Press releases from some of the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the French Grand Prix at Le Mans:
McPhee gives PETRONAS Sprinta Racing first ever Grand Prix victory
British rider takes the win at Le Mans Circuit in an exciting race, with Ayumu Sasaki finishing in 14th place.
The French Grand Prix saw an historic Moto3 triumph for PETRONAS Sprinta Racing and John McPhee on Sunday morning, as the Brit opened the team's World Championship win account with a spectacular victory. He held off a series of rival riders on the final lap to take the chequered flag first. Team-mate Ayumu Sasaki placed in the points with a 14th place finish, despite having started from the eighth row of the grid.
McPhee rode a measured start to the race having opted for a medium front tyre and a soft rear, with the plan to mount an attack from the halfway mark. The plan came to fruition with a strong movement back up the order, re-taking the lead with seven laps to go. McPhee remained in the top three thereafter and crossed the finish line first to score his second Grand Prix victory - and his team's first. McPhee is now ninth in the overall standings, with 34 points.
Despite taking off from the eighth row of the grid, Sasaki made a great comeback to reach the points for the third time this season. The Japanese placed 14th, overcoming difficulties encountered this weekend at Le Mans. After this race, Sasaki has 14 points and occupies 18th in the Moto3 standings.
The next round for the PETRONAS Sprinta Racing riders will be the Italian GP, at Mugello from May 31st to June 2nd.
Johan Stigefelt - Team Director
"We have waited a long time for this moment. It's a reward for the team's hard work over many years. We saw that John [McPhee] had a great pace on Saturday, despite having struggled on Friday, but we identified where we could improve. He showed that yesterday and again today. He has competed very well: He was fast, fought hard and took this result. Getting a victory like this shows that we can be up there. Now we have to maintain this momentum over the coming races.
Ayumu [Sasaki] battled hard this weekend. We had a different strategy for him, involving riding alone and showing his speed. His pace was not bad, but he couldn't fight in the race. This is the aspect on which Ayumu must work over the coming days in order to improve."
#71 Ayumu Sasaki
"It's been a difficult weekend for me. I started badly and I didn't have a great feeling with the bike. I have many things to improve on, both in terms of myself and the set-up, but luckily we have two days of testing in Barcelona on Tuesday and Wednesday and it is a good opportunity to fix things. We have to try to get ready for Mugello. I think we have the ability to set a good lap, but not to fight in the race yet. I will try to fix this and push to be at the front as soon as possible. Thanks to the team for working well and congratulations to John, who took the victory today."
#17 John McPhee
"I can't explain my feelings right now. I'm very excited. It has been a long time since I won and throughout the season we have suffered a lot. Transforming speed into results has been difficult, and finally we managed to achieve it yesterday by taking pole position. I have to thank the team because they have given me a lot of support. We have experienced hard weekends and we have been able to change the situation. My last victory was at Brno in the wet, so it's amazing to also have a win in the dry. It's my first victory of the season, but there is still a lot of time in which to take the season where we want it.
Looking back at the first four races, I have kept calm and have continued to believe in myself. The speed has always been there and in each session we've shown a good pace thanks to the work by the team. It's good that we've taken this good result that takes us into the top ten of the World Championship, but there is still a long way to go. Things are very even in this series and each rider pushes 100%. There have been ten different winners in the last ten races and that shows that Moto3 is a tough class. There are circuits at which I am normally not fast but at which I have done well, like for example Le Mans. It's a good result for me ahead of the coming races."
Masterful Márquez Takes Majestic Win in France
Sunday was a brilliant day for the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders at Le Mans as Alex Márquez dominates the Moto2 race with team-mate Xavi Vierge finishing a fine fifth.
The rain that was forecast for lunchtime on Sunday stayed away, and the 25-lap Moto2 race was held in dry, overcast conditions.
Alex Márquez dominated proceedings to win his first race since October 2017, finishing ahead of countryman Jorge Navarro. After a sitting in second place on lap four, Xavi Vierge eventually scored eleven points for fifth place.
The result sees Márquez climb to fourth in the World Championship, 14 points behind leader Lorenzo Baldassarri. Vierge jumps to eleventh, 48 points back.
1st, Race Winner
After qualifying on the front row for the third successive race, Márquez started well and took the lead from Thomas Luthi on lap four.
As Jorge Navarro applied pressure, Márquez posted his personal best time of the race (1:36.916) on lap 14 to extend his lead to 2 seconds.
Márquez expertly managed his lead during the final ten laps to win by 1.119 seconds with Navarro second and Augusto Fernandez third.
“It tastes so good to win again after such a long time!”
“I’m so happy! It tastes so good to win again after such a long time. It was a tough race. I was constantly trying to control the gap to the riders behind. I had a really good first seven laps and after that I was more or less trying to keep my concentration. I was not thinking too much, just trying to make it flow on the bike. This is a ‘team win’ because we did a really good job during all of the preseason, and especially this weekend. There were three different conditions to consider and I changed the rear tyre for the race on the grid. Now in the championship we recovered important points. Now we need to maintain this rhythm that we have.”
5th, + 7.057s
The 97 got a superb start from 5th place on the grid and gained two places on lap one to sit third.
Vierge soon lost two positions. After spending most of the race in 4th position, he dropped to fifth on the penultimate lap after a late fight with Brad Binder.
The Catalan finished 7.057 seconds behind his team-mate to collect a hard-fought fifth - his best result of 2019. Great step forward after a tricky weekend in Le Mans.
"Every race we are getting closer to the top guys"
"I'm happy with the race. We made a step and the most important thing is we know what is holding us back. Now we have two days of testing ahead of us where we can work on that so we can fight for the podium in the next races. I'm really happy with how the weekend went. The team worked amazingly well and every race we are getting closer to the top guys."
