Press releases from the Moto2 & Moto3 teams after the Australian Grand Prix
BITTER SUNDAY FOR THE SKY RACING TEAM VR46 AT PHILLIP ISLAND
Bulega and Migno, both victims of the fight of the first laps, were not on the grid for the restart. Dalla Porta, penalized with a drive through, crossed the finishing line in 19th place.
Cowes (Australia), October 23rd, 2016 - In a really excited first laps of the Australian GP, Nicolò Bulega and Andrea Migno are both forced to retire. Fighting in the leading group from the first turns, the riders of the Sky Racing Team VR46 are victims of a contacts in the first laps. Following the red flag, exposed by the stewards after the crash of John Mc Phee, both, by regulation, they could not get back on track for the restart. Lorenzo Dalla Porta, 14th on the new grid, was penalized with a drive through penalty for jump start and he crossed the finishing line in 19th place.
PABLO NIETO - Team Manager
What a difficult day for the whole team: we were in the top positions in all the free practices, we did a great things in qualifying and this epilogue is very bitter for us. Nicolò and Andrea were fighting for the podium and Lorenzo, in the second start, was immediately with the fastest guys.
It is a shame: I was with the top guys, I had a good feeling for achieving something important today. It was windy, McPhee was in front of me, he lost the front and he braked. Unfortunately I could not do anything to avoid it. It was a big crash and I wish John all the best for a quick recovery.
It is not the ending that I expected for this weekend. We were competitive and it was a pity. I did a good start, I was with the fastest guys but I was forced to retire after a contact with Quartararo.
Lorenzo Dalla Porta
It was a difficult race: I had a good start and I was fighting with the fastest guys for the podium. Unfortunately, I was penalized with a drive through and I back on the track at the end of the group.
Canet takes first World Championship podium at Phillip Island
Estrella Galicia 0,0 rookie shows his progress made throughout the year with third place at Australian GP. Jorge Navarro is unable to finish after a crash on the last lap.
The Moto3 Australian GP was a race that featured a series of crashes, including one which forced a restart after six laps. The grid reassembled for a 10-lap sprint at the restart, and the Estrella Galicia 0,0 duo of Aron Canet and Jorge Navarro battled in a packed second group in the search for a podium. Amidst constant overtaking, Canet used a faultless strategy in the final stages and managed to pass Darryn Binder on the line to take his first ever World Championship podium –a display of his experience gained as part of Estrella Galicia 0,0 this season.
Teammate Navarro fought tooth and nail in the second group, on a mission to place on the rostrum. Unfortunately, his race ended prematurely on the final lap, when contact with another rider at Turn 4 led to him crashing out.
"This podium will give Aron confidence that he can fight for the top places"
"This has been a very difficult Grand Prix because of the weather, and also because of how chaotic the Moto3 race was. However, we are very happy because Aron Canet achieved his first podium in the World Championship. This will give him the confidence that he can fight for the top places. Aron will have learned a lot in this race, in which he proved to be very adept with the strategy that he carried out at the end.
The unfortunate thing about today was the result for Jorge Navarro, who crashed on the last lap and leaves Australia without scoring points. He made a mistake and will have to learn from it. We at Estrella Galicia 0,0 will keep behind him and continue working hard with him at the last two races.
Now we head to Malaysia, where we will be motivated to face the last Grand Prix of the flyaways.”
Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider
"It was a very chaotic race"
"I am not taking a good feeling away from Australia, since today it was a very chaotic race. On the first start there was a crash involving multiple riders at Turn 2, and I almost fell. I stayed up, but from so much dodging other riders I was very far back. Nevertheless, I focused, found my own pace and started to fight back. Later there was another crash at the front, in which I was involved, and John McPhee and Enea Bastianini were hurt in the incident. I hope both are ok. Race Direction stopped the race and then we went back out again, this time with me starting from seventh place on the grid. My goal was to finish, because I knew it was going to be another very crazy race. However, with three laps to go, when I managed to get into third on the straight, six riders passed me under the slipstream. On the last lap, Bo Bendsneyder clipped me
Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider
"The experience accumulated throughout the year has paid off with a podium today"
"Just after crossing the finish line I burst into tears; I think that sums things up. Achieving your first World Championship podium is something amazing, and even more so in such a chaotic race as we had today, in which I crashed on the first start, the race was red flaged and I was able to go back out. In the second race I clawed back positions and fought in the second group. On the final laps I decided to be brave and take the lead of the group, trying to break away. I opened a small gap, but Darryn Binder went with me and even passed me on the penultimate time across the line. That was when I realised I could use his slipstream on the straight, and I did that on the final lap. When I saw my name in third on the screens, I couldn’t hold back tears. Now I realise that the experience accumulated throughout the year, with my crew at Estrella Galicia 0,0, has paid off with a podium today, so I couldn’t be happier."
Morbidelli takes second in thrilling photo finish at Phillip Island
Despite a near perfect high-speed race Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli missed a career first Moto2 win by a fraction of a second in today’s Michelin Australian Grand Prix.
In a thrilling photo finish at the seaside Phillip Island Circuit Morbidelli was beaten by just one hundredth of a second by Swiss rival Thomas Lüthi after a titanic 25-lap battle.
The official winning margin was 0.010s, about one metre, after 111kms of racing.
It was a superb comeback by the 21-year-old Italian who suffered three massive crashes during practice and qualifying.
Morbidelli started ninth and applied huge race long pressure with multiple overtakes on Lüthi from lap two before grabbing the lead on his own on the penultimate lap.
Leading the final lap Morbidelli looked in control for a historic victory when Lüthi timed a slipstream overtake to snatch a dramatic win.
After his starring role in a breath-taking battle Morbidelli was far from heartbroken to claim his third runner-up finish of the season. It was his sixth podium in the last nine races.
