Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after qualifying at Sepang:
Binder takes pole in the rain
Red Bull KTM Ajo rider snatches sixth pole position of the year at wet Sepang International Circuit. Bo Bendsneyder heads the third row for Malaysian GP.
10/29/2016 - Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia
Red Bull KTM Ajo enjoyed a great Saturday at the Malaysian Grand Prix, with riders Brad Binder and Bo Bendsneyder showing their wet weather skills and occupying spots on the front and third row for Sunday’s race. Binder took pole, with his rookie teammate seventh.
The asphalt of the Sepang International Circuit was dry with damp patches for Moto3 FP3. This prevented lap times from improving until the very end of the session. As happened yesterday morning, Binder waited until the last lap to set the top time of the entire weekend in the class -2:14.690. Bendsneyder also dropped his time from yesterday, going eleventh with a 2:15.517.
In the afternoon, heavy rain forced Race Direction to show the red flag with 19 minutes remaining, when the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders occupied two of the places on the second row. When conditions improved, the qualifying session resumed and the riders went on to roll the dice in the final stages. Binder pushed for one final lap, with which he took pole position -2:26.268-, whilst Bendsneyder’s 2:27.604 time gave him a praiseworthy seventh place.
The penultimate race of the year will start at 12am local time -5am CET- on Sunday. Brad Binder and Bo Bendsneyder will look to add to the podium record for Red Bull KTM Ajo at Sepang, which stands at 5 -3 wins- in four years.
41 BRAD BINDER
"To be honest, on the last run in qualifying I didn’t feel quite right, but when I saw the team put on the board that I could have improved my time, I thought it was time to try to set a good time and go for pole position. I am very happy, I’ve felt very strong in all conditions and also the team have done a great job and provided me with a perfect bike. Getting pole in wet conditions is unbelievable."
64 BO BENDSNEYDER
"Today we had a very good qualifying session. Also FP3, in the dry, was very good, something important when we are facing a possible race in those conditions. I think we're prepared for all conditions, wet or dry, and to fight for a Top 10 finish. At first the track was between dry and wet in qualifying, so I seized that moment to push as hard as I could. When it started to rain harder we maintained good grip. On the last lap I gave it everything and could improve on the first sector, but then I braked a little late and lost any chance of improving. In short, we are competitive in both conditions and I look forward to the race."
DI GIANNANTONIO AND SASAKI TAKE SEVENTH ROW IN RAIN AFFECTED SEPANG QUALIFYING
Exactly as happened yesterday in the first day of Free Practice of the Malaysian Grand Prix, the weather played again a key role during this afternoon’s qualifying session at the Sepang International Circuit: the 40-minute session to decide the starting grid in fact started with the asphalt still wet, then it has also been red flagged for the arrival of a heavy downpour.
In such difficult conditions, the two Gresini Racing Team Moto3 riders, Fabio Di Giannantonio and Ayumu Sasaki, set respectively the 19th and the 21st fastest time: the 18-year-old Italian and the 16-year-old Japanese, who is replacing injured Enea Bastianini, will therefore start tomorrow from the seventh row of the grid.
Di Giannantonio set his best time, 2’28”982 in the first half of Qualifying, before the interruption: later the rookie from Rome was not able to improve his performance, due to the lack of feeling with his Honda in the wet. Fabio will therefore continue to work on the bike set-up with the team to try to gain more confidence ahead of tomorrow’s race.
Ayumu Sasaki’s Qualifying may instead be considered positive: despite difficult conditions and at his first experience in the World Championship, the Japanese youngster did not make any mistake and he was also able to improve his performance by 0.4 seconds in the final stages of the session, after the interruption, setting 2’29”267.
FABIO DI GIANNANTONIO (19th - 2'28"982)
“Today, unfortunately, I couldn’t reach a good feeling with the bike. Right from the start of the Qualifying the track conditions were complicated, then the downpour caused the interruption of the session. Finally, when we came back on track with the wet I was not able to improve myself. I tried to push, but the feeling was not good; especially the rear tyre was sliding a lot and I didn’t want to risk a crash. Too bad, once again we will start the race from the back. Tomorrow it will be difficult regardless of the conditions, but I would prefer to race in the dry, although in practice there has not been the opportunity to make a lot of laps with a completely dry track”.
AYUMU SASAKI (21st - 2'29"267)
“It was a good Qualifying! I’m happy especially because after the red flag, with a wet track, I was able to improve the time obtained in the first part of the session. In the rain my feeling is good, so I’m satisfied. I would have liked to stay in the top 15, but it was not possible: anyway the race is tomorrow, and we will try our best!”.
“It was a difficult qualifying for Di Giannantonio: he didn’t find the right feeling with the bike and therefore he was not able to set good lap times. The team will work to try to help him to gain more feeling, which is basically what is lacking at the moment, then we will see tomorrow what the weather brings for the race. Sasaki did a very good job with no mistakes and I’m happy for that: in these conditions it was not easy at all, so well done to him!”.
