Press releases from the Moto2 & Moto3 teams after the races at Le Mans:
Mahindra preserves perfect points record in France
Le Mans, 08 May 2016:
Aspar Mahindra rider Pecco Bagnaia preserved Mahindra’s perfect 2016 points record in the French GP at Le Mans today, with a hard-fought 12th place, seven places higher than his qualifying position.
After two top-three podiums in the first four races this year, the Italian teenager had hoped for better. But at a quirky circuit that favours different machine characteristics from those of the Mahindra MGP3O, he made the most of his opportunities to continue building the overall score.
The race was run over 24 laps of the 4.185-km “stop-and-go” Bugatti circuit at the famous motor sport venue in the west of France. The Mahindra, made by the only Indian constructor in the World Championship, shows its strength at faster circuits, where riders can exploit the exceptional high-speed cornering performance.
Bagnaia qualified 19th, putting him on the seventh row of the grid, in the thick of a pack of slower riders in the Moto3 class.
He was soon picking up places, and was up in the points before one-third distance, and making his way forward in a pack chasing a ten-strong leading group.
Hopes of improvement were dashed in the closing laps, when a tussle with another rider caused both to lose touch with their group. Bagnaia won that fight, but it had ended any chance of further improvement.
Team-mate Jorge Martin finished 18th, five places higher than his qualifying position.
The next race is the Italian GP at Mugello, a longer and faster circuit where the Mahindra team can have higher hopes. Last year, Bagnaia finished fourth, in a pack of six across the line in less than four tenths of a second.
PECCO BAGNAIA – 12th Place
“This has been a difficult weekend. On Friday we were fast, but yesterday and today it was too difficult to find speed on the straight. The other Mahindras were better than mine. We were able to finish in the points. We have to work towards a points finish every time and keep the momentum going, but after the podium at Jerez this race was a little disappointing.”
MUFADDAL CHOONIA – CEO Mahindra Racing
“That wasn’t the result we were looking for. We came after a good race at Jerez, but here at Le Mans this weekend it wasn’t to be. Now we need to put our heads down, and look forward to Mugello.”
Navarro takes podium and Canet has great race at Le Mans
Repsol riders fight for the rostrum until the last lap in French GP. Jorge Navarro places third and lies second in the World Championship, and Aron Canet –fourth– is now thirteenth overall.
The Moto3 French Grand Prix was an excellent race for Repsol riders Jorge Navarro and Aron Canet. Contested in a tight group typical of Le Mans, amidst good riding weather, the event saw the pair place third and fourth, respectively.
A group of four riders escaped from the rest of the field from the start, with Navarro and Canet well located alongside World Championship leader Brad Binder and Romano Fenati. The quartet remained together until a heart-stopping final lap, in which both Navarro and Canet made a push for victory. In the end, Binder would cross the line first, with Fenati second and Navarro edging out his rookie teammate to complete the rostrum. Canet had tried to make a pass on the final corner, which was ultimately unsuccessful and led to him finishing an impressive fourth.
Following a positive round for the Repsol Moto3 riders, their next challenge will come in a fortnight’s time at Mugello, in the Italian Grand Prix
Jorge Navarro 3rd at 0.387 sec.
"It has been a positive Grand Prix, because after a crash in testing at Montmelo test, I was not 100% fit and this circuit was tough for us last year anyway. We did a great job, right from the first Free Practice. I started well, stuck with the leading group and, when I saw that everything was stabilised, I decided to save energy because my shoulder felt a little tired - especially when braking. I decided to wait for the last five laps to start my attack and position myself well. We found accelerating a little hard compared to Binder and Fenati; I tried to stay as tight as possible, but still couldn’t go into corners in a position to overtake. That was something that hindered us throughout the race. This result is not the best for the World Championship, because the two riders who I am fighting with placed ahead of me, but looking at it from the outside, 16 points in this race is very good and there will be better races."
Aron Canet 4th at 1.354 sec.
"Today I think I put in a very good showing and I was very comfortable riding with the front group. I improved as the race went on, matching the pace of the frontrunners, but in the end they took me right to my limit. On the last corner I tried to pass my teammate, Navarro, but I wasn’t able to do so. Riding for the whole race with the leaders was tough, but I enjoyed the experience and I hope to repeat it soon. I'm happy with the weekend we have had; now we have to start thinking about Mugello."
Brad Binder takes victory at French Grand Prix
Second consecutive win for Red Bull KTM Ajo rider, with teammate Bo Bendsneyder finishing in sixteenth position.
05/08/2016 - Le Mans Circuit, France
Brad Binder added a second victory to his account for the season at the Moto3 French Grand Prix, besting all comers at the legendary Le Mans circuit. The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider, who started from second on the grid, still has a perfect record of podiums from the opening handful of races this year: This weekend's result adds to second place in Qatar, third in Argentina and at Austin, and a win at Jerez two weeks ago. Binder continues to lead the overall standings in the Moto3 World Championship. Rookie Bo Bendsneyder completed his fifth GP in the World Championship in sixteenth position.
