Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi:
CHAMPIONSHIP: MOTOGP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
TEAM: MARINELLI RIVACOLD SNIPERS TEAM
RIDERS: FENATI N. 5 - DANILO N. 95
BIKE: HONDA NSF250RW
DATE: 15 OCTOBER 2017
CIRCUIT: TWIN RING MOTEGI - JAPAN
On wet conditions Romano is inexorable. It seems to easy from the outside. In fact this victory was built at the box with a right set-up and a rider who trusts the team. When Romano is in the right conditions he becomes a war machine and there will be no one else left. With the third season victory, the tenth in his career, Romano is the Moto3 rider with the most wins since the class was introduced in 2012. In the day of the tricolor supremacy (3 Italian riders on the podium), the French Jules Danilo crossed the finishing line eighteenth, close to the point zone, behind the leader of the Championship Mir.
Romano Fenati: "The Championship is never lost until the arithmetic confirms it. Today I didn't think about that. In these days we worked well and in the morning we did a modification which helped us to improve. I felt comfortable on the bike and everything went well. It was not easy, it was very cold and I was totally wet but staying ahead is easier! Why I am so strong on the wet? Probably I trust my team and my bike. I enjoy this victory now but I am also thinking about Australia and Phillip Island is a track I love".
Jules Danilo: "Today I hadn't grip at the rear and the bike was slipping a lot. In these conditions it is always difficult to ride. I hoped to get the point zone, we were close, anyway we'll try again in Australia".
Rain master Márquez wins in Japan as Morbidelli extends Championship lead
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Álex Márquez won his third Moto2 race of the season with a superb performance in today’s rain soaked Japanese Grand Prix.
It was wet track masterclass by the 21-year-old Spaniard who rode a near faultless race in atrocious conditions at the Twin Ring Motegi.
It was a heroic comeback by Márquez who had failed to score points in the previous two races after suffering a left hip injury when he crashed out of the Misano race.
From a front row start Márquez remained patient before overtaking early race leader Takaaki Nakagami at turn 11 with five laps remaining.
Márquez immediately opened a race winning advantage to take the chequered flag 1.4s ahead of eventual second place finisher Xavi Vierge.
While Márquez was splashing his way to a controlled victory his teammate Franco Morbidelli took another crucial step towards clinching the Moto2 World Championship.
Morbidelli was all smiles after riding a superbly judged race in limited visibility from 15th on the grid to finish eighth and holding off Dominique Aegerter on the final lap.
The race was shortened to 15 laps because of an earlier delay due an oil spillage in the Moto3 warm-up.
This result extended Morbidelli’s lead in the championship standings to 24 points over nearest rival Tom Lüthi who finished 11th.
With three races remaining Morbidelli has 256 points with Lüthi on 232 and Márquez in third place on 180 points.
Álex Márquez: Race Winner
“I’m really happy for this victory and I knew I had this potential despite my crash on Saturday morning in practice. I managed the race very well, it is never easy to stay calm in these conditions and I waited for my moment to go to the front. At the end I could open a gap and control the victory. I want thank my team, the doctors and everyone who has helped me to come back after my injury.”
Franco Morbidelli: 8th
“This was a very difficult race so I am happy to finish in eighth place after starting fifteenth. In these very wet conditions I have neither been very fast nor clever in the past so this is a good result for the championship. It was important to finish ahead of Tom Lüthi here and I did that. Nothing is certain in racing so we have to keep pushing for the remaining races of the season.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“This was perfect race by Álex in these difficult conditions because you always have to finish the race to have a chance of winning. It was a very strong performance by Álex who made sure of his victory with a fast final lap. And Franco did an excellent job to finish ahead of Lüthi to strengthen his position in the championship and now we look forward to the Phillip island race.”
Podium for Niccolo Antonelli in the rain in Japan
Red Bull KTM Ajo rider gets first podium of the season thanks to a hard-fought second position. Bo Bendsneyder is ninth amidst heavy rain.
10/15/2017 - Twin Ring Motegi, Japan
The hard work done by Niccolo Antonelli and his team throughout the year was rewarded with a first podium of the season this Sunday at Twin Ring Motegi. In a race reduced to just 13 laps and held under an intense rain, Antonelli remained calm and was amongst the Top 3 at all times, eventually crossing the line in second place. Bo Bendsneyder returned to the Top 10 and completed the race in ninth.
From second on the starting grid, Niccolo Antonelli made a great start and took the lead on the first sector. The Italian was out in front for the first two laps in a strong start, before upping his pace and holding second place. With those behind him unable to catch him, he took the chequered flag in the podium spots for the first time this year.
Teammate Bo Bendsneyder had a great performance on a track in the worst condition of the weekend. The Dutchman was part of a second large group of eight riders in the fight for sixth position. In the end, with ninth place, he claimed his fifth Top 10 of the season.
After this great start to the flyaway rounds, Bo Bendsneyder is fourteenth in the overall standings with 55 points. Niccolo Antonelli climbs to seventeenth position, with 36. The next race will take place next week at the Australian circuit of Phillip Island.
Aki Ajo - Team Manager
"I am very happy to have achieved this podium in Moto3, because this year is a very tough one for us in the lower cylinder class. We had already seen that we were improving and taking steps forward over the last few races, which was good for our confidence and motivation. I'm sure Niccolo [Antonelli] and Bo [Bendsneyder] are ready to fight for the top positions at the final races."