Rain shuffles the cards in Qualifying
After a break caused by a red flag, the three riders of the Leopard Racing team qualified on third, fourth and fifth rows.
A daring round of qualifying at Sepang circuit, the scene of the penultimate round of the 2016 World Championship. On its fascinating 5.5 kilometres, the three riders of Leopard Racing team gave their all in the decisive session (interrupted by a flag red with 19 minutes remaining due to monsoon rain) to decided the starting grid of the Malaysian Grand Prix.
The best of the "triple force" of Leopard Racing was Fabio Quartararo. Fourth fastest in FP3 this morning, in the afternoon the French talent took to the track determined to overcome the adverse conditions. ‘El Diablo’ recorded a 2'27.661 lap time, which earned him ninth on the grid.
The sudden change of weather conditions were a new experience for rookie Joan Mir, who was particularly at ease dry conditions in FP3. He concluded the pre-Qualifying session in fifth position after leading for most of the session. But the arrival of rain during Qualifying has upset the rider's strategy, with the Spaniard settling for 14th place.
Andrea Locatelli was at ease once again in the wet, the Italian developing a real talent for rain riding. The 20 year old, just back from second place last Sunday at Phillip Island, guided his KTM through the bigger puddles on track to place himself well within the group for Sunday’s race.
Tomorrow at 09:40 (local time), Warm Up will begin, a preview of the seventeenth and penultimate race of the 2016 season that will start at 12:00 o'clock.
#20 Fabio QUARTARARO - 9th (2'27.661):
"Today I was fast in the dry and in qualifying we tried a different strategy, it was working, but the arrival of the rain ruined the plans and feeling I had at the beginning."
#55 Andrea LOCATELLI - 11th (2'27.987):
"Overall I'm satisfied with the result today. At the beginning of Qualifying we went out on slicks and we lost a bit of time. Then with the wet track I immediately felt at ease: in fact I managed to improve my time, even gaining positions. But in the final moments I have been hindered by some riders and could not go faster. I'm glad that I have the feeling in the wet, tomorrow we can get a good result!"
#36 Joan MIR - 14th (2'28.193):
"It was not a bad day, in the wet I had not the best feeling but in the dry I feel at ease and I also showed a good pace. Tomorrow we will try to improve in the warm up and, in case of rain, be prepared to fight like we always do."
FOURTH PLACE IN QUALIFYING FOR LORENZO DALLA PORTA AT SEPANG
Best qualifying result for the young Tuscan who made a perfect strategy. Nicolò Bulega is thirteenth and twenty-sixth Andrea Migno.
Sepang (Malaysia), October 29th, 2016 - In a truly incredible qualifying session, Lorenzo Dalla Porta achieved the fourth best lap time and he will start for the Malaysian GP from the second row. The young talent of Sky Racing Team VR46 made an almost perfect strategy scoring his best lap time in the first few minutes of the session, when the track was still dry. Fast in all the track conditions, but relegated to the 13th place Nicolò Bulega. While Andrea Migno will start at the end of group from the 26th box of the grid.
Lorenzo, on the track in dry conditions, at his second attempt, signed a best of 2.27.078, which earned him the provisional second position. As yesterday, at lunchtime, a storm hit the circuit, forcing the stewards to exhibit the red flag. Back on track after the 10 minutes suspension, Dalla Porta was unable to improve his time and he closed in fourth place. Nicolò, who in qualifying found a great pace for the race in the wet, will start from the fifth row thanks to his 2.28.069. Penalized by uncertain weather Andrea, who recorded the time of 2.30.747.
PABLO NIETO - Team Manager
I have to say congratulations to Lorenzo: he was immediately fast and he signed his best lap time before the storm. Conquering the second row in this lottery is positive for the race. Nicolò also did a good job, he followed a different strategy that allowed him to find a good pace in the wet for the race. Andrea has struggled a little bit more in these conditions and it will be essential analyze the data to understand what we can improve.
BEST TIME > 2.30.747
I struggled to find the pace from the beginning and unfortunately in the wet I was not able to find the right feeling to push as I wanted. We have to analyze the data and understand exactly where we can improve. Tomorrow I will start from the end of the group and I will try to recover positions.
BEST TIME > 2.28.069
I am not completely satisfied with the position on the grid, but we did a great job. I was able to be fast in all conditions and I can still improve in full wet conditions. Tomorrow the weather will be the real unknown, we did not try on the dry track and it will be important to do our best in the warm up.
Lorenzo Dalla Porta
BEST TIME > 2.27.078
At the beginning of qualifying the sky was incredible and I started to see a few drops on the helmet, but our strategy was to push hard in the first minutes for being able to sign immediately a good lap time. I did it and I scored the provisional second place before the red flag. Back on the track, some riders were able to improve, but there was a lot of water on the asphalt and I was not able to push in these conditions. The fourth place in qualifying is my best result: an extra injection of confidence for tomorrow.
