Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after qualifying in Argentina:
Hats off! McPhee takes pole for the BTT
First pole position for the British Talent Team in the #ArgentinaGP
It never rains, it pours – or puns to that effect! After a podium first time out for the British Talent Team, John McPhee has done it again at Termas de Rio Hondo – taking a first ever pole position for the team; his third.
Racing was underway early but this time against the sky, as the field took to the track to set an early fast lap in case the weather changed – and change it did. McPhee, timing it to perfection, set his best lap just ahead of an attempted final charge – leaving the grid to fight the damp conditions and few able to improve.
The Scotsman’s best lap was a 1:49.094 – set on lap 10 of 14 and 0.154 ahead of a late push from Nicolo Bulega.
The 21 lap race at Termas de Rio Hondo begins at 13:00 local time (GMT -3) on Sunday, with McPhee ready to fight at the front once again.
John McPhee: "I'm really happy with the weekend so far and to claim my first pole position of the year in what is actually the first official qualifying session this season. My pace has been strong from free practice one and I'm able to manage the tyres really well. I did my fastest lap with 10 lap old tyres so this gives me a lot of confidence going into what should be a really exciting race tomorrow. Really good job from all my team and HRC!"
TOP-5 ON THE ARGENTINE GRID FOR MARTIN AND DI GIANNANTONIO
Team Del Conca Gresini’s Jorge Martin and Fabio Di Giannantonio have enjoyed a really positive day at Termas de Rio Honda as they took the third and fifth spots on the grid, respectively, at the end of today’s qualifying.
Both riders went for the quick lap on their second outing: this proved to be the best strategy as they could log a competitive time before the arrival of a light rain shower, which put an early end to any hope of improving with still ten minutes to go.
Martin’s 1’49.323secs lap-time proved to be enough for the Spaniard to score his second consecutive front-row qualifying, after the one he secured a fortnight ago in Qatar. Di Giannantonio, on the other hand, will be much closer to the front of the grid compared to the season opener, as he’ll start from the middle spot of row 2 after lapping only one tenth slower than his team mate.
The second race of the 2017 Moto3 World Championship will get underway tomorrow at 13:00 local time (GMT-3).
3º - JORGE MARTIN #88
“I’m happy, because we have made a big step forward after yesterday, when my feeling with the bike was not perfect. I set my qualifying time with the hard tyre and that’s a good sign ahead of tomorrow. A front-row start is always important, although I know it will there’ll be many contenders for the win as usual. I hope we’ll be up there until the end".
5º - FABIO DI GIANNANTONIO #21
“I’m really happy, we improved a lot today with both my riding style and the bike setup. I chose different lines and you could really see the result, which were helped also by the adjustments we made. We’re now looking for the perfect bike now, but there’s still a lot of work to do. The race will be tough as we’re all very close, but what matters is that we’re in there, too.”
Grand Prix of Argentina: Qualifying Practices
Great second row for Romano Fenati at Termas de Rio Hondo circuit. Today the rain influenced just the final minutes of the session in which Romano remained at the box. With the time of 1'49.493 signed during his tenth laps, the rider from Ascoli got the sixth position on the grid. The race pace is good and weather conditions seem to be good tomorrow. For Romano it will be a good fight on the track that saw him winner in 2014. His teammate Jules Danilo, not at his best this weekend, will start from the tenth row.
Romano Fenati: "I am happy of this second row. May be I was wrong to stop at the end of the session, by settling for the sixth position. Anyway the bike is good and tomorrow we will try to do a good race".
Jules Danilo: "I expected a better qualifying. Honestly the feeling today was good ut I lost a really good group during the time attack and I wasn't able to improve. Tomorrow I will start far but I will do my best as always".
Second row for Arón Canet in Argentina
Spanish rider places fourth, with Enea Bastianini fifteenth, in qualifying for Moto3 Argentinian Grand Prix.
The Estrella Galicia 0,0 riders had a positive first day of free practice on Friday, but on Saturday the weather was not so benevolent to them in Termas de Rio Hondo. Cloudy skies, increased wind intensity and drops of rain were present in the morning, and in the afternoon qualifying session the riders decided to push early with the skies threatening a shower.
Arón Canet pushed his hardest, leading the third free practice session and lowering his FP2 time by more than a second. In the qualifying session the Spaniard again improved again, and at one stage was on provisional pole, but when the rain fell in the final minutes he was stuck in fourth with a 1:49.463 best time.