After two days of variable weather including rain and cold winds the race was run in sunny but cool conditions with an ambient temperature of 12 degrees.
A battered and bruised Álex Márquez did not start the race following his heavy crash in qualifying on Saturday.
After spending Saturday night in Melbourne for hospital checks and then being declared fit to ride Márquez withdrew from the race as precaution after struggling in the pre-race warm-up session.
Márquez was suffering discomfort from pain in his abdomen, left wrist and back and he will undergo a medical check on Wednesday to assess his fitness for the Malaysian GP next weekend.
Franco Morbidelli: 2nd
"I am happy because I rode a great race after a very difficult two days with big crashes and the team had to fix the bike and change the engine. But I was confident for the race and the pace with Lüthi out front was unbelievable, he was really fast. I understood the chance to overtake at turn one with two laps to go and make a strategy for the end of the race. I tried but on the run to the finish he took my slipstream and he won. But it was a great second position after a tough weekend and good result for the team. I must say a big thanks to my team who a did lot of work to fix my bikes after my crashes.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"The final corner at the fast Phillip Island circuit is always a little tricky and when you have the experience of a rider like Tom Lüthi it is always an advantage to have the slipstream to the chequered flag. Franco rode a perfect race, he did nothing wrong and with all the overtakes it was a really nice race for all the fans. I am sure we are very close to Franco’s first Moto2 win, I’m very happy with this result. With Álex when he was not feeling 100% after the warm-up it was better for him not to race here so now he will rest and have some physiotherapy and I am sure he can be on the grid in Malaysia.”
Mahindra Within a Whisker of the Podium in Chaotic Australian GP
Phillip Island, 23 October 2016: Independent Mahindra rider Darryn Binder was just five hundredths of a second from a top-three finish in a chaotic Australian Moto3 GP at Phillip Island today, while Aspar Mahindra Team rider, Jorge Martin, fought through from the back of the grid to a valuable sixth place.
Another independent Mahindra finished seventh, a best-ever placing also for Marcos Ramirez, team-mate to Binder in the Platinum Bay Real Estate team.
The results came in a frantic ten-lap sprint after a multiple rider accident brought the planned 23-lap race to an early stop. Second Aspar Mahindra Team rider, Francesco ‘Pecco’ Bagnaia, was already out of the action after falling innocent victim to another rider’s error before the crash that curtailed the first race.
The worst-injured victim of that crash was Brno GP winner John McPhee, riding an MGP3O for Mahindra’s sister-brand Peugeot Motocycles.
Bagnaia had been fighting for a top-three podium position when he was eliminated on the fourth lap. The race was red-flagged on the sixth, meaning that the bitterly disappointed Italian was not eligible for the restart.
Martin had already survived the lap-one melee, which put him to the back of the pack. He had pushed through to 17th, still moving forward, when the red flags stopped the action.
Further misfortune awaited when he stalled his engine on the formation grid. He was pushed back to pit lane and had to start from the back of a grid, depleted to 24 riders from the original 34 by a spate of crashes in the first running.
Martin (18, from Madrid) rapidly cut his way through a tight group, taking third place shortly after half-distance. But he was heading a group of 16 riders changing places constantly, slipstreaming down the straight and cutting inside on the sweeping corners of the scenic 4.448-km seaside Phillip Island circuit.
In the final shuffle, Martin finished sixth, just 15 hundredths of a second from a potential third, and inches ahead of Ramirez.
Binder, younger brother of race-winner and new champion Brad Binder (KTM), had led the pack onto the finishing straight, but lost a historic first podium by inches when Aron Canet (Honda) came out of his slipstream over the line.
The Australian race was the middle of three successive flyaway races, with the GP circus moving directly north for the Malaysian GP next weekend, before the season closes at Valencia in mid-November.
Darryn Binder, Fourth Place
“We started sixth this morning and then on the first lap someone rode into me and I crashed. I thought my race was over. I picked my bike up and kept going. When the red flag came out I thought, 'Maybe this is my chance.' Fortunately enough I got to the front and thought that no one would get past me before the line. Canet slipstreamed past me right at the end. I'm still very happy with fourth. It's the best finish of my career but would have loved to have been on the podium.”
Jorge Martin, Sixth Place
“In the first race I was involved in a fall, luckily I did not go down, but dropped to last. Anyway, I did not give up and I continued to try to score points. After the second crash, which has been very ugly, I helped Jorge Navarro to get to the pits but this burned my clutch. We changed it, but on the grid I stalled the bike and we had to start from the back. It's a shame, because I was fighting for third despite starting last. But sixth position gives us more points in the championship. I gave the maximum, I knew I could be at the front and that if we had a better start I could have run with the first two, but with the slipstream has been very difficult to catch them.”
Mufaddal Choonia, CEO Mahindra Racing
“It was a bitterly disappointing weekend, where we had been confident of a podium finish. Instead, we are feeling robbed, when a mistake by another rider put Pecco out of the race. And who knows where McPhee might have finished, but for the crash? This takes nothing away from a fantastic race by Darryn Binder, as well as Jorge Martin and Marcos Ramirez. It is good to see Binder and Ramirez there, who have not been in the top ten before. It shows the growing strength of the Mahindra package. Finally, best wishes to McPhee, who suffered a fracture and has flown home to Scotland for treatment. We hope to see him again at Valencia.”
Second place for Locatelli at Phillip Island
The 20 year old from Selvino took his second career podium at the end of a hectic two-part race. Quartararo finishes 12th, while Mir is involved in a multiple fall and fails to score.
Drama was high as soon as the race began, multiple riders caught up in a fall at Turn 2. Joan Mir, who had got away well, was involved in the multiple fall and failed to finish the race at all. Both his Rookie-of-the-Year rivals, Nicolò Buega and Fabio Di Giannantonio, were also unable to score.