Rodrigo grabs a spot in the Top-5 in today’s QP at Sepang, Guevara 17th
The starting grid of the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix was defined today, after the qualifying session at the circuit of Sepang.
In the FP3 of the morning, the track was once again in mixed conditions, with various wet patches. Rodrigo and his technicians took advantage of the time at disposal in order to work on the dry setting, trying out some different options. In the qualifying, light rain was falling just few minutes before the beginning of the session. Gabriel got out on track with rain tyres, with the objective to set a good lap when the track wasn’t too wet. With twenty minutes to go, the rain fell harder and the session was red-flagged due to circuit conditions. When the storm moved away, the QP was restarted and Gabriel managed to improve his time, achieving an incredible fifth position (2'27.307).
Guevara could check some changes to the bike, as well as the tyres performance, during the last free practice of this Grand Prix, finishing about 1.5 seconds off the best time of the weekend. Just like his teammate, in the afternoon the Spaniard took advantage of the first few minutes of the session to try and set a competitive lap. Because of the track conditions at the end of the QP, Juanfran didn’t have the chance to improve his time in the second half of the session, holding therefore the 17th time (2'28.718).
#19 Gabriel Rodrigo: 5th - 2'27.307
“In the FP3 we had mixed conditions on track once again, it was half wet and half dry. I started feeling confident, yet I had a small crash after getting into a wet spot. After that, I struggled to get back the same pace and we ended up a bit behind in the classification of the morning. In any case I knew that, with a completely dry track, we could do well. Before the QP, it started to rain and I was sure that the times set at the beginning of the session weren’t getting any better, since we had some light rain only during the first few minutes. However, by the end of the practice the bike had a pretty strong set-up: I could push harder and improve in every sector. On my pit-board I saw that I was fourth and I wanted to try to get to the first row. I was improving my time by half a second, but I pushed too hard and I ended up in the gravel. It’s a shame, since I believe we could have got to the front.”
#58 Juanfran Guevara: 17th - 2'28.718
”This morning in the FP3 the conditions were similar to yesterday’s. We tried to check the performance of the tyres for the race, in order to decide which ones to use for the QP and for tomorrow. Right before the session of the afternoon it started to rain and we made the right decision, when we got out since the beginning on wet tyres. Most of the track was already humid and we could put in a decent lap. Halfway through the session it started to rain a lot and the session was red-flagged. When we left the pit box again, we were using wet tyres. Little by little we were feeling more confident and in the last few minutes some riders started to set competitive times. From today we keep the positive bits: we improved on wet surface, when generally with these conditions we were further off at the back. For tomorrow we start from the middle of the grid and, with this changeable weather, everything is possible. For us the result we got today isn’t too bad, if we take into account the track conditions.”
Loi combative after rain inflicted qualifying
Once again a tropical downpour inflicted the Sepang International Circuit. The Moto3 qualifying session was red flagged with Livio Loi in 20th place. In the remaining minutes RW Racing GP’s rider managed to improve his time but in the end found himself down on 23th, much to the Belgian’s disappointment. Nevertheless he is combative concerning the race, that starts at 5 a.m. Central European winter time.
The weather played a crucial part in qualifying for the Grand Prix of Malaysia. Right after the start of the session the rain came in. Riders tried to go out on slick tyres, but came straight back in to switch to rain tyres.
The circumstances caused Livio Loi to only set a time at 12 minutes into the session. He started his quest in 14th, but although he improved his time over the next laps RW Racing GP’s rider dropped down to 20th while the rain got worse. With 19 minutes left the downpour became so tense the session was red flagged.
It took about half an hour for the standing water to be drained off, but after the session resumed the new tarmac of the Sepang circuit still proved to provide tremendous grip. Even the pole position changed a few times - with Brad Binder clinching it in the dying seconds - but it took Livio Loi a little too long to feel fully confident. He did improve his lap time, to 2.29,380 but that was too late to better his position.
Livio Loi - 23 (2.29,380)
“I’m really disappointed with this result, especially when looking at the sector times: I was the fastest rider in sector 2. With my best sector times in one single lap I would have been in 16th. It was quite hectic and I simply was too careful for too long. In these fast changing conditions you need to feel 100 percent confident and I didn’t. I hadn’t expect the grip to be that good and hadn’t expect it would be possible to go that fast in the full wet. The race will be interesting in every single way, with this unpredictable weather, but now that we know the grip level we know it is possible to have a good race at any time. I really want to finish the flyaways in the same form as the other two races and that means another top 10.”
Extraordinary Qualifying for Nocco in Malaysia
A day to remember for the 19 year old Italian who secured a sixth row start for the Malaysian GP, meanwhile Danny Kent, left distraught with 24th.