Enea Bastianini took a step forward today, in particular with braking stability. He and his team continued to look for a setup that allows them to show their full potential, and in the qualifying session Bastianini took fifteenth place thanks to a time of 1:49.978.
The Estrella Galicia 0,0 riders will contest the second race of the season tomorrow at 1 p.m. local time.
15th, 1:49.978, 30 laps, 144 km
"This morning we improved a little with respect to yesterday"
"I am quite satisfied, because this morning we improved a bit with respect to yesterday and, although the track was a little dirty, we were able to work well for the qualifying session and find some solutions that have come in handy, especially with braking -which is where I was struggling. We are fifteenth and probably could have improved on this position, but on my fast lap I went a little wide on the last corner and I lost a few tenths that would have made me qualify higher up. We are improving little by little and I hope that tomorrow we can be in the front group."
4th, 1:49.463, 27 laps, 129 km
"In the race we will have a big group to fight in"
"The conditions on-track were quite good, although the weather wasn't. The grip level was good, even though it had rained in the previous session and was windy, and the track was fast -unlike last year. I am very happy with the pace we have for the race, as since Friday we have been working a lot with used tyres and been riding alone. To be fast at this circuit you also have to also use slipstreams, and in the qualifying session I tried to ride with a group that could get me up into the Top Ten from the start. We attempted to get onto the front row, but we were overtaken at the last moment. However, I think that if it doesn't rain tomorrow we will be prepared for a race that will have a large group in which to fight. "
Fifth row start for Antonelli in Argentina
Red Bull KTM Ajo rider takes fourteenth position on the grid in a difficult qualifying session. Bo Bendsneyder will start from seventeenth.
04/08/2017 - Termas de Rio Hondo Circuit, Argentina
The first qualifying session of the year did not go as well as the Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 riders had hoped. Under threatening clouds at Termas de Rio Hondo, Niccolo Antonelli and Bo Bendsneyder were unable to get the position they had worked for in the preceding Free Practice sessions. Fine rain in the last minutes of QP prevented them from taking advantage of their last stint, meaning they had to settle for positions on the fifth and sixth row for the Argentinian GP (fourteenth and seventeenth place).
The Moto3 riders benefited from opening the day's action on Saturday, as they were the only class to complete FP3 in dry conditions. The Red Bull KTM Ajo duo managed to get the most out of the time in colder conditions to Friday -Antonelli leading the way with 15 minutes left. The Italian had a good pace and improved his time from the previous day to finish ninth -1:50.181-. Bendsneyder also set a personal best lap -1:50.484- to climb to fifteenth place.
The rain that fell in the Free Practice sessions for MotoGP and Moto2 caused the Moto3 riders to go all-out in the first minutes of qualifying. Antonelli and Bendsneyder were able to ride in the dry until their second trip back to the garage, when a few drops of rain started to fall. Having improved their times throughout the weekend, the damp conditions hindered the plans of both riders at a crucial moment for deciding grid positions. Niccolo Antonelli qualified fourteenth -1:49.974- one row ahead of Bo Bendsneyder -1:50.042-.
The Red Bull KTM Ajo pair are already focused on the second race of the season. The 21-lap contest gets underway tomorrow at 1pm local time.
23 NICCOLO ANTONELLI
"Although if we look at the final result we are slightly far back, the day has gone well; I think we have a good pace ahead of tomorrow's race. If we can make a good start, I think we can be up there in the first group and fighting for good positions. Starting on rows far back on the grid is never easy, but we will do our best to achieve our goal."
64 BO BENDSNEYDER
"Today we have improved a lot. We are happy about that, although we have to keep looking for a better pace ahead of the race. The qualifying session was strange because it rained, and we did not know if we could push or not. It was difficult. In the end we improved a lot, especially with the setup of the bike. Step by step we are making progress. Looking ahead to tomorrow's race, I think it will be a tough fight. We will work hard in the warmup, and then we will see what happens in the race."
FRONT ROW FOR NICOLO’ BULEGA AT TERMAS DE RIO HONDO
The young talent of the SKY Racing Team VR46 will start from the second box of the grid for the Grand Prix of Argentina. In the Top10 also Andrea Migno, eighth.
Termas de Rio Hondo (Argentina), April 8th, 2017 - Nicolò Bulega confirmes the good feelings of yesterday and scores the second lap time in qualifying at Rio Hondo circuit that tomorrow will host the GP of Argentina. The young rider of the Sky Racing Team VR46, right on the checkered flag, off a great 1.49.248. Positive session also for Andrea Migno who reduces the gap with the strongest and will start from the third row.
