Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after Sunday's races at Sepang:
Franco Morbidelli is the 2017 Moto2 World Champion
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli was crowned the 2017 Moto2 World Champion at the Sepang International Circuit today.
Morbidelli secured the title even before the start of the 20-lap Malaysian Grand Prix.
With Morbidelli’s main rival Tom Lüthi declared unfit on Sunday morning it meant that the 22-year-old Italian could not be beaten for the title.
With the title pressure lifted Morbidelli rode to a safe third place in the race to claim his 11th podium in a superb season of racing.
Those 11 podiums have included eight victories in the 17 races so far with just the final GP of the season at Valencia remaining.
On the slow down lap Morbidelli - wearing a “Franky Says Relax” championship shirt - celebrated his win trackside with the team, who were joined by nine times World Champion Valentino Rossi.
Morbidelli, 22, is the first Italian rider to win the intermediate class championship since 2008 when Marco Simoncelli won the 250cc title and the second Moto2 Champion for Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS after Tito Rabat’s 2014 title.
The jubilation of Morbidelli’s championship victory was contrasted by the disappointing outcome for Álex Márquez who was an early retirement.
Márquez inexplicably crashed twice, at turns two and six, early in the race after moving into second place just after the start.
With just the Valencia GP remaining Morbidelli has 288 points ahead of second-placed Tom Lüthi (243) followed by Miguel Oliveira (216) with Márquez fourth on 190 points.
Franco Morbidelli: 3rd - 2017 Moto2 World Champion
“This is an incredible feeling and now the reality is sinking in after the race. I am so happy for myself but also sorry for Tom Lüthi who could not race today. However I have done a great season with fantastic support from my team even though we suffered some down days. I wanted to make a good race today and get on the podium on the day we secured the championship.”
Álex Márquez: DNF
“It is something strange when you crash twice without pushing and I feel there was perhaps some problem with the front-end of the bike so we need to check everything to see what happened. We don’t know what happened. Now I need to forget about this and move to Valencia for the final race although this DNF means I have lost third place in the championship.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“This is a fantastic day for Franky and our team which I am so proud to be part of. I must say a big thank you to Marc van der Straten who backs this team and allows us to achieve results like this championship win. Everyone in the team has done a great job this season to win our second Moto2 World Championship after the first one with Tito Rabat in 2014. It is a pity Álex did not have a good day but I’m sure he will be back strong in Valencia.”
Red Bull KTM Ajo take second consecutive one-two
Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder finish first and second in Malaysia, repeating their positions from the Australian GP last weekend.
10/29/2017 - Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia
Red Bull KTM Ajo riders Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder repeated their Moto2 one-two from the Australian GP at the penultimate round of the season in Malaysia, with Oliveira winning the race at Sepang. Amidst intense heat and with the complication of fine rainfall on the final laps, the pair held on for another remarkable result.
Miguel Oliveira’s race followed the same script as a week ago at Phillip Island. A great start allowed him to take the holeshot, and within two laps he had already established a lead of 1 second from the pursuing group. Oliveira gave his rivals no chance of catching him, setting new circuit records and upping his advantage to as much as 4 seconds. The Portuguese has managed to remain calm when the rain began, 4 laps from the end, and crossed the finish line with a 2 second lead.
Brad Binder had a more difficult race. From the start the South African was part of the chasing group, along with two other riders fighting for second position. As the laps went by, the South African stuck on the wheel of newly crowned World Champion Franco Morbidelli until he saw the flags indicating rain. Given the possibility of the race being cut short, Binder took a risk and passed the Italian for his second consecutive runner-up spot. Coincidentally, the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders both took this same result two years ago in Sepang, when part of the structure’s Moto3 team.
With this excellent end to the flyaway rounds, Miguel Oliveira has secured third position in the overall standings, with 216 points. Brad Binder continues climbing positions and is ninth with 109 points. The final race of the year will be take place on November 12th in Valencia.
Aki Ajo - Team Manager
"The Moto2 race was incredible. I don’t know what to say. I don’t think I can even believe it; it is much more than we could have imagined. We are already very motivated to do well in the future, but this result is an extra bonus. This is a long-term project to fight for the World Championship one day, and this is without a doubt the way forward. Again, I want to thank personally and on behalf of the team, the great partners who support us like Red Bull, KTM, and all the partners for letting us be part of this great project. I also want to thank the riders, Miguel [Oliveira] and Brad [Binder]. They are just incredible."
41 BRAD BINDER
"At first, during the opening three or four laps, I didn’t feel too comfortable. But little by little I felt stronger as the race progressed; my bike was amazing and I have to thank my team for that. When I saw that it was beginning to rain, I told myself that I had to give everything and get away from Franco [Morbidelli]. To finish second is incredible: I want to thank my team again for all the effort they’ve put in, and I’m looking forward to Valencia."
44 MIGUEL OLIVEIRA
"Today I had to give everything, I can hardly speak. This was not the strategy I had in mind before we started, as Franco [Morbidelli] and Brad [Binder] had a very good pace, so my plan was to ride behind them. But I saw that I could give a little more on the first few laps and I went for it. I gave everything I had and I am very proud to have succeeded. At the beginning of the season I did not imagine that we would be able to achieve these results. I thought we would be competitive but not that we would do so well. We deserve this end to the season."
The 10th pearl of Joan Mir
The 2017 World Champion wins the Malaysia Grand Prix, taking his tenth win of the season. The competitiveness of the Leopard Racing Team is also confirmed by the 4th place for Livio Loi. The whole facility dedicates today's success to the late Stefan Kiefer, who suddenly died.