23 NICCOLO ANTONELLI
"It's amazing to have placed on the podium this Sunday in Japan. I knew we could go fast in the wet at this circuit, because we have improved a lot, but I didn’t expect it. We have had difficulties in rainy conditions this year, although here I have had a good feeling. In the race I tried to catch Romano [Fenati], since I had nothing to lose, but the bike was slidding a lot and it was impossible to get to him. In the end, finishing second is like a win for me and a prize for the whole team, whom I want to thank for their work."
64 BO BENDSNEYDER
"It wasn’t at all bad, especially bearing in mind that today it rained more than ever and the conditions were the worst that we’ve encountered. Finishing inside the Top 10, after a difficult weekend in which we weren’t in these positions during practice, is positive. I’m happy with the result and keen to improve on it in the coming races.
It’s been a good weekend for the team. Niccolo [Antonelli] took a podium an I’m sure that it will motivate the entire group. I’m keen to ride in Australia."
Bezzecchi Swims to Podium Glory for Mahindra
Motegi, Japan 15 October 2017: Mahindra rider Marco Bezzecchi rode from a career-best qualifying position to a sensational third place at Motegi today, overcoming dire conditions and conquering his rivals at a rain-hit Japanese Grand Prix.
The 18-year-old Mahindra CIP team rider from Rimini was less than a second away from second place, and his career-first podium came in his rookie grand prix season. This was his fourth time to finish in the points. The 16 points awarded for third moves Bezzecchi to the head of the Rookie of the Year standings, now four points clear of Japan’s Sasaki.
It was a double top ten for Mahindra, as Jakub Kornfeil (24) underlined the strength of the only Indian constructor in the World Championship series with eighth place. The rider from the Czech Republic was on a SaxoPrint-backed MGP3O, badged as a Peugeot, Mahindra’s sister company.
Mahindra’s success, the second double top ten in the last three races, came in extreme conditions. The 4.8-km circuit had been wet throughout practice and qualifying, and this morning an oil spill caused a delay of more than an hour before an abbreviated morning warm-up could be completed. As a result, the Moto3 race was cut from 20 laps to 13, and started 55 minutes late.
By then, the rain had redoubled, with standing water and flying spray a problem for all riders. Starting from the second row of the grid for the first time played in favour of Bezzecchi, who finished the first lap fifth. He moved up to third by half distance, and was close behind Niccolo Antonelli (KTM) at the finish. Winner Romano Fenati (Honda) was just out of their reach; it was an all-Italian podium.
Kornfeil had a more difficult race, having to cope with shockingly bad visibility in the spray as he fought his way through the pack from 20th on the grid.
The good result was some compensation for problems that struck the official Aspar Mahindra team. Alberto Arenas was out of the race after suffering a fracture in his right hand, crashing while well-placed in wet Qualifying. Team-mate Lorenzo Dalla Porta was an early retirement from today’s race.
The Japanese GP was the first of three flyaway races, with the Australian and then the Malaysian GP following over the next two weekends. Two weeks later, the Valencia GP closes the season, Mahindra’s last in the championship series.
Marco Bezzecchi, CIP Mahindra
“It is unbelievable! The conditions were almost impossible. At the end the rain was very strong and I was trying to stay focused to not make any mistakes. Thanks to everybody, to the team, to Mahindra, to the VR46 guys, to my family and friends. I’m sorry, I’m lost for words - it is a dream come true.”
Mufaddal Choonia, CEO Mahindra Racing
“To us, this podium means almost as much as our first race victory. It’s been a tough season, but the positive is that it is ending well, with our best results as we come to the end of our association with Moto3. This is a very emotional time. Thanks and congratulations to Marco, the CIP team and all the Mahindra Racing staff, for giving us this wonderful moment.”
Canet finishes fifth in difficult race in the rain
The weather at Twin Ring Motegi affects a delayed race reduced to just 13 laps. Bastianini finishes outside the points after an outstanding start.
Estrella Galicia 0,0 riders Aron Canet and Enea Bastianini took part in an unpredictable Japanese Grand Prix this Sunday. Adding to the uncertainty provided by the weather conditions at Twin Ring Motegi, the warmup session was red flagged due to oil on the track and reduced to 10 minutes, and the race itself was cut from 20 laps to just 13.
Aron Canet adapted to the circumstances in a warmup consisting of just five laps, clocking the fourteenth fastest time. In the race itself, he started well off the front row and occupied third place early on. However, he lost two positions on the following laps, settling into fifth and trailing the group chasing the leader of a wet race. At the end he was able to secure his position and achieve a solid fifth place in a difficult Japanese GP. Canet remains third in the overall standings with 184 points. He is 32 points behind rival for the runner-up spot, Romano Fenati, with 75 still to play for.
Enea Bastianini took the warmup calmly, setting the twelfth best time. At the start of the race he was able to move up to the front, and was in sixth place ahead of a group of riders pushing to the limit. As the laps went by, Bastianini lost ground and dropped down to twelfth. The tricky conditions on track and the incessant intensity of the rain finally left him in a discrete sixteenth position. The Italian now lies ninth in the World Championship with 103 points.