Nicolò, the fastest this morning in the FP3, was close to the top guys since the beginning. Slipped in tenth position just a few minutes from the end of the round, when they were already uncertain the weather conditions, he back on track for his final attempt and he closed just over a tenth from the poleman McPhee (1.49.094). Competitive and fighting for the top positions also Andrea Migno who with his 1.49.830 will start from the eighth place.
PABLO NIETO - Team Manager
I am very satisfied with the result of the first qualifying of the year. Nicolò did a great lap and he has an incredible good feeling. It will be a tough race, but he is competitive. Andrea has also been very strong and will start from the third row. He worked a lot for the race and tomorrow he can fight in the front group.
BEST TIME > 1.49.830
I'm glad for the position and also for the job done. The Top10 in qualifying is always a good start for the race and tomorrow I will give my 100% from the first to the last corner.
BEST TIME > 1.49.248
Considering I'm not perfect at the start, the front row is very important to me. After Qatar, my goal was to reduce the gap with the strongest guys. It was just a few minutes to the checkered flag, I was in P10 and the weather was uncertainly. I back on the track, I closed my eyes and I pushed as I wanted.
A misstep in Qualifying at Rio Hondo
Livio Loi and Joan Mir will start tomorrow from the fourth and the sixth row of the grid at the Grand Prix of Argentina. The arrival of the rain a few minutes before the end of qualifying determined that the Spaniard, until now the absolute ruler of the weekend, was to start down the grid. Tomorrow promises a battle.
Leopard Racing will have to roll up their sleeves for tomorrow’s race. The rain came in the last moments of the day, just at the end of the qualifying session, to upset the plans of riders and crews. This destroyed the positive work done in the three free practice sessions by Joan Mir, World Championship leader and winner of the opening race in Qatar two weeks ago.
The Palma de Mallorca talent seems to have an edge on this track, confirming it in this morning's FP3, setting the outright fastest time on the timesheet. Slightly delayed was his teammate Livio Loi, focused on finding a perfect set-up for his Honda NSF250RW around the 4.8 Km of Termas de Rio Hondo. The last round of Free Practice ended with the Belgian in 17th, while Arbolino was the first rider and under thee 1’50" barrier. Joan Mir, in the last moments, pushed to continue the perfect record against his countrymen Canet and Martin, but eventually it was Bulega with the fastest lap.
In the afternoon the temperatures dropped to 18°C as the air was filled with the threat of rain, meanwhile 22°C on the asphalt left conditions treacherous. Joan Mir began with an attack on the lead with Italians Fenati, Migno, Bulega, Di Giannantonio and the Scot McPhee; the latter capturing the best provisional time. Six minutes from the end, when all riders were ready for their time-attack, the rain came to spoil the strategies. As a result, Mir finds himself in 16th, passed under the checkered flag by his teammate Livio Loi in 12th to close the fourth row.
The protagonists of the Moto3 class will be back on track tomorrow morning at 9:40 for the last 20 minutes of warm-up, just before the second race of the 2017 season that will start at 13:00 (local time).
19 riders are within a second and, although he will start from the sixth row, Mir is not overly concerned after showing great pace in practice. Last season, the Spanish rider was the regular author to extraordinary comebacks in the races despite qualifying poorly. Can the 19 year old from Mallorca repeat his comeback once more?
#11 Livio LOI - 12th (1'49.927)
“Starting 12th is not bad at this track. Tomorrow I expect a hard-fought race with many battles. My rhythm is good; we have also made a small change to the bike that helped me at the end. I am very confident for tomorrow's race.”
#36 Joan MIR - 16th (1'50.025):
“We were unlucky at the end of qualifying. We started in the best way, I felt at ease and but could not keep a good pace; I am pleased with the pace we have. In our category the slipstream makes the difference. Tomorrow I will fight to stand at the front.”
Seventh time for Guevara in the QP at Termas de Rio Hondo, Rodrigo 13th
Termas de Rio Hondo, Argentina
The starting grid for the Gran Premio Motul de la República Argentina was defined today, after the qualifying session of this afternoon.
Rain was about to fall during both Moto3 sessions, eventually affecting only the last few minutes of the QP.
The temperature was lower than yesterday and that was a relevant factor for the modification onto the set-up of Guevara’s KTM. Juanfran and his crew focused on key improvements for the QP during today’s first session. The Spaniard worked hard in the qualifying to ensure a strong starting position for tomorrow. After the last lap at disposal, Guevara ended with the seventh time (1’49.782).