After a Friday of free practice characterized by bad weather, the two riders of the Leopard Racing Team, Danny Kent and Alessandro Nocco, today faced the second day of the Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang. Both were fully committed to the official qualifying session to achieve the best grid position possible.
Danny Kent this morning improved his pace by two seconds but was only able to manage 22nd place in FP3. In qualifying this afternoon the British rider was unable to find any feeling with his Kalex, comparing it to riding on ice. No matter what he or the team did, he was unable to advance past 24th place.
But for Alessandro Nocco, called by the Leopard Racing team to replace the injured Miguel Oliveira here in Malaysia, miracles were occurring. In qualifying this afternoon he showed his full potential, making the most of a bike and tyres that he is still learning, setting a 2'23.629 on his final lap, which earned him 16th on the grid. A truly wonderful achievement for a rider in only his second race weekend.
Tomorrow at 10:10 Local Time (GMT + 8) the riders will be back on track for 20 minutes of warm-up before the lights go out at 13:20 for the seventeenth race of the 2016 Moto2 World Championship.
#20 Alessandro NOCCO - 16th (2'23.629):
"I enjoyed it more than ever! In these difficult conditions, those who adapt better to the circuit and manages to find the right line to give gas, are strongest. Towards the end we were on track with rain tyres and it was difficult to improve. I'm happy with the result because I don’t know the bike or the tyres and everyone else has so much experience. I really want to thank the Leopard Racing team and my chief Ian and his mechanics, and say ‘ciao’ to my family (who are looking at me right now from home) and my girlfriend."
#52 Danny KENT - 24th (2'24.542):
"Absolutely terrible Qualifying. It felt like I was riding on ice no matter what we did with the bike. Even following other riders was impossible. They were getting on the gas and had no movement, so much more drive. It was a disaster. I had no feeling. Once again a bad Qualifying and I’m just not enjoying riding."
Johann Zarco takes pole with authority in Malaysia
Ajo Motorsport rider claims sixth pole position of the season, with 2 second gap to nearest rival in mixed conditions.
10/29/2016 - Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia
Johann Zarco achieved one of the most comprehensive pole positions in Moto2 history this Saturday at the Malaysian Grand Prix, taking the top spot in qualifying more than 2 seconds faster than his nearest rival. Conditions were difficult, with the wet asphalt drying out during the session, but the Ajo Motorsport rider dominated virtually the entire run to clinch his sixth pole position of the season.
In FP3, rain threatened from 9 minutes in with a few light drops, but conditions remained dry for the Moto2 riders until a shower with 12 minutes remaining. Zarco ended the session in fifth place with a time of 2:07.813 –matching that set by the rider in fourth– and had lowered his best time from yesterday.
The rain gave a respite but the asphalt was still wet at the start of the qualifying session. Zarco showed his desire to take pole from the opening minutes, and led the way after 11 minutes. Although the asphalt was drying, the Frenchman stuck with wet tyres as he continued taking chunks off his lap times. He concluded the session with a 2:18.621 once the chequered flag was already out, putting him 2.1 seconds ahead of the second fastest rider.
The Moto2 Malaysian GP takes place tomorrow at 1:20pm local time –6:20am CET. It represents the first chance for Johann Zarco to win the Moto2 title, and he leads Thomas Luthi and Alex Rins by 22 and 25 points, respectively.
5 JOHANN ZARCO
"I am very happy to get pole position. The last lap was very good; I had a good feeling riding with Morbidelli up at the front and was even able to pass him. The track had a lot of surface water, but I still saw I could give more. I don’t know what conditions we will encounter tomorrow, but the important thing will be to start out very focused and calm, because I have a good feeling in both dry and wet conditions. It will be important to be strong from the start and take the lead, so that I can just focus on my own pace. If the race is dry I think there will be a good fight in the leading group; if it is wet, it will be a long race and we will have to be careful. Tonight I will sleep well and keep calm for tomorrow."
Navarro just misses out on pole position at Sepang
Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider loses out on top time in qualifying for Malaysian Grand Prix by just 0.093s. Aron Canet climbs positions in the closing stages and will start from tenth on the grid.
Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider Jorge Navarro came close to his second pole position of the season at the Malaysian GP, having employed a clever strategy in qualifying. The Spaniard pushed hard from the beginning, aware that unstable weather conditions could change things at any time. That proved to be the case, as both he and teammate Aron Canet prepared for a dry session but had to switch to wet tyres quickly.
Despite the delicate track conditions, Navarro went out on track with determination and, on his fifth lap, took the lead with a 2:26.984. That gave him provisional pole before the red flag came out with 19 minutes to go, but the session restarted and a battle emerged between him and Pecco Bagnaia. However, seconds after Navarro had seemingly sealed pole position, with the chequered flag already out, Brad Binder managed to pip him to pole by 0.093s. The Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider will instead start from second on the grid at Sepang.