"The conditions were varying repeatedly"
"Both the riders and the team had been working very positively over the weekend despite the rain, but the conditions have been varying repeatedly and that has forced us to work especially hard on adjusting the setup. However, today we encountered a track with more water on the surface, and more difficult to ride on than in previous days. Aron tried to stay with the lead group, but upon seeing that he did wasn’t comfortable, he preferred to finish the race in the best possible position. The runner-up spot seems to be slipping away from him, but there are still 75 points up for grabs at circuits where he is very fast. Enea also faced the practice sessions very positively. We had high expectations for the race, but the conditions on the track affected him more than they did other riders and he never felt good."
16th, + 22.731
"The rain hindered our progression"
"It was a very tough race because it was raining a lot, although at first I was riding quite comfortably. On the last few laps I lost a lot of feeling with the rear and could not accelerate because I immediately lost control of the back wheel. Even so, I was able to pass some other rider, but it was not enough to score points. It was a shame because the rain hindered the progression we had made all weekend."
5th, + 12.827
"We still have the runner-up spot within reach"
"I found it very hard to ride fast because of the difficult conditions, so I think we still have to improve our setup in wet conditions. With so much water on the track it was very difficult to improve and, as it has not stopped raining, there was more and more water on the surface with every lap that went by. It has been the most difficult wet race of my life and to finish in fifth position is very positive, because with this result we still have the runner-up spot within reach. There are three races left and I think we can do it. With this result, we have also secured third position overall from [Fabio] Di Giannantonio and [Jorge] Martín. In Australia we will keep trying."
Oliveira seventh in battle of attrition
Red Bull KTM Ajo rider manages to finish Japanese GP in seventh position, amidst intense rain. Brad Binder crashes out after gaining twelve places.
10/15/2017 - Twin Ring Motegi, Japan
True to the weather forecasts, intense rain played a big part in the action at Twin Ring Motegi on Sunday. With the track in worse conditions than it previously had been during the weekend, and with the Moto2 race reduced to just 15 laps, Miguel Oliveira was able to salvage seventh position and add 9 points to his tally for the season. Brad Binder was unable to complete the race, despite having made one of his trademark fightbacks to gain 12 places in just eight laps.
Starting from fifth position on the grid, Miguel Oliveira dropped down a place on the opening lap, quickly regaining it on Lap 2. The Portuguese remained in this position until the midway point of the Japanese GP, when he was unable to keep up the pace and was overtaken by two riders.
The rain failed to put off Brad Binder, who made one of his typical charges through the field from the eighth row of the grid. The South African had reached twelfth position before he suffered a crash at Turn 3 of the eighth lap.
With no time to rest, the flyaway rounds continue next week in Australia. Miguel Oliveira will arrive at Phillip Island in fourth place overall, with 166 points; Brad Binder is twelfth with 67.
Aki Ajo - Team Manager
"I'm a bit disappointed with the final result of the Moto2 race, although overall we can continue to be happy with the performance we've had over the weekend. We are fairly fast in any conditions, whether in the dry or in the wet, and this weekend has been a practice for us to keep improving in the rain. We are confident ahead of the coming races."
41 BRAD BINDER
"It's been quite a difficult weekend for me. I struggled a lot in wet conditions. I wasn’t able to have a session in which I felt comfortable. I didn’t go too fast, but in the race I gave 110% and I managed to get up to 12th in just five or six laps, despite starting from 24th. I was trying hard and unfortunately I crashed. In the end, I gave everything I had and I never stopped learning; next time I find myself in this situation I will have learned the lesson from this race."
44 MIGUEL OLIVEIRA
"It was a difficult race, with lots of water on track. I was not at all comfortable, especially with the rear tyre that didn’t give me a good enough feeling to be able to push more. I was close to the Top 5, but when I understood that I couldn’t go faster I tried to control the race to the best of my ability to finish. Seventh is not the result we had hoped for, but the positive thing is that we finished and now it is time to look ahead to Phillip Island -a circuit that I like and that I think it suits our bike quite well. I'm sure we'll arrive there strong."
Weekend to forget in Japan for Mir and Loi
In a race characterized by intense rain, Mallorca's talent finished out of the points for the first time this season, but maintains command of the Moto3 standings firmly. Two positions behind was his teammate Livio Loi.
This Sunday was not a happy day for the Leopard Racing Team today, both out of the points in a race cut to 13 laps due to an oil spill in the morning during the Warm Up and then hit by intense rain, reducing visibility and stability on their respective Honda NSF250RW.
For Joan Mir, this is the first "zero" season: a record among the protagonists of all three classes that Spaniard had boasted throughout the year. But nothing is lost: the 20-year-old of Majorcan keeps his advantage at the top of the points table (+55 points) and in 7 days at Phillip Island he will have the chance to play the second match-point. Curiously: In Australia, in 2015, Joan Mir made his World Championship debut with the Leopard Racing Team ...
#36 Joan MIR - 17th:
"Throughout the weekend I was never really comfortable with the bike, and I felt more tense than usual: only in FP3 I was able to ride as I wanted. Too bad, because beyond the title, I would have liked to do a different race and have fun, but starting from the rear I had several risks. Let's see what will happen in Australia: we will continue to fight as we did from the beginning of the season. Our mindset will always be to get the most out of it!"
#11 Livio LOI - 19th:
"It was a very difficult race, but we have actually been accusing the problems in these three days, whether for the poor grip, or for so much water on the track. Even the condition got worse in the race: from this point of view it was the worst of all weekend sessions. Let's try and leave this experience behind us and let's go on our way."