"It’s ‘payback’ for all the work we did with the team from the beginning of the year"
“I’m very happy for today’s result. Let’s say it’s ‘payback’ for all the work we did with the team from the beginning of the year. Finally on Sunday we can confirm that we are strong in the championship and we got this good result. Alex did a good job all weekend and today was a difficult situation. The tyre choice was tough and he finally decided on the right one on the grid. This gave us the chance to fight for the victory. He was so focussed, as you could see from his pace. I’m very happy. With Xavi we keep improving, we keep doing step forwards and he managed to get this fifth position, which is just what he needs to build his confidence. Now we have a two-day test in Barcelona, where we can test new parts to help them improve. Now let’s focus on the next races!”
Brad Binder close to the podium in Le Mans
The Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto2 rider was fourth at the French Grand Prix, while Jorge Martin finished 20th, after being penalised for a jump start.
19/05/2019 - Le Mans Circuit, France
There were mixed fortunes for the Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto2 team at the French Grand Prix, which was held at the legendary Le Mans Circuit today. Brad Binder achieved his best result of the season with a well-earned fourth place. Jorge Martin was given a ride through penalty after a jump start and finished 20th.
The South African rider made a great start, moving up three positions to fifth and joining the front group. As the race went by, Brad Binder lost contact with the leaders and held his ground, riding alone. Over two perfect last laps, he hunted down the rider in fourth place and crossed the finish line in that position.
Jorge Martin, who started from 13th on the grid, managed to make up several places in the early part of the race and, on the fourth lap, he was in 11th. Unfortunately, the Spaniard was then penalized with a ride through for a jump start. After completing the penalty, Martin returned to the race and finished in 20th place.
Courtesy of today's result, Brad Binder is now eighth in the Moto2 standings, while Jorge Martin sits in 26th. The next round of the World Championship, the sixth Grand Prix of the season, will take place in Italy, at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello, from 31st May to 2nd June.
Aki Ajo - Team manager
"It was a tough weekend in Moto2, especially because of the weather conditions. Yesterday we were hardly able to try anything because of the low temperatures and the fine rain. In the race itself it was a shame about the penalty for Jorge [Martin] for the little jump start. It was a harsh sanction for a small movement, but we have to accept the penalty even though he didn’t gain any advantage from the start. For Brad [Binder] it was a difficult race. He was fighting with the front riders for the podium but today it just wasn’t possible. We will continue testing next week in Barcelona and we will try to improve for the next race in Mugello."
41 BRAD BINDER
"It was a tough race for me. Every time I opened gas on corner exit I had a little scare. So I tried to stay calm and get the best possible result at the end of the race. I know we’ve worked really hard this Grand Prix. Next week, we have a test in Barcelona and I hope we can solve the issues we have with the rear end of the bike. I have to thank the team and KTM because everyone is working hard and that is very positive. We have to continue this way and I'm sure that even better results will come soon."
88 JORGE MARTIN
"We had some bad luck here. At the start, I held the clutch, then the bike moved, so I tried to stop it with my feet but I couldn’t. I knew they were going to penalize me, so I did the ride through as soon as possible. I tried to keep the pace as high as I could until the end, but it was difficult. We have to continue working on the set-up of the bike. Anyway, I had a good race and, if the jump start hadn’t happened, I could have been fighting for the top 10. Now we have an important test in Barcelona, where we will try to push and find the feeling that we need in order to improve our pace and be able to finish higher."
Light after the storm: Lorenzo Dalla Porta takes 2nd step of the podium in France
Leopard rider Lorenzo Dalla Porta has crossed the line the second at Le Mans Circuit after a very difficult weekend. Head and tail this Sunday, as teammate Marcos Ramirez, who had a very decent pace throughout the weekend, crashed at the first stages of the race.
We started the Grand Prix of France saying that everything could be possible this weekend. Weather conditions, riders performance, rivals, track surface. A mix of variants that never seemed to be in tune. Italian man Lorenzo Dalla Porta suffered four crashes in two days, never got the proper feeling and due to that lack of harmony had to start the race in Le Mans from the thirteenth position of the grid. But that didn't stop him. Lorenzo started well, recovered a few positions at the beginning and was immediately fighting for the first spots. Brave, fast and with a 'the-gloves-are-off-attitude', he pushed without making mistakes, overtook when it was necessary and managed the race until the end. He was in front for some laps but finally he finished second, an amazing result after such a stormy weekend.
On the other side of the box, Ramirez started from 6th position, managed his pace and when he was catching the front group, the Spaniard lost the front end and ended up in the gravel.
It seems some light has come to Leopard box as after today’s result, Lorenzo Dalla Porta occupies the second position on the general standings with 60 points, just 14 points behind leader Canet. Ramirez is the 14th with 24 points.
In terms of teams, Leopard Racing is now the second with 84, just 5 far from the first one.
As we’ve been saying… Everything is possible.
See you all at the amazing track of Mugello the 2nd of June.
#48 Lorenzo Dalla Porta, 2nd
“I’m super happy with today’s result. This weekend has been very difficult for us, I crashed four times and I didn’t have nice feelings with my bike. We’ve worked a lot but I never thought I could get this result until the moment the race started. I gave my best, I recovered many positions and the only thing I did was pushing while trying to control the situation because a result like this one after the last races was something we really needed. Many thanks to the team, they’ve worked so hard. I’m over the moon”.
#42 Marcos Ramirez, N/C
“I’m quite sad after this result. I’m so sorry for the team because we’ve worked so hard this weekend and I felt good on the bike. At the beginning of the race I struggled a little bit but then I found my pace. When getting to the turn 2, I had a little problem: while changing, I geared an extra one, so that jeopardized my race. It’s been a shame. I wanted to get a nice result but now I’m focused on reverting this situation in Mugello".