After starting last on the grid, Fabio Quartararo was making an amazing recovery and eventually found himself in second position behind the World Champion Brad Binder, closely followed by his team-mate Andrea Locatelli. But on lap 5 another fall left bikes and riders in the middle of the track and forced Race Direction to declare the red flag. Quick restart procedures saw the ten-lap restart occur without major issues.
Andrea Locatelli shot to second and attempted to escape with Brad Binder, but Fabio Quartararo was unable to recreate his first race start and found himself in 18th place. Loka soon broke from the group and was dragged ahead by Brad Binder’s KTM. His teammate continued his incredible progression and by the halfway point he was knocking on the door of the top five.
But the Frenchman suffered the return of his rivals and was sucked back to 13th position. Brad Binder crossed the line over two seconds ahead of Locatelli and flew to his sixth win of the season. Andrea Locatelli was second on the podium and took his second of career podium (his first in Germany), both with the Leopard Racing team.
A small set back in the standings for Joan Mir (124 p.) While Andrea Locatelli moves in on the top ten with 85 points and Fabio Quartararo is in fourteenth place (68 p.). Next weekend it is off to Sepang for the Grand Prix of Malaysia.
#55 Andrea LOCATELLI - 2nd
"It was an incredible day! And the second podium of my career, but it was one of the most difficult weekends: the rain, the wind, my mistakes... I suffered with the position on the grid. But after the delicious warm up this morning I knew I had a great rhythm. I have to thank the team because they did a great job. Now we go right away to Malaysia. We pass from cold to warm, we expect another difficult weekend, but I'm sure we can get another great result!"
#20 Fabio QUARTARARO - 12th
"In the end it was a positive weekend. We have faced difficult circumstances and, in the first race, I had a great comeback from last position. In the second race, after the red flag it was not possible to repeat my speed. We have to look forward with confidence to Malaysia."
#36 Joan MIR - n.c.
"It was a real shame today, because we had a good pace in the warm-up and could have been very strong but that's racing. Fortunately there were no consequences, and I can arrive in Malaysia at best physical condition.”
Vierge continues notable momentum by powering to 10th in Australia
Tech3 Racing Team rider Xavi Vierge produced a solid display at the Australian Grand Prix to seize 10th aboard the Mistral 610 as he carries on his impressive wave of progress in the ultra-competitive Moto2 class. Vierge leapt off the third row of the grid when the lights went out and he elbowed his way through to 5th by the close of the first lap as he duelled with the leading group. The 19-year-old then stuck into a formidable rhythm as he battled against the pack of vastly experienced competitors but he was shuffled back to 8th by the close of the 5th lap. Shortly after, he was touched by another rider which caused him to slip down to 14th, yet he remained focused and mounted his recovery charge, before muscling past Marcel Schrotter to clinch 11th at just under half distance. Vierge remained fully involved in the intense fight for 9th with four other riders for over a third of the race, and he pushed tirelessly as the chequered flag crept closer. Eventually, he ended the GP in 10th as he scored his best finish in the Moto2 World Championship. The hard-fought result marks a highly positive ending to the event for the 19-year-old after he impressed throughout the weekend.
Meanwhile, Isaac Viñales did not compete in the round 16 battle after being forced to withdraw due to damaging his shoulder in qualifying. Yesterday, the Spaniard fell at the second corner in the early stages of the shootout after hitting a false neutral. The intermediate class rookie was checked over by the medical staff this morning, but he was deemed unfit to ride. Despite the injury ruling him out of the Phillip Island contest, Viñales hopes to return to the track at the Malaysian round in a week’s time.
Position: 10th - Championship: 23rd - Points: 25
“I am very happy with how the weekend panned out because yesterday, I achieved my highest qualifying position of the year and today I rode the best race of the season! I finished the first lap in the leading group but then, unfortunately, not long afterwards, another rider touched me and I lost a lot of positions. However, I got into a really consistent and competitive rhythm and after fighting non-stop, I ended up in the top ten. I am looking forward to the next GP in Malaysia so that the Tech3 Racing team and I can try and continue in this way. Finally, I have to say thank you to my crew for giving me such a good bike today, I enjoyed every lap."
Position: DNS - Championship: 25th - Points: 13
“Of course, withdrawing from the race is the last thing that any rider wants to do and it is a real shame for me because I like the Phillip Island circuit and it was fun on the Mistral 610. I fell in qualifying yesterday and I damaged my shoulder. The medical staff checked me this morning but I was declared unfit to ride which is a big pity. Now I will wait for the Malaysian GP and I am confident that I will be able to return to the track after a few days of rest.
Hervé Poncharal - Team Manager:
"It was another very good weekend for Xavi Vierge, however, I must start by saying that it was a real shame that Isaac couldn’t compete today. He had a nasty crash yesterday where he hurt his shoulder and that lead to him being declared unfit to ride. He is already working on his recovery and we all hope that he will be fit enough to race in Malaysia. With regards to Xavi, he produced his finest qualifying performance of the season and when the GP kicked off, he got a great start and finished the first lap in 5th. He was pushed wide by Morbidelli, plus Simon and maybe someone else in the opening stages of the Grand Prix, so he lost contact with the group in front of him. However, he focused and gave it everything he had to get back into the top ten to secure his best result of the year. He fought in a strong group which contained the current World Champion, Johann Zarco, and not only did he gain some valuable points for the championship, but he learnt a lot today as he was battling with riders who are much more experienced than him. Thanks to the whole team, KYB, Sakura, Nissin and everyone else because they are all helping us a lot and clearly we can see that the whole package is improving at every round, and this includes Xavi. Once again, we must not forget that he finished ahead of the World Champion today, so I am very happy and everyone at Tech3 will be back at the track soon in Malaysia, with hopefully both guys on board."