The first session of the day was very positive for Rodrigo: after analysing the data from the first two practices, the Argentinian managed to improve his times and he grabbed a sport in the Top-5. In the QP, Gabriel and his crew improved the setting, modifying the last few details ahead of tomorrow. Rodrigo finished the session with the 13th time, only 0.841 seconds off today’s pole position.
#58 Juanfran Guevara: 7th - 1'49.782 [QP]
“It was a rather complicated day, we had to keep an eye on the weather conditions during most of the time. In the morning, during the FP3, we could follow the work plan that we prepared yesterday: we made a few checks using different tyres and we worked especially with a focus onto tomorrow. We improved a few points that were pending since the free practices on Friday, the team did a great job. For the QP our strategy was quite alright, even if with today’s conditions probably it wasn’t the best one. In the end we managed to finish very close to the Top-5 and that’s a good result, despite the fact that the rain started falling right at the end of the session. Thanks to this last lap, we can start from the seventh position on the grid: we improved our result from Qatar. There are some points we have to consider ahead of the next Grand Prix, but we are quite satisfied. Tomorrow probably we’ll have to deal with a big group in the race, it’ll be tough and long, especially if it gets hotter.”
#19 Gabriel Rodrigo: 13th - 1'49.935 [QP]
“Today we started off well: in the FP3 I was confident on top of my bike since the beginning. I had a more consistent pace compared to the first day, when I was struggling to concentrate because of the collarbone. In the qualifying things didn’t turn out as we hoped. Raindrops started to fall: we had saved the best tyre for the end and, when we were about to use it, there was plenty of traffic on track and I couldn’t perform as I wanted. With the last lap available we could save the day, since we were far behind. We are in the fifth row, it isn’t such a bad result, considering that one week ago we didn’t know if I was going to participate in this Grand Prix. I’m looking forwards to having a good race tomorrow and to fighting with the front group.”
DIFFICULT CONDITIONS PUT NAVARRO ON ROW 7 FOR ARGENTINE GP
Jorge Navarro will start the second Moto2 World Championship race of his career from the seventh row of the grid, after finishing 20th in the sole qualifying session for the middleweight class of MotoGP in Argentina. Weather did play quite a part as track conditions kept changing throughout the session but never to a fully dry situation.
Navarro’s 1’46.970secs lap-time was 1.3 seconds away from the pole set by Miguel Oliveira, which is a sign of the extremely high level of this year’s Moto2 class.
The Federal Oil Team Gresini rider will regroup and get ready for the 23-lap encounter at Termas de Rio Hondo, which will get underway tomorrow at 12:20 local time (GMT-3)
20º - JORGE NAVARRO #9
“Today unfortunately the track conditions did not allow us to work on the bike as much as we’d liked. I felt quite good on the mixed conditions we encountered in the morning, while in qualifying the track was a bit trickier and I didn’t have the right feeling to push at my very best. It was my first time with this bike in such conditions: it was not easy, but we learned some more and I think we’re quite ready for tomorrow.”
Argentina Grand Prix – Qualifying Practices
Darryn Binder – 11 position – 1.49.901
Marcos Ramirez – 27 position – 1.50.727
As in the Qatar Grand Prix, also in Argentina the World Motorbike Championship has faced unstable and adverse weather conditions, which affected performance and results.
Our two Riders have worked hard to find the appropriate setting given the changing track conditions also obtaining good performances.
Unfortunately, in the last minutes of the qualifying Marcos has found a lot of traffic on track and he could not improve his position, so he will start far behind for the race. Daz , after a very promising start session, in the last minutes because of the confusion on the track has lost several positions and he will start eleventh.
First Moto2 pole position for Oliveira and Red Bull KTM Ajo
Oliveira takes his first pole position in Moto2 -as well as KTM's first in this class- at Argentinian GP. Binder claims twenty-fourth in a difficult qualifying session.
04/08/2017 - Termas de Rio Hondo Circuit, Argentina
Miguel Oliveira and the Red Bull KTM Ajo team have taken just two Grands Prix to achieve their first Moto2 pole position, taking the top spot for the Argentinian GP at Termas de Rio Hondo. It was an historic day for the Portuguese and the Austrian manufacturer -who debut this year in the intermediate class- and they overcame very tricky track conditions as the asphalt gradually dried. Brad Binder completed his first laps in the wet with a Moto2 machine, getting a spot on the eighth row with 24th place.