RODRIGO MISSES OUT ON FRENCH PODIUM AS ROSSI CRASHES AFTER FEW LAPS
The podium keeps slipping away from Gabriel Rodrigo who at Le Mans – the venue hosting the fifth event of the 2019 Moto3 World Championship – gets very close to be top-3 by finishing fourth in a dramatic finale.
The rider number 19 team Kömmerling Gresini Moto3 was among the leaders for the entirety of the race,except for when he moved down to seventh place with less than ten laps to go after a coming together with Migno.
The Argentine rider tried to bridge the gap with the leaders while avoiding Arbolino and Suzuki’s crashes and was eventually fourth at the line after a good battle in the final stages with Canet, who preceded him at the chequered flag by a few hundredths of a second. Rodrigo is now eighth in the championship standings with 37 points.
Riccardo Rossi had an unfortunate race to wrap up a difficult weekend, despite finally finding the right feeling with the bike during the encounter. The Italian rode well in the early laps while keeping a good pace and staying with the group fighting for the top-15, before crashing at turn six with 16 laps to go.
Team Kömmerling Gresini Moto3 will return to the track this Tuesday for a one-day test at Montmeló.
4th - GABRIEL RODRIGO #19
“It’s clear that we are looking for some more, especially when we’re so close. It’s been a very fast race and I was really quick in the first part. In the second half, though, with some drops of rain and the team telling me to push because two thirds of the race were completed, I wanted to attack I ended up colliding with Migno and that sent me on the green stripe and cost me some positions. Fourth place is still a good result and shows we’re always competitive. Now we need a bit more luck to get on the podium.”
DNF RICCARDO ROSSI #54
“I’m really sorry because despite a not-so-great start I had a good race pace (42.7-8) and most of all I had found the feeling I missed during the whole weekend. While I was in the big group I missed a gear while entering turn six and went wide. Until then I had a decent race; we will try to solve this issue with the feeling in the Barcelona test.”
HARD-FOUGHT POINTS FOR FERNÁNDEZ AND ARENAS AT LE MANS
Tenth and eleventh place for Spanish pair in close race
John McPhee confirmed the good form he showed to take pole position yesterday with victory in the Moto3 at Le Mans by just 0.106 seconds over Lorenzo dalla Porta and Aron Canet today. The trio were part of a compact lead group over the early laps but with six laps to go a crash involving Tatsuki Suzuki and Tony Arbolino brought a whole bunch of riders into the podium fight. Canet held firm to claim third place and maintain his series lead on a day that saw one of his main rivals Jaume Masiá finish twelfth.
The French Grand Prix proved to be a hard-fought one for both Raúl Fernández and Albert Arenas, who crossed the line in formation in tenth and eleventh position after starting 20th and 14th respectively. Fernández made up ten positions over the 22-lap race and finally made it to the lead group at the end. His teammate Albert Arenas led the fight to cut back the four-second deficit to the lead group after the early break but ultimately he paid the price for his starting position, with his performance warranting a much better result.
10th Raúl Fernández: “It was a difficult race, with a lot of crashes, and we have to be happy with the job we have done even though we need to take another step forward and make the bike faster. We know we can be fighting for more and it hurts to not be doing that. The race was close, with a big group. The bad thing was that my foot was hurting a lot over the last few laps. Hopefully I can be fitter for Mugello. Today we have picked up six points and we have to keep going like this. I believe we can be fighting for top five finishes if we can find what we are looking for. We are working on it because the team and myself believe we can win races.”
11th Albert Arenas: “It has been a tough, difficult race. From the first few laps to the end we made up four seconds on the leader and that is a positive but the bad thing is I felt I couldn’t defend my position under acceleration. After a bad qualifying the objective was to finish the race and score points. We gave it our best shot and we take five points home from France.”
DIXON EQUALS BEST RACE RESULT IN MOTO2
British rider crosses the line in 16th but drops one position due to a penalty, equally result from Argentina
Álex Márquez ended a run of 25 races without a Spanish winner in the Moto2 class with a dominant victory at Le Mans. The Spaniard took the lead on the fourth lap of the race and held it until the end, with two compatriots joining on the podium in the shape of Jorge Navarro and Augusto Fernández. Lorenzo Baldassarri crashed on the first lap but remains on the top of the championship with a seven-point advantage over Thomas Luthi.
Jake Dixon equalled his best result on a Moto2 Grand Prix, scoring seventeenth at Le Mans just as he did in Argentina. The British rider returned to action this weekend after his concussion at the Grand Prix of the Americas and he did so in impressive style, qualifying eleventh and crossing the line today in sixteenth. Dixon was then given a penalty for exceeding track limits and dropped one position to seventeenth. His teammate Xavi Cardelús was unable to make the finish in France after hurting his injured wrist when saving a crash on the first lap. The Andorran tried his best to stay on track but was eventually forced to retire.
17th Jake Dixon: “I am never happy to finish in this position and I think a 1.2 second penalty is harsh because I couldn’t do anything about the incident and I didn’t gain any time - in fact, it was the opposite. In the end I crossed the line sixteenth but with the penalty it’s seventeenth. I had a vibration on the front end from the first lap and I was struggling to get the bike stopped with a full tank. It improved and I got quicker as the tank got lighter, and I was pleased to set my best time on the last lap. We have work to do but it hasn’t been a bad weekend.”
Xavi Cardelús (DNF): “I had a moment when I lost the rear at the start of the race, which thankfully I was able to save but I hurt my wrist. I was lacking some rear grip but I tried to focus on improving my pace lap by lap. I kept going almost to the end but the hand was so painful I finally decided to come in. Now I need to train harder than ever to do the best possible job at Mugello”.
SEVENTH PLACE FOR VIETTI RAMUS AT LE MANS
The young rider of the Sky Racing Team VR46 is the protagonist of an incredible recovery and he is leading the rookies ranking. Forced to retirement Dennis Foggia when he was in the front group.