12TH AND 13TH POSITION FOR BULEGA AND MIGNO AT MOTEGI
In a race of only 13 laps because of the delay accumulated after the suspension of the warm up, the young riders of the Sky Racing Team VR46 struggle to face the prohibitive track conditions.
MOTEGI (JAPAN), October 15th, 2017 - Under the rain, which in fact was the real protagonist of the weekend at the Twin Ring, Nicolò Bulega and Andrea Migno cross the finishing line of the Japanese GP in the12th and 13th position.
The young riders of the Sky Racing Team VR46, on their KTM for a race of only 13 laps, due to the delay accumulated after the suspension of warm up for a waste of oil from the bike of Andrea Migno, struggle to face the tricky tarmac conditions. Nicolò, who started from the pole position, was not able to find the right feeling at the rear and closes in the 12th place. Uphill race also for Andrea, 13th under the checkered flag.
PABLO NIETO - Team Manager
A difficult Sunday after a really good weekend. Compared to the FP, there was much more water on the track and the epilogue was not the one we hoped for. It's a pity because both of our riders had proven to be able to keep up the pace of the strongest guys.
A really complicated Sunday: Friday we were very fast in a full wet situation, but today we have not been able to adapt ourself to the asphalt conditions. I struggled to find the right feeling and we could not repeat how good we did in the FP.
I was expecting a different race: I achieved the pole position and I had a great feeling on the wet for all the weekend. The track conditions were prohibitive, there was much more water and I lost feeling at the rear. A difficult situation to handle throughout the race. A real pity: we were really competitive, but today we missed something. We have to continue to work in this direction and with this method: we can close the season with positive results.
DI GIANNANTONIO CHARGES UP TO SEVENTH PLACE AT MOTEGI
Fabio Di Giannantonio has once again proved to be a ‘race animal’ – as many times referred to by his team manager Fausto Gresini – after putting together an outstanding recovery from 16th place on the grid to seventh at the chequered flag in today’s shortened Moto3 race at Motegi – which was cut down to 13 laps by race direction after the delays occurred due to track conditions.
Courtesy of today’s result, the young Italian rider consolidates his fourth place in the standings by pulling away on his team mate Jorge Martin. After a first competitive part of the race, which saw him able to stay with the front-runners, the Spaniard – who started the encounter from seventh place on the grid – wrapped up what has been a difficult weekend with a 15th place finish.
The #JapaneseGP draws to a close for Team Del Conca Gresini Moto3 with two finishes in the points and the desire for greater results at the upcoming Australian GP, which will get underway in less than five days at Phillip Island.
7th - FABIO DI GIANNANTONIO #21
“I’m happy! It was another recovery from 16th to 7th and the feeling in the wet was good. I was comfortable on the bike, so it’s a pity that the race was shortened, otherwise we could have aimed at something more. We couldn’t have done any better today our best and I’m happy with how things have gone.”
15th - JORGE MARTIN #88
“It’s been a very difficult race and I have to say I basically had no feeling on board my Honda under these conditions. The realistic goal was to make it to the finish line and we did it, but one point is clearly not our target. We’ve always been competitive in these track conditions so we must work on our wet race set-up.“
Aspar Team leave Japan empty handed
Lorenzo dalla Porta is unable to finish the Moto3 race at Motegi, whilst Albert Arenas misses out through injury
Joan Mir will have to wait until the Australian GP for his next chance to clinch the Moto3 title, after a difficult Japanese GP for the lower cylinder class. The Spaniard placed seventeenth at Motegi, outside the points, in a wet contest in which his main rival for the title, Romano Fenati, took victory. Seventy-five points remain in play, and fifty-five separate the only two contenders remaining after Arón Canet, placed fifth this weekend. Niccolò Antonelli and Mahindra rider Marco Bezzecchi joined Fenati on the podium.
The Japanese Grand Prix ended without results on the board for the Mahindra Pull&Bear Aspar riders, after a race in which Albert Arenas was unable to participate due to injury and Lorenzo dalla Porta had to retire due to an engine failure. The Italian rider was unable to complete the first lap, after a good start in the rain, and now is already turning his focus to the Australian GP next week.
Lorenzo dalla Porta (DNF): "We're ending a weekend that has been rather difficult, right from from the start. I never had a good enough feeling to go fast in the wet here at Motegi, and in the race –although we started from far back- we got off the line well. However, there was a moment on the opening lap in which I opened the throttle and felt the engine go. I was close to the entrance to the pits and I retired from the race. It's been a difficult week, and the end was tough. We will try to get back to the positions we know we can be in, much higher up the order, at Phillip Island."
The Japanese Grand Prix ends with two crashes for RBA BOÉ Racing
The fifteenth race of the 2017 Moto3 World Championship was held today at Twin Ring Motegi.
The warm up of this morning was red-flagged because of an oil leakage and consequently it was shortened: with less time at disposal, Guevara and his technicians didn’t have much of a chance to work on the final details of the setting for the KTM machine. In the race, Juanfran started cautiously from the 18th position of the grid: the Spaniard came back up to the points area, yet a crash with two laps to go to the chequered flag prevented him from finishing.
Rodrigo could complete only three laps in this morning’s warm up, finishing in 16th position. The Argentinian defended his spot in the Top-10 since the beginning of the race, maintaining a consistent pace and fighting for a good result. With four laps to the end, Gabriel suffered a crash and was forced to retire.
