Press releases from some of the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after Sunday's race at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas:
GABRIEL RODRIGO INCHES AWAY FROM PODIUM FINISH IN TEXAS
Gabriel Rodrigo had another solid and convincing performance at Circuit of the Americas as he finished the race with a bittersweet result of fourth. From one side, the Argentine rider confirms his top-level status, but the podium missed by only 27 thousandths of a second from Migno has surely left some disappointment within the Kömmerling Gresini Moto3 pit-box.
After fending off a couple of aggressive manoeuvres from Binder, Rodrigo managed to save the tyres well and as the race entered its final stages he bridged the gap to the front and ran as high as second – looking good for the final battle for the #AmericasGP race win.
The attack on the lead came with three laps left, but the coming together with Migno and the battle with Antonelli slowed Rodrigo’s progress. The 11 points earned today are still very important as the Gresini rider is now seventh in the standings – not too far from the top.
Riccardo Rossi put together a great race and did well in completing his third world championship race in 21stposition. For the Italian it was crucial to put a lot of km under his belt on such a challenging track. The youngster is now ready to battle with his opponents as the series returns to Europe – with the race at Jerez scheduled to take place in less than three weeks.
4th- GABRIEL RODRIGO #19
“It was a difficult race: I had very little grip at the beginning so I had to find the way to ride as safe as comfortable on the bike. I had a bit more speed in the final stages so I did all I could to get back into podium contention and try my best to go for the win in the last three laps. Unfortunately we came just a little short from third place; it’s a shame, but I’m still happy because we’re showing we can be among the leaders. The podium will come.”
21st- RICCARDO ROSSI #54
“IT was a positive race all things considered. I was losing a lot in the first few laps, a bit due to tyres but also I think I wasn’t confident enough. I then found myself on my own and then a rider in front of me crashed, and then I was able to improve and set my fastest time on the last lap. We will get the positive things from this weekend and focus on Jerez.”
SIXTH PLACE FOR LUCA MARINI AT AUSTIN
Fighting for the podium until 3 laps to go, the rider of the Sky Racing Team VR46 closes a really convincing weekend.
Austin (Texas, USA), April 14th 2019 - Luca Marini closes the GP of the Americas at COTA for the third consecutive time in 2019 in the top ten thanks to a beautiful sixth place finishing.
Started from the tenth box on the starting grid, the young rider of the Sky Racing Team VR46 was the protagonist of a full-speed start. Fifth at the entrance of the first corner, he kept the pace of the strongest guys remaining in the fight for the podium until three laps to the checkered flag.
Forced to give up positions in the final stages of the race due to the pain in his left shoulder, he crossed the finishing line a few tenths from the Top5.
Luca, after an incredible start, did a great race and I am very happy even if a bit of bitterness remains in the mouth for the missed podium. Despite the pain in his shoulder, he proved to be very strong and with these two weeks of stop before Jerez he will be able to arrive in Spain even more competitive.
A really tough race, but we knew it from the surgery into the shoulder that this weekend, physically speaking, would have been one of the most complicated to handle. With the bike the feeling was really good and I was close to the podium. In the last laps I struggled and a couple of times I put the neutral, I don't know why, but I saw that it happened to other riders too and we have to analyze the data to understand why. I was very fast, I had a great start and overall I am very happy with this sixth place.
Bittersweet final for the Snipers at COTA for the third round of the year. Sweet sixth place for Tony Arbolino, author of an amazing comeback from the eighteenth position. Tony has a great mental and physical condition and the podium in Argentina gave him another gear. For Tony this sixth place is like a podium as for him COTA is the more difficult track on the calendar. Bitter crash instead for Romano Fenati that lost the rear 8 laps to end when he was giving his best to come back on the top. The qualifying compromised, without any doubt, the race today. Starting ahead, would have allowed both riders to do a completely different race.
Tony Arbolino: "The race was amazing and it could seem strange but I am happiest than Argentina as, on this track, I always had many difficulties and this sixth position has a great value for me. We worked really well, a shame for the qualifying but this sixth place is for me more important than the third one at Termas. Now we can start the European races motivated and, already from Jerez, we can come back fighting for the first positions".
Romano Fenati: "I imagined a different weekend here in Texas, I hoped to get a good result. This morning I was very fast in the warm up but I didn't start so good in the race. The first laps were difficult, then I started to push. Eighth laps to the end I lost the rear and crashed".
Solid fifth place for Alex Márquez in Texas
A combative performance from the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider who battles to secure a third consecutive top-seven result, but Xavi Vierge suffers more misfortune, crashing out at turn one.
Blue skies and beautiful sun greeted the riders for the 18-lap Moto2 race, after thunderstorms disrupted Saturday’s action.
After taking an early lead, Alex Márquez struggled to maintain his pace in the second half of the race. But he fought off a determined Luca Marini and Sam Lowes on the final lap to claim 11 important points for fifth.
Xavi Vierge’s bad run of luck continued when he was taken out by an errant rider at the first corner of the first lap.
Márquez stormed into an early lead after qualifying an excellent second.
The former Moto3 World Champion led the race for eight laps, before eventual race winner Thomas Luthi passed him on lap eight.
The 23-year old admitted to making some mistakes and he lost rear grip with eight laps to go. He dropped to sixth at one point, but recovered well to pass Luca Marini for fifth on lap 17.