Le Mans (France), May 19th 2019 - Celestino Vietti Ramus really impressed everyone at the French GP with the seventh place. After a difficult qualifying, which meant the 19th box on the starting grid, the rookie of the Sky Racing Team VR46, lap by lap, has reduced the gap from the strongest guys and crossed the finishing line behind the very first riders. With the points gained today, he is sixth in the general standings (45 points), the best the rookies.
Bitter epilogue for Dennis Foggia, also forced to start from the back of the grid. He crashed during the 17th lap when he was only a few tenths from the leading group.
A great race for both of riders: they started from the back of the grid and they made a great recovery! Celestino was incredible, he tried until the checkered flag and he made it. A real pity for Dennis’s crash because, after mending the gap on the front group, he could fight for something important in the final stages of the race.
It was not the race I was expecting: the qualifying position penalized me and today I was forced to recover positions. I gave my best and i was able to set my pace and reduce the gap with the leading group. Unfortunately in the recovery I lost the front of the bike and I could not avoid the crash.
I am very happy for myself, but also for the Team because until now it was not an easy weekend. In qualifying we have struggled and we were not able to set a real fast lap. I was alone on the track during the free practices and this was certainly useful for the race pace, but a few positions later on the grid would have been great. Considering that, it was a wonderful recovery and we need to continue to work in this direction.
Estrella Galicia 0,0 Moto3 riders crash out in difficult French Grand Prix
Sergio Garcia Dols goes down on the opening lap at Le Mans, whilst Alonso Lopez also crashes in the final stages of the race.
The Estrella Galicia 0,0 Moto3 riders took part in the 22-lap French GP on Sunday, in dry conditions despite the threat of rain.
Sergio Garcia Dols was moving up the order when he crashed on Lap 1. Alonso Lopez was battling for points when he fell 5 laps from the chequered flag. As many as 12 riders crashed out at Le Mans.
The Estrella Galicia 0,0 duo will be back on track next week for a two-day private test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, ahead of the Italian Grand Prix from May 31st-June 2nd.
Lopez clocked the tenth best time in the warmup session with a 1:43.401. He would start the race from 17th on the grid, after missing out on Q2 on Saturday by just 48 thousandths of a second but gaining two places due to penalties for other riders.
Off the start, the Spaniard moved up the order to challenge for points. Riding amongst a group, he would eventually crash at Turn 3 with 5 laps remaining.
Lopez now occupies 12th in the overall standings, with 14 points.
"It was hard for me to gain places and impose my pace"
"It was a race in which I was doing quite well but, due to one circumstance or another, it was very difficult for me to gain positions and impose my pace to keep progressing in the group. In the end we lost some ground, but we started to run the same pace as the first group. However, coming into Turn 3 I lost front grip and couldn't save a crash. At least I felt much more comfortable at this track this time around. Coming up are several circuits that are better for me, at which I hope to achieve good results."
The Spaniard took 26th place in the morning warmup with a time of 1:44.409. In the race he started from 22nd due to a penalty, despite a 1:42.988 lap in Q2 that had put him tenth.
At the start of the race he attempted to gain positions as soon as possible. Pushing his hardest on the brakes at Turn 7, he would lose grip, make contact with another rider and crash.
Twenty-eighth in the overall standings, García Dols takes away the positive of some positive practice sessions from the French GP.
"The most positive thing is us having been fast in Q2"
"I started off by gaining several positions and I knew I could keep gaining ground on the frontrunners, but I suffered a crash. I was passing another rider, he was on the outside and, when accelerating, he touched me and I couldn't avoid the crash. The most positive thing from the weekend is that we were quick in qualifying and got into Q2. We are going to continue working to be faster when riding alone, and have better races."
LOWES’S COMEBACK ENDS PREMATURELY AT LE MANS
It was a very difficult race at Sam Lowes and Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 with the Briton who started the day with a second place in the warm up but also had a crash.
With the team able to fix the bike in time for the race, Lowes started the encounter from 26th position on grid and managed to display the excellent race pace shown in the dry during FP1. After a good start, Lowes kept his head down and was back in the points after only six laps.
With 16 laps to go, however, another crash came, this time at turn six: the English rider escaped uninjured but was forced to an early retirement.
Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 will be back on track in less than 48 hours with a two-day test at Montmeló on May 21-22.
DNF SAM LOWES #22
“We started off well and the bike was OK, but we had the pace to be in the top-6/7… We still need to understand what’s not working: this weekend we made too many mistakes, so the Barcelona test can only be good for us. We need to find back the lost confidence, we’re quick but we still lack some rear-end grip. I must say that the crash was really strange, I lost the rear at the exit of turn six…”
Tough French GP for Bezzecchi and Öttl
The Red Bull KTM Tech3 duo of Marco Bezzecchi and Philipp Öttl gathered a lot of experience during the team’s home round at the Bugatti circuit in Le Mans today, although they faced a hard 25 laps race.
Starting from P27 and P32, respectively, both Moto2 rookies made up one position by another during the first part of the race until they ended up close to the points scoring positions. Unfortunately, Bezzecchi and Öttl opted for a softer tyre, which they worn off quite quickly in the beginning and therefore couldn’t keep the pace during the last 10 laps of the race. While Bezzecchi ended up 18th, Öttl followed in P19.
“The race was very difficult because we chose the soft tyre, which didn’t allow me to use my full potential after just a few laps, even if I tried to start quite calm, it was not enough. In the last laps I start to be in trouble and I was going slower and slower, plus got passed by other riders. It was not very good, but now we have an extra test in Barcelona. We have to work hard there to be faster and in Mugello we will try to give the maximum for the Italian GP.”