#58 Juanfran Guevara: not classified [RACE]
“It was a very complicated race. I believe that today we had a good feeling, both in the warm up and in the race. We were starting a bit behind, but we were making our way back up, we were getting closer to the Top-10 and the group where we were got as far as sixth position. It’s a shame, but in these conditions and with so much rain it was very difficult to stay on top of the bike. What matters is that we leave from Motegi with a positive feeling on the wet. We learned from the various rain conditions of these days here and now we can go to Australia with more energy and fully charged up.”
#19 Gabriel Rodrigo: not classified [RACE]
“Each day we improved a bit, but in the race we had to deal with different wet conditions: there was plenty of water on track and little visibility. Matter of facts, I got to think that they might stop the race because the situation was quite dangerous. In spite of it all, I was in a good group, which got as far as Top-7. I had dealt with a couple of tricky moments at the beginning, so I wasn’t pushing too hard, in order to avoid mistakes. I got into turn 11 with maybe a bit of extra speed and as I touched the gas I got thrown over. It’s a shame but in these conditions it can happen. Now we must think about Phillip Island, a track that we like. Physically I’m doing well, I didn’t get hurt and that's important for the next races. We’ll keep our line and for sure we’ll end up achieving a good result.”
Vierge delivers wet weather masterclass to seize 2nd – Resolute Gardner speeds to 12th
Tech3 Racing Team rider Xavi Vierge produced a memorable performance to clinch 2nd position at the Japanese Grand Prix today. An oil spill in the morning Moto3 warm-up caused a large delay, which resulted in the intermediate class race being cut short to a 15 lap sprint. Here, Vierge had a strong start and he leapt forward from 3rd on the grid whilst the rain lashed down. He settled into a formidable rhythm and battled at the front of the field but kept focused to hold 2nd in the final laps, before soaring across the finish line to claim his first podium in the Moto2 World Championship.
Meanwhile, Remy Gardner powered through the rain to clinch a well-deserved 12th place finish at the Motul Grand Prix of Japan. The young Australian began from 19th and pushed forwards as the distance dialled down. He worked his way up the field before lunging into 12th on the final lap to close the weekend positively. The result leaves Gardner fully fired up for his home Grand Prix at Phillip Island next week.
Position: 2nd - Championship: 11th - Points: 78
“I am so happy. It has been a very challenging weekend and the track conditions have been tough, but yesterday was a good day and today was even better! I finished the race in 2nd, which is amazing, and it is a dream come true. I have to say thanks to the Tech3 Racing Team for believing in me and working hard every day. Also, to my family who help to motivate and push me. Finally, of course, I have to thank my sponsors because without them none of this would be possible.“
Position: 12th - Championship: 19th - Points: 21
“It was not a bad close to the weekend, yet, I can’t help but feel that we were not as strong as we usually are in the rain. It was the wettest that it has been throughout the three days, which may have affected things and I struggled a bit with the grip. However, I managed to salvage something as I had a good battle with Marcel Schrotter on the last lap and I came out on top at the finish line. It was a decent weekend overall, but now it’s time to go home to Australia and see all the fans which I am looking forward to. I must say congratulations to Xavi who rode really well today."
“The result is an incredible feeling for the Tech3 Racing Moto2 Team. We knew that there was a good possibility to do something exciting in the race after the qualifying because 3rd place for Xavi was already a great achievement. We were hopeful but with the conditions being tough and with the GP being shortened, we knew that a strong start would be crucial. The track was very slippery yet not only did Xavi qualify like a true champion but today he rode like a lion. When I saw him losing a few places halfway through the sprint, I thought that maybe a top five would be interesting. However, you could see that he wanted the podium and he caught the guys in front of him to finish 2nd, which is more than a dream. I would like to thank the whole team because I know how hard they work and they don't often get a reward like this. Great congratulations to Xavi Vierge who rode incredibly and we are really happy, so thanks to him. We cannot forget about Remy, who had a tricky qualifying, but he got his head down. Although he was in the middle of the pack, and his visibility was limited due to the rain, he managed to get back to 12th and clinch some points. We know that he is improving all the time and he had a good weekend also. 2nd and 12th are very pleasing so congratulations to everyone and I hope we can celebrate a bit tonight because tomorrow we will catch the plane to Australia and there we will have a new chapter to write."
A #JAPANESEGP TO FORGET FOR JORGE NAVARRO
Jorge Navarro has endured what was probably the most difficult Moto2 racing weekend of his rookie season so far: his Japanese GP race, in fact, was virtually over on lap three when the Spaniard crashed unhurt at turn 11.
Under the pouring rain encountered at Twin Ring Motegi – which has accompanied the middleweight class of MotoGP throughout the whole weekend – Navarro did not manage to find the right feeling with his Kalex machine #9, and this was clearly proved by today’s two crashes – one in warm-up and the aforementioned one in the race – which added up to the tumbles occurred on Friday (FP2) and Saturday (FP3).
Despite the setback, Navarro managed to re-join the race and to cross the finish line in 28th place, which allowed the team to gather some more data from the bike under these conditions. The rider of Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 is now looking to make amends in Australia.