Livio Loi battles to fifth in hectic race
In an overly eventful race Livio Loi made it to fifth in the Australian GP: his best result of the season so far. A restart for a 10 laps race saved the day for Loi, as the RW Racing GP rider had dropped way back after being involved in a crash in the first lap of the initial race.
Anything one could possibly imagine happened in the Moto3 race of the Australian Grand Prix. At the magnificent Phillip Island Livio Loi started from fourth, but already in turn 3 (Stoner Corner) was caught up by a five rider crash. Loi was not among the crashers but was forced all the way down the gravel trap to avoid flying bikes and parts. The excursion cost him a lot of time and Loi had to join last.
The Belgian moved up to 24th while a number of other crashes occurred. One of them, in lap 6 at Lukey Heights, was so nasty race direction decided to stop the race.
At the restart for a second, 10 laps race, Loi had to start from 19th on the grid. Right from the start of that sprint race it was frantic, with Loi moving up to 11th immediately. Brad Binder was able to break away at once, but behind the world champion’s back a group of 20 riders was in a fierce battle.
Positions changed all the time, elbows and knees all over the place, with Loi moving up to seventh, dropping back to 15th and moving up again. In the final laps there were still 16 riders fighting for third place. Loi entered the final lap in seventh, scuffled to sixth and finally crossed the line in fifth, just 0,086 from third.
RW Racing GP team manager Jarno Janssen was proud of his rider and his crew. “Livio recovered tremendously. He’s been in about every position you can think of, from fourth on the grid, to dead last and everything in between. To finish fifth in such a hectic race, is a great result. The team did a wonderful job as well by having a perfect bike ready at any moment during a frantic weekend.”
Livio Loi - 5 (+9,680)
“This was one of the most frenzied races ever. In the first lap I was on the outside of turn 3 when a bike came flying over and I had to get out of the way to avoid it. I had to ride all the way down the gravel trap, turn, ride back and rejoin the race. I was last by a mile, but I saw riders crashing out all the time, and yellow flags all around. I knew there was a big chance the race was going to be red flagged. I truly hope John McPhee is all right, but for me the restart was the best that could happen.
The second race was unbelievably hectic. There were riders all over, in a constant scuffle for every inch. It was such a frantic battle at daggers drawn. With two laps to go I knew I could be fighting for the podium so I gave it all. I put out my elbows and legs till the finish line. I just missed out on third, but I’m extremely happy with fifth. Not only is it my best result of the season - while I could as well have been out in the first lap - it’s been the second one in a row after seventh last week and on top of that the result after a great battle.”
Brad Binder takes sprint victory in Australia
World Champion obtains sixth win of the season in a race held over 10 laps. Bo Bendsneyder places inside the Top 10.
10/23/2016 - Phillip Island Circuit, Australia
The Australian Grand Prix was once again a race to remember for Red Bull KTM Ajo, as Brad Binder took his sixth victory of the season in a contest reduced to 10 laps after a red flag. With this latest win, the team have now taken 4 wins in 5 Moto3 races at Phillip Island. Bo Bendsneyder placed tenth on his debut at the Australian track, his fifth Top 10 of the year.
The Moto3 race was crash-filled from the start, as on Lap 6 a multiple rider pile-up forced the red flag out when Brad Binder was leading the way. At the restart, with the contest now reduced to 10 laps, the South African achieved what had previously seemed impossible and escaped from the chasing pack. He would eventually finish nearly 6 seconds ahead of his nearest rival, taking victory and his 13th podium in 16 races.
Rookie Bendsneyder took the restart from thirteenth position, and was part of a large second group of fifteen riders fighting for third. In the end, the Dutchman was able to cross the finish line in tenth place, 8 tenths off the rostrum.
Following this second round of the flyaway triple-header, the Moto3 World Championship heads to Malaysia for next week’s penultimate round of the season. Already crowned World Champion, Binder goes to Sepang with a total of 294 points to his name, with teammate Bendsneyder in 16th position with 59.
Aki Ajo - Team Manager
"It was a great race for Brad [Binder]. We could say that he won in the style of a World Champion today. He controlled the race before the red flag and then on the restart he did it again from beginning to end. Big respect to Brad. Thank you very much also to the whole team, for having everything under control.
Phillip Island was a new experience for Bo [Bendsneyder], so tenth position is a good result. He fought well in a big group of riders. Bo is learning at every race for next year."
41 BRAD BINDER
"Today has been fantastic -we had a very good race. I started very well, I felt very strong on the first few laps and I decided to push to open a gap to my rivals. I knew if I extended the advantage and broke out of the slipstream I could keep away from the chasing pack, and I managed to carry that out. On the first five laps I saw that I had a 3 second lead, and knowing this was key to relaxing and going even faster. I think this was the race in which I had my best feeling. I'm very happy that I got another win, but today is much more special because my brother finished fourth."
64 BO BENDSNEYDER
"I am very happy with tenth place at my first Australian Grand Prix. The race was a bit strange from the beginning, because there were many crashes, lots of tough battles and the red flag. In the end I think we achieved a good result and I want to thank the team for all the work they have done. It has been a very difficult weekend, with changes between dry and wet conditions at a completely new track for me. Now we have to focus on Malaysia, another circuit where I have never ridden before."
Zarco collects 4 points in Australia to consolidate Moto2 series lead
Ajo Motorsport rider finishes twelfth in Australian Grand Prix and increases his advantage in the overall standings to 22 points.
10/23/2016 - Phillip Island Circuit, Australia
Johann Zarco experienced a positive conclusion to the weekend at Phillip Island, adding an extra point to his advantage in the Moto2 overall standings. The Ajo Motorsport rider placed twelfth in a 25-lap race, held in the dry after a weekend of mixed conditions. The Frenchman increases his lead to 22 points over his nearest rival in the fight for the title.
