Press releases from some of the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first races of the season in Qatar:
WE LEAD THE 2019 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP!
Hiroshi Aoyama - Team Manager
What an amazing weekend! I am really happy with Kaito’s victory because I know how hard he works and also considering last 2 years that he has struggled a lot. Maybe I was happier with this victory as a Team manager than when I won as a rider! Thanks to the team, IDEMITSU and all sponsors that help us. About Ai, we know how difficult was the weekend for him but he shows how much fighting spirit he has. He did it well and also I am happy for him.
1st Kaito Toba
Its an amazing feeling! I don’t have words to express it at the moment. When I cross the line it was like living a dream, a dream come true! I’m super happy because also this week the team work very hard and they did a good job. At the beginning I didn’t want to take too much risk and I drop some positons but at the end of the race I was thinking on my strategy to get the victory, and it works! I am super happy!
11th Ai Ogura
Since the last three days of testing it was a difficult time for me. We didn’t get a perfect set up on the bike and also my riding style was not good. In the race I tried to keep concentrated and push to the limit. In the end we get some good points. Now I cannot wait till start in Argentina to get a good result there.
2nd step of the podium for Lorenzo Dalla Porta and a 4th position for Marcos Ramirez
Italian rider Lorenzo Dalla Porta has finished the 2nd at Losail International Circuit after a demanding race. The victory was almost on Lorenzo’s hands but in the end, he secured the second position in a suitable circuit for him, as last year he finished on the podium too. Teammate Marcos Ramirez, who had been struggling throughout the weekend, at the last stages of the race made a comeback and ended up the 4th.
Dalla Porta started from the second place of the grid and took the lead from the beginning. During the 18 laps he always crossed the line among the first four positions, being mainly in front (he was the leader in 9 out of 18 laps). They say experience is important and he knew how to manage a non-easy race, as rivals didn’t let him go smoothly. Finally, in the last lap, Kaito Toba overtook him and Lorenzo crossed the line just 0.053 far from the Japanese.
On the other side of the box, Spaniard man Marcos Ramirez started from the 20th place of the grid after a difficult weekend. Step by step he started to made a great comeback and after four laps was already inside the Top10. When there were five laps remaining to the end, he was in third position, touching the podium. But finally, he entered the fourth after compatriot Aron Canet.
A very nice way to start the 2019 season, now it is time to rest. See you all in Argentina!
Lorenzo Dalla Porta, 2nd in Qatar
"It's been an amazing race and I've really had fun. Throughout the race the tyre hasn't dropped so much, the team has done a very good job. I'm very happy, my strategy hasn't been perfect but in the end a second position is a nice result. I wanted the victory and I've tried until the end and that is positive. We will try again in Argentina!"
Marcos Ramirez, 4th in Qatar
"I'm very happy after getting a 4th position in the first race with my new team, it is an amazing result. I've felt better with the bike and I've been able to recover many positions. Unfortunately, on the last lap I've made some mistakes and I haven't been able to be on the podium. Many thanks to the team because they've done an amazing job. I can't wait for the next race!"
#QATARGP: TOP-SIX FOR LOWES ON SEASON DEBUT
Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 wrapped up the opening round of the 2019 Moto2 campaign with a solid performance of Sam Lowes in what was a complicated race at Losail. The Briton was sixth at the chequered flag and therefore earned ten precious points.
>From the sixth slot of the starting grid, the returning Gresini rider enjoyed a good start and stayed with the front group. Then hard battles on track – especially with Alex Marquez – cost him that extra second and the chances for a podium finish.
Despite missing the top-three, it was a solid start to the season for the former World Supersport Champion, who looked at ease on the bike and with the team led by Tommaso Raponi.
The next event on the calendar will take place in three weeks at Termas de Rio Hondo, where Lowes was second in 2016 while racing in Gresini colours.
6th - SAM LOWES #22
“It was the first race of the year and as usual, everybody gives a little extra. That is why I lost touch with the front group due to some battles with other riders, and it’s a shake because I know in the last ten laps I had podium pace. But we can take this result as the highlight of the weekend and I’m sure there’s something to learn ahead of the next race in Argentina. I want to thank the team because they did an outstanding job. It was good to start on the right foot and score some important points.”
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders score solid top ten in new Moto2 era
Alex Márquez and Xavi Vierge have to battle grip issues to secure seventh and tenth places respectively in their first races using Triumph’s 765cc engine.
After 9 seasons and 158 races using Honda CBR600 engines, the new Triumph-powered Moto2 era began in Qatar, with Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS team-mates Alex Márquez and Xavi Vierge finished seventh and tenth, scoring valuable points for their championship challenges.
Márquez finishes just 5.018 seconds back of race winner Lorenzo Baldassarri, while a lack of front-end feel sees Vierge take the chequered flag 13.865 seconds behind.
Márquez started aggressively from 9th on the grid, making significant time on the first lap to sit 6th.
Márquez’s fastest lap on the ninth circulation when he was in 4th place suggested he could fight for the podium places.
By lap 10 he began to encounter issues with rear grip, and lost places to Augusto Fernandez, Sam Lowes and Thomas Luthi to slip to seventh.