Binder set a strong pace from the start, and by the end of the first lap had already taken the lead. Over the next few laps, the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider maintained his spot in a close fight with Romano Fenati, who got past him on Lap 7. From that moment, with a group of four riders dicing for victory -Fenati, Jorge Navarro and Aron Canet-, there was a constant exchange of positions until Lap 22, when the South African got in front for the final time and held onto the lead until the chequered flag.
Bendsneyder had taken off from twenty-first position, dropping down three places off a poor start. Gradually, the Dutchman upped his pace and passed a series of riders to climb the order -eventually finishing sixteenth.
With this second victory, Binder is the World Championship leader with 102 points, 24 more than nearest rival Navarro. Bendsneyder is twenty-fifth with 2 points to his name.
Aki Ajo - Team Manager
"It was a completely different race to that in Jerez, but Brad [Binder] showed how strong he is right now. In Moto3 you should always keep your feet on the ground and work race-by-race, but Brad demonstrated his experience today. He handled the situation very well. He did a very good job, rode a very smart race and was intelligent throughout the weekend. Despite some technical difficulties this weekend, everything worked out perfectly in the race, so I'm very grateful to the whole team -and to KTM for their support.
It was also a very good race for Bo [Bendsneyder]. It is his first year in this championship and at the start of the season everything is new for him, but I think that this has been his best race so far. I am very pleased to see how he improved during the race, and the solidity he demonstrated. I congratulate him for his performance."
41 BRAD BINDER
"Today has been a very good day for me; I am very happy to have got another win. That's two in a row, as well as placing on the podium at every race so far this year, which is fantastic. I enjoyed the victory today more than the first one, because I didn't really take in what happened at Jerez until two days later. I tried to pull away, but I saw that today that would not be possible. I knew that if I pushed really hard on the last lap, I could brake a little harder and close the lines well enough to not give anyone a chance of passing me.
When I overtook Fenati, I set up my exit from the corner before the straight. I saw the opportunity to pass, and I took advantage of it. My intention was to overtake on the main straight, but when I saw the opportunity I closed the door and got this second victory."
64 BO BENDSNEYDER
"The start was difficult and, moreover, there were two crashes right in front of me that meant I had to run wide. After that I caught the group at the front and was running a Top 10 pace.
The feeling overall from this weekend is good, as I've seen that I can maintain a strong pace in practice and in the race today. We worked hard to prepare for the race and now we have to work to improve in the qualifying sessions, so that we can get a good position on the early laps of races."
Little mistakes leave Loi just outside of the top 10
Livio Loi was not unhappy with eleventh in the Moto3 race of the French GP but he wasn’t satisfied either. Two little mistakes, one at the start and one in the end, left RW Racing GP’s rider further back than he had hoped for and what was possible. “I just missed out on the finishing touch. It was at my fingertips, but I couldn’t reach it.”
The race in Le Mans was illustrative for the whole weekend: it was not bad at all, actually it was quite good, but it could have been better when everything would have fallen into place just a bit better. It was all about the details, the finishing touch, and clearly that is the next step Livio Loi is facing.
Loi had a good start of the race, moving up to seventh in the opening stage of the first lap. But he was forced wide halfway and found himself back in thirteenth by the end of the lap. From there it was hardly impossible to move up again in the tight corners of the Bugatti circuit and Loi had to let go of the leading group of eleven riders.
With the gap to the first group remaining the same all Loi could do was stick to the lead of the second group and look for an opportunity to close in. After Jakub Kornfeil dropped back from the leading group in lap 8 it became clear that closing the gap wasn’t that obvious, as Kornfeil too couldn’t reach it.
A battle ensued in a group with Kornfeil, Locatelli, Guevara, Bagnaia, Pawi and Suzuki and Loi was able to fight for ninth or tenth. But with one and a half lap to go he made a mistake in turn 4 which cost him 2 seconds, leaving Loi in eleventh to cross the finish line.
Livio Loi - 11 (+12,293)
“This wasn’t an easy race at all. I made a mistake in the first lap and ran wide and I couldn’t make up for that. I was running the same pace and lap times as the group in front, but that meant I couldn’t get closer. I did my best to stay at the front of the group and be ready to attack as soon as an opportunity occurred, but not much happened.
When I got together with Kornfeil and Locatelli it was a good fight, but the grip of the rear tyre wasn’t great and I had difficulties especially in accelerating out of the corners. That’s what caused another mistake in the final stages of the race. That cost me 2 seconds and the chance to fight for ninth with Kornfeil and Locatelli.
In the end it wasn’t such a bad race at all, but two little mistakes got me out of contention for more than eleventh and that’s a shame. It’s what happened all weekend: it was good, I was close, but just missed out on the ‘finishing touch’ to get a better result. The result is a bit disappointing, but 5 points is 5 points and as a whole it has not been a bad weekend at all. We just couldn’t finish it the way we should have.”
DI GIANNANTONIO BATTLES TO 17th IN CHALLENGING FRENCH GRAND PRIX
Gresini Racing Team Moto3 rider Fabio Di Giannantonio crossed the finish line of today’s French Grand Prix at Le Mans in seventeenth position. Started from the fifth row of the grid, in the early stages of the race the young rookie from Rome tried to stay in the group fighting for the points scoring positions, then he lost some ground in the battle and he started to struggle to replicate the good pace shown during practice.