Starting from tenth position, Zarco was unable to hold his position at the start, finding himself relegated to sixteenth after the first lap. The Ajo Motorsport rider climbed back up to ninth place, five laps in. Following a crash for the man who had been his main title rival, Alex Rins, Zarco played things safe and closed the group, crossing the finish line in twelfth and collecting 4 points.
The Moto2 World Championship heads to Malaysia this week, for the penultimate round of the 2016 season. Johann Zarco leads the series, 22 points ahead of new closest rival Thomas Luthi and 25 ahead of Alex Rins.
Aki Ajo - Team Manager
"We knew this weekend would not be easy for us. It is not a circuit where Johann [Zarco] feels comfortable but the sessions yesterday and on Friday went well -although the conditions were very difficult and he had two crashes. However, today in the race, we did not find the best feeling to opt to form part of the leading group. Now we have to focus on the Malaysian GP."
5 JOHANN ZARCO
"Today's race was difficult. I wanted to attack for better positions, but in these dry conditions I found my limit and couldn’t push any harder. I saw that Rins had crashed out, so it was a good day to pick up points. I was closing out the group fighting for eighth position and wanted to pass them, but I was at the limit. I was slow on some corners, so I had to compensate at others and couldn’t gain positions. It's a shame because I wanted more points, but the race went well. I was able to extend the gap to Rins and now it is Luthi who is second. In Malaysia we will have our first chance to clinch the title, and this is something that motivates me. I'll give it my best."
Bitter end of the Australian Grand Prix for the RBA Racing riders
Phillip Island, Australia
Today the circuit of Phillip Island was the venue of the sixteenth race of the 2016 Moto3 World Championship.
The beginning of the day was positive for Rodrigo, who set the fourth best time in the warm-up, finally held with some favourable weather conditions. In the race, thanks to the penalty given to another rider, Gabriel could start from the third row of the grid. The Argentinian was competitive since the beginning, fighting for the leadership. On the sixth lap the race was stopped and, in the second start, Gabriel put in his best effort once again to try and achieve a good result, battling lap after lap. When he was only few turns from the chequered flag, the Argentinian crashed as he tried to keep a spot in the Top-5, ending the race without having a chance to cross the finishing line.
After the tough crash from yesterday, Juanfran Guevara went out on track for the warm-up. The Spanish youngster confirmed a competitive pace, finishing only 0.437 seconds off the best time of the session and setting the eighth best lap. Right at the start of the race, Guevara had a crash on the second turn. For the rider from Lorca there was no chance to go back on track after the accident and that prevented him from taking part in the second start of the day.
#19 Gabriel Rodrigo: not classified
“The weekend was alright generally speaking. In the warm-up I felt once again confident and I finished fourth. The improvements that we made on the bike worked well and I was feeling strong ahead of the race. I had quite a good start, but Binder had a solid pace: we tried to stay with him and we managed to, we were within the first five guys. On the sixth lap there was a crash of another rider and I barely managed to get out of the accident. The race was stopped and we went out again, but on the second time I had some issues with the front of the bike. We’ll have to check the data in order to find out what happened. In this start, Binder got away quite soon and I ended up in the second group, fighting for the third position. I was trying to push in the parts of the track where I could and I was managing the situation in order to stay in the front of the group. On the last lap another rider overtook me and I had to lift the bike in the turn. When I got back on the line, I lost the rear. I ended up in the gravel and I had to let the bike go, in order to avoid crashing into the wall. It was a shame since it could have been a great race. Things can turn out this way, so we can only keep the good and learn from it for next year. Now it’s important to get better, we’re headed to Malaysia looking forwards to fighting again.”
#58 Juanfran Guevara: not classified
”It was a complicated day. To be fair we kicked off decently, because this morning we had a positive warm-up and we had a good pace to stay with the leading group in the race. Beside that, I really liked the setting of my bike. In the race we had a good start, we moved up some eight positions right at the beginning, we had a good strategy. On the second turn there was quite a big group in front of me: they had some contact and they fell to the ground. In order to avoid them, I braked a bit too hard on the front and right in that moment the bars crossed. It was a real shame. I tried to restart to keep going, but there was no chance to get back on track. I believe we could have finished the weekend with a good result, especially because of the red flag and the second start. We couldn’t take part to the second race because I didn’t manage to bring the bike back on my own to the pit box when they stopped everything on the sixth lap. In any case this weekend we proved that we were a lot more competitive on the wet and also on the dry, and that we can fight to stay in the front.”
Bitter Australia for Kent and Nocco
The two riders of Leopard Racing team were not able to cross the finish line of the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island.
A bitter weekend and no points for Leopard Racing Team in Moto2. Despite the good conditions of Warm Up this morning and ending in eighth place, the Englishman Danny Kent could not cross the finish line, crashing with 3 laps from the checkered flag.
Kent had been strong all weekend in both the wet and the dry conditions and was extremely confident before the race. Dry conditions meant the race was a step into the unknown for everyone on the grid. Kent continued to pick off riders and was looking on course for a solid point scoring finish until disaster struck right at the end, Kent failing to finish another race.
A similar fate for his team-mate Alessandro Nocco, here in Australia who was called on to replace the injured Miguel Oliveira. The young rookie improved his pace from Qualifying in the race, but was forced to slow down as he encountered problems with his tyre and preferred to retire or risk the worst.
The two riders of Leopard Racing team will do it all again in seven days at the Sepang International Circuit for the Malaysian Grand Prix.