Márquez now sits fifth in the world championship table with 36 points, 14 behind leader Lorenzo Baldassarri.
"It's not the best result but we got really important points for the championship"
“I started well. I had a good start, a good first lap and I was feeling good on the bike. During the first eight laps I was really constant and really good. But then I started to make a lot of mistakes. With eight laps to go I started losing a bit of rear contact. It's not the best results but we got really important points for the championship. We need to keep growing like this. Due to my mistakes I’m not happy with my performance during this race but I’m really happy with the performance of the team. We had a really good weekend. We didn’t get many laps on track so I’m happy. Now I’m looking forward to Jerez.”
Vierge had qualified in 20th after a complicated qualifying session where he arrived having only ridden during the FP1 as he had an early crash in FP2.
The 21-year old showed strong top ten potential in morning warm-up, ending the session with the 9th fastest time.
Vierge was struck by an out of control Fabio Di Giannantonio at the tricky first corner, which took him and Joe Roberts down.
"I tried to avoid him by going wide but his bike hit me and I crashed"
“It was a difficult weekend for us. We started with a good feeling in FP1 but in FP2 I started with a new setting and on the second lap I crashed. Then on Saturday FP3 was cancelled and I had to go into Q1. Our bike wasn’t in a good position. I tried my best but I wasn’t able to get into Q2. It was a pity because I started from P20. We started in that position, but in warm-up we made a step forward. My feeling was really good. But then at the start Di Giannantonio and another rider made an impact. I tried to avoid him by going wide but his bike hit me and I crashed. It’s a pity. But, as we’ve seen in other years it’s really difficult to make it through the first corner when you start from behind. Anyway, the work the team had done through the weekend was really good. I was able to go faster. Now in the European races I hope I can finish and we can start to enjoy the races because we have the speed.”
"Now we are closer to the leading positions of the world championship"
"We have to be positive. There's no doubt that we would have liked to have finished on the podium but now we are closer to the leading positions of the world championship. We have shown speed and we only need to improve in the second half of the race where, in this case, Alex was was not able to give his 100%, because he was not comfortable in the final stage. We will work on this aspect to arrive at Jerez even more prepared. In the case of Xavi, it has been a pity. This morning he did a good warm up, with good pace and much better feelings. But any possibility of a fight disappeared with the incident at the first corner. We have to keep working, keep positive and sure that good results will come.
Remy Gardner Recovers To Eleventh In American GP
Remy Gardner salvaged five world championship points in today’s Moto2 race at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, putting in a great recovery ride from eighteenth on the grid to finish eleventh at the flag, maintaining a top five position overall in the 2019 FIM Moto2 World Championship in the process.
Running well inside the top ten throughout Free Practice, Remy crashed early in Qualifying but in true #87 fashion the young Aussie dug deep to ensure another solid points haul was added to his current season tally as the series heads to Europe in a couple of weeks.
Today’s race wasn’t without incident as on the very first lap Gardner had to take avoiding action when a rival crashed in front of him. Using the best of his tyres to keep himself in points contention, Remy narrowly missed out on a top ten finish after a spirited charge back through the pack at COTA.
Looking ahead Remy remains in the title fight and is already looking forward to returning to the front running fight at Jerez.
Remy Gardner: “It was a tough weekend. A crash in qualifying didn’t help us out and unfortunately I made a good start but Balda’s crash sent me really wide and I almost went down. I lost a lot of time and then destroyed my tyres, pushing like a maniac to recover. After that it was a case of bringing the bike home and in the end we got some valuable points and kept a top five position overall in the championship. I’m looking forward to the European races and am heading to Jerez with a clear mind.”
LOWES IN TEXAS: “NOT MY BEST RACE”
Sam Lowes’s Moto2 race performance at Circuit of the Americas did not match expectations, as the rider of team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 did not manage to keep a competitive pace throughout the whole encounter and had to settle for seventh place. The Briton did not have a great start as he immediately lost a couple of places but managed to stay within the top five.
In the latter stages, Lowes lost a bit more ground and despite a late resurgence which helped him close the gap with Marini and Marquez, he could not finish higher than seventh – for eight important points for the riders standings.
With the opening extra-European leg of the season over, it is time to return to Spain and specifically to Jerez de la Frontera, where Lowes and team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 have shown excellent speed throughout winter testing.
7th- SAM LOWES #22
“The grip was good at the beginning, so it’s a shame. It wasn’t a race to remember, but after the crash in Argentina it was important to make it to the chequered flag and score some points. My pace was gone halfway through the race and despite finding some speed towards the end it was a bit too late to regain some positions. We have scored some points nevertheless and now it’s time to focus in order to be near the front at Jerez de la Frontera.”
VIETTI RAMUS AND FOGGIA IN THE TOP10 AT THE GP OF THE AMERICAS
The young riders of the Sky Racing Team VR46, after a great recovery, cross the finishing line at the ninth and tenth place.
Austin (Texas, USA), April 14th 2019 - No uncertainty at the start and a great comeback race for the young riders of the Sky Racing Team VR46 both in the TOP10 at the finishing line of the GP of the Americas at COTA.
Started from the back of the grid after missing the entry in the Q2 yesterday, Celestino Vietti Ramus imposed his pace right from the first few laps and managed to reduce the gap with the leading group. Ninth under the checkered flag, second rookie today, but still leading the general classification dedicated to them with 20 points.