In spite of the weather forecasts, even today was sun kissed at the 5.5 Km of the Sepang International Circuit, host to the Malysian GP, the penultimate round of the 2017 season. A year dominated by the Leopard Racing Team in Moto3. After winning the world title last week at Phillip Island, Joan Mir showed up this weekend to honour this extraordinary season by winning, dominating Free Practice, Qualifying and Warm Up. The morning was also beneficial for his team-mate Livio Loi, who launched from the third row galvanized from the podium 7 days ago.
At the start Martin was running away but the two Leopard Racing blue Hondas passed Bendsneyder’s KTM soon and immediately went in pursuit of the Spaniard at the end of the first lap. Contact between Fenati and Suzuki, with the latter falling, allowed the group to break up slightly. On the third lap Bastianini found his way between Mir and Loi who try to close the 1.8s gap. Behind them, a long train of 16 riders is formed, enclosed by less than 5 ". On the sixth lap, Joan Mir managed to shake the chasing group to eat tenth precious to Martin.
Meanwhile, the local hero Norrodin fell and Livio Loi gained the 4th position and began to manage this margin of advantage. Two laps later, Majorca's talent decides that enough was enough and began to harass his compatriot, taking command of the race. At the top stands Bastianini, the lead changing frequently as the race went on. At 2/3 of the race, a three-legged battle for the final win. Joan Mir takes the lead again by taking an advantage thanks to a contact between Bastianini and Martin.
Joan Mir wins his tenth race of the season, consolidating the overall record of wins in the Moto3 class, equalizing Marc Marquez's 2010 score in 125cc and only one win from Valentino Rossi's record (11 wins). The Leopard Racing Team raises the positive series of claims in its young but successful race history and can also celebrate the fourth place of Belgian Livio Loi, who thanks to the 4th place in today's race moves to 12th place with 80 points in the championship table. His best season. The whole Leopard Racing structure is tightening around the Kiefer family and dedicating today's victory to Sepang to our friend Stefan.
#36 Joan MIR - 1st:
"It was a really tough race for the heat, on the limit! In the first laps I touched some opponents while Jorge [Martin] started to push and open a gap. Then I improved the feeling with the tyres and I started to recover previous tenths. After taking it, I tried to manage the tyres because it was impossible to get to the top with that rhythm. In the last laps, I got back and I turned very hard to get to the finish line! I have never looked at the numbers or records of other riders, even in this race, and I will probably do the same for the next: I will only think of having fun on the bike! Even if I did not win today, it would not be a problem; it is not my goal; but I also think that winning is the best way to honour a world title. Finally, I want to dedicate this victory to Stefan Kiefer: he was my first team manager at CEV 2015. A hug to all his family."
#11 Livio LOI - 4th:
"The race was very hot. Too bad for this, I could have struggled for the podium myself too."
Miodrag Kotur, COO Leopard Racing:
"We are happy for today's victory, because we have honoured the world title in full. And that's why we want to dedicate this success to Stefan Kiefer: we entered the championship with him in 2015 by winning the first World Championship; he was not only a great professional but also an exceptional person and a true friend. We cling to our prayers with his family."
#MALAYSIANGP: WIGHTH PODIUM OF THE SEASON FOR MARTIN
Team Del Conca Gresini Moto3 take their thirteenth rostrum finish in the 2017 Moto3 World Championship courtesy of Jorge Martin who, after the third place at Phillip Island, goes one better in Malaysia to claim second place at the chequered flag.
It was a demanding and intense race for the Spaniard, and not just for the heat: starting from second place on the grid, Martin led the race and tried to pull away in the first few laps, then battled for first and then second place as he managed to pip Bastianini at the line for only 0.039secs.
Fabio Di Giannantonio, on the other hand, was unable to put together another great recovery from 11th place on the grid as he ended up ninth after being involved in a six-way battle for fifth position. The young Italian rider, however, earned six more points in the season.
With only one race still to be contested, Martin consolidates his fourth place in the standings and he is now 21 points away from third, while Diggia is almost sure of his fifth position given the 23-point advantage over Bastianini. The 2017 season finale will take place at Valencia in a fortnight’s time.
2nd - JORGE MARTIN #88
“Given my pace in warm up, I tried to give my all at the beginning of the race and try to pull away, and I almost did it. It was the right thing to do because we had everything we needed to do it, but it wasn’t enough. We are competitive everywhere and that’s out there for everyone to see, the team is working extremely well, so I hope we’ll keep the momentum going at Valencia”
9th - FABIO DI GIANNANTONIO #21
“It was a bad day, no doubt. We tried a set-up change during warm up which I didn’t like, so we went back to qualifying settings, which were definitely better. Unfortunately I didn’t feel well before the race and had a strong headache. When I went to Clinica Mobile I was told that the intestinal virus I caught had completely dehydrated my body. I tried to get back into shape for the race, but from halfway I had nothing in the tank already. I wanted to race with the front guys, but with this and Antonelli’s crash that split the front group, we couldn’t do any better.”
Podium reward for Bastianini’s effort in Malaysia
Italian rider places third for his third podium of the season, while Aron Canet fights intensely in a packed group to take eighth position.
The penultimate race of the 2017 Moto3 season, the Malaysian GP, took place this Sunday at Sepang, and the Estrella Galicia 0,0 were able to ride in dry conditions throughout the entirety of the contest.
Enea Bastianini finished ninth in a dry warmup and gained a grid spot due to a penalty incurred by another rider. At the start of the race he moved up the field steadily, leaving behind his rivals before occupying third, at the head of the group chasing the two fastest riders. Enea went on the hunt to catch the front two, ten laps from the end, and managed to lead the race just two laps later. However, a move by another rider with three laps remaining hindered him, and he lost a few vital metres that proved difficult to recover. His efforts took him back into contention by the final lap, but he eventually had to settle for third place and his third podium of the season. He occupies sixth place in the World Championship with 130 points.