“ I was feeling quite good but I started to lose the rear grip, the rear contact mid-corner”
“The start was not so bad. I was there in the first laps, trying to attack. I was feeling quite good. The bike was so fast. The team worked a lot to give me a good bike. I tried to catch the riders ahead and do my rhythm, like I did in the practice. Until lap ten it wasn’t so bad but it was around then when I started to lose the rear grip, the rear contact mid-corner. I started to have problems in that point and some vibration. Seventh wasn’t the result we expected after all the hard work during the winter. But we need to keep working like this, being consistent and we can be a little bit more ready in the next race.”
Starting from second on the grid, Vierge got the holeshot courtesy of a brilliant start, and led the race into the first corner.
The talented 21-year old wasn’t able to maintain his early pace, and started to experience a lack of feeling with his front tyre five laps into the race.
Vierge continued to battle with Brad Binder, and fought to pass the South African on the penultimate lap to claim six points for tenth position.
“I made a really good start but I started to feel really bad with the front of the bike"
“I made a really good start and it went exactly to plan. But after five laps I started to feel really bad with the front of the bike in the middle of the corner so I started to lose half a second on every lap. All the other riders arrived to me and I couldn’t fight for position. I tried so hard to finish the race as well as I could. That’s it. It’s a shame because we worked so hard all weekend. We had the pace, but during the race I didn’t feel good. It was important to finish because the championship is really long. It’s better to finish tenth than crash. Anyway, I want to say thank you to the team because we worked so hard and we’ll try again in Argentina.”
"I am happy. We expected a little bit more but this is just the beginning"
"I have to say that we should be happy for the first race because both our riders finished inside the top ten. I feel we did a good job over all the weekend. Today we started very strong, especially with Xavi. On the first lap he was in first and second position. From there we lost some time and found some problems that we didn't see at the last test. Alex started very strong, got to the front but after half of the race he had problems with grip and he started to drop places. Of course we expected a little bit more after the good test we had at this track but I'm very positive. We're doing a good job with the team and with both our riders. This is just the beginning!"
SUCCESSFUL DEBUT FOR SAMA QATAR ÁNGEL NIETO TEAM
Albert Arenas and Raúl Fernández kick off the season with sixth and seventh place respectively
Although many had predicted an escape job from Aron Canet and Romano Fenati, the opening Moto3 race of the season turned into a massive group battle with up to sixteen riders fighting for a victory that eventually went to Kaito Toba. The first ever Japanese winner of a Moto3 race prevailed by the narrowest margin over Lorenzo dalla Porta in second place, with Canet completing the podium as the top KTM rider in third after a thrilling battle with Marcos Ramírez, Celestino Vietti and Sama Qatar Ángel Nieto Team riders Albert Arenas and Raúl Fernández.
It was a successful start to the season for the Sama Qatar Ángel Nieto Team in Qatar, where both riders finished inside the top seven. Albert Arenas fought in the lead group throughout, briefly holding a podium position before eventually taking sixth place. His rookie teammate Raúl Fernández came from tenth on the grid to claim seventh at the finish, the second-best rookie on the night. It represents a strong start to the season for the Sama Qatar Ángel Nieto Team, third in the team standings after the opening round and with optimism and ambition now high for the rest of the campaign.
6th Albert Arenas: “I am happy because we fought for the podium, even though it wasn’t to be at the end. It was hard for me to defend my position during the race and I had to be really aggressive with my overtakes, It is a positive result and we have a good base setting to work with now. We have done a great job here and given our maximum, so we are satisfied and full of motivation for the next race. Argentina is a bit of a smaller circuit and that might suit us better.”
7th Raúl Fernández: “I had a really fun race. At the start it was hard to see through the visor because of the sun going down, which was a shame, but I was lucky because I didn’t run wide. On the last lap Antonelli came in a bit too aggressive and we both ran wide. We lost a few positions and instead of a possible top five we have finished seventh. This was my first race as a full-time rider and I am happy, although I feel a bit bad. The good thing is we have a competitive bike, which I have to thank the team for after all their hard work.”
First points of the season for Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto2 riders
Brad Binder and Jorge Martin conclude the Qatar Grand Prix in the Top 15.
10/03/2019 - Losail International Circuit, Qatar
The Red Bull KTM Ajo riders got the 2019 Moto2 World Championship underway with a tricky race under the floodlights of the Losail International Circuit. Brad Binder ended the contest in 12th place, whilst Jorge Martin managed to score a point on his Moto2 debut thanks to his 15th place finish.
Binder, who took off from eighth on the grid, had a great start and was up as high as fourth, before some rear-end issues on Lap 9 -when he was riding in the front group- made him lose first a single place and then four more on the next lap. The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider was part of a large group that featured countless overtakes, and would cross the line in 12th.
In his first race as a Moto2 rider, Jorge Martin gained two positions off the line, moving up from eleventh to ninth place. Overcoming some physical discomfort, the current Moto3 World Champion battled to stay within the points and, finally, placed 15th -earning his first point in the intermediate class.
The second round of the 2019 Moto2 World Championship will be held in Argentina from March 29th-31st.
Aki Ajo - Team manager
"It was a tough Moto2 race for us. We still have work to do, but we must understand that this is a new project. We improved a lot during February and had a great test in Jerez, but since the Qatar test there was something that we couldn't find the solution to, and that was repeated in this race, preventing things from going as we would have liked. We will analyse everything that has happened and we will see how we can improve for the coming races. The positive thing is that we have a test before the Argentina GP."