Really solid performance also for Dennis Foggia, 14th on the starting grid and 10th overall. He was also in the top positions at 5 laps to go, when he started to lose feeling with the rear tire.
A beautiful race for Celestino and a great comeback on a very difficult track that he faced for the first time. An injection of confidence before returning to Europe. Good Sunday for Dennis too and a pity for the tire because he had the same rhythm as the strongest guys.
The first few laps I tried not to lose the group of the strongest riders and I felt good with the bike. Then at 5/6 laps from the checkered flag I started to struggle with the rear tire. The bike was difficult to handle, I had to hold it with my arms and I lost the contact with the ones in front of me. A pity because I was really close to the top positions. Now let's go back to Europe to catch up in the championship.
I'm really happy with the race and the recovery. I had a great start, I had a great feeling with the bike and, even if I started from the back, I tried not to lose contact with the first ones. I held on and am very happy: a prize for me and for the whole Team that is doing an incredible job.
Jorge Martin back among the points in Austin
Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto2 rider takes 15th on an unfortunate day for Brad Binder, forced to retire with a technical problem.
14/04/2019 - Circuit of The Americas, USA
The Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto2 team were back among the points at COTA today, with Jorge Martin finishing fifteenth in the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas. His teammate, Brad Binder, was out of luck, as the South African was forced to retire on lap 3 with a technical problem.
Jorge Martin, who started eighth on the grid, had an action packed beginning to the race, saving a tank-slapper before being hit from behind by another rider. Despite losing four positions in the opening lap, the Spaniard recovered to join in the battle for the points-scoring positions. The reigning Moto3 World Champion eventually crossed the line in fifteenth, earning one point.
Brad Binder, meanwhile, did not get the opportunity to maximise his potential, after a clutch problem forced him back to last place. The South African had no option but to return to the garage and pull out of the remainder of the race.
The Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto2 team now turns its attention to the next round of the Moto2 World Championship - the Red Bull Spanish Grand Prix on 3rd-5th May at Jerez.
Aki Ajo - Team manager
"This has been one of our most difficult weekends. Things went a little better in qualifying yesterday but our riders haven’t been able to find a good feeling here. The race obviously didn’t go how we expected, so now we have to analyse what happened with Brad’s clutch on the start, so that it doesn’t happen again. Jorge Martin picked up another point, but we know his pace can be faster than this."
41 BRAD BINDER
"What we can take away from this weekend is that I felt good on the bike and was comfortable with it. Things were looking pretty good before the race but unfortunately I had a problem with the clutch and I had to retire. It wasn’t a nice situation because the whole team were hoping for more out of this Grand Prix, after the great job they have done. But in the end we have to take the positives out of every situation; we have improved in some areas and we will give it our best shot again in the next race."
88 JORGE MARTIN
"It wasn’t the best race for us. In general, it has been a difficult weekend, we didn’t find the right way forward. It looked like we had made some steps yesterday, but we still have a lot of work to do. I know we can be closer to the front so we will work hard to be stronger in Europe. Right now, I feel physically fit and I am sure that in the European rounds we can be fighting closer to the front."
Three points for Bendsneyder, Raffin just misses out
Fighting to the last meter on the Circuit of the Americas earned Bo Bendsneyder three points. NTS RW Racing GP teammate Jesko Raffin finished in sixteenth and thus just missed points.
The Swiss rode a rather lonely race, with a big gap in front of him and behind him. Raffin was faster but failed to pass Pawi in the first part of the race. When that was finally achieved halfway through the race, the group in front - containing Bendsneyder - was too far away and Raffin could only hope that someone would crash to have a chance of gaining a point.
Bendsneyder was also locked up for a long time. When he passed Aegerter to take fifteenth place, he was able to close the three-second gap to a group with Gardner, Nagashima and Martin in just two laps. Due to a crash from Lecuona, the Dutchman moved up to p14. In the final lap he saw his chance and put Martin aside to secure thirteenth place and three points.
Bo Bendsneyder (13 at +26.997): “My start was not so good, but I was already back in my own position, around sixteenth, in the first corner. In the first round I had to avoid some crashes, but I didn't lose much with that. Together with Aegerter I was able to ride a good pace and together we were able to close in on the group that fought for eleventh place. On the straight we lost a little too much to get to that eleventh, twelfth place, but in the last lap I was still able to take thirteenth place. I have nothing to complain about. I am happy with the race, happy with the points and happy with how the weekend went. We have proven again that we really belong in the points.”
Jesko Raffin (16 at +39.435): “I had a good start and immediately felt really comfortable with the bike, but on the straight some others overtook me. It was difficult to fight back and it took me too much time before I had finally overtaken some slower riders. As I had lost connection to the group in front it was all about protecting my position. Riding on my own I could do some really nice lap times, about the same pace as the group from 12th to 15th. It didn’t bring me any points, but it’s good to know that I can do that. The team has done an awesome job and I’d like to thank them and NTS for another chance to race. It’s been a pleasure and I hope to be back some day.”
John McPhee takes points on raceday at Austin
PETRONAS Sprinta Racing rider finishes 14th at the Americas GP, whilst teammate Ayumu Sasaki crashes out of the race.
In contrast to the intense rain that fell on Saturday at the Circuit of the Americas, the Sunday action in Austin took place under sunny conditions for the Moto3 World Championship riders. The PETRONAS Sprinta Racing duo experienced mixed fortunes in the third race of the year: John McPhee managed to finish the contest in 14th, but teammate Ayumu Sasaki would crash out with only two laps remaining.