Aron Canet continued to suffer the same difficulties he did in practice on raceday. In the warmup he finished fifteenth and in the race he was part of a large group as he attempted to move up positions. Ten laps from the end, he managed to seize seventh place, two seconds off sixth in a group of ten riders. In the final stages of the race Canet managed to hold onto eighth position, although this result means he mathematically bids farewell to the possibility of finishing the season as Moto3 runner-up. Canet remains third in the standings with 192 points.
"Bastianini had a great race, his result leaves us with a very good taste in our mouths"
"Enea Bastianini had a great race. He worked very well throughout the weekend and that brought results. Despite having had the chance to fight for victory, the contact he had with [Jorge] Martin on the last few laps hindered him. He finished in third place, but this result leaves us with a very good taste in our mouths because at the start of the race he was far off the lead group. He made a great comeback and after the touch with [Jorge] Martin he again recovered the lost ground.
Aron Canet has improved a lot in mixed conditions at this circuit, but in the dry we lacked that extra step to have a pace closer to that of the leaders. In the race he wasn’t riding comfortably, but instead was forcing things, which also made him more tired and prevented him from reaching the front. Now we head to Valencia, where he is very fast and last year took pole position, so we hope to finish the season with the best possible result.”
"I tried to win at all costs"
"It was a really difficult race. I didn’t get a good start and was passed by several riders. After two or three laps I saw that I had a good pace, so I was able to move up positions. [Joan] Mir and [Jorge] Martin had already escaped, so I had to push a lot to cut the gap. That meant that the front tyre was put under a lot of pressure, as I did a lot of hard braking. When I got to the front, I tried to slow down a bit in order to rest. There were few laps left and [Jorge] Martín tried to outbrake me; I went a little wide and I had to push again to get back in with a chance of victory. I tried to win at all costs, but in the end it wasn’t to be."
8th, + 11,671
"I paid the effort with a major physical downturn"
"It was a very difficult race. I pushed on the first few laps to try to catch the first group, but it was tough. When I reached them, I paid for the effort with a major drop in my physical shape. On the last few laps I tried to get in a good position and take the best result possible. Mathematically, we can no longer be runners-up this season, but we will try to hold onto third place. Now comes one of my favourite tracks: My "home" circuit. There will be my family and the Valencian fans there, who will give me extra motivation to finish the year on the podium and with good taste in my mouth.”
Pagliani Grabs Flyaway Full House for Mahindra in Malaysia
Sepang, Malaysia 29 October 2017: Two weeks after Mahindra’s first podium of the year in Japan, Italian rider Manuel Pagliani fought hard to finish in the points in today’s Malaysian GP. His 15th-place finish means that the only Indian constructor in the World Championship series has scored points in each of the three successive “flyaway” races in Japan, Australia and Malaysia.
In fact, the Mahindra MGP3O has scored points in four of the last five races, with a best of third in Japan, and another top-ten in Australia, as Mahindra’s current adventure in the Moto3 class draws to a close after seven years.
Today’s result comes at the track where Mahindra secured the third of three race wins in 2016 – the 5.543-km Sepang circuit close to the capital Kuala Lumpur’s international airport.
The first race of the day was run in blazing hot sunshine in front of a crowd of more than 90,000 fans, and hosted the usual Moto3 spectacle of ultra-close racing.
CIP Mahindra team rider Pagliani had qualified 20th, but came through to 15th, and held the lead of one such group for most of the race. When overtaken by more experienced riders, the 21-year-old fought back brilliantly, and had escaped ahead of his rivals at the end of the 18-lap race.
Team-mate Marco Bezzecchi was not far behind, placed 19th. The next MGP3O rider was Jakub Kornfeil, placed 21st on the rebadged Peugeot machine for the MC Saxoprint squad. Lorenzo Dalla Porta, riding for the official Aspar Mahindra team, crashed out after another rider collided with him; while temporary team-mate Maria Herrera, the Spanish racer substituting for injured Albert Arenas, was 24th, less than two tenths behind second Peugeot rider Patrik Pulkkinen.
The race was won by newly crowned World Champion Joan Mir (Honda).
The GP circus now returns to Europe and a welcome one-weekend breather before the final race of the 2017 season at Valencia.
Manuel Pagliani, CIP Mahindra
“A tough race. The heat and temperature here in Sepang is brutal. We had to work really hard for 15th, it’s a good reward for the team after an up and down weekend. A poor Qualifying meant we had to recover a lot and we were able to do this. It was quite a lonely race as the riders ahead made a gap quite quickly and I could just not close it down. Now we focus on Valencia, one last push!”
Mufaddal Choonia, CEO Mahindra Racing
“We kept our points record alive, but we’re still a little disappointed. We expected another top ten, because this has been a good track for us, after winning the race last year – and especially more so because the previous two flyaways were very encouraging. Now we look forward to going to Valencia. It will be a very emotional race for us – the last race before we mark ourselves absent from next year.”
Positive finish to challenging Malaysian GP for Vierge - Disappointment for Gardner at Sepang
Tech3 Racing Team rider Xavi Vierge produced a fearless display in Malaysia to conclude the round 17 fight in 8th. The young Spaniard began the race from 14th on the grid and quickly got to work as he battled through the pack. In the closing stages, Vierge became involved in a fierce fight with local hero Hafizh Syahrin as the clouds threatened. Yet, he held his nerve as the raindrops fell and eventually met the chequered flag inside the top ten.
Meanwhile, Remy Gardner suffered a disappointing close to the weekend after falling on the second lap. The young Australian undertook a superb start to jump up 12 places by the close of the opening lap, which he finished in 13th. However, his luck ran out shortly after, whereby he fell at turn 9 as he attempted to continue his climb.