28th - JORGE NAVARRO #9
“It was a weekend to forget, really. My start of the race was not too bad and I was able to make some passes, but once I got to turn 11 I lost the front the same way I’ve done before this weekend. I finished the race for the team and to gather some more data with wet conditions. The feeling was not there and I almost crashed again. Now we have to stay focused and try to improve: there are still three races and we need to get back to the type of performance we’ve shown earlier this year.”
BAGNAIA IS THE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR IN MOTO2
With the fourth place of today and with three races in advance, the young talent of the Sky Racing Team VR46 is arithmetically the best rookie of the category. 26th Manzi.
Motegi (Japan), Oct. 15th, 2017 - At the GP of Japan, Francesco Bagnaia celebrates with three races in advance the title of the Rookie of the Year in the category with a beautiful fourth place at the end of a battling race until the last corner.
Started from the 12th box of the grid, despite the prohibitive conditions of the track, Pecco imposes his pace and in the final stages of the race he succeeds in reducing the gap from the group close to the podium. Sixth at the start of the last lap, with a double overtaking, crosses the finishing line in the fourth place. With the 13 points scored today, he confirms his fifth place in the overall standings (143 points) and arithmetically conquers the title of the best rookie of the category.
Twenty-sixth under the checkered flag Stefano Manzi, who, compared to previous days, has struggled to handle the conditions of the Japanese track.
PABLO NIETO - Team Manager
Pecco did a great race and the title of Rookie of the Year is an incredible prize for him and the whole Team. We all started as rookies in Qatar and we celebrate this result with three races in advance. Regarding today, he has a good start, he managed, as always, the race with maturity and, in the last lap, he made something incredible. A series of overtakings and a beautiful fourth place. Stefano struggled to handle the amount of water on the track, but such a weekend can be helpful for him to continue his growth path.
Despite it has been shortened by a few laps, the race was very long and difficult. I was alone, there was more water on the track than the last few days and I had to impose my pace to clear the gap to the group in front of me. In the first laps I struggled, but then I managed to set my rhythm. I've lost a bit of time in the overtakings, maybe I could stay with Syahrin and fight for the third place. I'm really happy to celebrate the title of Rookie of the Year with three races in advance: at the beginning of the season this was the real goal for me and the Team.
A really difficult race to handle: track conditions were really prohibitive, even compared to those of the whole weekend. I tried to do my best and set my pace until the finishing line.
Fantastic fight back from McPhee at Motegi
British Talent Team rider moves up to take a top ten finish
John McPhee bounced back from a difficult qualifying position in the Japanese GP, gaining seven positions despite a shortened race distance of 13 laps - moving up from P17 on the grid into the top ten.
With incredibly difficult conditions remaining for race day, McPhee found better pace on Sunday and was battling for sixth, running out of time to be able to try and move further up but able to cement some major progress through the field as he crossed the line in P10.
Next up is Phillip Island, where the British Talent Team will be looking to consolidate sixth in the standings and close back in on the top five.
John McPhee, P10: "It was a crazy race to say the least! Being cut to 13 laps was a shame as I had to come from so far back but my pace was better today. 10th position was all I could manage but I was in the fight for 6th. I know I should normally be one of the fastest in these conditions but with no feeling from the bike it's been difficult this year in the rain. I'm happy that we've had some consistently wet track time and working together with my team we've improved the feeling a lot and found the correct direction to go in. Now we're onto Phillip Island where I'm really keen to get back on track!"
Baldassarri is back top 10 in soaked Motegi
Forward Racing Team's Lorenzo Baldassarri displayed a fantastic remount under the pouring rain in Japan, while Luca Marini was unlucky to finish the 15th round of the 2017 Moto2 World Championship season prematurely.
Due to oil around the 4.801-kilometer track, the procedures on Sunday were delayed, which resulted in a shortened warm up session, plus a new race start at 13.00 local time with a distance of just 15 laps instead of 23.
Anyway, the changed schedule didn’t hamper Baldassarri to show a good performance in the morning session as he placed himself well in ninth. For the race, he snatched an incredible launch off the line from 30th on the grid and was able to pass ten competitors in just the course of the first lap to find himself quickly in 20th spot, before continuing his impressive comeback. In the second lap, the Italian was already in 14th and soon started to fight with the championship leaders. He left even more riders behind and finally saw the chequered flag in a fabulous tenth position.
Marini on the other hand, was able to quickly restore his feeling from FP3 on wet tarmac. By the end of the 15 minutes warm up he grabbed eight place, finishing less than one second behind the top. When the lights went out in the pouring rain, the 20-year old kicked off his hunt for glory in a positive fashion, starting from the seventh row, although he had the difficult task to find his way through the spray of the riders in front of him. After he had already recovered several positions, he unfortunately slipped away in turn 14 during the second lap.
In just three days’ time the Forward Racing Team already arrives in Phillip Island, where the Australian GP, the second of the flyaway triple kicks off on Friday.
Lorenzo Baldassarri - 10th (+14.310)
“Honestly, I’m truly happy about today’s race. For the first laps, I wanted to stay cautious to not commit any mistakes, as there was really plenty of water everywhere and the vision was very low. But despite of that, I was already quite fast and lap by lap I gained more confidence to find my rhythm and make my way up to tenth. At that point, the rear grip dropped and I couldn’t attack again, because my feeling wasn’t just quite the same anymore. In any case, I'm pleased, we needed this result, not just for me, but especially for my guys, who worked really hard this weekend. Now, I hope we can continue this line and move even forward in the upcoming races to fight for the top positions again.”