#52 Danny KENT:
"Not the way we wanted to finish the race, we were in the points and unfortunately we crashed out with only two laps to go. Even before that I started to feel a bit of chatter with the front end which we haven’t had all weekend, but that’s due to a lack of dry track time. Very unfortunate as again we leave with no points, We won’t give up, we’ll keep pushing at 100%. The good thing is we fly immediately to Malaysia and hopefully we can have a good weekend."
#20 Alessandro NOCCO:
"My experience on the Moto2 is growing. Today I improved my own reference time by two seconds, but of course the bike changes as you push harder and must therefore take action. In the last laps the tyre had cooled down too much and I preferred to return to the box in order not to fall or be damaged."
Baldassari a whisker away from podium, Marini 16th
The Australian Grand Prix ended under a clear sky for the riders of the Forward Racing at last.
Lorenzo Baldassarri, who started from the 3rd row of the grid, lost a few places at the start but went immediately on the charge to comeback in the Top5 after a few laps. "Balda" pushed a lot to get the podium as in 2015, but at the end of the race his tires were very consumed and he had to settle for fourth place as he was taking too many risks.
Lorenzo demonstrated his ability to maintain a good pace and to defend his position in order to gain important points for the Championship standings.
Different fate for Luca Marini who, during the warm-up, was the protagonist of a crash that got him a bruised left shoulder and back. Nevertheless he decided to take part it the race, as the Italian was able to get his bike in shape again thanks to the extraordinary work of the team.
The pain unfortunately did not allow the member of the VR46 Riders Academy to keep his pace, he closed in 16th place and was able to collect important information on a track on which he had never raced.
The Forward Racing Team is preparing to get back on track in a few days at the Sepang International Circuit where the last stage of this extra-European "trio" will be held.
Lorenzo Baldassarri – 4th
"This fourth place gives us more strength to face the next two missing races. I like Phillip Island a lot but the weather conditions this year were complicated, even this morning there was a nasty wind. In the start I lost some time because I found myself in the middle of the "traffic", but I was able to bridge the gap, I hoped to better manage my position but in the end I felt a bit on the edge and I preferred to bring home a sure result. "
Luca Marini – 16th
“This morning I crashed in the warm up, and I'm still feeling pain on my back and on my left shoulder, I'm not happy because in better condition I could definitely have done much more. However, we are very close to our goal: scoring points is very important for the Championship. In the upcoming days I will try to recover my 100% fit to get ready for Malaysia aiming to gain some more ground for the Rookie of the Year Award.”
Giovanni Cuzari – Team Owner
"It was a weird weekend because of the weather but the overall balance is undoubtedly positive. "Balda" confirms to be fast and consistent, he was able to manage his race and reach the best possible result: this is a clear sign of growth and talent.
As for Luca, I'm more than satisfied, I like how he is carrying on his work with the team. This morning his crash forced our mechanics to a race against the time to repair the damaged bike: a big thank you goes to them. Once the race started "Maro", despite the pain, was aiming for the Top 15 and he was very concentrated. I am very proud of all the guys today. Now we head to Malaysia determined to do our best. "
DISAPPOINTING END TO AUSTRALIAN GP FOR SAM LOWES
The Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 has unfortunately registered another setback in today’s Australian Grand Prix at the Phillip Island circuit: Sam Lowes in fact has been forced to retire from the race after a crash on lap two.
Started from the front row of the grid and eighth at the first corner, the 26-year-old old British rider was battling in the leading group, taking seventh position just before the fall. The team now moves to Sepang, where Sunday, October 30 is scheduled the last of the three consecutive flyaway races, the Malaysian Grand Prix.
SAM LOWES (DNF)
“Heading to the grid before the race I felt a problem with the position of the handlebars, evidently due to the crash in this morning’s Warm Up. On the grid before the start we tried to solve this issue, but after the start I was still not feeling at ease, and it was not possible to stay focused. It’s my fault and I’m sorry for the team”.
“I’m disappointed: because of this retirement we lost one position in the overall standings and I hope that in the next races we can return to see the finish line. I feel sorry for Sam and I understand that this weekend the conditions of the track have been difficult, but we need to find back the right balance”.
Gardner Gave It Everything At Phillip Island - Now Focused On Sepang
Remy Gardner had a tough week but arrived in Australia for his home Moto2 race at the picturesque Phillip Island circuit with one thing on his mind - racing into the points in front of the local fans.
With the weather playing havoc during Free Practice, Gardner took advantage, storming into the top ten in FP1 before qualifying 23rd after a spill in the sole grid deciding session.
Race day dawned and with the rain making way for blue skies the stage was set for an Aussie fight through the pack.
As ever, Remy picked off places in the opening corners after an agressive start and was soon locked wheel to wheel with World Championship leader Johan Zarco who had dropped into the mid-pack. The opening lap was almost over with Remy comfortably in the top twenty when disaster struck and the #87 slid out of contention at turn 10.
Able to rejoin, to the delight of the fans, Gardner was forced to retire with half of the race remaining.
Remy Gardner - "I'm gutted. It's been a tough week but that aside I arrived at PI ready to give my all and that's what I did. We had the pace to run in the top ten and I was confident that despite being 23rd on the grid that I could fight my way into the points. I'm sorry to disappoint all the fans that were cheering me on but want to thank them for their support not just at home but throughout the season. With Sepang next week I don't have much time to feel down, and so I will pick myself up and focus on doing the best I can in the final two races. A big thanks to the Tasca Scuderia Racing team for their efforts and hard work. See you all in Malaysia."
PEUGEOT MOTOCYCLES SAXOPRINT WISHES JOHN McPHEE A SPEEDY RECOVERY
The 22-year-old Scottish rider suffered a nasty crash during today’s Australian Grand Prix but luckily escaped without serious injuries whilst team mate Albert Arenas from Spain failed to finish in the points narrowly.