On the opening laps of the Moto3 race, a large group formed that consisted of 19 riders, including McPhee and Sasaki. As the laps went by, the leading riders made their attack, stretching the group that the PETRONAS Sprinta Racing pair were at the back of - McPhee in 18th and Sasaki in 19th.
This prevented both riders from closing in on the top spots, although McPhee would fight for 12th place - eventually finishing 14th. Sasaki was one of eight riders to crash out of the demanding race, going to ground at Turn 6 on the penultimate lap, whilst riding in 16th.
Having completed the Americas GP, Ayumu Sasaki now lies 15th in the overall standings with 11 points, whilst John McPhee is 20th, with 5. The next event for the PETRONAS Sprinta Racing riders will be the Spanish Grand Prix on the 5th May.
Johan Stigefelt - Team Director
"It was not a good race today in Moto3. We struggled a bit at this race and I don’t know why. Qualifying was good for John [McPhee], so we don’t really know what happened here - we need to work on it. He says he had some small issues with the front end. We will get better for the next race and maybe we will work in a different way during the sessions, so that we know better what we need for the race.
Ayumu [Sasaki] did OK at the start and then after lap six he had big chattering issues with the front, before crashing with two laps to go. He said he had a lot of pain in his arms and that it was difficult to race, so we have to check on that as well. This was definitely not the race we had hoped to have. It’s time to work hard and come back stronger at Jerez."
#71 Ayumu Sasaki
"I made a good start and immediately gained some positions. I was feeling comfortable riding up until the sixth lap, when I noticed that something didn’t feel right on my bike. I had a lot of chattering and I had to use a lot of strength to control the bike. That meant that my arms were exhausted as the laps went by and I had to lower my pace. I slotted into 16th and just tried to hold my position there in case something happened at the front, so that I could claim some points. Unfortunately I lost control of the bike going into the corner and I went to the ground. This afternoon we will look at the telemetry to see what happened. It was a difficult weekend, especially due to the weather conditions yesterday, but we will come back stronger for the start of the European rounds."
#17 John McPhee
"I’m disappointed with today’s result. It was a difficult race from the very beginning. I gambled with the hard rear tyre because I thought that on the final laps it would be better. I don’t know if that was the issue or not but I struggled for speed and pace, especially at the beginning of the race. When I was riding alone I felt fast and that I could set a good lap time, but my biggest problem was trying to overtake the other riders. We learnt a lot in this race, but we have work to do for Jerez. The main thing is that the speed is there, so we need to continue working to be in the fight from the beginning of the race."
Conciliatory conclusion for Lukas Tulovic at his debut rodeo
On race day in Texas, the German rookie impressed with considerable improvements.
At the longest and obviously most difficult track of the calendar, Lukas Tulovic put in a wild ride during Sunday’s race in good conditions. Unfortunately, the 18-year-old talent in Kiefer Racing couldn’t take all benefits from his extraordinary good start because he dropped down to the far end of the field due to a mistake in early laps.
But as soon as Tulovic settled in a consistent rhythm, he stormed through the pack putting in consistently fast lap times at the bumpy asphalt. In the end, the KTM rider finished in a remarkable 19th place after what was his debut ride at the massive Circuit of The Americas.
The next race will take place in three weeks in Spain’s capital of two-wheels racing, Jerez de la Frontera. The Gran Premio de Espana marks the series opening round on European soil.
#3 Lukas TULOVIC (Kiefer Racing, KTM), P19:
"In the end, we achieved a conciliatory conclusion. The weekend started very tough. But when I came back into the pits after the race and my crew told me which lap times I did during the race, I could hardly believe it. I was two and a half seconds faster than in qualifying. So, I am very happy about that, because this actually far exceeds the expected step taken."
"During the race, however, I have hidden everything and paid no attention to the lap times. I was just fully focused, and I was fighting from start to finish. I succeeded with really great improvements and in terms of the position, we moved also some positions forward. I think we can be happy with the result as well as with today's performance in general. Given how difficult the start of the weekend was, and then the free practice three had to be cancelled, we can count on this outcome for sure. It could even have been a bit better if I had not had a small mistake in the beginning. However, mistakes at this track are hard to avoid."
"Here and there I was too late on the brakes, as well as the downshifting into the first gear, even if using the clutch, didn’t always succeed smoothly. Sometimes the gear just jumped out. But overall, it was a great race with some cool battles. Unlike Qatar and Argentina, I always was racing out there with a few people. It was a lot of fun and I was able to learn the one or the other. But now I'm looking forward to going to Europe where I do not have to start from scratch on Friday. A big thank you to the whole team. Everyone did a great job contributing much to this gratifying outcome."
Jochen KIEFER (Team manager / Technical director):
"Austin was a good weekend, we are very happy seeing Lukas progressing like this. Given the lack of practice time that he finally had due to the cancellation of FP3 and some little issues with the clutch during this morning’s warm-up, he has made up a lot in the race."
"He was using the 18 laps distance really well. He started off well and then he quickly realized that he is constantly improving. His lap times were always very appealing right up to the end. This gives hopes for the future, because you can make good progress at this level. Very well-done Lukas, you did your job really well for the first time on this difficult circuit."