In the final stages of the race Di Giannantonio engaged a fight for the sixteenth position with his main rival in last year’s MotoGP Rookies Cup, Bo Bendsneyder: a bit tired in the last laps, Fabio tried to attack unsuccessfully the Dutch rider on the last corner, thus closing the race in 17th, replicating his best result of the season so far, obtained at the Grand Prix of the Americas last April 10.
FABIO DI GIANNANTONIO (17th)
“My start was quite good, then I lost some positions at the first corner, still managing to stay in the group fighting for the points in the first part of the race. Later I lost a bit of ground and when I found myself alone I began to struggle to maintain a good rhythm. I was pretty tired in the last laps, so Bendsneyder passed me: in the end I tried to attack him on the last corner, but I went a little wide because and he managed to pass me again. It’s a shame because the weekend started very well and we thought we could have a good race here. Now I will work a lot at home, especially to find a better consistency of the performance over the race distance, in order to get ready for Mugello!”.
“Considering the good results obtained during practice, the performance shown today by Di Giannantonio was a bit below our expectations, so I’m not satisfied. We had the potential to do more today, so now we will analyze well all the data and I will also speak with Fabio. During the weekend ‘Diggia’ has undoubtedly shown positive signs of growth, but he lacked a good consistency in the race, so we will work on that to make another significant step forward”.
Juanfran Guevara battles for the top-10 in France
Le Mans, France
The 2016 Monster Energy Grand Prix de France comes to an end after today’s race, completing the fifth round of the MotoGP World Championship.
After the good results of the sessions on Friday and Saturday, Guevara faced the race with the plan to fight for the top-10. Starting from the seventh spot on the grid, Juanfran got himself in the leading group during the initial laps, maintaining a good pace. Eventually the Spaniard crossed the finishing line in twelfth position, once again getting very close to the top-10. Juanfran was penalised for exceeding the track limits and, because of that, he lost a spot in today’s classification.
It was a tough Sunday for Rodrigo. Because of a jump start, the Argentinian couldn’t take advantage of his consistent rhythm to achieve a good result. Once he did the ride through, Gabriel tried hard to come back: however, his race ended on the last lap with a crash, which prevented him from crossing the finishing line.
#58 Juanfran Guevara: 13th
”The first few laps went quite well: we were in the front group during the first half of the race, we could keep up with the pace of the other guys and that’s a positive point. Eventually we crossed the finishing line in twelfth position, which we lost because of a one-position penalty. For this Sunday we decided to use the soft rear tyre: today’s lower temperature might have affected its performance, compared to the previous days. What matters is that today we finished thirteen seconds from the winner. In the previous races we were more distant, this is a decent progression. During this weekend we worked hard on the front of the bike, to improve in some turns and in the change of direction. We noticed an improvement during these days, but we still have work to do. Now we are going to Mugello, a track with a very different layout and we’ll have to wait and see how it goes there. We’ll keep working on this line because, despite finishing in similar positions, our times are improving and we are getting closer and closer to a good result.”
#19 Gabriel Rodrigo: not classified
“Today we did a good warm up, I was confident. We knew we needed to do some good initial laps to come back in the race. I started quite well, getting close to the top-10, but I saw from the pits that the guys were marking to go back to the box. I couldn’t understand why, it didn’t feel to me like I had a jump start. Unfortunately this race is lost, the penalty meant we lost plenty of time. On top of that, on the last lap I crashed out, finishing the weekend in this way. It was a day to forget, but we keep the positive of this Grand Prix and we’ll think about the next one, looking forwards to getting to Mugello.”
Morbidelli secures impressive fourth place at Le Mans
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli scored valuable championship points with a fast and controlled ride into fourth place at Le Mans today.
It was Morbidelli's second consecutive fourth place after his strong ride in last week's Spanish GP and the Italian is now ninth with 37 points in the Moto2 World Championship after five races.
Morbidelli made a dashing start from the second row and was behind race leader Tom Lüthi on the opening lap before settling into fifth place behind Lorenzo Baldassarri.
Morbidelli then grabbed fourth when he narrowly avoided Baldassarri's crashed bike with five laps to go and held off a late charge from Takaaki Nakagami to secure a well deserved fourth place in a race won by Alex Rins.
From 16th on the grid Spaniard Álex Márquez faced a risky race to make up positions and score points but unfortunately he crashed out of 14th place on lap seven with 12 laps remaining.
Marquez went into the 26-lap race with some confidence boosting set-up changes in the morning warm-up but he was unable to capitalise on the demanding 4.2km Bugatti circuit.
Franco Morbidelli: 4th
“The podium is getting closer and the team is working well and I want to thank them for that because I believe better results are on the way if we keep working hard. I made a good start and was into second on lap one but I didn't quite have the pace of the top guys, so I just pushed to stay with the group. Then I lost at least 0.6s when Baldassarri crashed in front of me and Nakagami closed the gap a little but I regained my rhythm to secure fourth place."
Álex Márquez: DNF
“All weekend we have been struggling a lot with set-up and in the warm-up this morning we changed many things and made a good step but still not enough. Then in the race I knew it would difficult from P16 but I tried to stay calm and ride smooth but then I crashed and I don't know why. We need to understand what happened and move on from these bad moments and change and try for a good race in Mugello which is a circuit that I like."