Position: 8th - Championship: 10th - Points: 98
“We did a good job during the race. I had a very positive start but there was a delay in the first few corners because several riders crashed in front of me, which meant that I lost a lot of positions. Later, my pace was strong and I caught the riders in front and start to fight with Hafizh Syahrin. When the rain began to fall, I tried to lead the group but the race wasn’t stopped and so I attempted to pass my rivals on the brakes. Yet when I opened the throttle, the other bikes were a bit faster and they overtook me. Finally, I finished 8th which is not bad and we collected some valuable points for the championship. Thanks to the Tech3 team for their work and now we will focus on the final round in Valencia.“
Position: DNF - Championship: 20th - Points: 23
“It was a bad end to a really challenging weekend. I made a good start and the first two laps were incredible as I went from 25th to 11th in the course of about ten corners. Everything was looking positive, but then there was another rider in front and I underestimated how slow he was. I think he knew I was behind him before he turned in, yet he chopped my nose, we touched and then I fell. It was really unlucky but what else can I say."
“It was another rewarding weekend for Xavi Vierge and it goes without saying that the three flyaway races have been good for the Tech3 Racing Moto2 Team, as Xavi completed the Japanese Grand Prix in 2nd, the Australian round in 5th and he finished 8th here. The conditions were tough in almost every GP, but he has improved, as has the Mistral 610 and together they are getting stronger. Thanks to him and his entire crew, as well as KYB suspension for their never give up attitude and constant hard work. We are really happy about that and we are inside the top ten in the championship. As a constructor, it is very close between Suter, Speed Up and Tech3, so it is pleasing to see this. As for Remy, he had a bad qualifying, which was a shame because we know his potential is a lot higher than this. However, he had an incredible first lap and got as high as 11th, plus he was ahead of Xavi at some point, which was encouraging. Unfortunately, whilst he was running with the top ten riders, there was someone else in front of him and Remy didn't expect him to be that slow so he hit him by accident. Both of them crashed which was a pity but he is not injured and hopefully, we can finish the season with a strong result in Valencia. I want to thank the entire Tech3 Racing Team for their work and overall, I have to say that this is a really good season for us."
FROM THE 19TH PLACE TO THE 6TH: WHAT A RECOVERY FOR MIGNO
The young talent of the Sky Racing Team VR46 is the first KTM rider to the finishing line. Bulega forced to retire due to a technical problem.
SEPANG (Malaysia), October 29th, 2017 - Andrea Migno is the first KTM rider at the end of the Malaysian GP in Sepang. The young talent of the Sky Racing Team VR46 is the protagonist of a great recovery and is sixth to the finishing line.
Andrea, started from the 19th box of the gird, immediately reduced the gap from the leading group and after a stunning race, once again is in the Top10. With the points of today, Migno is eighth in the overall standings (118 points), the first KTM rider.
Forced to retire due to a technical problem, three laps to the checkered flag, when he was in the 18th position, Nicolò Bulega.
Considering the very high temperatures, a really difficult race to handle. Andrea was one of the protagonists: he started from the end of the group and was the first KTM rider to the finishing line. It is a very important result for how the weekend started. Nicolò unfortunately was forced to retire a few laps to the checkered flag and we have to analyze the data to understand exactly what happened.
What a Sunday! A very long and tough race with extreme temperatures, but I'm very happy with the result. In qualifying I struggled, I started from the end of the grid, but I did a great job with the Team and we were able to reduce the gap. In the warm up I found a great feeling with the changes we made and, in the race, I had a good pace. I'm the first KTM rider in the standings: we have to stay focused til Valencia.
An hard weekend: on the dry I struggled to find the right feeling during all sessions and the grid position did not help me. I tried to do my best not lose the front group, but I could not set my pace and, a technical problem, forced me to the retirement three laps to the checkered flag.
CHAMPIONSHIP: MOTOGP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
TEAM: MARINELLI RIVACOLD SNIPERS TEAM
RIDERS: FENATI N. 5 - DANILO N. 95
BIKE: HONDA NSF250RW
DATE: 29 OCTOBER 2017
CIRCUIT: SEPANG - MALAYSIA
Romano Fenati is officially second in the Championship. Today he did a good job by avoiding to be involved, in the initial stages of the race, in the crash of Suzuki, but this made him lose the contact with the front group. He did a great comeback after that (until the seventh final position) but far from the firsts. It was a shame as the rider from Ascoli was really fast. Jules Danilo tried it by staying in the group of his teammate until the crash which compromised the hope of a good performance.
Romano Fenati: "I am second in the Championship and this is important for me considering that, last year, I wasn't riding anymore here. Today, in the race, I was lucky to stay on track after the crash of Suzuki but, to avoid him, I lost positions and the contact with the front group. This morning, after the warm up, we did a modification which improved the bike and allowed us to have a good pace. It was not enough to catch the firsts as it was really hot and the tyres were slipping everywhere".
Jules Danilo: "Today I lost a great opportunity. The pace was very fast, especially at the beginning of the race, but I know I could increase it towards the end. My race finished after few laps, the front closed and I crashed".
The RBA BOÉ Racing riders finish in the points in the Malaysian GP
The penultimate race of the 2017 Moto3 World Championship was held today at the Sepang International Circuit.
The day kicked off well for Guevara, who managed to set the fourth best time in this morning’s warm up. In the race, the Spaniard started from the 18th spot on the grid and he fought to come back. Juanfran finished in 13th position, achieving 3 points for the General Classification.
Rodrigo and his crew took advantage of the warm up to check the last few details of the KTM setting. Gabriel had a solid start from the second row, fighting in the front positions. At the end of the race, the second group reached the Argentinian, who eventually crossed the finishing line 14th.