Top 20 result for Salac, Kornfeil crashes faultlessly and breaks collarbone
The heavy rain clouds of Saturday have cleared, but what remained despite bright sunshine, was the eerily strong wind that blew over the Circuit of the America. For the Redox PrüstelGP team, the 17-lap race could not have been more nerve-wracking.
Jakub Kornfeil started the race from position 15, battling for every inch in the leading group and seems to be shadowed by bad luck. It was a heated battle with countless position changes, as with eight laps to go, Romano Fenati crashed so unfortunate in front of the 26-year-old Czech, that he had no chance to avoid chrashing himself. Kornfeil broke his collarbone and had to undergo surgery on Sunday.
Rookie Filip Salac finished the race with his best result so far in 20th place, but was still not satisfied with the result. The youngster now understands better and better how incredibly tight the Moto3 field is and how essential it is to place in the top15 in Qualifying. Otherwise, according to Salac, you have no real chance to catch up with the midfield or the leading group and collect Championship points. The next track, however, is no stranger to the former Red Bull Rookies Cup pilot. So it will be interesting to see what the 17-year old can do at the Circuito de Jerez.
The Redox PrüstelGP Team will not have much time to rest before heading to Jerez de la Frontera for the fourth race of the 2019 season. Whether Jakub Kornfeil is fit again until then, is yet to be seen.
Khairul Idham Pawi gains six places to claim 17th at the Americas GP
PETRONAS Sprinta Racing rider has a solid Americas GP, making progress from 23rd to 17th place.
Khairul Idham Pawi had a tough weekend at the Circuit of The Americas, but was able to finish the race in 17th place - just outside the points. The Malaysian rider suffered a heavy crash on Friday and a tough qualifying session on Saturday, hampering his feeling on the #89 machine come race day. Still suffering from pain in his back, he would move up from 23rd place, narrowly missing out on the points by just two positions.
The PETRONAS Sprinta Racing rider took off from the eighth row of the grid and made a good start. Gaining five places on the opening two laps, he was part of a large group battling for the points.
During the second part of the race, Khairul Idham Pawi was unable to keep up with his rivals and gradually lost contact with the group, leaving him in 17th place - the position he would finish the 18-lap race.
Khairul now lies 21st in the overall Moto2 World Championship standings, with 3 points. Next up, the series hits Europe for the first time in 2019 on the 5th May, for the Spanish GP at Jerez.
Johan Stigefelt - Team Director
"Today's race was very difficult for Khairul. After the crash, it was hard for him to find his confidence again. We thought that his pace in the race would be better, but he had a hard time riding consistently in the 2:12s. He lost a lot of time on the first lap of the race and then struggled to catch the group back up. I think Jerez is a track where he can be strong again and now we are turning our focus to that race. We know that KIP's pace is getting better, but we have to work to recover his confidence as soon as possible after a crash."
#89 Khairul Idham Pawi
"I think we made a good start, even though the first corner is tricky here, but then I noticed that something was not working well with my gear changes. I'm not fully fit after the crash on Friday, which also took away a bit of my confidence. I tried to manage the situation and fight, but I was struggling a lot with first gear, which is used on many corners at this track. The weekend has been quite difficult. I'm looking forward to the European races, which will start at Jerez, and I will give it my all."
Early finish for Can Öncü at COTA
Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 rookie crashes out on the opening laps after colliding with another rider.
14/04/2019 - Circuit of The Americas, USA
The challenging Circuit of The Americas played host to the third round of the 2019 Moto3 World Championship on Sunday. It proved to be a tough day for Can Öncü, who crashed on the second lap after contact with another rider. Despite trying to rejoin the race, the Red Bull KTM Ajo youngster was forced to retire.
Starting from the seventh row of the grid, Can Öncü did not have much time to make progress, the incident coming on just the second lap on the way in to turn 4. The Turkish rider returned to the track to try to finish the race, but two laps later he was forced to enter the pits.
After the first three races of the year, the World Championship now returns to Europe for the Red Bull Spanish Grand Prix, which takes place from 3rd to 5th May. The Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 team and Can Öncü will look to continue taking steps forward at a familiar circuit for both: Jerez Circuit-Angel Nieto.
Aki Ajo - Team manager
"Another learning weekend for Can [Öncü]. It clearly hasn’t been an easy Grand Prix for him because this is a very demanding track. The weather conditions yesterday led to FP3 being cancelled and that made things even more tricky for Can. This also put more pressure on him for the race. Unfortunately, he had a collision with another rider and wasn’t able to save the crash."
61 CAN ÖNCÜ
“It hasn’t been an easy day for us, I am a little dissatisfied. The important thing is that I have realised I need to keep my cool more and stay calm. After these first three rounds I have learned that I need to manage the races better and from now on I will put these lessons into practice. If we are smart in the future I am sure that things will go better and we will soon be in the points."
TOUGH DAY IN AMERICA
COTA Circuit of the Americas
Rd.3 Red bull Grand Prix of the Americas
Ambient: 17℃ / Track: 33℃
Hiroshi Aoyama - Team Manager
As we expected today it was a very difficult race for our Moto2 riders. Dimas made a magical start and overtake 10 riders. Unfortunately, his rhythm was not very high and he cannot maintain the position. About Somkiat he improves his lap time in the race and get a good rhythm but he touches a rider in first corner and he goes wide. He looses a lot of time in this moment and he cannot follow the group. Next race will be in Jerez, the first circuit in the Championship that they know well.