“Overall, I have mixed feelings. It was a bit more positive, although we were far behind in Qualifying. In the race, I wasn’t able to get away in the beginning, but later I found a good rhythm. I tried to catch up with Marco, which I was able to do, but I guess in the process I was too harsh with the tyre and in the end it was difficult to handle.”
“Today is round five of the championship and so far our two Moto2 guys never managed to score a single point, which is very frustrating for the whole team. I also would like to apologize to KTM, who are supporting us incredibly well, sending us new parts every Grand Prix and clearly today with a lot of DNF’s I really strongly believe we had to score our first points of the season. It was the mission and it was a quite easy mission with everything that happened with some of the other riders in front. I am not happy and I think we need to change something radically and quickly. It is not the way to work. I can’t see any progress and although our two riders are rookies, we have a lot of rookies ahead. I believe the profile of the team and the riders and the whole potential of the package is much higher than what we are doing. I hope from next round we will have reset everything, we start from a fresh base with a fresh mind and with maybe a bit more humble profile and more hard work.”
Can Öncü fights to the finish in hectic Le Mans race
The Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 rider was just outside the points in 16th place, in a crash strewn French Grand Prix.
19/05/2019 - Le Mans Circuit, France
The fifth race of the 2019 Moto3 World Championship took place today at the legendary Le Mans Circuit. Due to the low temperatures, there were tricky track conditions for Can Öncü to deal with. Despite the high number of crashes at the French venue, the young Turkish rider managed to finish in a creditable 16th position.
Can Öncü, who started from 27th on the grid, dropped back two positions at the beginning, but he was soon on the comeback trail making up six places over the following two laps. As the race went by, the 15-year-old maintained complete focus, in spite of numerous crashes for other riders, allowing him to see the chequered flag. Ultimately, the Turkish rookie would cross the finish line in 16th, one place outside the points.
The Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 team will be back in action at the Italian Grand Prix, from 31st May to 2nd June at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello.
Aki Ajo - Team manager
"Despite being held in dry conditions, the Moto3 race was really tough. There were a lot of crashes and perhaps that made Can [Öncü] so cautious in the first laps. That meant that the group behind our rider was able to catch him. It was a pity that we didn’t have the confidence at the beginning, because after that Can started to ride and fight in a positive way."
61 CAN ÖNCÜ
"It was a difficult race, the track was very cool, furthermore we lacked some speed and we couldn’t fight. We still have a lot to learn. Last year, I had a hard time adapting to the track and this season we were a bit faster, which is positive. I'm a rookie, so the goal is to continue taking steps forward and here we finished a contest that had lots of crashes, just one position outside the points. I’ll keep my motivation up and I hope to be further forward very soon."
Double DNF in France for NTS RW Racing GP
The Moto2 race of the Grand Prix of France was one to quickly forget for NTS RW Racing GP. Both riders had to write a DNF (Did Not Finish) behind their name. Bo Bendsneyder entered the pits with a rear tire worn down to the wire. A lap later Steven Odendaal crashed hard and dislocated his knee.
The result was of course a major disappointment for the entire team, and in particular for the riders themselves. “It’s a shame it ends this way, because we’ve seen many positive things this weekend,” said NTS RW Racing GP team manager Jarno Janssen. “In this sport, everything has to fall just right and if that goes against you, you are left empty-handed.”
Among the positive points, Janssen includes the seventh place of Bendsneyder in the warm-up on Sunday morning and his direct qualification for Q2, the fastest time of Odendaal in the wet FP3 and his time in qualifying that could have been seventh if it were not that a few riders were slightly faster in Q1.
Due to the wet circumstances on Saturday, Bendsneyder could not really try the hard rear tire, but he had good results with the soft compound and that tire had held up well for nineteen laps. That is why, and because of the cool temperature, Bendsneyder and his crew took the gamble to start the race on the softer compound.
Odendaal did choose the harder tire. With that he got away well from the start. The South African advanced to seventeenth place, but from that position he crashed in turn 10 of the fourteenth lap. In the crash Odendaal dislocated his knee. He therefore misses at least the Fan Day of NTS RW Racing GP on Tuesday at the TT Circuit in Assen.
Bo Bendsneyder (DNF): “I had done good lap times in the practice sessions with the softer rear tire and that tire was still good even after nineteen laps. We knew that the last five laps of the race could be difficult, but it was worth the gamble. Unfortunately, this tire behaved very differently: after two or three laps it was gone already. In the turns I bounced and slid in all directions and it only got worse. I couldn't ride it, so I came in. Very unfortunate, because it was quite a good weekend. I have learned a lot, including in wet conditions, and we have shown some quite nice things.”
Grand Prix de France 2019: Race
Not like this. Tony Arbolino was clean, impeccable, elegant, sport behaving. He was able to manage the track as he learnt in the years, as a professional. Losing another race for another rider mistake goes over the trouble. Races are like this and this time we have to swallow this bitter pill. He was doing everything as planned and he would have fought for the victory as it was right to do. Romano Fenati retired due to the pain at his foot that, anyway, didn't allow the team to set up the bike at the best.
Tony Arbolino: “It was a positive weekend, despite the final result, as we were always ahead, in the first positions. I don't know how it would be ended but I was feeling really good. Now, we go to Barcelona for a two days test, which are very important to do a further step on the bike and to arrive at Mugello 100% ready”.
Romano Fenati: “It was a difficult weekend and the crash in the free practices compromised a little bit our work. We'll have a two days test now in Barcelona that, in this phase, become fundamental to reset and find the confidence again”.
Pasini crashes out in PETRONAS Sprinta Racing race debut
A second lap crash ended the French GP early for the Italian, who had been up into seventh place.
Mattia Pasini experienced misfortune in his debut race as a PETRONAS Sprinta Racing Moto2 rider. After a magnificent weekend at Le Mans, the Italian was forced to retire after the rival in front of him took him out of the race.