#58 Juanfran Guevara: 13th [RACE]
“Today’s race was really hard, with very high air and track temperatures. That made it more difficult for all by the end, even if for us, within our limit, it helped us since we were competitive. I made a mistake at the start and that changed my luck for the whole race: a wheelie made me lose six extra positions. The positive side is that in the warm up we had a great pace and we confirmed that with the fourth place. I knew that we could do well in the race, but the problem at the start made it really tough to make a comeback. I got as far as the second group, which was fighting for the fifth position. The bike was working well, generally speaking it was a positive weekend. The QP didn’t really help us out and today, even if we had a decent pace, it wasn’t enough to achieve a better result. Our rhythm was similar to the front group and that’s important. We must figure out how to make a step forward in the qualifying, in order not to struggle so much when coming back.”
#19 Gabriel Rodrigo: 14th [RACE]
“I was expecting something more out of today’s race. In the warm up we went out with used tyres and the pace was solid, but when the track got so hot we struggled much more than what we had thought. This weekend we didn’t complete any session on used tyres with race distance and this affected us, too, since we couldn’t check the performance of the bike on a long run. We struggled a lot with the rear grip. I was within the Top-5 with a good pace, but when the tyres were worn out I was slower and other riders started to reach me and overtake me. I couldn’t do much more beside finishing the race and taking two points home. It’s not what we wanted after the race in Australia, but in this case it was important to finish. In other occasions, when I was struggling a lot with the bike or mentally, I ended up crashing out: the result today is positive because if next year we want to fight for a good position we have to learn to finish races, even when we are struggling. In Valencia we’ll see if we can wrap up the year on a high note.”
5TH PLACE FOR BAGNAIA AT SEPANG
The young rider of the Sky Racing Team VR46 once again is in the Top5 and confirms the fifth place in the overall standings. Forced to retire, due to a crash, Stefano Manzi.
SEPANG (MALAYSIA), October 29th, 2017 - After a race with the strongest guys, Francesco Bagnaia crosses the finishing line of the Malaysian GP in fifth place. The young rookie of the Sky Racing Team VR46, once again, conquers the Top5.
Bagnaia, started from the second row, after a good start, is in the front group fighting for the podium. Fourth at 3 laps to the checkered flag, when it started to rain, Pecco has lost grip and was forced to give one place to the finishing line. With the points of today, he confirms the fifth place in the overall standings (161 points).
Forced to retire, after a beautiful recovery in the first laps, Stefano Manzi. Stefano, 18th on the grid, crashed when he was eighth.
PABLO NIETO - Team Manager
A positive result thanks to the great work of Pecco and the whole Team. The podium was really close, but we have to be satisfied with this weekend. We have been very competitive and in Valencia we will celebrate the title of Rookie of the Year. Stefano was doing something out of the ordinary: he has an incredible start, he tried to do his best and the crash was a shame.
Compared to Phillip Island, surely a positive weekend and the fifth place is always a satisfaction. It was a very difficult race: we started fast, with an incredible pace and the temperatures were really high. I lost something in terms of feeling on the front and I could not push as I wanted. Under the rain, in the last laps, I started losing grip and lost contact with the first guys, but I've been with them until that time so I'm happy.
The fall was not the epilogue I hoped for in this race: I had an incredible start, in the first laps I closed the gap with the front group, reaching the seventh position. I tried to do my best, but I made a little mistake, I lost the front and could not do anything to prevent the crash.
Bendsneyder places inside Top 10 at sweltering Sepang
Red Bull KTM Ajo rider takes tenth position at the penultimate round of 2017. Niccolo Antonelli suffers a crash when in seventh.
10/29/2017 - Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia
The Moto3 Malaysian GP took place on Sunday morning, amidst ambient temperatures reaching 34ºC and 54% of humidity. Bo Bendsneyder was nevertheless able to put in a good performance with a tenth place at the track where last year he achieved his second Grand Prix podium. This is the sixth Top 10 of the year for the Dutchman. Niccolo Antonelli suffered a crash on Lap 9 in the midst of a comeback through the field.
Bendsneyder made a great start, placing second on the first sector. The Dutchman was able to keep in the podium positions until the second lap, when due to slipstreams on the two long straights he lost places. From that moment, Red Bull KTM Ajo rider dropped into the fight for fifth position along with six other competitors. At the end of the 19-lap race, he crossed the finish line in tenth place.
Starting from tenth position, Antonelli gradually upped his pace and climbed positions. On the ninth lap, when in seventh position, he suffered a crash at the last corner that left him out of contention.
After 17 Grands Prix, Bo Bendsneyder is fifteenth in the overall standings with 61 points; Niccolo Antonelli is eighteenth with 16. At Valencia in a fortnight’s time -November 12th- the Moto3 class will have their season finale.
Aki Ajo - Team Manager
"We expected to be able to fight for the top positions in today's Moto3 race. The start was very good but unfortunately Niccolo [Antonelli] crashed and Bo [Bendsneyder] lost some positions on the last corner, although he fought hard. Finishing the race in the Top 10 is nevertheless a positive result. During the weekend the pace has been quite promising in any case, so now we're going to focus on the last race in Valencia."
23 NICCOLO ANTONELLI
"It was a shame to finish this weekend with a crash in the race, because we had done a good job throughout the weekend here in Sepang. I was feeling good in the race and had already gained some positions, with a solid pace. On the last corner I came in a little too tight, and on the exit the bike spun round and I couldn’t avoid the crash. It was a shame to make that mistake, because today we could have achieved a good result."
64 BO BENDSNEYDER
"I made a good start and overall it was a good race, in which I felt comfortable riding. It is true that I lost some positions but from mid-race onward I felt strong enough to attack, although with Niccolo [Antonelli]’s crash I had to dodge out of the way and I lost a lot of time. I continued to push hard to get back into the fight for fifth place. When the tyre performance dropped off, with my weight and height I had a hard time fighting for better positions and the other riders passed me on the straights. On the last corner I tried to give everything, but I went wide and I was overtaken. Now I just hope to do well in my last Moto3 race in Valencia."