22nd Dimas Ekky Pratama #20
Today it was a difficult race. I started really concentrated and I did a very good start but after 10 laps my rhythm was not high and I go back. It was an overall difficult weekend because track it was new, technical and also we miss one session. For me starting from new here it’s necessary make as much laps as possible to understand. I am not happy with result but I will come strong for Jerez.
20th Somkiat Chantra #35
After Argentina GP I arrive here ready for the action. I start race and in first corner one rider touch me and I lost a lot of time. I didn’t give up and I continue pushing. This is a long circuit where it is very difficult to recover time that you lost. I take the positive things, I improve my lap time and I had a good rhythm. Now start the European rounds where we will find some circuits that I like.
CLOSE TO TOP TEN FOR THE ROOKIE
COTA Circuit of the Americas
Rd.3 Red bull Grand Prix of the Americas
Ambient: 15℃ / Track: 27℃
Hiroshi Aoyama - Team Manager
Today we finish AMERICAS GP in Moto3. Talking about Ai, he did it very well. He was fighting to get a top 10 position but unfortunately it was not possible. Apart of that he did well in his first participation here in Austin. About Kaito, it was a disappointing day because he didn’t get any point. Finally he crashed trying to get to the first group.
DNF Kaito Toba #27
A day to forget. I came here fully focused and motivated but this circuit is always difficult for me. In the race I start focused to not crash in the first corner but I touch one rider and I go back. After this I keep pushing and I pass all riders in the last group but the gap with leading group was too much. I didn’t give up but trying to reduce the gap I crash. I’m disappointed but we have to keep the positive thinking and be ready in Jerez.
11th Ai Ogura #79
Even that it’s 11th position I am not really happy. First corner was crazy, many riders but I keep going. I lost a lot in the next 5 laps that’s why I’m not happy. After this I start pushing and I overtake some riders which its good. It was my first time in this circuit and 11th position its not bad. Now it’s time to start thinking in Jerez, one circuit that I know really well.
THE MV AGUSTA IDEALAVORO FORWARD RACING TAKES HOME THE FIRST POINTS ON THE TEXAN CIRCUIT
The third race of the season of the Moto2 World Championship saw the team MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward Racing to gain the first important points of this season 2019 on the circuit of the Americas. It ends positively, then, this last round of the first trio outside Europe for the Italian-Swiss racing team.
Dominique Aegerter, who at his 200th career Grand Prix had to start from the last row, started from the grid with great determination, managing to recover in the first laps as many as 13 positions. Continuing to lead a race all in comeback, the Swiss rider finally won the 14th position at the finish line, placing that allowed him to earn for him and the team the first important points in the overall standings.
Gabriele Ruiu, at his first race in the Moto2 World Championship on a track I saw before, took advantage of what he had learned in the previous days, concluding, at his debut, the race in 21st position.
Great emotion the one of today for the team that has finally brought to points the renowned brand of Varese. Concentration remains high and the appointment is set in two weeks, on 26, 27 and 28 April, with the first European Grand Prix that will take place in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.
Dominique Aegerter #77 - P14
“This was my 200th GP, I feel almost old. It was a strange weekend, we had a lot of new material to try out so there was also this difficulty for us. Due to the weather conditions the FP3 were cancelled, so less track time was available to us and in qualifying we had some technical problems that did not allow us to gain the starting position we had hoped for. In the end I made a good start, the team prepared me a good bike and I was able to recover many positions. I didn't make any mistakes and I can finally say that MV Agusta is back at my 200th Grand Prix. This 14th place gives me 2 points, for me and the team, so I'm also happy because everyone is working hard for this extraordinary project and to bring to the track a more and more competitive bike. Now I'm ready to go back to Europe. After Jerez we will have some tests that will help us to take a few steps forward. The work we are doing is very motivating and we hope to continue in this direction. I thank all my team, sponsors and Giovanni for the great opportunity to write a piece of history of racing together”.
Gabriele Ruiu #6 - P21
“The weekend went well and I'm satisfied. We managed to improve at every turn and this was the important thing. The race was a bit difficult but also here we improved the time and the gap with the first ones, it's a shame that I had a problem with the arm that became sore about the 12th lap and so I struggled more in the last laps. I am still happy and we hope to do better and better from here on. I thank the whole team for making me feel comfortable and supporting me in my debut”.
Giovanni Cuzari - Team Owner
"I'm happy with this result just achieved in the third race of this great project. Already in Argentina we have been close and today, with Dominique, we have managed to confirm that we are there; the direction is the right one. Gabriele, despite his inexperience in this championship, also managed to finish the race and to assert himself, despite the conditions were at his disadvantage. I am excited because these first points are important to us, the result of great teamwork by the team and the riders. I thank all the guys for putting their hearts into this ambitious challenge every day and all our partners who support us. The achievement of this first goal is dedicated to all of us, who believed in it and continue to believe in it without giving up. A special thanks goes to the CRC that supports us in an impeccable way. Now we stay focused because the road is still long and the kilometers to cover still many”.
Grand Prix to forget in Moto2
Xavi Cardelús unable to finish at COTA due to pain from free practice crash, with Jake Dixon ruled out through injury
Marcel Schrotter was unable to complete a perfect weekend at the Circuit of the Americas, where the German dominated practice only to see victory go to his Swiss rival Thomas Luthi by just a couple of seconds. Jorge Navarro completed the podium, his first since winning the Moto3 race at Aragón in 2016. With series leader Lorenzo Baldassarri crashing out on the first lap, Schrotter and Luthi have both closed in at the top of the championship.