Luca Marini - DNF
“I have to admit, that I’m really sorry and disappointed about the end of this weekend. This fall came unexpected and apparently, luck was just not on our side. I sincerely don’t know what happened, I was doing well, the feeling on the wet was good and I didn’t feel like I had made any mistakes. I’m relieved, that the next race is just around the corner, as I quickly want to forget about this result and proof, what I’m capable of. Our main goal for Australia will be to stay in the saddle, trying to get rid of this misfortune, that seems to have followed us even to Japan.”
Giovanni Cuzari - Team Owner
“We leave the land of rising sun with a bittersweet taste in our mouths. After Lorenzo clearly has been far behind expectations yesterday, he truly improved on his qualifying result with this race. Overall, he made up 20 positions, which is incredible, especially in these very tricky conditions. Therefore, we’re satisfied to take not only some points away, but particularly that we’re back inside the top 10, which is an encouraging sign for the upcoming rounds in Australia and Malaysia. On the other hand, Luca wasn’t able to turn around his Japanese experience today. He took the gamble in qualifying to go out with slick tyres straight away, a decision, which had not payed off, so he had to commence his challenge from the middle of the field. Maybe he was a bit too keen to do well in order to recover, which might have caused the mistake. However, we have to look ahead to the next rounds, as there’s luckily not much time for regret and be well prepared in order to perform better in Australia. I want to thank everybody for the hard work this weekend and our sponsors for their support. ”
A strong Kornfeil carves out 8th place in the drenching rain of Motegi
Press release race Motegi GP
Heavy rain and oil on track during the warm up made the Moto3TM race a short but intensive spectacle. Eventually Jakub Kornfeil beard these tricky conditions finishing in 8th position following a vigorous comeback. Young Pulkkinen had more problems in the wet crossing the line in 22nd place.
The day of the “Motul Grand Prix of Japan” was no exception this race weekend: it was pouring down the whole day.
When oil came on the track during the warm up as well the schedule for this Sunday had to be revised: the Moto3TM start was moved to 11.55am and the race was cut short to 13 laps.
Jakub Kornfeil, taking advantage of Joan Mirs grid penalty, could start his race from 19th position and focused on catching rider by rider immediately.
Fully concentrated but also with a lot of competitive spirit he fought his way up to the top 6 where he stayed nearly until the end.
Only the straight and the lack of power in his bike made him finish 8th in the end.
Peugeot Motocycles SAXOPRINT team mate Pulkkinen could barely recover ground as he and his crew had expected.
As his start was only undistinguished he missed out on gaining positions in the first corner. Many small mistakes due to difficulties with the weather conditions cost him the contact to the riders in front of him and therefor the opportunity to fight for a better position.
Thanks to some crashes he crossed the finish line in 22nd place.
Now the riders of the Moto3TM are on to the next round. The oversea tour continues next weekend with the Grand Prix of Australia.
#84 Jakub Kornfeil (P8):
„I am really happy with my 8th position today. Even happier then I was in Misano when I finished 7th. You know, this weekend we were struggling a lot with the set up because my feeling with the bike was not good. Finishing inside the top 10 after such hard days is a great feeling for sure. The conditions out there were really tricky and I had to fight a lot to get these points but it was worth it. So far our season was a hard one so I am actually happy about the fact that we could show our potential in the last part of the year now. Thanks to my crew for their great work this weekend. Now I am looking forward to Australia.”
#4 Patrik Pulkkinen (P22):
„It is quite difficult to say something about the race. I didn´t have a good feeling on the bike during the race and it was really hard to see anything due to the heavy rain. For me the grip level dropped the longer the race lasted and it got harder and harder for me. I just didn´t get a good lap because I always made some small mistakes and was sliding a lot. As during the whole weekend I just struggled to find the perfect line and therefor a fast lap.”
Florian Chiffoleau (Technical Director):
“Well Jakub did a good race. 8th position is a good result and he scored some important points. Important not only for the championship but also for the whole team. Even if he didn´t feel so good on the bike the whole weekend he fought for the top 6 in the race. Regarding Patrik we are a little bit disappointed. His start was more or less okay but after a few laps he lost the contact to the guys in front of him. We thought he could fight with Toba for example but this didn´t happen. Also the steps he made between the first Free Practice and today were not as big as we expected.”
Atiratphuvapat 11th at Rain-soaked Motegi, Toba 21st
Rd.15 MOTUL GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN: Sunday, October 15, 2017
Weather: Wet / Ambient: 15℃ / Track: 16℃
Honda Team Asia Moto3 rookie Nakarin Atiratphuvapat fought valiantly in today’s Japanese Grand Prix, crossing the checkered flag in 11th place. Teammate Kaito Toba rode a persistent race to cross the finish line in 21st place.
Due to the track being cleaned for oil-spillage in the morning, the race for the light-weight category was shortened from 20 laps to a 13-lap dash in the wet, starting at 11:56 am.
Starting 12th on the grid, Atiratphuvapat fought hard with tough competition for top 10 positions. In the end he narrowly missed his goal, but nonetheless earned his second best result in his rookie year. Toba started solidly from a difficult 27th grid spot. The 17-year-old Japanese upped his position despite the tricky conditions, and brought his bike to home safely.