Forward Racing Team duo without luck in Malaysia
The Forward Racing Team duo of Lorenzo Baldassarri and Luca Marini endured a challenging Sunday at the Sepang International Circuit, as both riders were not able to bring home the fruits of their commitment. The scorching and humid 34 degrees during the penultimate race of the 2017 Moto2 World Championship season demanded everything from rider and material today, yet were not the main inconvenience the flag holders had to deal with.
In front of nearly 100.000 enthusiastic Malaysian fans Baldassarri came off the line well as he made up numerous positions straight away, completing the second lap in 13th place after starting from the seventh row on the grid. While fighting hard for a points-scoring finish the talented Italian went down in turn eight of the twelfth lap and was unable to conclude the race. Whereas Marini showed an impressive start and eagerly went into turn one, but got sidelined by another competitor.
Thankfully, Baldassarri and Marini came away without any major bruises and are primed to get back home after three intense flyaway races in a row in order to recharge their batteries and attack again for the finale Grand Prix of the year in Valencia, Spain.
Lorenzo Baldassarri - DNF
„I can only say that I’m really disappointed about this weekend and I feel incredibly sorry for my team as they did a great job to prepare everything in the best possible way, but unfortunately things just did not work out. During this morning’s warm up I wanted to simulate the race situation and see how my body felt after yesterday’s crash. As soon as the muscles warmed up, it wasn’t too bad at all, therefore I was quite optimistic. I started well, already in the first two corners I was able to recover many positions. But afterwards I was in a sandwich between two other riders and I had a contact with one of them in a corner, so I lost precious time. I tried to make up for it in the following laps, but unfortunately, I couldn’t really find a good rhythm and suddenly lost the front. I hope the bike is ok, like me and we can come back to Valencia with recharged batteries after this challenging three weeks.”
Luca Marini - DNF
“Honestly, it’s difficult to find words for today. I came off a great start when the lights went out, but unfortunately, my race was already over in the first corner, when someone took me out. I couldn’t see it coming and wasn’t able to avoid the fall, which is truly a pity after we worked so hard this weekend. This year the luck is not on our side and we can’t do much about it. The next and final race will be Valencia and we definitely need to finish this season in a good way, for the team, for all our sponsors and fans as well as for myself. I also want to take the opportunity to congratulate Franco, because he is a fantastic champion. He won, because he was the strongest this year. Now we focus fully on the finale round and try to do our best one more time.”
Giovanni Cuzari - Team Owner
“There is not much else to say than today was just not meant to be. It’s a real shame what happened to Luca. He was ready to grit his teeth in this oppressive heat, especially following a rather difficult time. We were happy to see him starting that well and he truly deserved a great result, but it was apparently just not meant to be. Likewise, Lorenzo was riding through his pain and gave his best, although it was obviously really tough for him. Sadly, he finished the race shortly after the halfway point. I have to say, that I really admire my guys for their tireless trust, motivation and work and want to thank them for their dedication, as well as all our partners, particularly in times like this. Now we look forward towards Valencia, where we hopefully will be able to terminate this season on a positive note.”
Peugeot Motocycles SAXOPRINT riders outside the top 20 in the heat battle of Malaysia
Press release race Sepang GP
Another hot day in Malaysia and a hard race at the “Sepang International Circuit” for the Peugeot Motocycles SAXOPRINT riders: Following a problematic first lap Kornfeil finishes 21st, Pulkkinen gets 23rd position with a little help of some crashes.
At todays “Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix” the Moto3TM starting grid was awaited by blistering heat. Just like yesterday the temperature climbed up to 34 degrees again.
With a distance of 18 laps this race was set to be a tough one.
Starting from 22nd position Kornfeil already lost important ground in his first lap. In the middle of the crowd he was pushed back to 28th place.
Instead of attacking the top 20 the experienced Czech had do fight his way back to his starting point.
But already in the third lap the riders in front of him opened a gap and Kornfeil and his competitors couldn´t close it again.
Having a deficit of 10 seconds four laps before the end a position inside the top 15 was out of reach.For the whole race duration the Peugeot Motocycles SAXOPRINT rider didn´t find a good pace and crossed the finish line only in 21st position.
For Pulkkinen it was also quite clear after a short amount of time that he couldn´t meet his ambitions today.
Already after three laps a mistake from the Rookie opened a gap between him and Herrera and the rest of the grid.
Even though he was then trying to fight the many overtakes saw them losing more time instead of gaining seconds. In the end the Youngster profited by some crashes and finished 23rd eventually.
Now the triple header is already done and dusted. The MotoGPTM circus is off to the season final in Valencia in one weeks time.
#84 Jakub Kornfeil (P21):
„It was really hot today but I felt good with my physical condition. I am not happy about the race. In the first lap I lost a lot of positions because I was in the middle of the pack and had nowhere to go. I had to go straight and after that I had to pass many riders again. I was trying to push and get away from the group to close the gap but the guys in my group always outbraked me with their overtakings. In the end there was not much more I could do because the others were too far away. Now we are going to Valencia and I hope we can get a better result there again.”
#4 Patrik Pulkkinen (P23):
„Physically the race was very hard for me and it was also very tough to show a good performance in this heat. Unfortunately I did way to many mistakes in the race. I had a big problem in the third lap where everyone else made their fastest lap times. I went wide and then me and Herrera lost the rest of the grid. I lost almost three seconds in this lap. We had a lot of battles after that and this made us lose a lot of time compared to the other ones. In the end they were too far away to catch them.”