Aron Canet continued the learning process of his rookie season, and in the morning undertook the third and final free practice session on a track still wet in places from overnight rain. Despite the difficult conditions, Canet improved his times from yesterday, working with slick tyres. Nine minutes from the end, he was thrown from his Honda when entering Turn 2, but escaped from the crash uninjured and was able to put in further laps.
In the afternoon, Canet gradually climbed up the order and set a 2:27.924 lap on his final attempt, taking him to the head of the fourth row of the grid for tomorrow's race. The Moto3 Malaysian GP takes place at 12pm local time.
Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider
2nd, 2:26.361, 25 laps, 139 km
"We are ready to race in both dry and wet conditions"
"Today we had a difficult qualifying session, although we managed to handle it quite well. At first we went out on slicks, but it started to rain and we had to go back to the pits to put on wets. I rode a few laps and suddenly it began to pour, so the red flag came out. On my way back to the garage I was calm, because we were well positioned in provisional pole and, in theory, it was difficult to improve on our time because the track was wet. Once the session restarted, we saw riders begin to lower their times, so I pushed and managed to improve mine as well; however, it was not enough because, at the last moment, Brad Binder found a little extra and edged us to pole by 93 thousandths of a second. Nevertheless, I'm happy because we're having a good weekend; we’re consistent and strong on track, and the important thing is that we are ready to race in both wet and dry conditions.”
Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider
10th, 2:27.924, 28 laps, 155 km
"The warmup will be important for trying to take another step forward"
"My second day here in Malaysia has been quite intense. In the morning I went out on track very motivated and, just after the beginning of the third free practice, I crashed after touching a damp patch. I went back to the pits, we checked that I was fine and I went back out on track. After the crash I focused on finding a good pace when riding alone. In the afternoon, at first I did not have a good feeling and then, after the red flag, we went out with the wet setup and I felt more comfortable, so I was able to improve my pace and my lap time. Although it was not as fast as expected, I rode with a good pace. The warm up tomorrow, which according to the forecasts will be dry, will be important for trying to take another step forward ahead of the race."
FIFTH ROW FOR LOWES AFTER DIFFICULT SEPANG QUALIFYING
Aboard the Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex machine Sam Lowes set the thirteenth fastest time at the end of this afternoon’s Qualifying of the Malaysian Grand Prix, at the Sepang International Circuit.
The session to determine the starting grid was held once again with changing track conditions: in the final stages the asphalt was drying out, despite some tricky wet patches remained. Lowes, on track with rain tyres on his final run, lamented a lack of feeling with the tyres, but still managed to improve slightly on his final lap, closing the session with 2’23”187.
SAM LOWES (13th - 2'23"187)
“In the final stages of the Qualifying session, my feeling with the tyres was not good: maybe we should have gone with slicks, but it would have been difficult and I didn’t want to make a mistake. Unfortunately the conditions have been always very strange and we have not been really strong so far: however, hopefully we can improve a little bit in tomorrow morning’s Warm Up and then we’ll see how it goes in the race... It would be nice to race with stable conditions, wet or dry, instead of so changeable as it happened so far, which is very strange”.
“Also today’s practice has been strongly influenced by the changing track conditions: it was a difficult qualifying session, with the track that dried out in the final stages but still with wet areas. Obviously we expected a better result, but today it was important not to make mistakes. Now we must think about tomorrow, when we hope that the conditions will remain stable, dry or wet, to be able to continue working in the Warm Up ahead of the race”.
Morbidelli storms to front row in stormy Sepang
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli’s challenge for a sixth podium finish in 10 Moto2 World Championship races will commence from the front row of the grid at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.
The Italian’s superb streak of form continued in a tricky qualifying session that saw the Moto2 field encounter yet more incredibly difficult track conditions.
After a rain-disrupted final practice session this morning in which Morbidelli finished a strong second behind Takaaki Nakagami, heavy early afternoon rain meant the 5.5km Sepang International Circuit was still soaked when the 45-minute qualifying session resumed.
Sepang’s new asphalt offered superb levels of grip and feedback but the treacherous conditions demanded intense concentration and Morbidelli brilliantly rose to the task once again.
A late lap of 2’20’755 was fast enough to secure the 21-year-old second place on the grid for his fifth career front row start. Morbidelli’s pace in both dry and wet conditions suggests he is going to be capable of launching a strong challenge for a fourth successive podium finish in tomorrow’s 10-lap race, which is the penultimate round of the 2016 campaign.
Álex Márquez was left mystified after a disappointing qualifying session in the tricky conditions at Sepang. The 20-year-old Spaniard was fast in mixed conditions yesterday but was unable to find a confidence inspiring feeling with his Kalex Moto2 machine today. Set-up changes during the 45-minute session brought no improvement and Márquez will start tomorrow's race from 21st position on the grid.