Pasini started from the fourth position on the grid after a great qualifying session and had the pace to fight with the top riders in the class. However, on the second lap of the race he was involved in an unfortunate incident at Turn 10, in which another rider crashed and left Pasini with no chance of avoiding him.
The next race for Mattia Pasini and PETRONAS Sprinta Racing will be the rider's home GP in Italy, which takes place at Mugello from May 31st to June 2nd.
Johan Stigefelt - Team Director
"Pasini had the potential to be up at the front and fight, but on the second lap he got taken out by another rider who fell right in front of him. He was unable to do anything to avoid crashing. It was a shame for the Moto2 team, because we had shown the potential of the bike and the rider. We will come back stronger at Mugello."
#54 Mattia Pasini
"It's a shame, because we've done an excellent job throughout the weekend. We had shown that we had the potential to fight for the podium - and perhaps for the victory - today. It's a shame to have to retire from a race like that, without being able to do anything. Baldassarri crashed right in front of me at a quick part of the track and there was no way I could avoid him. I'm very sad because it was a great opportunity for us. We now have two days of testing in Barcelona and I think we can avenge this misfortune."
Incredible catch-up rewards both PrüstelGP riders with championship points
Although rain clouds hung thickly over the 4.2km long Bugatti circuit on race Sunday, the fifth Moto3 race of the season was started as a dry race, however, for a total of 12 Moto3 riders, it ended in the gravel. Two crashes, in particular, would have almost ended in a disaster for the Redox PrüstelGP riders.
Jakub Kornfeil showed an incredible catch-up from P21 on the starting grid, after it didn't work well on the qualifying day for the Czech. However, the 26-year-old had to avoid the bike of Ogura and narrowly escaped a crash. However, his pace ultimately put him in the 9th position after systematically battling through the Moto3 field. Unfortunately, he didn't manage to pass Masaki towards the end of the race. Nevertheless, Kornfeil is satisfied with his performance and the great work of his crew. His goal is to make up more ground in qualifying in the future because the experienced Moto3 rider has the pace to fight with the front.
His young team-mate, Filip Salac, had to go into the gravel right after the start of the race after Garcia almost knocked him off the bike. The 17-year-old lost some precious positions but was able to continue his strong performance from the weekend and fight his way to the 15th spot. In his fifth race for the Saxon racing team, the former Red Bull Rookies Cup rider takes home his first World Championship point.
Although the Redox PrüstelGP team struggled with minor problems this weekend, the two Czech riders have shown that their Moto3 KTM has plenty of potential, but c'est la vie. The focus is now on the next Grand Prix, which takes place from 30.05 - 02.06.2019 in Mugello, Italy.
Crash In France Robs Remy Of Top Six Finish
Returning to racing action following his opening lap crash in the Spanish GP Remy Gardner once again showed his pace and championship potential with a gutsy ride that saw him in the leading group before he slid out of contention at Turn 3 at half distance.
The legendary 2.6-mile circuit was constructed in 1966 before being modified in 2008 and always produces close and exciting racing. 2019 was no exception.
Second fastest after the combined Free Practice sessions on Friday, Remy was confident ahead of qualifying even though it was held in damp conditions. With only fifteen minutes on track to decide the grid there was little time for the #87 to make the necessary changes and he eventually qualified on row four.
Coming out of the blocks strong on Sunday morning, Gardner topped the morning warm-up session declaring himself ready to race wet or dry. Moving forward several places on the opening lap he was up to seventh by lap five. Settling into a rhythm Remy moved into the top six, latching himself onto the back of the leading group before a small mistake saw him hit the floor, thankfully without any injury.
The next round of the 2019 FIM Moto2 World Championship sees Remy head to Mugello in Italy, at the beginning of June, where he is keen to make amends for his DNF in France.
Remy Gardner: “It was good to be back on track and back at the sharp end. We were fast on Friday in the dry and I felt good for qualifying but the rain came, and we just didn’t have enough time to change everything for a better set-up, so we ended up P12. The race itself was disappointing after a major mistake on my end. I entered the corner 1km per hour faster, but I lost the front and some very important points. On the bright side we were fast, and we were in the mix and it should have been an easy top five. These things happen but it can’t happen again. We move on to Italy where we need to finish the race and pull some points back. Thanks again for all the support on social media and to my ONEXOX TKKR SAG Racing squad.”
ANOTHER TOP10 FOR BULEGA AT LE MANS
Great recovery for the rookie of the Sky Racing Team VR46. Important points for Luca Marini too, 13th.
Le Mans (France), May 19th 2019 - Another race with both riders of the Sky Racing Team VR46 in the points at Le Mans. After a good recovery, Nicolò Bulega crosses the finishing line to tenth place while Luca Marini is 13th.
Started from the fifth row of the grid after having struggled in qualifying, Nicolò managed to set his pace and climbed the standings till he was close to the sixth position. Unfortunately a small mistake at turn 1 forced him to raise the pace, but for the second consecutive time he hit the Top10.
Uphill race, but overall good for Luca, 19th at the start and in trouble with the rear tire during the first laps. He recovered till scoring 3 points.
Nicolò has finished his first real long run and, overall, we are happy with the result. He was strong, fast and fit for Mugello. Luca faced a difficult weekend and even in the race he couldn't find the feelings he was looking for. We are waiting this two days of testing in Barcelona and as a Team we have to do our best to reduce the gap.
I would say a weekend to forget but, instead, is to be analyzed to understand and be able to return to be competitive. In every condition and with different set up I was struggling to manage the rear tire. We have made many changes, adjustments on the setting but we were not able to understand what happens to the bike. Even in the race I tried to follow different lines, trajectories, calibrate the gas but I wasn't able to drive as I wanted. Fortunately we have another two days of testing in Barcelona to arrive to Mugello ready for showing our real potential.