The Moto2 FP3 session was held in completely wet conditions. Despite going out on track in the early stages, both Oliveira and Binder quickly returned to the garage, where they waited until the last quarter of an hour of the session. They thus used cut tyres without taking excessive risk, setting their respective best laps on their final attempt. Oliveira took an excellent second place -1:46.290-, while Binder was 23rd -1:47.845.
A half-wet track and fine intermittent rainfall cast doubts in the minds of the Moto2 riders in qualifying. After using two sets of cut tyres, Miguel Oliveira decided to run slicks in order to chase pole position with 9 minutes remaining. He improved his time on four consecutive occasions, and his best lap came 30 seconds before the chequered flag fell: 1:45.616.
Brad Binder struggled more in the adverse conditions, as it was the first time he had faced them with a Moto2 bike. In the end, he achieved the twenty-fourth best time: 1:47.855.
The 23-lap Moto2 Argentinian GP begins tomorrow at 2:20pm local time.
41 BRAD BINDER
"It wasn't an easy QP. I had a strange feeling with the wet tyres; it felt as if the track was very slippery because I couldn't lean over at all, and the wheels were spinning a lot. It was very difficult to ride. Then I saw that the riders on slicks were eight or nine seconds faster, but it was still raining. In the end I tried to forget about the conditions of the track and push my hardest, but I never found my opportunity to ride fast. It is not a good result, but we must turn the page on it, work hard tomorrow and go all out."
44 MIGUEL OLIVEIRA
"The conditions in today's qualifying session were a bit difficult. I used two sets of wet tyres before understanding that in the end I had to go out with slicks. I feel bad that I didn't go out a little bit earlier, because on the first few laps I had a hard time picking up the pace. Later I recovered quite well and I did a lot of fast laps. I am happy with the final result today, which is my first pole position, and I want to congratulate the whole team. Of course, even if it is a very good position, we have to keep our feet on the ground because what counts is tomorrow's result."
Morbidelli and Márquez star in thrilling Argentina qualifying
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Franco Morbidelli and Álex Márquez are confident they can mount a strong double podium challenge in tomorrow’s Termas de Rio Hondo Moto2 race, after both qualified on the front row of the grid at the end of a pulsating qualifying session.
After setting the quickest time in practice, Morbidelli was always confident he could compete for the front row, and the World Championship leader didn’t disappoint in a dramatic qualifying session that saw numerous changes at the top of the timesheets.
This afternoon’s 45-minute session started on a damp track, and Morbidelli preferred to adopt a conservative approach by using Dunlop’s rain tyres until he was confident enough the surface had dried sufficiently to switch to slick rubber.
The 22-year-old quickly got into a fast rhythm as track conditions improved lap-by-lap and he was a constant challenger for a second successive pole position. A best lap of 1’45.715 eventually placed Morbidelli second on the grid and he was only 0.099s adrift of today's pole man Miguel Oliveira.
Morbidelli may have employed a safety-first approach in the early part of the session, but Márquez took the bold decision to start qualifying on slick tyres. It seemed to be a genius decision when he moved immediately into top spot before further rain spots started to fall on the fast and sweeping South American circuit.
But no sooner did the rain arrive than it quickly ceased and Márquez returned to the circuit to continue posting a sequence of blisteringly fast lap times.
He finished the session with a quickest pace of 1’45.864 that preserved his 100% front row starting record in 2017, and the confident Spaniard is now determined to compete for his first Moto2 victory in what promises to be a classic 23-lap encounter in Argentina.
Franco Morbidelli: 2nd - 1’45.715
“At the start of the session I wasn’t brave enough to start on slick tyres because it looked like the track was still quite damp. I preferred to build up my pace and confidence on the wet tyres first and my team then told me on my board when it was the time to come in and switch to slicks because the lap times were dropping. I’m happy to be on the front row of the grid because that is always important and I am very optimistic that I can be fighting for the win again. My pace in FP2 was very strong but it should be a great battle and I’m looking forward to it.”
Álex Márquez: 3rd - 1’45.864
“I am happy to be starting from the front row again because the track conditions were changing all of the time and so many different riders were challenging for the top three. It was a brave decision to start the session on slicks but I felt like it was worth gambling in case it was not possible to improve the lap times if more rain came. On another day perhaps that strategy would have worked but being on the front row gives me another opportunity to fight for the podium and the win. I’ve felt strong all weekend and the team have given me a great package, so we start the race tomorrow with a lot of confidence and the expectation that we can be right in the mix.”