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“It was a good race by Franco and he missed the podium by just one position which seems to be our destiny at the past two races but I am very happy because we took some big points, which we need. Unfortunately another crash for Álex after he made up a couple positions but now after five races he has only finished one race and this not enough from him."
Brad Binder wraps up Moto3 in Le Mans with spectacular last lap victory
5th Rd. Moto3 2016 – Le Mans (FRA)
Red Bull KTM Ajo rider and Moto3 championship leader Brad Binder of South Africa put in a stunning final lap charge on the Bugatti Circuit in Le Mans to take the small class win at the GP of France on Sunday. It was Binder’s second consecutive win after his dramatic career first victory two weeks ago in Jerez, where he rode from last place on the grid to finish first, something that is rarely seen in the sport.
Italian KTM rider Romano Fenati (Sky Racing Team VR46) was the race leader for most of the 24 laps but succumbed to Brad Binder’s attack in turn eleven of the final lap and had to settle for second. Spanish rider Jorge Navarro, also a major player, especially in the second half of the race, took the podium third. Binder now has a handy 24-point lead in the championship points after the fifth round of the competition.
The South African was strong all weekend on the French circuit. He started second on the grid behind pole sitter Nicolo Antonelli and was never out of the top group throughout the race. Fenati assumed control of the lead after the opening laps and remained a threat throughout the race.
By the halfway point of the race, the competition had developed into a four-way battle, which included rookie Aron Canet of Spain, who went on to take fourth place. These four riders had distanced themselves from the rest of the pack by some seven seconds by the time they took the checkered flag.
It was a good day for riders of the KTM RC250 GP machine who took six of the top ten places. Nicolo Bulega of Italy was fifth despite a massive crash in Saturday’s qualifying. French rider Fabio Quartararo was sixth, Andrea Migno of Italy was seventh and tenth place went to Andrea Locatelli.
Binder: “Half way through the race I tried to get away a little bit. I saw I was able to do two or three laps quicker but it wasn’t enough to break away so I decided to watch the guys and see where I was strong. In the end I saw that no one could pass me on the brakes. I’m really happy with the second win and its good for the championship.”
Fenati was also satisfied with his ride saying: “I am happy because the feeling's come back from Jerez. Second place is important for the championship.”
Binder’s rookie teammate in the Red Bull KTM Ajo Team, Bo Bendsneyder of the Netherlands, had a solid race to finish 16th.
Crash leaves Zarco out of the points at home race
Ajo Motorsport rider experiences misfortune at French Grand Prix and finishes in twenty-fourth position after a crash.
05/08/2016 - Le Mans Circuit, France
Johann Zarco had a difficult French Grand Prix in front of his home fans at Le Mans, placing outside the points due to a crash. The reigning Moto2 World Champion had not started well in the race, and crossed the line twenty-fourth after remounting his bike.
The Frenchman, who had started from fourth on the grid, was keen to delight the fans with a victory on home soil. Unfortunately, a poor start saw him lose several positions in the opening stages of the race, and by the end of the first lap he was down to eleventh place.
Zarco remained in that spot for several laps until, from Lap 8, he was able to pass some of the riders who preceded him climb to eighth place. However, a crash on the final corner of Lap 17 brought his progress to a halt, and turned his hopes of a points finish to dust. The Ajo Motorsport rider brought his bike home in twenty-fourth, completing the race as a matter of pride.
With this result, Zarco is fourth in the Moto2 World Championship with 56 points. A chance to make amends will be quick in coming for Zarco. In a fortnight’s time, at Mugello, he will be back in action at the Italian Grand Prix.
Aki Ajo - Team Manager
"In the end it wasn't a good weekend for us in Moto2. Things were looking good on Friday and yesterday, even though we had a small crash. Obviously we are disappointed with the result today; at the start of the race we weren't too strong, and at the end Johann [Zarco] had a small crash, so we leave Le Mans empty handed. Now we need to analyse what happened and focus on the next race, at Mugello."
5 JOHANN ZARCO
"It was a difficult race. I didn't manage to find a good line at the start and lost a lot of positions. I didn't feel comfortable behind other riders and couldn't get close enough to pass them. I had to wait a few laps in order to feel confident and begin to overtake; when I saw Sam [Lowes] a little further ahead of me, I tried to catch him up and put in some fast laps to get a good pace going.
I believed I could get back to a good position, but I clipped the white line with my front wheel and crashed. It's a pity, but at least I tried to finish the race in order to understand what was going wrong and why my feeling wasn't great. The weekend started in a very positive way and didn't finish well, but it's not the end of the world. Now we have to analyse what happened, look at the feeling I had and try to arrive strong for Mugello."
THREE ITALIAN TALENTS OF THE SKY RACING TEAM VR46 IN THE TOP7 AT LE MANS
Fenati conquered an important 2nd place. Great day for the whole team: Bulega fifth and Migno seventh
Le Mans (France), May 8th, 2016 - It closed with the second place of Romano Fenati and three riders in the Top7 the weekend of the Grand Prix of France for Sky Racing Team VR46. Fenati, battling with the fastest for the whole weekend back for the second time in this season on the Moto3 podium.