41 BRAD BINDER
"Today was a tough day. I was able to make a good start and during the first three laps I was riding very hard, but from there I started to have some issues with the rear end. On the final laps the tyre had gone off and it was very difficult to stay upright when cornering, so I concentrated on finishing the race in the best possible way. The important thing is that we have managed to pick up some points; I'm looking forward to the next race in Argentina, since it is a track that I really like."
88 JORGE MARTIN
"I got a good start and I gained some positions but, when I wanted to push a little more, I didn't feel comfortable with the bike and had some problems, especially with the grip levels. Physical discomfort didn't help me either. Even so, I fought hard, and I was able to get a point. There is still work to be done, but we have the potential to be further up the order and I hope to be able to prove that at the coming races, since we have a big team and a great bike."
Raffin takes 2 points, while Bendsneyder just misses out
Bo Bendsneyder just missed out of points by 0.051 while his interim team mate Jesko Raffin took home 2 points from the opening race of the season. Already in the first turn of the VisitQatar Grand Prix Bendsneyder had to pull out all the stops to avoid three crashing bikes just in front of him.
Starting from eighteenth Bendsneyder almost got caught up by the crashing bikes of Iker Lecuona, Nicolo Bulega and Jorge Navarro just in front of him. The manoeuvre in the openings stages of the Moto2 race in Qatar cost the Dutch rider of NTS RW Racing GP ten positions. His Swiss teammate could pass the mayhem from the other side moving up in an instant.
From the back of the pack Bendsneyder began working to make up lost ground. In lap 3 already he had moved up to twentieth and by lap 7 he was in seventeenth. By that time Raffin was fighting for fourteenth. Bendsneyder had to close a gap of almost 3 seconds when he got into sixteenth by lap 14. He managed in the final lap when he passed Jorge Martin for fifteenth, but in the final turns the Moto3 champion just got passed Bendsneyder again to grab the last point by a margin of just 0.051.
The fourteenth and sixteenth place show that NTS RW Racing GP can look forward to the upcoming races with confidence, emphasizes RW Racing GP team manager Jarno Janssen. “Of course I am very happy with the two points for Jesko. He had a super race in which he could keep fighting until the end. Hats off, especially because he came in without any preparation on a new machine for him in a strange team and yet he managed to catch those points. We hope that Steven Odendaal will be back in Argentina in three weeks, but with such a replacement I can only be very satisfied.”
There was disappointment about the sixteenth place of Bo Bendsneyder, but not about the race that the Dutchman made. “Bo had to start from the back due to someone else’s brash action. In this competitive field that is an almost impossible task, but he has fought his way back in the race. That he just missed the points is a shame. He has done lap times that are top 10-worthy.”
Bo Bendsneyder: “Losing the race in the first corner is a shame, but I'm glad I finished and that I could fight for the points. In the last six laps I had such a burden of arm pump that I could barely take the brakes. I tried everything to get that last point, but it just didn’t work. We did show that the top 10 would have been possible.”
Jesko Raffin: “Fourteenth in this field, on a strange machine, in a strange team, is really great. My start was good, but it was certainly not easy to overtake in the beginning. When everything was settled, I could hold my rhythm well. We changed the settings of the NTS shortly before the start. That was a gamble because we could not try it, but it worked out well. Thank you so much to NTS RW Racing GP to give me a chance with this awesome machine.”
EIGHTH PLACE FOR LUCA MARINI IN QATAR
Struggling with the pain into the left shoulder, the young rider of the Sky Racing Team VR46 closes the weekend not far from the first guys. A crash, immediately after the green light, for Nicolò Bulega.
Doha (Qatar), March 10th 2019 – With Luca Marini in the eighth palce and the retirement of Nicolò Bulega ends the Qatar GP for Sky Racing Team VR46 in Doha.
After struggling in the free practices and having reduced the gap with the top guys with a beautiful fourth place in qualifying, Luca, facing for the first time the long run of the race after the surgery into the left shoulder, crossed the finishing line not far from the strongest riders and scored the first championship points.
Forced to retire, in his race debut in Moto2, a few meters after the start, for a contact with Jorge Navarro, Nicolò who had closed the warm up session in the fifth place overall.
This opening round of the 2019 season was the first time Luca completed 20 consecutive laps and, until today, we did not know exactly which was his physical condition on the long run after the surgery into the shoulder. He is not at 100% and has struggled, but has closed in the eighth place and this is to be considered a positive thing. A pity for Nicolò who has not completed the first lap: the race means an important opportunity to gain experience and learn how to manage the new bike.
A really difficult race after a weekend where not everything went well. We were not able to work hard on the setting and today I faced the long run for the first time after the surgery. It was difficul managing the pain and also the tire. After three days of testing and the race weekend I’m overloaded and I'm still not 100%. For Argentina we will continue to work on the bike and my riding style for fighting in the leading group.
It was not the debut in Moto2 that I expected. We did a great job and we were fast. After the warm up I was really happy with the bike and I could have a good race. A pity that it's all over at the first corner with a contact of this kind.
FIFTH PLACE FOR CELESTINO VIETTI RAMUS AT THE DEBUT IN QATAR
Incredible race until the checkered flag for the young rider of Sky Racing Team VR46 who finished fifth. Dennis Foggia forced to retire after a race contact.
Doha (QATAR), March 10th 2019 - It closes with Celestino Vietti Ramus in the Top5 and Dennis Foggia forced to retirement the first GP of the 2019 season for Sky Racing Team VR46 in Losail.