I'm quite happy with today's race: we have always been competitive on the dry, while in the wet we faced some more difficulties and this compromised the QP. Every GP I take more and more confidence with the bike, the Team, the new category, the duration of the race and the tires. We can have fun during the season.
Toba lost the podium in the final corners, Ogura crash in first lap
Kaito Toba arrived to the final corners with real chances to win the race, but Canet touched him losing any chance. Ogura did a good start, but unfortunately crashed in the first lap. Tomorrow he will undergo a medical check in Barcelona. Only 17 riders finished the race due the difficult conditions of the track.
Hiroshi Aoyama - Team Manager
“Both riders prepared very well the race, starting quite good and staying in the front group. They had a good chance, but Ogura did a mistake in the first lap and he had a big crash. He will pass a medical check tomorrow in Barcelona to evaluate his physical condition.
About Kaito, he lost a little bit of time at the beginning of the race, but his rhythm was quite good, and this means he is in the leading group at the end of the race. He had a big possibility to win the race, but unfortunately Canet touch him at last lap. He didn’t crash but he lost positions finishing six”
6th Kaito Toba #27
“I’m disappointed because I had real chance to win. In the race I was very strong, except at the beginning when I lost a lot of time. When I reached the top group, I felt very strong, overtaking in a smooth and easy way. In the last lap I made a little mistake trying to take the lead and suddenly Canet touched me. The situation was very dangerous, and I needed to pick up the bike to avoid to crashing together. Finally, I finished P6, it’s a shame but at the same time is important to finish the races. Here I’ve lost a podium finish, but I will try again in Mugello”
DNF Ai Ogura #79
“I don’t know what can I say. During the weekend everything was going perfect, the bike permitted me to be fast in every condition. I started very well, maintaining the third position, but I did a mistake at the exit of a corner in the first lap, and I crashed. I know I’ve lost the chance to get a good result. Now I’m in pain because of the crash, tomorrow I will go to visit Doctor Mir in Barcelona for a medical check.”
Amazing race for our riders in LeMans!!
Circuit des 24 Heures LeMans, France
Cold sunday race at LeMans circuit, which has seen many crashes due to track conditions.
Moto3 warm up, that opened the last day of the weekend, has been signed by higher laptime than those of qualifying practices, becuase track temperature was very low. Our riders ended up in 20th position for Masaki and 21st position for Yurchenko.
Race started at 11 o’clock, with both riders started from interesting grid’s positions. In the first lap many riders crashed in front of Yurchenko and, unfortunately, due to this, he lost time and positions.
Masaki was able to sign a better start lap and he gained some positions, and he followed this way by finishing 8th.
#22 KAZUKI MASAKI P. 8
“This morning track was very cold and this caused a slower laptime. I tried to push hard and find a good pace, but it has been difficult finish warm up with a good position.
Instead, during the race I felt strong with the bike, I started the race gaining some positions in the first lap. In the first laps I hadn’t a constant pace but in the end I was able to keep on with the first ten riders. Finally I ended up the race in the top10, with a positive 8th position. Now I have to work a lot in order to try to be in the top5 in the next races. I want to say thank to all the team for the work they have done during all the weekend. “
#76 MAKAR YURCHENKO P.13
“Finally today we got our firts points of the season.
Even so I’m a bit hungry because in the first lap we lost many positions due to other riders’ crashes just in front of me. It’s such a shame because in the end we had a good pace and my feeling with the bike haa improved too. Yesterday we have done a fantastic job with all the team and so our weekend hasn’t been so negative. Now we have to keep on this way in order to improve our result race by race. I want to say a big thank to all the team for all the hard work they have done during this days.
Chantra and Dimas crash in a chaotic race in Le Mans
The cold track made the race very difficult. Somkiat Chantra had the rhythm to finish in the points and Dimas Ekky Pratama improved lap by lap but crashed four laps before the end.
Hiroshi Aoyama - Team Manager
“The weather condition was quite cold at the start of the race. We tested the two tyre options available and we choose the harder one. We think this was the correct decision because with the softer option performance may have been better, but it was not possible to finish the race. Chantra did a big mistake off the start and he lost a lot of positions. He was catching the group, but he crashed on lap 9. Dimas was fighting to improve his lap time every single lap, but on lap 21 he crashed and lost the chance to finish the race. A lot of riders crashed during this race, the conditions were very difficult for a rookies like Dimas and Chantra. We hope for a better race in Mugello.”
DNF Dimas Ekky Pratama #20
“Today I tried to be in a constant rhythm, improving every lap but at the same time trying not to take risks, because the track was really cold. I had the real option to finish in the Top 20 but 4 laps before the end, at the entry of a corner I’ve lost the front. It was impossible to avoid the crash.”
DNF Somkiat Chantra #35
“The track conditions were incredible, with a big lack of grip. On the first laps I’ve been very careful, trying to gain confidence. On lap 9 I entered into the corner exactly at the same speed than the laps before, but I’ve lost both wheels and I’ve done a big high side.Because of the crash I have a strong pain in my leg, tomorrow I will pass examination in Barcelona”
WEEKEND WITH A BITTER TASTE FOR THE TEAM MV AGUSTA IDEALAVORO FORWARD RACING
The fifth round of the season has ended for the Team MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward Racing. The adverse weather conditions, have immediately announced the difficulty of the weekend just ended for the riders of the Italian-Swiss team. The very young MV Agusta F2, in fact, led its first Grand Prix in the wet and the data available were very few to be able to work on solid bases.
Stefano Manzi, who started off determinedly when the lights went off, went off the track about halfway through the race because of a driver who fell in front of him. This made him lose a lot of time and positions, but the cadet of the VR46 Riders Academy was not discouraged and started again, finally finishing in 15th position and bringing home his first point of the season.