At the end of a great race, where he dictated the pace till two laps from the checkered flag, the young Italian is second behind
Binder. Started from the second row of the grid, Romano immediately was in the leading group and thank to the renewed feeling with his KTM he was able to fight with the front guys till the last corner. With today's result he is third in the Championship with 67 points.
Positive race also for his teammates Nicolò Bulega and Andrea Migno, that means a signifying growth of the whole team. Nicolò, not 100% fit due to the yesterday's high side, struggled all the race with the pain in his arm but is fifth on the finishing line. Best career result for Andrea, seventh after great overtakings.
PABLO NIETO - Team Manager
This Sunday is full of satisfaction for the whole team: we did a good job during the weekend and we have three riders in the top seven. Romano conquered an important podium showing his strength and costance. Nicolò did a great race after the yesterday's crash and finally we saw Andrea fighting in the top positions. We go to Mugello really motivated: it will be an exciting race in front of all our fans.
ROMANO FENATI - Pilota Sky Racing Team VR46
It was an incredible race: I had a good start and I took the lead and I set my pace. It is hard to create an important gap in a track so short as Le Mans. I pushed hard throughout the race, the feeling with the bike was good and I was able to fight till the last corner. Binder overtook me two laps to go, but I managed to maintain the position. Thanks to the whole team for the great job done from Jerez to here.
ANDREA MIGNO - Pilota Sky Racing Team VR46
I'm really happy with what has been done today: I conquered my best result in career after a great race. I battled lap by lap and it was amazing collect this important milestone just before the homerace at Mugello. I want to thank the whole team and the Academy for their support.
NICOLÒ BULEGA - Pilota Sky Racing Team VR46
It was a tough race, but I am very happy with the result. I had not a bad start, I struggled in the straights, but I managed to stay with the front guys. Lap by lap, the pain in my arm became stronger. I tried to do my best and I crossed the finishing line.
Moto3 - Best result of the season for 3570 Team Italia
At Le Mans Stefano Valtulini (22nd) and Lorenzo Petrarca (24th) get closer to the top-20.
3570 Team Italia carries on the positive trend after the results and the performances in the weekend of Le Mans. In a race won by the current leader of the championship Brad Binder (KTM), second victory in a row, Stefano Valtulini and Lorenzo Petrarca have finished respectively 22nd and 24th, getting closer to one of the team's goals: the top-20.
Stefano Valtulini, who has started from the 27th place, coming back after he was forced not to race in Jerez due to the injury to his left shoulder, has gradually recovered ground, getting a position that represents a good starting point for the continuation of the season. Same situation for Lorenzo Petrarca, 24th on the finish line, who has improved the feeling on his bike.
For 3570 Team Italia, the next round is "at home", at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello, scenery from 20th to 22nd May of the Italian Gran Prix.
Stefano Valtulini (3570 Team Italia - Mahindra MGP3O #43) 22nd
"A race with positive sparks. We have improved in terms of lap times and I have been able to fight with the riders in front of me. I give my best and, only at the end, I had to struggle with the pain to the left shoulder. With the injection of confidence and the constant improvement of this weekend and with some rest, I am sure that I can be at Mugello in the best condition to do well in our home GP."
Lorenzo Petrarca (3570 Team Italia - Mahindra MGP3O #77) 24th
"In terms of riding, I had a good feeling today on the bike thanks to modifications in the set-up done by the team. The start was not the best, but already in the first corner I have been able to recover three positions in a row, just following the group in front of me. Unfortunately,starting from that moment, a series of unlucky episodes hasn't allowed me to ride on competitive times constantly, that's the reason of the final result. It could have gone better, but with the confidence of today, I can be confident for Mugello."
Emanuele Ventura (3570 Team Italia - Team Manager)
"The race had started quite well for our riders and there were the premises to reach a great result. Concerning Stefano, he has felt some pain to the left shoulder after the injury of Austin, but he has proved that he can be close to his referential group. With some rest, he will be at his 100% for Mugello. Talking about Lorenzo, he had a better feeling on his bike and this is absolutely a positive aspect."
LOWES PICKS UP VALUABLE POINTS AT LE MANS
The Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 and Sam Lowes leave Le Mans with a good haul of points thanks to the sixth place finish obtained in today’s French Grand Prix, despite a difficult weekend in which the 25-year-old British rider was not able to show, for the first time this year, the potential to join the fight for the podium.
Started from the third row of the grid, Lowes lost some ground stuck in traffic in the early laps then, once passed Dominique Aegerter and Marcel Schroetter, he tried to catch Franco Morbidelli and Takaaki Nakagami to fight for a fourth place finish, but some difficulties with front end didn’t allow him to be fast enough to reach them.
Today’s result allow Sam to collect 10 important points for the Championship, which sees him now in second position with 85, only 5 less than Alex Rins.
SAM LOWES (6th)
“In the final stages of the race I pushed really hard to try to grab the fourth place, but actually I was not able to be fast. I was struggling with the front end and to make the bike turn on corner entry, but we must look at the positives: in a race where we saw several crashes we picked up good points for the championship and I’m happy for that. The Championship is still long and we are just 5 points behind Rins in the standings. We made some mistakes Friday during practice and honestly we had a difficult weekend, but we will learn from that: now we look forward to Mugello, a track that I really love!”.