Started from the eighth box of the starting grid, Celestino immediately kept the contacnt with the very first guys and after 20 laps at the rhythm of the strongest riders he has crossed the finishing line in fifth place with a gap of just 4 tenths from the podium. With the 11 points of today he is the best rookie.
Race shorter than we expected instead for Dennis who has crashed after a contact with Rodrigo during the fourth lap when he was catching up on the group of the strongest riders.
A beautiful first race for Celestino after a winter of hard work for him and the Team. All the time in the front group with the rhythm of the strongest guys. A pity for Dennis because he was recovering on the leading group, but for a contact he was forced to retire.
A real pity close the first race of the new season with a race contact and a retirement because I was recovering, I was fast and I was close to the front group. Unfortunately I could not do anything to avoid the crash.
It was really a great start and I'm happy for all the work done with the Team since the first testing session. The feeling with the bike was good, the first laps I had to understand the race and then I was able to stay with the strongest riders. With three laps to go I said: I want to try, but I was not smart enough, I had no experience in these situations and I lost the contact from the first three riders who made a small gap.
He can finish ninth, he can interprete the warning in the wrong way and exceed in an administrative caution that costs him the podium, but it's a pleasure to watch a rider like him. He's "motorcycle juice". From seventeenth, after the first corner, to first with internal and external overtakes as a rival squeeze and the new record lap in the race (2'05.403). A real shame for the misunderstanding but the other riders are warned: they will have to deal with him.
Tony started very well, being with the first riders immediately and staying there for some laps but, when the tires started to wear out, he lost positions and is out from the point zone. A shame as the rider from Garbagnate Milanese is fast, really fast.
Romano Fenati: "It really was an intense race, today the bike was perfect, I wouldn't have changed it with any other bike and this means that we worked really well. Few laps to the end, when I was fighting for the podium, I saw "track limit" on the dashboard and it was not clear if it was only a warning or a penalty. I did wrong and I served a penalty that did not exist. We take experience from that and we leave Qatar happy. With a better strategy and more attention, in Argentina we'll fight again".
Tony Arbolino: "It was a difficult weekend as we suffered in different conditions. In the race we started really well and, with new tires, the grip was good and I could stay ahead. I tried to save as I knew I would have suffered the drop of the tires and that it was. Now, we have to work more with used tires and prepare the set up of the bike according to this".
John McPhee claims first points of the season in Qatar
PETRONAS Sprinta Racing rider finishes 13th in opening race of 2019; Ayumu Sasaki out before the end of the first lap after contact from another rider.
The PETRONAS Sprinta Racing team picked up the first points of the season in the opening round of the Moto3 World Championship thanks to John McPhee, who finished thirteenth in a hotly contested race at the Losail International Circuit. The downside for the team was an unfortunate incident for Ayumu Sasaki, who was forced out of the race on the opening lap after being hit by another rider.
McPhee had to recover from a difficult start to the race, when he went backwards from fourth place and found himself outside the point-scoring positions. However, the PETRONAS Sprinta Racing rider made gradual progress with every lap, recovering as high as eighth place before eventually taking 13th in a close battle to the line.
Ayumu Sasaki found himself involved in a multi-rider incident in turn 6 on the first lap. The Japanese rider, who started from 22nd on the grid, was hit by a rival and was unable to continue after crashing.
With this result, McPhee picks up three points and is 13th in the Championship as the series moves on to Argentina, where Sasaki will aim to open his account for the season on 31st March.
Johan Stigefelt - Team Director
"After a great qualifying yesterday, John McPhee rode really well again today but we had a little problem with the top speed of the bike, which we detected in warm-up, and he couldn’t overtake anybody on the straights. I followed his performance throughout the race and he did a really good job. His start could have been better but then he caught with the lead group and was able to run with them. It was a shame about the issue because he couldn’t make any more progress through the group.
Sasaki’s crash was not his fault so it was a real shame for his race to finish like that in the sixth corner of the first lap. It has been a difficult weekend for him but we will work hard again at the next Grand Prix."
#71 Ayumu Sasaki
"It has been a difficult weekend for me, starting with qualifying in 22nd. We tried some different things in the warm-up that didn’t work, so we decided to try again with a different setting for the race. It felt good on the warm-up lap so I was excited to see how it might work in the race. I got a good start but in turn 6 somebody hit the rear of my bike and I went down. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been a great start to the season but I have learned a lot, especially with the new qualifying system, so we will work on those things in the coming races and try to be at the front."
#17 John McPhee
"It is nice to be back racing again, having a scrap and doing what we love. My bike felt great in the race, the team have done a great job on finding my race pace and I knew it was going to be good. Unfortunately, we had a small technical problem with the top speed, which cost us particularly on the straight, but the bike was good around the rest of the track. I made a couple of mistakes on the first lap, ran wide in one corner, and when you do that at the beginning it costs you for the whole race. After that I focused on setting my pace, which was good, and tried to catch the lead group, which I managed even though I was stuck at the back. The good thing about the weekend is I felt strong, my pace and feeling were good and the speed is there. We have limited the damage by picking up some points and now we can turn our focus to the next GP in Argentina."