Florian Chiffoleau (Technical Director):
“This time we are really disappointed about the race. The results are bad but what is even worse for me is the fact that both didn´t have a good pace in the race. The rhythm of Jakub was very slow, he is 40 seconds behind the leader and Patrik even one minute. Of course the conditions were very difficult but it´s the same for everyone. You need to be really fit here to keep a good rhythm for 18 laps so this is something both have to work on. They worked well all the weekend but couldn´t confirm their performances during the race.”
Mahindra Pull&Bear Aspar Team ends flyaways outside the points in Malaysia
María Herrera finishes 24th in a race that Lorenzo dalla Porta could not finish after being knocked off by another rider
The Moto3 race in Malaysia today looked like it belonged to Jorge Martín, who opened up a second advantage on the first lap and rode alone until a third distance, when Joan Mir arrived. This year's Moto3 World Champion remains on course to match the 11 victories that Valentino Rossi achieved in the minor category with his tenth of the season, with seven tenths of an advantage over Martín and Enea Bastianini, second and third today. Romano Fenati ecured the runner-up spot in the championship although third is still open, with Aron Canet starts holding a 21 point lead over Jorge Martín.
The Mahindra Pull&Bear Aspar Team ended the flyaway races without points in Malaysia, after María Herrera finished the race in twenty-fourth position and Lorenzo dalla Porta failed to make the finish line after another rider knocked him off on the penultimate lap. María Herrera, who set her best lap of the weekend at Sepang during today's race, got detached from the group in the first corner and was not able to improve on her nineteenth position from Australia . For his part, Lorenzo dalla Porta suffered with grip and was struggling before the incident that ended his race.
24th María Herrera: "I started pretty well, but didn't manage to take the first corner as I wanted and I ended up behind. On my first lap, I set my best lap of the weekend, but I couldn't ride one hundred percent in the race. Also, I had a little headache with the helmet and I struggle to concentrate. It's a shame not to have been able to finish the race in the group, but I've given my best and I'm happy with that."
Lorenzo dalla Porta (DNF): "It has been a difficult weekend. It seemed that we had solved something in qualifying, but in the race, with the race rubber and the heat, the bike was sliding a lot. Also, I could not brake hard and when I did the bike was stopping mid-corner. In the end, on the penultimate lap, I was knocked off but it didn't change much because I was behind. Now we will go to Valencia looking to give the maximum."
DIMAS OUT EARLY ON FROM MALAYSIAN MOTO2 RACE
A coming together in the early stages of the Moto2 Malaysian Grand Prix race has prevented Dimas Ekky Pratama to make the most of his debut in the middleweight class of MotoGP.
Starting from 28th position on the grid, the Indonesian rider collided with Australia’s Remi Gardner with only few corners into the race, which led to a crash and an early retirement from the encounter.
Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 would like to thank Dimas for the great professionalism shown this weekend as they look forward to welcoming back Jorge Navarro for the final race of the season – which takes place at Valencia’s ‘Circuito Ricardo Tormo’ in less than two weeks.
DNF – DIMAS EKKY PRATAMA #26
“It’s been a great experience. I was charged up for the race and even had a good start. I found myself in the middle of the field, surprisingly, but unfortunately Gardner’s move took me out of contention. My goal before the weekend was to finish in the points and I knew it was a difficult task. I end up the weekend with a bittersweet taste in my mouth: from one side I’m happy with my world championship debut, team Gresini is absolutely fantastic and I would also like to thank Astra Honda and Honda Motors for this opportunity. On the other hand, well, to be taken out this way from the race is a great disappointment.”
McPhee fights to hard-earned fifth in Malaysia
British Talent Team rider makes it into the top five despite being forced off track earlier in the race
John McPhee converted a front row start at Sepang International Circuit into a top five finish - despite getting forced off track during the race in order to avoid an incident ahead.
After a solid start to stay up with the frontrunners, McPhee wasn't quite able to stay with the lead trio but was fighting it out around the long, slipstream-heavy Sepang circuit. Then, a crash ahead saw McPhee have to head over the grass and onto the entry to pitlane before rejoining - and the Scot had a fight on his hands. Picking his moment to perfection at the end, the BTT rider got the best of the group and crossed the line in P5.
Next up is the final round in Valencia as the paddock returns to Europe for one last fanfare in 2017 - and the British Talent Team are looking to end the year on a high.
John McPhee, P5: "Overall it was a successful weekend. It was nice to be at the sharp end in every session and feeling so comfortable on the bike. The target today was the podium so I'm disappointed not to achieve that but I'm also happy that I managed to claw my way back through the order after running off track to avoid Antonelli's crash. My bike felt great, so a big thanks to my team for all their hard work all weekend."
TOUGH RACE FOR CRUTCHLOW AT SEPANG
PRESS RELEASE: 29 October 2017 | Sepang Grand Prix
LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow endured disappointment on his birthday as he had to settle for 15th place at the Malaysia Grand Prix. The Briton, who turned 32 on Sunday, was frustrated by a rear tyre issue at the Sepang International Circuit which ensured he was unable to challenge towards the front of the field at the penultimate round of this year’s MotoGP World Championship.
Having qualified down in tenth spot, Crutchlow always faced an uphill battle with more rain in Malaysia ensuring a wet race on Sunday. But an issue with a misshapen rear tyre meant he was unable to push hard at any point, leaving him lapping towards the back for the entirety of the race. Despite his obvious frustration, Crutchlow is already looking forward to the season’s finale in Valencia where he will look to sign off with a more positive result.
Sunday’s race was won by Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso, ensuring his World Championship battle with Honda’s Marc Marquez will now go down to the final round.