For the next race weekend, the Australian Grand Prix, Free Practice 1 is set to start at 10:00 (GMT +11) local time on October 20.
Nakarin Atiratphuvapat (11th, 29’38.692 / +16.414)
“Our priority for today’s race was to finish the race without exceeding the limit and to score championship points. I think I could have pushed harder, but if I did, I would have crashed. I accomplished what I was supposed to do, and this result definitely boosted my confidence.”
Kaito Toba (21st, 30’01.811 / +39.533)
“In the beginning, I was able to follow the group in front of me. But when the rain got heavier, I struggled to adjust my riding to it and lost ground to them. I think it was a good opportunity for me to overcome my weakness in the wet. Also, we found a good direction to improve the bike, so it was a positive weekend for us.”
Tadayuki Okada Team Manager
“This weekend our target for Nakarin was to complete the race, because he had crashed and his results in Misano and Aragon were not good. In the final stages, his rear tire slid a lot. Nevertheless, he achieved the objective and I am happy about it. Kaito could not perform at his potential and dropped the pace when the rain got heavier. We will try everything to support him for getting back his confidence.”
Nakagami 6th in Motegi Rain, Pawi 23rd
Rd.15 MOTUL GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN: Sunday, October 15, 2017
Weather: Wet / Ambient: 14℃ / Track: 15℃
IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia rider Takaaki Nakagami finished 6th at the Japanese Grand Prix today. Malaysian Teammate Khairul Idham Pawi also completed the race in 23rd place.
The race for the intermediate class started at 1:00 pm for shortened 15 laps, due to oil-spillage in the morning’s Moto3 Warm Up having to be cleaned up.
Starting from pole position in front of 52,439 spectators, Nakagami took the holeshot and led the race for 10 laps in the wet. He crossed the finish line in 6th place, scoring 10 championship points.
Pawi started the race from 33rd grid. The Malaysian Moto2 rookie moved up the field gradually despite the difficult track conditions, managing to complete the race.
Race week for the next race, the Australian Grand Prix, commences on October 20 at the Phillip Island Circuit, with Free Practice 1 for the intermediate class starting at 11:55 local time (GMT +11).
Takaaki Nakagami (6th, 32'15.064, +6.163)
“Even though we expected to struggle in wet, this result was not what I wanted. I managed to lead the race for 10 laps, and we can take it in a positive way, but to be honest, I am not satisfied with it because our target is always higher. The next two races, Phillip Island and Sepang, could be wet weekends again so that we have to prepare well by utilizing data we have accumulated this week.”
Khairul Idham Pawi (23rd, 32'59.432, +50.531)
“It was a very tough race for me because starting from the back of the grid under such difficult conditions affects visibility. But I didn’t give up and gained positions, and finally, set 2 m 09s in the final few laps. Although I am not happy with 23rd place, it was a positive weekend because I gained more experience.”
Tadayuki Okada Team Manager
“It’s a pity that Taka lost some positions in the final stages of the race. However, leading the race for many laps in the rain is a big improvement to overcome his weakness. I think it was a positive weekend for him. Pawi set his best lap time for each of the final few laps. Reaching the checkered flag in every race is the most important objective for his Moto2 rookie season, so it was a very productive weekend, especially for his future improvement.”
FIM revokes Dominique Aegerter’s Misano victory
Strong weekend in Japan ends in bitter disappointment
Suter MMX2 rider Dominique Aegerter scored a strong ninth place in the wet Japanese Grand Prix. The 26-year-old from Switzerland was within the leading pack of riders at the beginning of the race, but in difficult conditions with heavy rain, he didn’t quite have the pace to challenge eventual winner Alex Márquez. Instead, Aegerter got caught up with Márquez’ Italian team-mate Franco Morbidelli, withstood his pressure for a number of laps and crossed the line right behind the Moto2 world championship. “A top ten result is certainly not bad, but I would really have liked to finish ahead of Franco in order to help my fellow countryman Tom Lüthi in his title campaign”, said Aegerter after the race and was slightly disappointed with his result, as he had hoped for a top five finish.
The real disappointment awaited Aegerter, his German Team Kiefer Racing and his Swiss motorcycle manufacturer Suter Industries a few hours after the race. In a technical analysis of the engine oil in Aegerter’s bike that had been carried out after the Grand Prix of Misano in September, the technical control of the international motorcycle federation FIM found an irregularity that was later confirmed with the B-sample of the oil. A mismatch of the oil tested and the official oil from the appointed oil supplier lead to the disqualification of Aegerter at the Misano Grand Prix and as a result, his victory was revoked.
“This ruling is devastating for all of us”, said team manager Stefan Kiefer. “Since both samples showed the same irregularity, we have no other choice than to accept this decision. However, we have always and evidently used the engine oil as provided and we declare categorically that no additives were used whatsoever. We strongly deny any wrongdoing.”
At the Grand Prix of Catalunya in June, Italian rider Mattia Pasini was disqualified for similar reasons, with his team also denying any violation of the regulations. “My only guess is that some form of rare contamination leads to these strange results and a faulty analysis”, said Eskil Suter, founder of Suter Racing. “If you look at the performance of Dominique’s bike, at Misano of anywhere else, it is easy to see that he has no advantage in terms of engine power, acceleration and top speed, sometimes quite the contrary. This in itself shows that nothing was done or added to boost this performance.”