FIRST POINT AS GRESINI RIDER FOR RODRIGO AS ROSSI COMPLETES MAIDEN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP RACE
The opening round of the 2019 season was not a successful one for Team Kömmerling Gresini Moto3 as the Faenza-based team came out almost empty-handed from the #QatarGP. Gabriel Rodrigo finished 15th, while Riccardo Rossi was 22nd at the line.
It was a tough race for the Argentinean rider who had a steady start and lost some positions in the early moments of the race. As the encounter progressed, Rodrigo made up some positions and entered the battle for top-15 positions. A coming together with an opponent with 14 laps to go surely had an impact on the overall result, as Rodrigo dropped down to 17th place before finishing 15th.
One point that leaves a bitter taste in the mouth, but also a positive start to the season for the number 19, who will arrive to his home round in Argentina in a much better fitness condition and with a better feeling with his Honda NSF250RW.
Riccardo Rossi had a positive maiden race in the Moto3 World Championship and had to give up on a possible 19th place only at the finish line.
It was a positive race nevertheless, and now Team Kömmerling Gresini Moto3 has two weeks to recover – especially Rodrigo – before the second GP of the year, which takes place at Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina (29-30-31 March).
15th - GABRI RODRIGO #19
“It’s been a complicated weekend, one in which I couldn’t ride as well as I wanted. I struggled with my arms due to the surgery and that’s why I did less lap in practice – although that cost me a little bit of race rhythm. Having said that, it was very important to finish the race, as well as to get to know the bike a bit better in order to get to Argentina in a better form, both mentally and physically.”
22nd - RICCARDO ROSSI #54
“it was a tough race and I must admit I was a little bit nervous. I had a good start: I recovered some positions at the start and during the first laps. From then on I did all the race with Oncu and another three riders. I place myself in the slipstream on the final lap in order to try and pass them all but the arrival of Masaki changed my plans a little. Obviously we want more, but it’s an encouraging start.”
Tough first Moto3 race of the year for Can Öncü
Red Bull KTM Ajo rider finishes eighteenth at the Losail International Circuit.
10/03/2019 - Losail International Circuit, Qatar
The opening race of the 2019 Moto3 World Championship took place in the Qatari desert this Sunday, and it proved to be a tough day for Red Bull KTM Ajo rookie, Can Öncü. The Turkish rider had a crash at the start of the warm-up session: in spite of some pain in the hands and right arm, the youngster was fit for the 18-lap contest..
Can Öncü, who also started from 18th on the grid, experienced a hard beginning to the race, dropping eight places off the line due to a crash with lots of riders involved that he had to avoid. The teenage talent would move up the order and was back inside the Top 20 on Lap 4. Step-by-step, he found a solid pace and crossed the line 18th on his full-time Grand Prix debut.
The next time the Turkish rider will get onboard his KTM will be for the Argentina Grand Prix, from March 29th-31st.
Aki Ajo - Team Manager
"The season is underway for the Moto3 class. We have to be positive since Can [Öncü] performed really well in the preseason tests, especially here in Qatar -where this weekend he has continued taking steps forward. Unfortunately he got caught up in a crash involving several riders on the first lap; although he avoided going down, he was unable to catch back up with the front group. He managed to finish the first race of 2019, which was only his second ever Grand Prix. As always I say, Can is a rookie. However, we know that he has potential and this season we can do great things with him."
61 CAN ÖNCÜ
“It has been a good weekend overall. It's a shame that I lost touch with the front group so early, due to a crash with lots of riders involved that I had to take action to avoid. I tried to fight back, and finally I was able to catch the riders ahead of me and pass them. I was setting good lap times, but the gap to those in front was too big to overcome. We should take the positive away from this weekend, which is that I've learnt a lot. I can't wait for the next race, in which I'm sure that we will do much better."
Khairul Idham Pawi just outside the points in Qatar
PETRONAS Sprinta Racing rider comes through the field to take 17th at the opening round of 2019.
Khairul Idham Pawi made his PETRONAS Sprinta Racing debut tonight in the opening round of the 2019 Moto2 World Championship. The number 89 made gradual progress during the race, making up positions before eventually crossing the line at the Losail International Circuit in 17th position.
Pawi, who started from 21st on the grid, was initially held up after an incident involving multiple riders on the first lap. The setback cost the Malaysian valuable time and positions, cutting him adrift from the group that was battling for points.
He did well to recover and built his confidence and rhythm over the remainder of the race, making several passes to move into the top twenty. Over the final ten laps, the PETRONAS Sprinta Racing rider was able to lap consistently close to the two-minute mark, running a faster pace than some of the riders that finished in the points.
The second round of the season takes place on March 31st at Termas de Rio Hondo Circuit (Argentina), where Pawi will look to continue his development in the Moto2 class.
Johan Stigefelt - Team Director
"I think Pawi had a great race. Our objective for this race was for him to stay consistent and take another step forward in his development, especially after the difficult season he had last year. He did well, his lap times were strong. He got a bit tangled up in the first corner and lost six seconds on the first lap, otherwise he would have been fighting for points. We have to congratulate him for a job well done and for his development over the course of this weekend."
#89 Khairul Idham Pawi
"It was a shame about the first lap because a few riders crashed in front of me and even though I was able to save it I lost a few positions. It is important to learn from incidents like this in a race, but I lost a lot of time because of it on the first lap. I tried to focus on maintaining a strong pace on my own, and I was able to pass a few riders. I am sorry to the team that I wasn’t able to finish in the points tonight, which was my objective, but the level is very tight. We have to keep working in the same way ahead of the Grand Prix of Argentina and try to take another step forward."
