end to bring home the best result of the season!”
Ratthapark Wilairot (24th, 1’38.748, +1.901)
“It was another difficult day for me. I am sorry for my team who always work hard. I will reset myself tomorrow and make a good race as hard as I can!”
Tadayuki Okada - Team Manager
“In the qualifying, Nakagami’s lap time was only fractions of a second from pole position. I think it was competitive to fight for the podium, although he has to start from seventh position on the grid. The key for the race is If he can follow the leading group from the start. For Ratthapark, he seemed to be difficult to keep concentration probably because of his physical condition. So, the priority for him is getting back to fitness, then we’ll think about the race.”
FIFTH ROW START FOR PEUGEOT MOTOCYCLES SAXOPRINT IN IT’S BIG WEEKEND AT HOME IN LE MANS
The team’s French rider Alexis Masbou equals his best qualifying result today in his and the French brand’s home race whilst teammate John McPhee lacked some luck to find one, two tenth to start better than in 25th spot on the grid for tomorrow’s round five at the legendary Bugatti Circuit.
The weather in France this weekend remained stable with two dry sessions again for the lower grand prix category today in Le Mans. Numerous spectators on spot as well in front of a TV screen saw such a close competition for grid positions today at lunch time with no less than 25 rider separated by just one second.
For the French/German based Peugeot Motocycles SAXOPRINT outfit it was experienced Alexis Masbou who put out all the stops to storm to an incredible 15th spot on the grid. Masbou set one flying lap to its best after he and his crew made significant progress in order to setup the Peugeot Moto3 to suite the technical Bugatti Circuit in Le Mans well for one, two laps. However, tyre wear will be the question mark during tomorrow’s race.
Meanwhile, similarly talented John McPhee set a strong lap time too but the young Scotsman couldn’t better qualify than in P25 in this tight and hard fought session though he’s confident about his race pace but McPhee faces a big task for tomorrow with 24 hot riders in front of him. But as already shown, McPhee is an excellent starter and it’s a long way till the first corner in Le Mans.
Starting time for the Moto3™ Grand Prix de France is scheduled for Sunday 11:00 am with a challenging 24 laps distance at the 4.2 kilometres historic track.
#10 Alexis MASBOU, Grid position 15th - 1´43.353 (13/14):
“Obviously I’m so happy about today’s qualifying session, mostly because our best starting position since time happened in our home race here in Le Mans. However, the weekend didn’t start in an easy way as we struggled during yesterday’s FP2 after we thought do find the right way immediately for this track in the morning session. So for this reason we took a completely different way to setup the suspension this morning, which paid off because I felt a little bit better with the bike. During qualifying we were able to make another step and I was immediately on the same pace like this morning. This of course gave confidence as well as I was pretty well aware that with new tyres there is something possible to do great today. But honestly speaking, to be that much close to the front or the top ten came a bit surprisingly for us but at the same it’s also very important. Concerning our race pace we’re are a bit worried because we changed so many things on the bike this morning so I’m not sure if we will be able to race at that level throughout the entire distance. Yesterday we had an eye on tyre wear but for today we improved a lot for just one lap so I think we can do many laps with this rhythm set yesterday. Anyway, a top ten finish will be a big task but to bring home a top 15 position should be on the table for sure. A big thank you to the entire team for their entireness efforts to improve this project.”
#17 John McPHEE, Grid position 25th - 1´43.767 (11/14):
“Well, lap time wise we can be happy more or less because we were not that far away from the front with just one second covering more than 25 riders. It’s the closest ever gap for us this season. So for the speed we can be happy too but the trouble will be to have all this 24 riders in front of us. For sure it’s going to be a tough race to comeback from down the grid. For this reason, we need to find something on the breaking in order to be able for easier passing during the race, which is for the moment our biggest issue. However, everything is so tight, so there is something on the table for us tomorrow.”