Cal Crutchlow – 15th
"Today was a very tough day. To finish 15th in the rainy conditions is very disappointing, but we had a clear issue from the warm-up lap of the race so I just had to try and stay on the bike to collect some points. We’re obviously very disappointed as a team, and me as a rider, to have this issue, but we have to go to the last race of the year in Valencia with a positive mindset.
“I felt that we would be a lot more competitive in the rain today that what we have been, but we had something categorically wrong with the rear tyre of the bike. I had a lot of vibrations and I was in survival mode for the whole of the race. I was riding just trying to stay on the bike, only when it started to dry towards the end of the race was I able to really open the throttle of the bike in the correct way. But let’s wait and see what Valencia brings for us.”
A Race to Forget: Nakagami DNF, Pawi DNF
Rd.17 SHELL MALAYSIA MOTORCYCLE GRAND PRIX: Sunday, October 29, 2017
Weather: Dry / Ambient: 33℃ / Track: 46℃
IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia’s endeavors in Malaysian Grand Prix abruptly ended on the opening lap. Local favorite Khairul Idham Pawi started well from 22nd grid, but he was hit from the inside at Turn 1, sent into the gravel. Teammate Takaaki Nakagami, who was off to a decent start from 8th grid, was also hit - by another rider from behind - between Turns 5 and 6, and the Japanese rider's race was also ended.
The final showdown of the 2017 Moto2 championship, the Valencian Grand Prix commences on November 10 at Ricardo Tormo Circuit, with Free Practice 1 for the intermediate class starting at 10:55 local time (GMT +1).
Takaaki Nakagami （DNF）
“There is nothing to say because my race finished just at Turn 6 on the opening lap. I grazed my leg, but fortunately, it was not serious at all. The next weekend will be my final Moto2 race so that I will do everything to wrap up the season the best way with this team.”
Khairul Idham Pawi （DNF）
“I had a good start, but someone hit me from the inside at Turn 1, and my home grand prix was finished there. I am very disappointed and feel sorry for my family, my friends and all the people in Malaysia who came here to support me. Apart from the race, we made solid progress this weekend, so we will keep this momentum in Valencia.”
Tadayuki Okada - Team Manager
“I feel sorry for Taka and Pawi because both crashes were not their fault. Pawi could not avoid the hit from inside at Turn 1. It’s the same for Taka, too. He could do nothing when he was hit from behind entering Turn 6. It was just lucky that both of our riders weren't seriously injured. We will get over this disappointment in the final weekend in Valencia.”
Atiratphuvapat Finishes 18th in Sizzling Sepang, Toba 20th
Rd.17 SHELL MALAYSIA MOTORCYCLE GRAND PRIX: Sunday, October 29, 2017
Weather: Dry / Ambient: 34℃ / Track: 49℃
Honda Team Asia’s Moto3 rookie Nakarin Atiratphuvapat finished today’s Malaysian Grand Prix in 18th place. Teammate Kaito Toba reached the checkered flag in 20th place.
Atiratphuvapat made a fantastic start from the 27th grid to jump up to 21st. He then proceeded to chase down the rider in front of him to successfully get ahead on the final lap.
Toba started the race from the 21st grid. Although he lost some positions right after the start, the Japanese Moto3 rookie regained his positions and crossed the goal line leading the group he was battling with.
The grand finale for the 2017 Moto3 championship, the Valencian Grand Prix will start at 9:00 (GMT +1) local time on November 10 for Free Practice 1.
Nakarin Atiratphuvapat （18th, 40’40.453 / +25.908）
“Today’s race was the hottest all season. At the beginning of the race, I overtook many riders and successfully improved my position. During the race, I tried to learn better throttle management. In the final few laps, I caught the rider in front of me and overtook him on the final lap. It was very exhausting race, so I realized I have to train harder to build up my stamina.”
Kaito Toba （20th, 40’55.157 / +40.612）
“I didn't start well and was overtaken by many riders, which is why I lost ground to the group ahead. Even though I finished in a lower position today, I crossed a goal line as a top of the group I was battling in. I felt my bike was the best in the season, so we can say it was a positive race in the tough weekend. I think we have found the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Tadayuki Okada - Team Manager
“Nakarin had a good start and improved his position, however, he struggled in these hot conditions and lost some places in the middle of the race. After that, he managed to set his best lap time for the weekend even when he was riding alone. Kaito said he had the best feeling with his bike in the race. It is fair to say that we concluded this tough weekend in a positive manner. We will move forward for the final weekend of this season.”
Suter Racing mourns the sudden loss of Stefan Kiefer
Suter Racing is shocked and saddened by the sudden loss of Moto 2 team manager Stefan Kiefer, who passed away unexpectedly in the night before practice started for the Motocycle Grand Prix of Malaysia last weekend.
Deeply shaken by the tragic death, Stefan’s brother and the team’s technical director Jochen Kiefer, Swiss rider Dominique Aegerter, his British teammate Tarran Mackenzie and the entire crew decided not to take part in this race. “I am lost for words. It is impossible to grasp that Stefan is not with us any more and we will miss him terribly. He was a fantastic person and a great friend. My thoughts are with his family”, said Aegerter.
“Stefan’s sudden death was an enormous shock for all of us. Our deepest sympathies go out to his family, his partner Nadine, his six-year-old son Jayden and his brother Jochen. With Stefan, we have lost a wonderful person and a good friend who leaves a huge gap in the motorcycle community and beyond”, said company founder Eskil Suter.
“The fact that Stefan passed away at such a young age shows once again how fragile life is and how joyful we should be about every happy minute we are fortunate enough to experience. Stefan set many highlights in his life and career, and he also went through difficult times, always seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I am very grateful to have experienced and shared some beautiful and happy moments with him.”
“We wish his family and his team the strength to overcome these difficult times. Stefan never gave up, and I am sure this spirit lives on in the people closest to him. There is always a path ahead into the future and to find happiness once again.”