Good opening round boosts confidence
In Sunday’s first race of the season in Qatar, Lukas Tulovic impressed with determined ride to came home just narrowly outside of the top 20.
An incident in the first corner after the start couldn’t affect Lukas Tulovic determination for his first race as full-time entry in the highly competitive Moto2™ World Championship. Even more as the 18-year-old talent from Germany showed at that moment great responsiveness when he was able to dodge a crashed rider in front of him just in time.
Subsequently, Tulovic continued his race at the far end of the pack but catching up the last riders quickly and to pass some of them later. Tulovic convinced in his recovery with determination and ambition to finally round up his successful debut race in many respects, coming home in P21.
After the busy start to the season with last weekend’s final pre-season testing and the opening round, the championship heads into a three-weeks break before the second Grand Prix this year is scheduled in Argentina later this month.
#3 Lukas TULOVIC (Kiefer Racing, KTM) - P21:
"I’m very happy about my performance and to conclude my debut race in this way. From an outside point of view, the race may have started with a big disaster, but I was that much full of adrenalin at the start and totally of fire, that I immediately put away this incident. I fully realized the lesion I have learned with Kiefer last year in Le Mans. At that time, I was too cautious in the first laps. I was going into the first turns and the competitors came past me inside and outside."
"So, I didn’t want to make the same mistake again today. I wanted to get my level of performance right from the start and get in contact with the group. I did that really well till the first corner where I was on an aggressive line. But then, this crash happened with several riders which some of them slipped to the outside and I had to dodge. Honestly, I almost had to stop, otherwise I would have hit another rider. I then continued my race completely upset though, I fortunately found my rhythm straight away. In addition, I felt very comfortable with the bike, so this means that my crew has worked out a perfect setting."
"Our race simulation last week didn’t go that greatly but today my pace was really strong. I did my many consistent laps and I also past the one or other rider. But most of all I’m really pleased with my pace today. We were very consistent until the end. So, we can build on that. But now we go to Argentina and Texas where we expect an even more difficult task every time because we have to get there already during the three free practice sessions before it gets serious with qualifying. But I look forward to this challenge and I’m convinced that we will do well in these races because we will tackle the task step by step again. Thanks to my crew for their efforts helping me a lot and their great job done this weekend."
Jochen KIEFER (Team manager / Technical director):
"Lukas has made a great start to the season. P21 may not look that great but we finished just 43 second off the race winner’s time at one of the longest circuits in the calendar. In view of the big-time loss due to the crash at the start, where he nearly came to a full stop and then he only could continue the race at the far end of the field, Lukas delivered a remarkable comeback so the only thing is we can do is to congratulate him - hats off, Lukas, very well done."
"He also put in really strong lap times from halfway point of the race, so his pace was as fast as that one of the midfields. This gives us hopes that with a bit more luck at the start that we can expect positions like this very soon. Congratulations also to the entire team for the good job done throughout our long stay here in Qatar. After his strong opening race, we now can go back home with a good feeling. We are very happy with Lukas."
The wait is over: the MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward Racing team has finally faced the opening race of the 2019 Moto2 World Championship in Qatar.
The first race of the 2019 season has ended under the lights of the Losail circuit, in Qatar, for the MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward Racing team. Dominique Aegerter, who started from the eighth row of the grid, faced his first race with great determination, managing to stay for most of the time in the points zone. In the end, the Swiss rider concluded this debut with the new team, and the new born MV Agusta F2, in 18th position. His team mate, Stefano Manzi, was also able to defend himself with value. Starting from the ninth row, he started to climb the positions until recovering 11 and keeping for a few laps in 15th position, and then finish his race in 20th place.
This, for the team MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward was the first big challenge not only of the 2019 season, but also of the return of the prestigious name in the World Championship. The next appointment is set in Argentina, in Termas de Rio Hondo, on the weekend of 29, 30 and 31 March.
Dominique Aegerter - rider p18
"Finally the first round of 2019 with the new project Mv Agusta. I was really looking forward to this day. Starting twenty-fourth obviously I knew it wouldn't be easy, but I made a good start and tried to fight for the top 20. This is the first time that the F2 has run a whole race and we have gathered a lot of useful information on long-distance behavior. I would like to thank the team that is doing their best, thanks also to the sponsors who have chosen to join us in this adventure. In the end I can say that I am slightly disappointed because I wanted to do better, but in any case we will work to improve as much as possible and start in Argentina closer to the leading group”.
Stefano Manzi - rider p20
"The Championship has finally started, after the Jerez test perhaps the expectations were higher, but here in Qatar the conditions are different and even during the tests last week we suffered a bit. Nevertheless, the race went well. Until the first half of the race I was having a good fight with my team-mate, but then a drop in the tyre forced me to slow down. I made a few mistakes towards the end that separated me from the leading group, but on the other hand we have collected a lot of data to analyze, which will certainly be very useful to prepare for the next round in Argentina. I would like to thank the whole team for the great work they are doing and the sponsors for their support”.