“This weekend we have not been able to be as competitive as usual and basically we struggled; in addition, a bad start complicated things in the race. However, for us it was important to finish the race today and this sixth place is very important for the Championship. So far we have always been competitive: this was the first time we have been struggling, so it can happen”.
Marini Top15, Baldassarri fights for podium but crashes
After an amazing Saturday, the French Grand Prix closes with some regrets for the Forward Racing Team. Marini and Baldassarri were authors of an excellent race ruined by a fall in the end of "Balda" who finished in the back of the field.
Luca Marini, after a good start, takes home the second Top15 of his career fighting throughout the race with the group of the fastest. Eventually the Italian finished twelfth.
Lorenzo Baldassarri, who started from seventh place, regained position from the first lap until he came in third, very close to the race leader. "Balda" began to fight for the podium but he lost the front of his Kalex with six laps to go falling without consequences. The Italian resumed the race finishing in seventeenth position and out of the points.
"I tried until the end, I gave my very best, but, while I was chasing Luthi, I lost the front and I fell. I was feeling good at the beginning, I thought I could catch Rins but then I saved the tires for the last laps. Too bad really because it would have been a great weekend and I'm very happy with the work we have done with the team. Now we make the best of the next ten days to recover and get back in shape for Mugello ".
"It was a pretty good race because I was able to get into the points. I kept a good pace throughout the race, I would have liked to get something more because I was fast but I would have had to take too many risks to overtake the others and I preferred to manage the pace. We're hitting the goals for this season, now we have to be 100% prepared for Mugello ".
Vierge perseveres to finish in the points at the Tech3 home Grand Prix
Tech3 Racing Team rider Xavi Vierge produced a solid performance today at the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France to meet the chequered flag in 15th marking a positive close to a challenging weekend. The young Spaniard kicked off his debut race at the legendary Bugatti Circuit from the 8th row of the grid and leapt forward when the lights went out. He set into his rhythm and climbed up to 18th at just beyond the half way point and then he forced his way past Mattia Pasini a short distance later. Vierge quickly opened a gap to the rider behind and pulled away before eventually crossing the finish line in 15th. The result marks a rewarding end to a demanding weekend for the former CEV winner who now focuses on securing a consecutive points scoring result in Mugello.
On the other hand, Isaac Viñales determinedly completed the fifth round of the 2016 Moto2 World Championship in 20th after undertaking a relentless effort at the stop and go circuit. The class rookie began his 26-lap battle from right behind his teammate on the grid and after a typically frantic opening lap, Viñales set into his rhythm and started the fight. By the mid point, he was running in 21st and he carried on pushing onwards as he moved in on the group in front. He maintained his pace and eventually finished in 20th, having successfully gained more valuable race experience.
Position: 15th - Chamionship: 25 - Points: 3
"We now finally have a satisfying result after what has been a challenging weekend for us. On Saturday I made a big step forward but we struggled in the qualifying and I couldn’t make the most of the new tyres, which we saved for the session, because I fell twice. However, today in the race my rhythm was very strong but starting from 22nd made things tricky. In the first few laps, I got stuck behind some other riders but once I moved past Wilairot, I increased my rhythm even more and then passed Pasini. In the end, my pace was actually the same as Syahrin who finished in 8th so this shows that we have the potential. Yet, for the next GP my objective is to improve my qualifying performance, which will obviously help me in the race. I must say thank you so much to the Tech3 team for the amazing job that they did yesterday because they repaired a bike in ten minutes which is very impressive and I’m sure next time will be better.”
Position: 20th - Championship: 24 - Points: 3
“Overall, I am not too happy about the result, even though I am thankful that I gathered some more experience. My rhythm wasn’t great and although my feeling with the Mistral was ok, I began to struggle more towards the end with the grip and turning the bike. This was a bit frustrating for me because I like this track and I hoped for a better result. Anyway, we will now focus on the next race at Mugello where hopefully we can end up in a higher position."
Hervé Poncharal - Team Manager:
“I am satisfied with the result today even though it was a tough weekend, but in the end both guys finished and did their best. Although it was difficult for Xavi who had two crashes in qualifying and had to learn the track, he still managed to complete the race and score a point. This is a good performance and he really tried so I want to thank him and the whole team. Hopefully this will give him some confidence for the next round, even if he will have to learn another new circuit. We are happy but we have to keep on working and Xavi is very dedicated, motivated and is doing his best so all in all it’s a good job from Xavi’s side. On the opposite side of the pit box, I have to say that we came to Le Mans with hope for Isaac because he has always enjoyed riding here. He did ok in qualifying yet, the GP was a bit more difficult as always. Nevertheless, I think he learnt a lot because he was battling with the current Moto3 World Champion Danny Kent for most of the race and he finished just behind him in the end. Their lap times were very similar, so for sure this is an achievement. Now, we have to keep working and maintain a positive spirit for the next event in Mugello. It will be a demanding event but we will do our best.”
PEUGEOT MOTOCYCLES SAXOPRINT TO FINISH THEIR HOME RACE IN THE TOP-20
The team’s riders, Alexis Masbou and John McPhee, battled hard for positions against each other but both were lacking speed to be able fighting for the points today in Le Mans.