FIFTH ROW FOR BAGNAIA IN QUALIFYING IN ARGENTINA
Rain and uncertain track conditions have characterized the qualifying session in Rio Hondo. Francesco Bagnaia closed at the 13th place, while Stefano Manzi was 32nd.
Termas de Rio Hondo (Argentina), April 8th 2017 - Francesco Bagnaia will start from the fifth row tomorrow for the Argentine Grand Prix at Rio Hondo. The young rider of the Sky Racing Team VR46 has interpreted in the best way the tricky track conditions and scored the 13th box of the starting grid. With good 1.46.768 signed today, Francis is just over a second to the poleman of the day (Oliveira, 1.45.616), best rookie of the category.
Difficult session for his teammate Stefano Manzi, who he has succeeded in reducing the gap to the strongest guys and he will start in 32nd place with a best lap time of 1.50.023.
PABLO NIETO - Team Manager
A very strange qualifying: the track conditions were really tricky and difficult to interpret. Pecco did a great job, especially on the set up and was the fastest rookie. Stefano has struggled to keep the pace, compared to Qatar is closer to the front group, but we have to make an important step on the setting.
BEST TIME > 1.46.768
It was not an easy day: the track conditions were really unpredictable, difficult to interpret and even the choice between slick or rain was not obvious. Overall, I had a good pace, I made progress on the setting and the team did a great job. Tomorrow I will try the latest changes in the warmup to be competitive.
BEST TIME > 1.50.023
A very difficult session. I had never ridden a Moto2 in these conditions and I could not find the feeling I wanted for being able to reduce the gap with the strongest guys. We have to analyze the data and understand what we can do on the setting for being competitive tomorrow.
Fired up Vierge to launch from 8th - Gardner confident of positive finish
The Tech3 Racing team duo produced two solid efforts today as they battled against the changing weather conditions in the Argentina GP qualifying shootout, and now they confidently eye up the round 2 battle tomorrow. Xavi Vierge clinched the 8th slot on the grid for the 23 lap sprint after speeding to his personal best on his final lap, which saw him end up just three-tenths of a second back from the front row. Whilst Remy Gardner will begin from the head of the ninth row having experienced a tricky qualifying campaign despite his best efforts. Nevertheless, the young Australian fully intends to climb through the pack tomorrow and determinedly clinch a point scoring finish, with the all important race beginning at 14:20 in Argentina and 19:20 in central Europe.
Position: 8th - Time: 1'46.173 - Laps:20
Vierge - 2017“I am pleased with my qualifying position but it was hard work today because, in FP3 and qualifying, the weather made things difficult. Both sessions started wet but then it dried and it was tricky for us in these mixed conditions. Anyway, I am happy that I will start from the third row and from 8th. Yet, I must admit that I am a little bit disappointed with my last lap because I had improved in the first half of the lap, but then in the third sector I had to overtake another rider, which caused me to lose some time. This is a pity because if I was just one-tenth of a second faster, then I could have been fifth. Regarding my chances for the race, I have a very good rhythm and we have worked on it all weekend so I am sure that we can have a successful time tomorrow."
Position: 25th - Time: 1'47.899 - Laps:22
Gardner - 2017“I am a bit disappointed with my qualifying position but the big day is tomorrow and I’m sure that we can close the weekend positively. At the end of the session, we fitted the slick tyres and then during my second to last lap, I was running a good rhythm and feeling confident. However, at the first corner, the front of the bike tucked and I ran wide which disrupted my concentration. Nevertheless, I kept focused and started my last lap and that was going positively until the final corner, where I unfortunately just went in a bit too hot, which sent me to the wetter part of the track, and I lost time. This was a shame but we have to focus on tomorrow now. In the dry I have a good pace, so I’ve got to make a solid start just like in Qatar, then we will see what happens but I am ready to fight."
Baldassarri and Marini master difficult conditions to qualify on fourth row
The qualifying day in South America was characterized by tricky weather conditions during both Moto2 sessions. In the morning, scattered rain showers caused the surface to only be wet in first corner, yet the challenging circumstances couldn’t hamper Lorenzo Baldassarri from taking over the top of the third free practice, while Luca Marini significantly improved his feeling to finish in 14th position.
However, the rain above the Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo didn’t facilitate the tyre choice for the all-important qualifying in the afternoon. Baldassarri and Marini took the right decision to commence the session with rain tyres, but in order to adapt to the very fast drying racing line, both Forward Racing Team riders opted to change to slicks during the following stages of the timed practice.