Giovanni Cuzari - Team Owner
"Seeing the MV Agusta brand again on the starting grid, brought by us with our F2, gave me great joy. I'm happy with this first race, both riders and their respective teams have worked hard and will continue to do so in order to achieve all the goals we have set ourselves. Now we look with determination to the future, first of all to Argentina, to try to improve thanks to the data collected today on the race pace. I want to thank all the team for the work done, our Title sponsor Idea Lavoro and all our other partners for the great support they give us".
TOUGH RACE FOR IDEMITSU HONDA TEAM ASIA
Hiroshi Aoyama - Team Manager
Today was a difficult day for us in the Moto2 category. Somkiat this morning showed that he had a good rhythm and we were quite confident for the race. Unluckly one technical problem with the clutch didn`t give him the possibility to finish the race. In Dimas`s case with all difficulties he had, he was pushing during the race to make a good result. One good point is that he finishes the race, pushing every lap and I hope this give to him some extra of confidence for the next race.
24th Dimas Ekky Pratama
Today I was focus to push from the beginning, but in first corner Bulega crash in front of me and I have to go straight. My feeling was good and sure if I don’t go straight maybe I can be top 15. Having said that I learn a lot during the race and the race weekend. For the next race in Argentina I will try to get a good feeling from FP1 and arrive 100% ready for Qualifying to get a good starting position!
DNF Somkiat Chantra
I’m very disappointed with what happened today. I start the race very good and I overtake some riders in first lap. In the second lap I feel some problems with the clutch and was not working correctly anymore. I want to forget this as soon as possible and be focus to next race in Argentina.
FIRST RACE IN THE BOOKS FOR SAMA QATAR ÁNGEL NIETO TEAM
Xavi Cardelús completes Grand Prix of Qatar and gathers crucial information for his KTM for the coming races
Lorenzo Baldasarri missed out on victory by just 0.112 seconds to Pecco Bagnaia in Qatar last year, but with his compatriot having since moved up to MotoGP, the Italian today took his place on the top step of the podium after an even closer win, by just 0.026 over Thomas Luthi. The Swiss rider’s teammate Marcel Schrotter completed the podium, making it a double for the German team, whilst the best KTM under the floodlights tonight was the South African Brad Binder in twelfth place.
The Sama Qatar Ángel Nieto Team came through the opening round of the season with a 25th place for Xavi Cardelús on the team’s return to the intermediate category after a four-year absence. The Andorran started from the eleventh row of the grid and set a consistent pace over the 20-lap race distance. His teammate Jake Dixon was unable to say the same despite a strong start, which saw him battle with the riders who would eventually finish in the points, the British rider crashing out on the third lap. The next appointment for the Sama Qatar Ángel Nieto Team will be the Grand Prix of Argentina on 31st March at Autódromo de Termas de Río Hondo.
25th Xavi Cardelús: “It was a tough race, which we expected. To be honest the warm-up was the best session of the weekend, I found a good feeling with the bike and felt comfortable. I got a good start in the race but it was hard to stay on top of my nerves in the opening laps and I made a couple of mistakes. I am happy to have finished the race and gathered a lot of information from the bike, especially how it performs in a race. This is the first race of the season and we don’t stop here – we will keep moving forward until we get good results.”
Jake Dixon (DNF): “It hasn’t been the easiest of weekends, starting with the crash in FP1 which was my own mistake. In the race I got a good start and I was in the group battling for fifteenth. I felt really good on the first few laps and then I got a good run out of turn three, but with a full fuel tank, I broke later and harder than I had been doing there and lost the front. I tried to get going again but the bike wouldn’t restart. I want to say sorry to the team because I feel like I have let them down."
Instructive debut for Öttl and Bezzecchi in Moto2
Red Bull KTM Tech3’s rookie duo of Philipp Öttl and Marco Bezzecchi completed their first intermediate class race today under the floodlights of the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.
Öttl, who launched off from P29 on the grid, did steady 20 laps to eventually see the chequered flag in 23rd position. Meanwhile Bezzecchi unfortunately went down in the hustle of the first lap, but picked his bike up again and did lap times, which were nearly matching the top 15 later during the race. After making up more than 30 seconds, he ended up in P26.
“The beginning of the race was very chaotic, once another rider sent me wide, so I was on the grass. Furthermore, I had some issues with the bike and didn’t understand where it was coming from. It felt a lot different than during the past two days and the test, so now we have to analyze all the data. Plus, I didn’t ride as well as yesterday. Anyway, we need to check everything and then look forward to Argentina.”
“This Sunday was another difficult day, but all the team and the guys from KTM were working really hard. During Warm Up we found something interesting, especially in my riding, but when I just understood it a bit more, I crashed. In the race, I didn’t have the best start, but after I was confident with myself and also with the bike, as I felt immediately good from the first corners, but unfortunately, I touched another rider and went down. Then I was able to restart the race, also if I had pain in my leg. During the race I tried to push to learn more and I improved my riding a lot and in addition I was very consistent. The result is for sure not good, but I look forward to arrive in Argentina now, which is my favorite place.”