Franco Morbidelli: 2nd - 2’20’755
“That wasn’t an easy qualifying session considering the condition of the track but at least we knew earlier on that it was going to be wet and we could be prepared for that. I felt confident to push from the beginning and we knew it was going to stay wet because it seems a feature of the new surface is that it is quite slow to dry. The problem is that it is quite difficult to gauge where the track is wet and where it is dry because of the new asphalt, so you have to be careful to understand where you can attack to make the lap time. Conditions did improve but at no stage did I think the track was drying out sufficiently enough for slick tyres. At the end of the session the wet tyres were getting worn a lot but in that situation it is quite good fun to ride when the bike is sliding around. I’m happy to have got on the front row of the grid again and this gives me a good chance to be on the podium for the fourth race in a row. We have to wait now to understand what the weather will do but I feel confident that I can be at the front in wet or dry conditions.”
Álex Márquez: 21st - 2’24’145
“I was hoping to be stronger in qualifying but unfortunately we haven’t been able to improve the bike like we needed to in the wet conditions. I just didn’t have the right feeling to push close to the limit in the wet and I felt like I was risking crashing a lot. I had many big moments and I decided not to take too many risks after my big crash in qualifying last weekend in Australia. Tomorrow is another day but I am anticipating a difficult race in the dry or the rain. We haven’t had enough dry track time to find a good set-up for slicks and we need to make a big step in improving my feeling in the wet if the rain comes again. I am still in a positive frame of mind and my goal is to be aggressive in the early part of the race and leave here with a good solid points finish heading to the final round in Valencia.”
Moto3 - Qualifying practice under the rain for 3570 Team Italia at Sepang
Lorenzo Petrarca and Stefano Valtulini are respectively 29th and 30th on wet track.
The rain didn’t spare the only qualifying session of Moto3 World Championship at Sepang International Circuit (Malaysia). With the 2016 World Champion Brad Binder (KTM) author of another pole position at the very end of the session, the riders of 3570 Team Italia got a place in tenth row.
In conditions of adherence lack, Lorenzo Petrarca (2'32"151) set the 29th time, preceding his teammate Stefano Valtulini, 30th in 2'32"346.
With the uncertainty due to the variable weather conditions, 3570 Team Italia will continue his set-up work in view of the race, scheduled tomorrow at 12.
Lorenzo Petrarca (3570 Team Italia - Mahindra MGP3O #77) 29th, 2'32"151
"It was a difficult qualifying, with weather conditions hard to understand. The positive aspect is the growing feeling on wet track: in case of wet race, the feeling is positive. Let’s see what will happen tomorrow."
Stefano Valtulini (3570 Team Italia - Mahindra MGP3O #43) 30th, 2'32"346
"In qualifying we faced variable and hard weather conditions. At the beginning, I had the wrong approach since I didn’t push immediately, but I was able to improve my lap times and my feeling on bike gradually. We’ll keep on working, hoping to finish this weekend with a convincing race performance."
Emanuele Ventura (3570 Team Italia - Team Manager)
"We can’t be completely satisfied, we could have done better. At the start, we used the slick tyres, but the rain forced us to use rain tyres. The conditions were constantly changing and for our riders, both at their first time on this track, it wasn’t easy to understand the track properly. Anyway the feelings are quite positive in view of the race: we can improve our level of competitiveness on the distance.".
Excellent second and fourth row for Baldassarri and Marini on the wet
The weather was again the protagonist of the qualifying session of the Moto2 Grand Prix of Malaysia.
The difficult conditions of the track did not affect the performance of the Forward Racing Team riders who have been working hard on the development of their Kalex to reach the Top10.
Lorenzo Baldassarri, who had encountered some difficulties yesterday, was able to shine already in the early stages of the session. Constantly among the top times, Balda posted a good 2'21.839 that will see him start tomorrow from the second row of the grid in sixth position.
An encouraging qualifying for Luca Marini; despite a slight fever and a crash, he completed 40 minutes of qualifying in the top half of the timesheets with a good 11th time. The Italian will start tomorrow with the aim to earn points for the Rookie of the Year in Moto2.