Weather conditions improved for race day with lots of sun but it didn’t shine for the Peugeot Motocycles SAXOPRINT team. After qualifying for fourth position but starting from seventh spot on the grid due to a penalty, John McPhee got a brilliant start and even more he was able to set a blistering pace during the opening laps, involved in a great battle for the leading position before he crashed at Lukey Heights in lap six. The race was stopped by red flags immediately. Two other riders involved in this accident escaped harmless.
McPhee from Oban in Scotland got first treatment at turn eleventh before he was transported to the Medical Center at the Phillip Island circuit where the doctors diagnosed a slight concussion and a broken thump to his left hand. Following the first examination McPhee was lifted to the St. Kilda Alfred Hospital in Melbourne for further checks and CRT. He will miss the Malaysian Grand Prix in one week. All members in Peugeot Motocycles SAXOPRINT and friends in the paddock expresses the best wishes to John.
Meanwhile, Albert Arenas also got a great start into the race first but after the re-start he wasn’t able to repeat his strong rhythm before break. He finished in 16th position just outside the points.
The championship is set to continue in just one week with the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang.
#12 Albert ARENAS, 16th (World Championship position 31st, 2 points):
“My start into the first race was really good. I found my rhythm quick and could recover some positions. I felt really good. But then came the red flag. At this point I would like to express the best wishes to John. I feel really sad for him because we worked so well and hard together this weekend but now he is in the hospital. I hope he is ok so far. Meanwhile, we did a change to the gearbox in the break before the second start in order to have more opportunities on the straight regarding top speed. But we did a mistake as it was completely the opposite way we hoped for. Even though I was able to stay in the group I couldn’t fight for positions at any time. In the end I’ve to admit that I’m a little bit disappointed because before the race we had a great chance for a good result but we weren’t able to achieve that.”
Terrell THIEN (Teammanager):
“First the good news is that John seems to be ok so far without any really serious injuries. He is on the way to the hospital in Melbourne where he will undergo further examinations. John suffered in this crash a slight concussion and a broken left thumb. For the latter he needs to undergo surgery this Thursday in Milano by a doctor specialized for this kind of injuries. It’s not a complicated fracture but it needs special attention. We wish him all the best and a speedy recovery. If John will get the green lights from the doctors in Melbourne, he will return to Glasgow this evening already. But for sure he will sit out the Malaysia race next weekend. We hope a comeback for him for the final race of the season in Valencia. Obviously it’s a pity to lose a promising race due to such sad circumstances. John did a great start and was able to fight for the leading positions. So far as we already analysed all data from his bike we can’t see any exceptionally things. On Albert’s performance this weekend we must say that it was ok, particularly as it was the first time for him at this track. Well, we hoped for more after a warm up in which he did well and was in a good shape for the race. But I think that he would needed a some more laps to get better familiarized to this circuit and these conditions. During the race he found himself struggling to enforce in his group. But in general Albert is on a good way, his learning curve is promising. Beyond that, the whole team did an outstanding job again this weekend and we’re making progress with our Peugeot machines too. Our bike was working really well this weekend both in the wet and also in dry conditions.”
Moto3 - 3570 Team Italia in top-20 at Phillip Island
Lorenzo Petrarca 17th, Stefano Valtulini out at the end.
A strange race of Moto3 World Championship at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit saw 3570 Team Italia getting a place in top-20. In a race won once again by the 2016 World Champion Brad Binder (KTM), Lorenzo Petrarca finishes 17th on the finish line, while Stefano Valtulini, who was fighting for the top-20 too, was forced to retire almost at the end of the race.
After having improved constantly during the whole weekend, Lorenzo Petrarca has finished the Australian round with a 17th place which is an injection of confidence for the remaining two rounds. Stefano Valtulini, who hoped to finish the weekend in a positive way, crashed during the second to last lap, frustrating a potential place in top-20.
3570 Team Italia will be back on track in a few days at Sepang International Circuit (Malaysia), last round of the triple extra-European races and second to last round of 2016 Moto3 World Championship.
Lorenzo Petrarca (3570 Team Italia - Mahindra MGP3O #77) 17th
"It was a positive weekend overall. This morning’s crash in Warm Up could have been a problem to us, but I have been able to finish the race getting a result in top-20. Session after session, we have improved our times and this is an encouraging signal for us as well as a starting point in order to repeat those results and to improve also in Sepang."
Stefano Valtulini (3570 Team Italia - Mahindra MGP3O #43) DNF
"This weekend we have faced more difficulties than expected to find the right feeling. Today in race we have improved a lot compared to the previous practice days, but the strong wind has caused us several problematic, specially on the front in the fast corners. It was a wind gust that caused my crash: I suddenly crashed when I was fighting for top-20. We’ll do everything to do better in a few days in Malaysia."
Emanuele Ventura (3570 Team Italia - Team Manager)
"We are quite happy to have finished in top-20 with Lorenzo. The crash during Warm Up could have represented a problem, but in race he was able to improve his times compared to the practice. From this point of view we are quite satisfied. Unfortunately Stefano didn’t have the right feeling to do his best and his race has finished early. We’ll be back on track in a few days in Sepang, always with the clear purpose of doing our best, always focusing on reaching a great result."
8th Place for Ono
Pawi Retires Being Involved in Crash
Rd16 MICHELIN AUSTRALIAN MOTORCYCLE GRAND PRIX: Sunday, October 23 2016
Ambient: 12℃ : Track: 34℃
Honda Team Asia rider Hiroki Ono had a checkered flag for eighth place at the Australian Grand Prix today.
Blessed with the sunshine, conditions for today were the best in this weekend which made the peak track temperature record the highest of this weekend of 34°C in the race.
The race had started at 1300 local time, which was red flagged due to multiple crashes, then re-started again for ten-laps sprint race. The Japanese rider exchanged positions with his rivals in every corner and crossed the line for eighth place.