“Finally, we got our first race of the 2019 season behind, which was Moto2. We knew after the tough testing during the winter, that a top 15 position would be very difficult, but we were really waiting for this race for the riders to do full race distance, to learn a lot and follow the other riders and trying to improve their riding style in order to understand the Moto2 better. We were very disappointed to see Marco crashing on the first lap, because clearly, it was important to finish the race. In the end, it had nothing to do with him, but he was hit by another rider, which is always the problem, when you start so far back. That was a big shame, but fortunately we saw him rejoining the race. The bike was a bit bent, but he pushed and pushed and I think this is the best thing he’s done since joining the Moto2. The lap time was quite competitive and I believe it would have been very close to a top 15 position without the crash. Now he’s got quite a lot of pain in the leg, but we have to take the positives. We don’t want to see the glass half empty, it is half full. Philipp didn’t have the best start in the world but managed to stay on the wheel, pushed and I believe learned a lot, but clearly, we didn’t have the pace to be classified higher. He is very motivated, is going to fly back to Germany to ride, to learn again what to do, to digest all the information he got during these two weekends here in Qatar. Again, let’s be positive; Argentina has a very interesting track and I really hope Marco and Philipp will be faster. We know it’s a long process and the top of the Moto2 has been in this class for quite a few seasons, so we have to continue with our two rookies to learn, to develop and moreover show them we are behind them and trust them to do the job everybody is expecting them to do.”
First points of the season for Alonso López at Qatar Grand Prix
Spanish rider makes frenetic comeback to place twelfth at Losail. Stand-in teammate Ryusei Yamanaka completes his goal of finishing the race, coming in twentieth.
The Estrella Galicia 0,0 Moto3 riders contested the Qatar Grand Prix at the Losail International Circuit on Sunday. The 5pm start time meant that the race was held in daylight.
Both Alonso López and Ryusei Yamanaka -standing in for full-time rider Sergio Garcia Dols- made remarkable progress, starting the race from far down the grid but gaining ground from the start.
Lopez crossed the line in twelfth position, in a race won by Kaito Toba. Estrella Galicia 0,0 substitute rider Yamanaka would take twentieth. The next round of the Moto3 World Championship will be the Argentinian Grand Prix, which takes place at Termas de Río Hondo on March 31st.
Sergio Garcia Dols accumulated experience watching his teammates ride, accompanied by the sports adviser for Estrella Galicia 0,0 Moto3. He listened to feedback and got an inside look at what a Grand Prix weekend is like, ahead of his debut in Argentina.
Sergio Garcia Dols, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Moto3 rider:
"I've learned a lot, although I'm looking forward to the Argentinian Grand Prix and getting on the bike again"
"Experiencing this Grand Prix has been very interesting. I went out to watch my teammates on track with our rider coach, Jose Luis Carrion and this has helped me to see the lines for taking corners better. I also listened to the comments from my substitute Ryusei Yamanaka and tried to help him, along with the crew, to find a good setup for the Honda during the weekend. I've learned a lot, although I'm looking forward to the Argentinian Grand Prix and getting on the bike again."
12th, + 1,755
Lopez set the ninth best time in the warmup -2:06.768-, although in the race he had to start from 21st place on the grid.
Off the start he gained several positions and was up as high as seventh, but an incident in the race meant he was forced to regain ground once more. He would take the chequered flag twelfth, behind the lead group.
His result from first round of the season places him twelfth in the World Championship standings with four points.
"I'm happy, because starting from far back it is even more difficult to have a good race"
"I started from really far down the order, and I made progress little by little. I managed to stay in the big group and start overtaking other riders. I was about to overtake the man in fifth, but another rider collided with me and I lost ground until I was last in the group. In the end I was only able to move up one place, because when you are in that position it's hard to overtake. This was the key to a race that I have to learn from. Even so, I'm happy, because starting from far back it is even more difficult to have a good race."
20th, + 31.820
After setting the fourteenth fastest time in the warmup with a 2:07.187, Yamanaka started from 25th on the grid.
In the race would move up to 18th, in a group of riders fighting for points. By crossing the line in 20th, he achieved his goal of finishing the Qatar GP.
After his World Championship experience in Qatar, Yamanaka will join back up with Junior Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 in the FIM CEV Repsol Moto3 Junior World Championship, which begins on April 7th in Estoril (Portugal).
"The best thing is that I achieved my goal of finishing the race"
"I started from 25th and I had a problem at the start, when I made contact with another rider and went off-track. The race was very difficult. I wanted to keep gaining positions, but it was a very tough task. The best thing about the weekend is that I achieved my goal of finishing the race, which has also given me more experience."
Not a Lucky day for the BOÉ Skull Rider Mugen race in Qatar.
Same luck for the both riders of the KTM structure, they crashed because of the hit of other racers in the back of them.
Masaki he was riding in the front group and Yurchenko was improving since the start.
#22 KAZUKI MASAKI: P19
"I am angry because I had a good pace for the race. I was in the front group when suddenly the riders in the back they hit me and because of this I crashed.
We were working so hard since we arrived in Qatar, we achieved to be fast and this is the most important thing to me.
Argentina is waiting for us and i will show that I am strong and I keep improving my riding.
Thank you to all of my team, they are always giving me the support I need to continue working. Also I want to say thanks to Skull Rider, Mugen Race, Ls2 and all the sponsors who help us.”
#76 MAKAR YURCHENKO: P23
“It is a shame to finish the race weekend in this way here in Qatar.
I did a nice start and I felt that I was strong to go ahead in the group, but in the first lap, on corner six, another rider hit my bike and I crashed.
Luckily I could restart the bike and continue in the race, but the handlebar it was twisted and I could not ride fast enough.
Now is the time to think about the next race in Argentina.
Finally I would like to say thanks to my team, they worked excellent and to all my sponsors for the support.”