Round five of the Moto3 series were accompanied by stable weather with dry conditions this weekend in France. During the race, conditions were similar to the previous days so it was just up the riders to took benefit from their work done during days of practice.
Local hero Alexis Masbou, who qualified for 15th spot on the grid Saturday afternoon, was very eager to give his home crowd as well the lion branded Peugeot Motocycles SAXOPRINT team something to cheer about today. But already after the start all his and the teams hopes were gone because Masbou didn’t leave the line in a great way as well as riding into some mistakes in the early stages of the race.
Meanwhile team mate John McPhee was lacking speed from the very first moment in order to recover from P25 on the grid. Although, the young Scotsman run into additional troubles from halfway point of the race as his bike lost some cooling water which did affect his view. However, both Alexis and John showed their fighting spirit throughout the entire race, particularly when they battled each against in the later stages of the race.
Peugeot Motocycles SAXOPRINT also would like to take this opportunity to kindly advise that Mr. Dirk Heidolf isn’t involved in this project in any kind of operational or other belongings which means neither in the new founded company SPRacing nor in the team Peugeot Motocycle SAXOPRINT. We would kindly please you to accept this information if Mr. Dirk Heidolf will get in contact with you which means he will do it only by himself his own interests and not in any function from our side in the future. Thank you so much for your understanding. Peugeot Motocycles SAXOPRINT wishes Mr. Heidolf all the best for his future, particularly for his stay at a health resort shortly.
The championship continues in two weeks with the Italian round at the magnificent Mugello circuit, located in the beautiful landscape of the Tuscany region.
#10 Alexis MASBOU – 19th:
“For sure I’m not so happy with this outcome of that important race weekend for us. We did well during qualifying yesterday but the race was a different story because to finish in this position doesn’t definitely match our expectations as well as I don’t like to be. It began with a bad start and I went wide so many times. In addition, I was close at the time when Darryn Binder crashed so due to this incident I lost a lot of time too. After that I found myself at the back of our group and our pace today’s wasn’t competitive enough to recover fighting for the last points positions at least. Finally, I had a good battle with John but it wasn’t the position we would like to fight for.”
#17 John McPHEE – 20th (World Championship position18th, 9 points):
“Of course, it was a difficult race for me. However, we managed to improve the bike’s setting and the overall feeling. To be honest, I’m quite happy about this but we had too many technical issues today like the gearbox coming out and losing cooling water from halfway point of the race. This was covering my visor so it was difficult to know how safe the bike was as well as it was difficult to push 100 percent too. In the end I had a fun race with Alexis but we were unlucky not to finish in the points. Anyway, we learned from this and now we have a good setting, going to Mugello and try there to improve further.”
Terrell THIEN (Team manager):
“Well, the race went according to our expectations as we saw us in positions between 15 and 20. This was to expect in respect to our lap times of both our riders set during practice sessions and qualifying. Of course, we hoped for better results as achieved finally, because hopes never die, but we were slowed again by some technical issues. Mahindra and Peugeot are pushing hard themselves to make the bikes more rideable in a certain way so that the rider will not endure the same problems again. However, Peugeot Motocycles SAXOPRINT is still a new team and we need to stay together to overcome the situation quickly. We also have to analyse the weekend carefully if a new problem occurred which doesn’t seem so and to find solutions for the well-known areas.”
Enrico PELLEGRINO (Peugeot Motocycles, Project Manager Moto3):
“Obviously we cannot be happy, especially it was such an important occasion for us this weekend, because we expect more after qualifying. During this session it was to see that there are some progress happened so we head into race day a little bit more optimistic. But during the race technical problems again didn’t allow us to gain better results. We all know that our project is still young and we endure all this kind of things which is normal at this stage but all parties involved are working so hard together to improve step by step in order to be ready to have a better weekend starting from Mugello, I hope. We really believe and trust in our project because the team is fantastic which means the same for both of our riders. We need to improve to get better results soon.”
Pawi Secures Championship Points Again
Disappointing DNF for Ono
Rd05 Monster Energy Grand Prix de France : Sunday, May 08 2016
Ambient: 19℃ : Track: 21℃
Moto3 rookie Khairul Idham Pawi finished 14th place again and added two more championship points in today’s twenty-four lap French GP. His team mate Hiroki Ono forced to retire from the race due to the crash at turn 8 on lap16.
Pawi, who had started the race from ninth on the grid made a fantastic start and chased the leading group in opening laps. Then in the middle of the stages, when the group spread in some packs, the Malaysian rookie made scorching battle with his rivals and finally crossed the line within points scoring place for two consecutive races.
Meanwhile, his team mate Hiroki Ono made a decent start, however, it was difficult for him to maintain competitive lap time. When he tried to catch up riders in front of him, the Japanese rider lost front and had to fell down, which made him withdraw from the race.
Khairul Idham Pawi (14th)
“I made a good start and was able to stay with the leading group in the opening laps. Then, I felt some issue on my rear. I had to struggle to control the bike, which made me to stay back. Anyway, it was good to get some championship points, but I would like to make it better for the next race in Mugello.”