The Grand Prix of the Americas was one to forget for the Sama Qatar Ángel Nieto Team, with the weekend ruined by crashes on Friday for both Jake Dixon and Xavi Cardelús. Dixon was declared unfit to race today whilst Cardelús did start, although he was forced to retire after six laps due to the pain in his injured left hand.
Xavi Cardelús (DNF): “I guessed I wouldn’t be able to finish this race because of the pain but I went out to do as many laps as I could and managed six, improving my lap time by a couple of seconds. It has been a weekend to forget. The crash in first practice ruined the whole Grand Prix. Now I need to recover and get ready for Jerez.”
Öttl brings home P18 at COTA - Bezzecchi slides out of potential top result
The Red Bull KTM Tech3 duo couldn’t earn their deserved fruits on today’s sunny, but fresh race day at the Circuit of the Americas. While Philipp Öttl did a consistent race from the start to the finish line, the intermediate class newcomer came from P25 to see the chequered flag in 18th position following 18 demanding laps at the Texan venue.
In the meantime, Marco Bezzecchi leaves the United States with mixed feelings. Following a great step towards the front, an amazing Qualifying performance and a strong first part of the race, the Moto2 class rookie slipped away in corner one of the 12th lap while lying on an impressive 11th position. Both, Öttl and Bezzecchi are eager to continue their progress in three weeks’ time at the opening European round in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.
“Overall, I felt better today, especially during the race. I was able to improve the sliding with the bike. We just need to further adjust my riding and the bike to the sliding, the turning in corner entry. I have the impression, we are on the right way, it feels better and I can’t wait to arrive in Jerez for the first European round to continue this work.”
“I’m very sad about the race because after a very hard weekend of work, we tried many different solutions for the setting and for my riding, but we improved only the riding, which is positive, but the biggest thing is, that we have the same issue everywhere. After six, seven laps, as soon as the fuel is getting less, we get chattering and it’s just not possible to ride constant. Overall, my crew did an incredible job. I also tried to do the best I can, so regarding my riding and our work as a team, I’m very happy. Now we need a bit more support from the manufacturer, but I want to thank my team and the VR46 Riders Academy!”
“It was really sad way to end up a positive weekend for the Red Bull KTM Tech3 Moto2 team. We’ve been doing a Truly good job from FP1 till seven laps to go with Marco. He was holding position 11 and the gap to the guys following him was quite big. We just wanted him to finish the race and collect his very first points in the Moto2 World Championship. Unfortunately, from the very beginning – although he told us he was not pushing very hard – he had a lot of chatter and in the end, that caught him and he crashed, which is a big shame. Let’s take the positives; Marco is now where he belongs, he is a proper Moto2 rider now. I think he has shown that the move to Moto2 is mainly done and now we need to continue to understand our technical package to develop it, to improve it, because clearly that is what stops us from targeting a regular top 10. On the other side, Philipp finished the race. I think it was maybe a bit of a boring race for him, but he kept a few guys behind him and clearly, it was the best weekend out of the three we had with him since he started the Moto2 adventure with us. It’s for sure not easy, but the most important is to never give up, continue to push, believe in yourself, believe in your team and show fighting spirit, so this is the message we would like to pass to him. Now we are packing everything, heading to Europe. Unfortunately, with still zero points on our board, which is a bit sad, but hopefully there will be better days. I would like to thank and congratulate Marco for what he has done, he has a really positive attitude, but clearly, technically we need to make a step forward.”
Hard race for Marcos Ramirez and Lorenzo Dalla Porta
Starting from the fourth row of the grid Leopard riders Marcos Ramirez and Lorenzo Dalla Porta have had some difficulties in the third round of the 2019 season and finally have crossed the line the 12th and the 13th respectively. It wasn’t the expected result, but the riders and the team are confident of getting to Europe with important goals on the horizon.
Facing 20 turns in a demanding track like the Circuit of the Americas is always a hard task and despite weather stayed nice, initial grid positions and competitiveness of the rivals have been the main problems of today’s race. After the start, both Marcos and Lorenzo have been fighting and swapping positions with their competitors. Dalla Porta managed to get to the Top 10 at some moments throughout the 17 laps, but in the end it couldn't be possible. As customary in this kind of races, the main group of riders got broken and the situation started to be more complicated in the second half of the race. This time, even they’ve tried, the men in front have been stronger.
However, both riders have managed to score some points and Leopard Racing is placed the second on teams’ standings, Lorenzo Dalla Porta occupies the 3rd position of the Championship with 32 points (13 far from the leader, Jaume Masia who is tied on points with Canet) and Marcos Ramirez the 8th, with 24.
Now it’s time to leave the American soil and work hard to be ready for the fourth round of the calendar scheduled in Jerez the 5th of May. See you all there!
#42 Marcos Ramirez, 12th
“We didn’t expect this result. We didn’t start that behind and I actually felt good on the Warm Up. Then I needed more speed on the straights and I couldn’t overtake. I was in the group but it got broken and I saw myself relegated on the second one. The positive thing is that I’ve scored four points, and that’s been the first time I’ve gathered some in this circuit. I am 8th on the Championship so let’s head to Europe and fight to be in front”.