Lorenzo Baldassarri – 6th - 2'21.839
"I'm happy, the weather conditions have not improved but I was able to go fast on both dry and wet. We decided for tire change at the end, it was still cold, and I could not complete another lap for a few seconds, I am convinced we could have gained some more positions. I'm really looking forward for tomorrow, we are in the second row and we can reach a good result. "
Luca Marini – 11th - 2'22.556
"First I would like to apologize to Vierge, I inadvertently involved him in my fall. This morning I did not feel 100% because of a little flu but fortunately the mobile clinic is always there for the riders. I’m pretty happy of this session, I again equaled my best grid result and this gives us confidence for tomorrow, whether wet or dry weather, I feel able to do well and make a good race. "
Giovanni Cuzari – Team Owner
"Nice teamwork in qualifying. The uncertain weather did not stop us: " Balda ", Luca and all the guys in the team did their best during qualifying. Lorenzo was quick throughout the session, the final tire choice proved to be right and I am convinced that, with a few more minutes available, we could reach the first row. I am more than optimistic for Luca’s race tomorrow: today he has been able to handle all the difficulties and this strikes me positively since he is a rookie. We wait to see how the track is going to be tomorrow for the race but we can perform well under any circumstance. "
Vinales and Vierge persevere through challenging conditions in Malaysian qualifying shootout
Isaac Vinales will kick off the 17th round of the 2016 Moto2 World Championship from the head of the seventh row of the grid after enduring far from ideal weather today at Sepang. The young Spaniard got straight into action when FP3 began and here, he continued to adjust the setup of his Mistral 610 with the Tech3 Racing Team to suit the physically demanding circuit. He ended the session, which was plagued by intermittent rain, with a time that left him under a second back from the top ten. In the afternoon, he carried on from where he let off and quickly got back on track where a dry racing line started to appear, although the conditions were still tough. However, the intermediate class rookie pushed onwards and completed 15 laps with his best time sealing 19th on the grid. He now aims to work with his team in order to improve his feeling with the bike, and tomorrow he intends to close the last of the three consecutive flyaway Grand Prix’s with a positive result.
Meanwhile, Xavi Vierge experienced a tricky qualifying campaign today in Malaysia and he will begin the race from the ninth row of the grid. The Spaniard, who has shown impressive form for the duration of the weekend so far at the Sepang International Circuit, commenced the day by finishing the morning session in 14th after powering through the inconsistent rain. The result left Vierge confident of obtaining a strong grid placement, and when the qualifying shootout began, he immediately jumped into gear. However, halfway through the session, whilst the 19-year-old was building his pace, he was touched by Luca Marini which caused the unlucky Tech3 rider to fall. He bravely returned to the track and cut his lap time on his final lap but a lack of traction, as well as time, prevented him from progressing any further. Nevertheless, Vierge aims to undertake a typical rocket start tomorrow and then climb up the field and into a solid position by the end of the race.
Position: 19th - Time: 2'23.913 - Laps: 15
“I am not satisfied with my qualifying placement for the Malaysian Grand Prix, but I will do my very best in the race even if it may be a challenge to get close to where I want to be as I am starting from the seventh row. Usually when it rains, I am quick and I enjoy riding in the wet. However, this is not the case at the moment at the Sepang International Circuit so the team and I have to make a big push and work hard so that we can find out what we need to do to amend this. It’s unclear if the race will be wet or dry but the guys and I will study the data tonight and then tomorrow I will give my all."
Position: 25th - Time: 2'24.639 - Laps: 13
“It’s clear to see that my qualifying result today is not what we were aiming for but I will remain focused and fight all the way to the finish flag tomorrow. I felt good at the beginning of QP and after the positive performances in the previous practice sessions, I was confident that I could score a solid grid placement. However, unfortunately, Marini made contact with me and I crashed halfway through the shootout. The Tech3 guys did a great job to repair the bike quickly and I went back out onto the track not long after, yet, then there was an issue with wheelspin and it wasn’t possible to improve the lap time as much as I needed to. The team swapped the tyres but nothing changed and now the crew and I have some work to do in order to understand what happened and also to see how we can amend the situation for tomorrow."
Tropical Weather challenges Honda Team Asia
Rd17 SHELL MALAYSIA MOTORCYCLE GRAND PRIX : Saturday, October 29 2016
Ambient: 25℃ : Track: 28℃
Honda Team Asia teammates Khairul Idham Pawi and Hiroki Ono will start Sunday’s Malaysian GP from twentieth position and twenty-fifth position on the grid respectively. Pawi set 2m28s989 for his best lap, while Ono’s best lap time in the qualifying session was 2m30s248.
As the conditions in the morning are almost identical to yesterday with ferocious heat, both Asian riders concentrated on improving their setup and feeling for their Honda NSF250RW. Ono set fourteenth quickest time while Pawi clocked thirtieth in this session.
In the qualifying practice, when the teenage hero was doing his work in the wet, rain became heavier and the red flag was shown on 19min to go. After the session has resumed, Pawi continued on his setup for wet conditions. In the meantime, Ono got high-sided at the beginning of the qualifying and his team took advantage of red-flag interruption for fixing the bike, which helped him to go back on the track after the session resuming.
Both Asian riders have final opportunity to improve their setup for the race in twenty minutes’ Warm Up starting at 0940 local time (GMT +8), with the eighteen lap Malaysian Moto3 race set to go at 1200.
Khairul Idham Pawi (20th, 2’28.989, +2.721)
“it was a difficult qualifying, because I didn't have enough confidence at the braking zone with too much chattering. When we regain confidence, I will be ready in either conditions. We will try to improve more at tomorrow’s Warm Up session because I want to make a good race in front of my home crowd.”
Hiroki Ono (25th, 2’30.248, +3.980)
“Although we have a decent setup for dry conditions, we are still missing something for wet and we haven’t reached to the level that we ought to be. Despite my low grid position, I am confident to make a good race if we have dry conditions. If it is wet, we have a plan to try something at Warm Up.”