Hiroki Ono (DNF)
“Although my start was not so bad, it was difficult to maintain consistent pace, especially in sector4 where I have been struggling in this weekend. Also, I had to struggle in braking area, and as a result, I lost front at turn8 on lap16. I am very disappointed because I was confident to make a good race.”
Tadayuki Okada - Team Manager
“Pawi made a good start and climbed up to third position. After that, he had to struggle with the rear sliding. We have to improve this problem, and he can ride with more confidence for the next race in Mugello. Also, Ono made a good start and elevated his position in the beginning, however, he was not able to find a good rhythm, which made him to crash in the middle of the race. Obviously, it was not his day, but we know tomorrow will be another day!”
Quartararo and Locatelli take the Top ten
The French and Italian fought with determination throughout the race while Mir suffered from a jump start.
Fabio Quartararo started well as the lights went out and retained his position off the line. The home hero was feeling confident after a good Warm Up session saw him finish in fifth. After his good start he was able to stay in the middle of the leading group, a hard fight with 11 other riders. On lap six the French rider set his fastest lap.
Behind him teammate Locatelli was mired by traffic, as was rookie teammate Joan Mir who was then sanctioned for a jump start and was forced to ride through pit lane.
On lap nine Quartararo settled into his rhythm, following the main players of the championship. Behind Locatelli was well within the points and was knocking on the door of the top ten. Locatelli’s battle was not easy as he fought with podium finishers Bagnaia and Loi. All the while Joan Mir did his best to make up the time lost in the pits, battling with Rodrigo, who also jumped the start.
As the race progressed the leading four stretched away, Quartararo forced to watch as they stretched away. His attention turned to fighting off Bulega and Migno, the Italians launching an onslaught of overtakes. Locatelli was comfortably in tenth with Kornfeil in his sights. But the Czech rider was able to resist the Italian’s attacks, Quartararo unable to do the same as Bulega launched a do or die move on the final lap.
Both riders were able to give Leopard Racing a double top-ten. Thanks to his tenth, Locatelli sits eighth in the championship with 30 points ahead of race winners such as Bastianini. Despite being unable to finish in the points, Mir is 12th and ahead of former CEV rival Aron Canet. Quartararo now advances to 15th with 19 points after his tough start to the year.
#20 Fabio QUARTARARO – 6th:
“It was a tough race, I thought I could hold out until the end, but I suffered a grip problem. I gritted my teeth and I fought with Migno, Bulega and Antonelli. On the last lap I had passed them all and I was eighth, but I knew I had more in the last corner, taking the ideal line inside. I'm happy because we finished the race and because we are not far away from the leading group.”
#55 Andrea LOCATELLI – 10th:
“It wasn’t a great start but at the first corner I had already recovered some positions but at the exit of Turn 2, as soon as I opened the throttle, the rear snapped and I almost crashed. From the back of the pack, I worked on my rhythm and I continued to fight and, lap after lap, I recovered. Too bad, I could have battled with the second group because we were running the same times. All in all I am satisfied.”
#36 Joan MIR – 25th:
“I let the clutch out early because I knew that the start was very important. It was a fraction before the lights turned off. I started will, I felt comfortable with the bike and I think today we could get a good result. We had changed many things, going back to the previous settings. I used the race and laps alone to better understand the KTM.”
Best ever Moto2 finish for Oliveira in Le Mans
A great tenth place for Miguel Oliveira who returns Leopard Racing to the top ten of the intermediate category.
At 12:20 Local time the lights went out at the Bugatti Circuit in Le Mans, the scene of the fifth round of the 2016 World Championship. After an encouraging Warm Up run in the morning, Kent and Oliveira sat confident on the grid, ready to run at the historic track. It was a good started for the Portuguese rider who in the first five laps was with Salom and Simeon, settling into 12th temporarily.
Unfortunately it wasn’t an easy start for Danny Kent, the Moto3 champion hit by heavy traffic and unable to advance his grid position. Mid-race he upped his pace and passed Viñales to get inside the top 20 with Mulhauser now just ahead.
With nine laps to go, defending champion Zarco slid off at Turn 14, Oliveira taking the top ten as he defended from the likes of Salom and Pons. The trio brawled till the end of the race, thousandths of a second splitting them as the raced to the line. Oliveira understood the situation, using intelligence and determination to put his Kalex ahead of his opponents.
Kent ended the race in 19th as Oliveira took his first top ten of the season. Thanks to the haul of points the Portuguese rider sits 15th overall with 12 points, just ahead of teammate Danny Kent who has ten points.
#44 Miguel OLIVEIRA – 9th:
“Today was a difficult race. We made a small change to the front suspension in Warm Up. In the race the wind picked up and I could not be as fast as yesterday. I'm happy because this was a result that the team deserved, and I needed to finish a race. It is my first top 10, I want to re-energize for Mugello to be still at the top.”
#52 Danny KENT – 19th:
“It has been a very tough weekend for me and the team, we’ve lost a lot of confidence in the front end. This is not where we want to be finishing, we need to figure out where we’re going wrong and we’ll go to Mugello starting from zero. We’ll work in a different way to try and get closer to the front. Sorry to the team as this isn’t where we want to be, we want to be closer to the front. We’ve got some time and we need to check the data and see where to improve.”