Baldassarri was quickly up to speed scoring several fast laps, before finishing the qualifying inside the Top 10. On the other side of the Forward Racing Team’s garage, Marini boosted his confidence to end up right behind his teammate ahead of the second round of the 2017 Moto2 World Championship, which is due to begin this Sunday at 14.20 local time (19.20 CET).
Lorenzo Baldassarri – 10th (1’46.420)
“First of all, thank you to the whole team for their great job today. We were fast in all conditions, which gives us a lot of confidence. Overall the qualifying was not easy. We started with rain tyres, but the track was not completely wet, so we changed to slicks, which was definitely the right choice. However, I’m not too happy about this session. I was building up my pace gradually. Therefore, I decided to calm down a bit for one lap in order to attack again in the final stages, yet, my plan didn’t work out. It’s a real pity, as it doesn’t really reflect my performance, because all the weekend we were doing truly well. Now we focus 100% on tomorrow in order to do a great race.”
Luca Marini – 11th (1’46.482)
“Overall, I’m quite happy about today’s sessions. I was able to achieve a decent position, although due to the weather conditions we couldn’t take full advantage of these two days in order to set up the bike in the best possible way. Anyway, I’m looking forward to tomorrow with a positive frame of mind. The qualifying session itself today was a bit strange because of the conditions. We started with rain tyres, but the track dried out surprisingly fast. When we put in slick tyres the situation was tricky, because there was only one dry line. I think without a few mistakes from my side and some other riders in front of me, I could have gone even faster in the end. On Sunday, it will be important to start very well and to do a great race like in Qatar.”
Giovanni Cuzari – Team Owner
“Altogether, I’m quite satisfied with today’s performance, which shows the continuous improvement of both our riders. In these tricky conditions, it was definitely not easy to follow a concrete strategy. We probably spent a lot of energy in the first run to post a decent time in case of heavier rain, and that might have been influenced our final results. Anyway, we are more than ready for tomorrow and I can’t wait to see Lorenzo and Luca back on track. In addition, I want to thank the entire team, which does a truly admirable job every day.”
FULL CHARGE FROM FOURTH AND SIXTH ROW
On Saturday, rainy weather spoiled Kiefer Racing’s time attack for strong starting positions. On a drying track, Danny Kent and Dominique Aegerter finally qualified for 12th and 18th position respectively.
During day two of practice, changing weather affected the teams and riders’ further preparations for Sunday’s race in Argentina. Whilst FP3 in the morning was worthless at all, they could not consider the ever-changing conditions in the afternoon.
After a brief rain shower at lunch time, a narrow line dried out quickly during qualifying. Meanwhile, as some other competitors started their time attack immediately with slick tyres and a full dry setting, Kent and Aegerter first went out on track with rain tyres. But it quickly became clear, that the conditions allow to switch to slick tyres.
As soon both Kiefer Racing’s riders continued their session aboard their Suter Moto2 machine adapted to dry conditions, both Kent and Aegerter were able to set really fast lap times. It took just a couple of laps to find them amongst the front guys at the screen. Until a few minutes before the end of the session, both were still in a promising position before the rain came back and therefore their final attempt for a strong starting position was ruined.
The season’s second race is scheduled for Sunday 19:20 CET.
#52 Danny KENT, Grid position 12 – 1´46.719 (18/20):
"Honestly, I’m a bit disappointed. The weather conditions were not really good, it was very complicated for everyone. But towards the end of the session there was a dry line throughout a lap. So, I also had a good feeling with the bike but during the last three laps I made some mistakes by myself. This is why we found ourselves back in twelfth position. From that point of view I’m somewhat of frustrated because I know we have the potential to do better. Anyway, it was a decent weekend so far and it needs a good start tomorrow to fight for a strong result."
#77 Dominique AEGERTER, Grid position 18 – 1´46.902 (17/20):
"Today’s qualifying has been disappointing in the end. In the last few laps it has started to rain again, which made me a bit confused. I was not able to further attack. Previously, however, I had a good rhythm and I was able to improve continuously. But during the final stage, this qualifying went wrong, not only because of the traffic I hit on track. There was only a narrow dry line, which made it difficult to push. You really had to risk a lot.
"So, if I look back on the Qatar race, where I’ve had a hard time overtaking other riders, this 18th position on the grid is a disaster obviously. Therefore, I hope that I’m able to recover as much as possible during the opening laps. Our pace is strong in both conditions, in the dry and in the wet. From this I promise myself a lot. But we also must be able to overtake."