Tadayuki Okada - Team Manager
“Unfortunately, Ono had high-sided at the beginning of the qualifying. Thanks to his teams skilled work, we were able to go back on the track after the resume of the session. Our team and Ono did very good job. Pawi had to struggle in wet conditions, which he is usually very competitive. We will find something to make him go fast. In this track conditions, everybody has a possibility to win the race. And definitely, we are one of them.”
RAIN HIT QUALIFYING MAKES THINGS DIFFICULT FOR PEUGEOT MOTOCYCLES SAXOPRINT AT HOT SEPANG
Humid conditions with an intermittent torrential rain shower where not easy to master today but Malaysian rider Hafiq Azmi proves as well-used to it to cheer his team with 22nd spot on the grid, whilst team mate Albert Arenas qualified for 27th position for his Sepang debut.
After a dry FP3 in sunny conditions, qualifying for the Moto3 class was run on a completely wet track in Moto3 class. The session was red flagged due to a brief but heavy downpour for a couple of minutes. Before the stop neither of the riders put in an early hot time attack, so no wonder that all competitors improved and set their final qualifying times on an even more wet track after the heavy rain.
In an action-packed session, it was Hafiq Azmi who surprised with an outstanding wet weather performance. However, it took some laps for the 19-year-old local rider, who is this weekend’s stand-in for McPhee in the Peugeot Motocycles SAXOPRINT team, to get grips with these tricky conditions. On the other side of the team’s garage, Spaniard Albert Arenas struggled to find his confidence for a hot time attack during this rainy session.
The Malaysia Grand Prix is the final destination of this three-weeks oversea trip which means once more to set an early wake-up call for Sunday morning because of the difference in time with seven hours after this night’s change to European winter time. The Moto3 start is scheduled for 12:00am local time which means 5:00 am CET.
#12 Albert ARENAS, Grid position 27th - 2´30.872 (1/13):
“Today, it was another difficult qualifying mostly due to the wet conditions. It took a while to get a feeling but lap by lap it improved. But in the end I wasn’t able to push at the limits for one fast lap time. For sure I feel really fast in some corners, but I couldn’t keep this speed throughout one lap. So we’re a little far down the grid but we won’t give up. We’ll keep working hard this afternoon to prepare for race day and hope for a good start, which will be the base for a good race tomorrow.”
#38 Hafiq AZMI, Grid position 22nd - 2´29.334 (13/13):
“Our start into qualifying was a difficult one. First due to the tricky conditions and also I couldn’t manage to get a decent pace straight away. I just did two laps before the red flag came out. But in the rain I could slowly improve my confidence with every single lap. I’m happy so far with the bike, which is working good in turning and on the breaks, I feel quite comfortable meanwhile. The same is to be said for my crew as they are doing a great job and give me a good support to get to grips with these new surroundings for me. So hopefully we’re able to make a good race tomorrow.”
7th Row for Nakagami
9th Row for Wilairot in Sepang
Rd17 SHELL MALAYSIA MOTORCYCLE GRAND PRIX : Saturday, October 29 2016
Ambient: 26℃:Track: 27℃
IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia rider Takaaki Nakagami will start the Malaysian GP race on Sunday from twentieth position on the grid with setting his best lap time of 2m23s935.
Morning FP3 has already experienced scorching heat which brought torrential tropical downpour at the middle of the session. The Japanese rider set the quickest lap time at the beginning when the track was completely dry. In the qualifying, when track conditions became dried out toward the end of the session, unfortunate Nakagami missed the best timing to make flying lap, which resulted him to start from twentieth grid.
Another IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia rider Ratthapark Wilairot set his best lap time of 2m24s793 in the qualifying. He will start the race from ninth row on the grid with aiming for finishing top15.
The Moto2 riders will next be in action in tomorrow’s Warm Up session at 1010 local time (GMT+8) before the Malaysian GP gets underway at 1320.
Takaaki Nakagami （20th, 2’23.935, +5.314）
“Our qualifying strategy and my riding that not taking too much risk went wrong, which made me start from far back grid position. It was my worst qualifying as far as I can remember for a while. Anyway, I have a decent speed and pace, so I am confident to chase down the leading group.”
Ratthapark Wilairot （25th, 2’24.793, +6.172)
“In full wet, I rode comfortable and was able to push hard. When the surface become drying out in the final minutes, I decided not to go back the box because it would be a good opportunity to improve myself. For tomorrow, I will give my best to get championship points regardless the conditions.”
Tadayuki Okada - Team Manager
“We will investigate what our riders suffer from now, because tomorrow’s conditions could be the same as what we had today’s qualifying. If it is dry, Taka will demonstrate his potential to chase the leading group. Feem has to start from the back of the grid, but I know he has a strong determination to try to get championship points.”