Meanwhile, Khairul Idham Pawi was involved in an early crash at turn2 of the race1’s opening lap. Unfortunately his bike was completely damaged and the Malaysian rookie was not able to join the race2.
Hiroki Ono (8th)
“In the race2, I made a good start and tried to finish in front of the battle, knowing that if I would finish the top of the pack, I would have taken third podium. Finally, I had to cross the line in the middle of the group, which is a bit pity. Anyway, top8 finish is a decent result in this difficult weekend. I will give my best again in the next race at Sepang.”
Khairul Idham Pawi (retired)
“I am very very disappointed because right after the start, a rider crashed in front of me and It was unable to avoid him. My race has finished at turn2.., only positive thing is I have no injury, so I am ready for the next race. The next round is my home GP and I will try my best to get a good result for my family, my fans and my team. I can’t wait to going to Sepang!”
Tadayuki Okada - Team Manager
“Unfortunately, there was a crash just in front of Pawi, and he could not avoid it. Luckily, he did not suffer from any injury so he can fight for the podium at his home GP. For Ono, I am happy that he managed himself and finished for eighth place in today’s hectic and difficult ten-lap race. He can aim for better result in Sepang because he knows the race track.”
NO LUCK FOR GRESINI RACING TEAM MOTO3 IN AUSTRALIA. BASTIANINI CRACKS A VERTEBRA
Gresini Racing Team Moto3 racers Enea Bastianini and Fabio Di Giannantonio were forced to retire in today’s Australian Grand Prix at the Phillip Island circuit: after a great start from the sixth and seventh row of the grid and both already in the leading group after just two laps, the two 18-year-old riders were faultlessly involved in race incidents in which they could not avoid the crash.
Fabio Di Giannantonio, who started down in 19th place and incredibly third at the beginning of the third lap, was touched by Gabriel Rodrigo on the fourth lap: a contact which caused him to lose the front end and led him to crash, involving also Francesco Bagnaia.
The incident that unfortunately took out of the race also Enea Bastianini occurred shortly after, on lap six: the rider from Rimini could not avoid the bike of John McPhee crashed in front of him and he fell, then being hit later by Jorge Navarro’s bike. Later Enea had a CT scan which revealed the presence of a fracture of the T9 vertebra and of one rib: a decision on his participation in the Malaysian Grand Prix will be made in the coming days, after further checks on his physical condition.
ENEA BASTIANINI (DNF)
“In the first laps I was able to recover many positions and my the feeling with the bike was good: I felt I had the pace to stay in the leading group. Then, on the sixth lap, McPhee lost the front and fell in front of me and Migno. I could not avoid his bike, I crashed and while I was on the ground Navarro hit me. The checks showed that a vertebra was cracked, so now I just need to get some rest, then in the next days we will see if I can race in Malaysia”.
FABIO DI GIANNANTONIO (DNF)
“It’s a real shame, because I had a perfect start and the first two laps of the race were probably the best of my career! I was able to recover many positions and I found myself in the leading group, then at some point I saw that Binder was starting to push hard, so I tried to overtake Bagnaia at the hairpin. Rodrigo, however, came very fast on the inside: I only saw him on the last moment and I couldn’t do anything to avoid a contact. He touched me, making me lose the front and I crashed, involving Bagnaia. I was doing a great race and I think I could get a good result: I’m very sorry because I really loved this track from the first moment and especially I could collect important points for the Rookie of the Year trophy”.
“Also today we were fighting at the top with both riders, but both were involved in a race incident with no faults. Too bad, but all in all we have been lucky because the crash which saw Enea involved was really dangerous and frightening, with Navarro’s bike hitting him. However, medical checks revealed the presence of fractures, so a decision on his participation in the Malaysian GP will be taken only in the next days”.
Brave 5th for Nakagami
With 15th for Wilairot in Australian GP
Rd16 MICHELIN AUSTRALIAN MOTORCYCLE GRAND PRIX: Sunday, October 23 2016
Ambient: 12℃:Track: 34℃
The shoulder injury never hampered IDEMTSU Honda Team Asia rider Takaaki Nakagami from finishing fifth place at Phillip Island circuit today.
Track conditions for today’s race were the best in this weekend. Starting from twelfth position on the grid, the Japanese rider who dislocated his right shoulder at yesterday’s qualifying had to sank into fourteenth position on lap1. From that position, Nakagami overtook riders lap after lap and recovered to the podium possible positions. The brave Japanese rider was able to salvage ten championship points.
Another IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia rider Ratthapark Wilairot started the race from seventeenth position on the grid. He kept his consistent pace till the end and had a checkered flag for fifteenth place.
Takaaki Nakagami (5th)
“I found a good rhythm in the morning Warm Up, which gave me the confidence for the race. I took painkiller before the race, however, twenty-five lap was very long to me. In the final ten laps, I couldn’t push hard because of the pain. Anyway, I gave my everything and crossed the line for fifth place, which is very positive result for us. After a few days’ rest for recovery, I will be ready for the next race in Sepang.”
Ratthapark Wilairot (15th)
“Although we had very difficult conditions in this weekend, we managed to finish within top15, which is good. For the next race, we will try to get better results because we always give our everything and deserve more. Malaysia is very near from my home country and many people come to see the race. They always give me high motivation and I will try my best for them.”
Tadayuki Okada - Team Manager
“Even though Taka was not able to keep consistent pace at the end, I think he did very good job. Considering his shoulder injury, it is amazing. A few days’ rest will give him back his competitiveness, so he will fight for the podium in Sepang. Ratthapark is not satisfied with his top15 result, and I think it is very good for him to keep motivated. Definitely, this determination makes him try harder in Sepang to get good result.”