#48 Lorenzo Dalla Porta, 13th
“It’s been a difficult race, I couldn’t be strong at the braking points and then fast going through the turns. At the end, rear grip was good but as I wasn’t fast, I lost a lot and the rest of the riders overtook me. We have to improve in that area but the positive thing is that we are leaving Austin after having gathered some points, even if they are just a few. Now we want to do it better in Europe in order to be at the top”.
Fernández shines on unknown territory
Sama Qatar Ángel Nieto Team rider picks up another top ten finish on his first visit to COTA
The Moto3 World Championship has seen three different winners from the opening three races, with Aron Canet’s victory today in the USA adding to Kaito Toba in Qatar and Jaume Masiá in Argentina. Canet took advantage of a crash for Tatsuki Suzuki, who was clear in the lead, to take over from Andrea Migno at the front and claim the win by less than a second from Spanish compatriot Masiá. Migno completed the podium behind Canet and Masiá, who now share the championship lead on 45 points.
Raúl Fernández excelled on his debut in the States, taking a creditable seventh place at a circuit he had never previously visited. The Sama Qatar Ángel Nieto Team had only two dry sessions to learn the track over the course of the weekend, plus the warm-up, but this result moves him up to twelfth in the championship - one point behind his main rival for the Rookie of the Year title Celestino Vietti. It was a bittersweet day for the Sama Qatar Ángel Nieto Team after a crash for Aleix Viu with eleven laps remaining. The youngster was able to return to the track and gather more experience ahead of his upcoming races in the Moto3 Junior World Championship.
7th Raúl Fernández: “We leave the USA with another top ten in the bag from a circuit I didn’t know after also making a front row start. I struggled with the track since we got here. You are tense the whole way round and there are even bumps on the straight. The race was also fast - I was doing 2’18s on Friday and today we raced in the 17s. In the end it is a bittersweet feeling because I was saving a little for the last few laps but then couldn’t finish the job because I lost some feeling with the rear tyre. We are consistently fighting at the front and if it wasn’t for the result in Argentina we would already be in the top ten in the championship. Now we go to circuits I know like Jerez and Le Mans”.
Aleix Viu (DNF): “I am a bit gutted, especially with the crash, even though I was able to get back on track and complete some more laps and get more experience. It was almost half distance, I got to turn two, which is a fast downhill corner, hit a bump and lost the front. In general, it has been a tough weekend but we have at least fixed the problems we had with the rear end.”
Lopez finishes eighth and sets fastest lap at Grand Prix of the Americas
The Spanish rider also leads a Grand Prix for the first time, whilst teammate Sergio Garcia Dols places 19th on his debut in the World Championship.
Sunday was raceday for the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Moto3 riders at the Grand Prix of the Americas, with conditions a contrast to the rain and lightning from Saturday. Clear skies -albeit with lower temperatures and higher winds- greeted the lower cylinder class field for their third race of the year.
Alonso Lopez finished eighth in a race won by Aron Canet. Rookie Sergio García Dols finally made his debut in the World Championship, taking the chequered flag in 19th.
The Estrella Galicia 0,0 Moto3 duo's next challenge will be the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuito de Jerez - Angel Nieto, which runs from May 3rd-5th
8th, + 1'596
Lopez set the seventh fastest time in the warmup -2:19.087-, and started ninth on the grid thanks to a 2:33.032 lap in Saturday's Q2 session on wet asphalt.
He quickly recovered positions off the start to lead the race by Lap 5. On Lap 10 he clocked the fastest lap of the contest (2:16.931), and in the final stages he was part of the leading trio, although he would eventually cross the line eighth, barely half a second off the podium.
After the Grand Prix of the Americas, the Spaniard occupies 14th place in the Moto3 World Championship with 12 points.
"Lead the race is a spectacular feeling"
"It was a strange race because we had barely ridden in the dry beforehand. In the warmup we did a good job and maintained a fast pace, which also helped me in the race. I held my position at the start, but I was then able to gain places and lead the race, which is a spectacular feeling. I was catching up with Migno and Canet later on, but at the same time we had a group behind us that was closing in on us. I was unlucky in that contact with Masia made me lose several positions that I couldn't make back. Little by little, we are demonstrating that we are up there, and are gaining a lot of experience and maturity; this is very important. Now we go to Jerez, which is one of my favourite circuits."
19th, + 34'462
The rookie set a time of 2:20.357 in the warmup on Sunday morning. In the race he has started from 25th, thanks to a time of 2:38.827 in Q1.
The Estrella Galicia 0,0 Moto3 rider held his position when the lights went out, only losing it briefly later on. Riding alone, he was initially 1.4 seconds behind Makar Yurchenko in the middle of the race, but kept up his pace to finish only 297 thousandths off his rival, in nineteenth place.
Next up for Garcia Dols is the Grand Prix of Spain, at a track where he has previous experience and where he hopes to claim his first World Championship points.
"I'm very satisfied to have finished my first race in the World Championship"
"It was a difficult race, because we went out onto the track without having had a FP3 session -because of the cancellation on Saturday- and having done qualifying in the wet. We were quite far back on the grid and it was a race that I took with calm. I wanted to ride at a good pace, finish the race and maybe next year achieve a good result with the experience gained this weekend. In general, it has been a very positive weekend. Now we have to focus on Jerez, which is a track where things are sure to be better for us. I'm very satisfied to have finished my first race in the World Championship, now I just have to do it in the front group. I hope that moment arrives soon."