Nakagami Starts 22nd, Pawi on Row 10 for Argentina Race
Rd02 GRAN PREMIO MOTUL DE LA REPÚBLICA ARGENTINA: Saturday, April 8, 2017
Ambient: 17℃ / Track: 19℃
Under tricky conditions in the 45-minute qualifying session, IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia rider Takaaki Nakagami managed to secure a 22nd place grid spot for the start of the Argentine Grand Prix, with a lap time of a 1m 47s343. Teammate and Moto2 rookie Khairul Idham Pawi starts from Row 10, on 28th grid. His best lap time in qualifying was 1m 48s173.
This morning’s Free Practice 3 for the intermediate class had started on a damp surface due to rain that had fallen at the end of the MotoGP Free Practice 3 session. Both IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia riders spent their FP3 session by not taking unnecessary risks, checking the conditions and their setups.
Qualifying Practice in the afternoon once again saw tricky and difficult conditions. Nakagami continued his patient and cautious riding, finishing the session 22nd fastest. Pawi continued learning the secrets of Moto2 racing, and clocked the 28th fastest lap time.
The next Moto2 session is the 20-minute warm-up at 10:10 am local time tomorrow morning (GMT -3), before the 23-lap Argentine Grand Prix gets underway at 02:20 pm.
Takaaki Nakagami (22nd, 1’47.343, +1.727)
“Unfortunately, today’s tricky conditions emphasized our bike’s problems. Now we are trying very hard to solve it in order to be competitive this season. For tomorrow, I will give my best to chase down my rivals and finish the race in as good place as possible.”
Khairul Idham Pawi (28th, 1’48.173, +2.557)
“We are still in the process of solving our frontend issues that I have been suffering from since yesterday. I am confident to show a good performance if only I can ride comfortably. We will try something for tomorrow’s warm-up, then prepare for the race.”
Tadayuki Okada - Team Manager
“Even though Nakagami’s grid position is lower, he always starts well and his braking is very strong as the others, so I believe he can keep up and fight for a top 10 position. Pawi hasn't shown his potential yet, but it is just the second race in Moto2 class. So, there is no need to hurry. He will learn important lessons from tomorrow’s race.”
Toba 18th Fastest, Atiratphuvapat Starts on Row 10
Rd02 GRAN PREMIO MOTUL DE LA REPÚBLICA ARGENTINA
Saturday, April 8, 2017
Ambient: 18℃ / Track: 22℃
Honda Team Asia rookie Kaito Toba took another step forward in Saturday’s Qualifying Practice by setting the 18th fastest lap time of 1m 50s067, only 0.973s off pole position. His Thai teammate Nakarin Atiratphuvapat will start the race from Row 10, clocking a qualifying lap time of 1m 51s180.
Both Asian riders made solid progress in the morning's Free Practice 3 session as tarmac conditions improved from the previous day, and the sufficient ground temperature also helped their learning process. Toba concentrated on setup work with his skilled team staff and improved his lap time by 1.143s from the previous day. Atiratphuvapat showed remarkable adaptability, finishing the session just 1.066s off the lead.
In the afternoon’s Qualifying Practice, Toba and Atiratphuvapat successfully turned their hard work into lap times by securing 18th and 30th positions on the grid. After the session, Atiratphuvapat moved up one position to 29th due to the grid penalty imposed for another rider.
The 21-lap Argentine Grand Prix starts at 01:00 pm local time (GMT -3) tomorrow, after the Moto3 riders have a 20-minute Warm Up session at 09:40 am to finalize their setups for the race.
Kaito Toba (18th, 1’50.067, +0.973)
“I improved my lap time in every session and set my best time in Qualifying. I also feel pretty good on the bike. In Qatar, I had to start from Row 10, but this time we'll start in Row 6. In order to keep up with the lead group, a good start is crucial, so we’ll see what happens after that. For sure, I will give it everything.”
Nakarin Atiratphuvapat (30th, 1’51.180, +2.086)
“This morning, I hit my target for today to set 1m 50s’. In Qualifying, although I tried to follow my teammate, there were slow riders between us and our plan didn’t work. For tomorrow, anything can happen in the race, so I'll believe in myself and try my best.”
Tadayuki Okada - Team Manager
“Well done for Kaito, because he rode here for the first time and there are no particular problems with his bike. His lap time is not far from leaders, so I think he can do a good race, if only he keeps up with the lead group. Nakarin has to start from the back of the grid, but he can learn many things by chasing the group in front of him.”