Dominique Aegerter, on the other side of the box, started the race all in a comeback, reaching 12 positions. On the last lap, when he was 13th, he was unfortunately the victim of a technical problem linked to a problem of the fuel pump that caused the shutdown of his F2 and the consequent premature end of the race.
This Grand Prix was certainly difficult, but at the same time useful for collecting data in wet conditions. Now the attention is all focused on the tests of Tuesday 21st and Wednesday 22nd May, at the Catalunya circuit, where the racing team and its riders will work hard to get to the home race even more prepared.
The appointment with the next GP is set for 31-1-2 June for the first of the two Italian races: Mugello.
Stefano Manzi #62 – P15
"I can't say that today's race was a very good one, because I got off to a good start but after 6-7 laps I went out not to hit Lowes who crashed in front of me. I was able to finish in 15th place and do the rest of the race at my own pace. Now we are already looking forward to the tests in Barcelona on Tuesday and Wednesday and we hope to find the right adjustments to get to the home race, Mugello, more confident and stronger”.
Dominique Aegerter #77 – DNF
"The weather conditions in the morning warm-up were stable and I felt pretty good. In the race I got off to a good start, maybe the first lap was a bit difficult to overtake some riders but then everything went better and I managed to make a comeback race up to the 13th position. Unfortunately we had some technical problems on the last lap and the bike stopped. I'm sorry for the gesture of anger shown at the end of the race and for not being able to cross the finish line; I'm also sorry for the team, the sponsors, and for all those who support us in this very young but at the same time ambitious project. I'm angry and I'll probably be angry until tomorrow at least, but from the day after tomorrow I'll only be thinking about the tests in Catalunya in view of the Mugello race. The races are also this, they are also technical problems, failures, before finding the right way. I'm sure we'll be able to make up for it, so I'll see you on the track in a few days, always with the usual aim. Continue to improve”.
Milena Koerner – Team Manager
"It's been a very tricky day. Both riders made a good start considering the initial positions caused by the inexperience of all of us with these very young bikes in wet conditions. But both, Dominique and Stefano work hard to reach the Top 15. Yet, halfway through the race a rider crashed in front of Stefano and he went into the gravel. However, he was not discouraged and continued to push, even if he had lost many positions and 20 seconds. On the line, he finished in 15th place, earning his first point of the season. Dominique, on the other hand, had an excellent pace throughout the race, gaining 12 positions from the starting grid. But unfortunately, during the last lap, he was a victim of a technical issue, where an internal part of the fuel tank had moved ostaculating the necessary flow of the limited quantity of fuel stocked up for the execution of the race distance.This caused the unexpected arrest of his F2, making it impossible for him to finish the race in 13th place, just a couple of corners from the chequered flag. It's certainly a pity; in Argentina he was in the same position as today when we crashed on the last lap, then we did 2 consecutive races in points and this could have been the third in the row. Dominique's frustration and his disappointment shown at the end of the race may seem esagerated but are understandable, especially considering all the effort each member of the team is putting into this project, yet, they don't reflect his real character. Moreover, it is clear that his position is currently in the top 15. All together, it was a frustrating conclusion, of course, for a weekend on a track that we knew from the start would not be easy for us, but now we move to Barcelona for two days of testing with even more motivation, in order to be able to arrive well prepared for our home race of Mugello in two weeks”.
Positive reading of the Grand Prix of France despite the result of Vicente Pérez
The Grand Prix of France at the Le Mans circuit leaves the rider of the Reale Avintia Academy 77, Vicente Pérez, a bittersweet taste. The young Valencian fall down on the ground on lap 16 when he was in good position.
Coming out from the grid, 25th, Vicente Pérez managed to improve the pace in the race and the feeling with his KTM. When the rider it was nearly to enter the area of the points suffered a strong fall with no physical consequences for him. A result of which he get a positive reading thanks to the improvement and the good feeling that he had achieved during the race. With his mind set on the next Grand Prix, Vicente leaves Le Mans with the feeling of a job well done.
”It was a race where we found improvements for the start-up of on the bike thanks to the team. I was having a great race in a good position when I suffer a great fall. Despite this, I am happy with the sensations. At last I was able to feel comfortable on the bike, it is the first race of the year where I was able to drive as I want. Thank the team for all the work they have done to get here and keep working in front of Mugello”
Top 15 in the reach soon
In just his fifth race as a regular entry in Moto2™ World Championship, Lukas Tulovic narrowly missed his first points on Sunday.
This weekend’s changeable weather at Le Mans has changed the conditions for the race day very clearly. Despite cloudy skies, it remained dry all day though. After putting in a first-class qualifying performance on Saturday afternoon, Kiefer Racing and its newcomer Lukas Tulovic secretly speculated with a wet race.
In dry conditions at the time of the race, however, the 18-year-old talent from Eberbach got to know the tough competition of the probably most balanced racing series up close.
After the series’ visit to France, Mugello is set to launch the first classic race of the calendar in just two weeks.
#3 Lukas TULOVIC (Kiefer Racing, KTM), P16:
"Overall, we can be very happy with this weekend. Our starting position for the race was of course ultra-cool. But in conditions like today, the top riders have a much better pace. So, it was clear from the outset that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with these guys for very long. But there was war in the first corners. That's really different. It's just unbelievable how they’re aggressive in entering a corner."
"One guy saw a gap, passed me and two others used this occasion to their benefit too, just because I had a bit slow for a moment. On the other hand, three other drivers would have crashed into my bike. That's why I got passed through very quickly. That's a pity, of course, because I could have learned a lot from those guys at the front and this would have been our goal for today too. From the middle of the race I found my pace and was able to work my way forward. The longer the distance took, the better I felt. Unfortunately, it takes me too long to get going. I have to eliminate this weak point as quickly as possible."
"It was not an easy race, as I had grip problems and therefore, I had many slides over the rear. That was also the reason why I approached the matter a little more cautious. I was not nearly as aggressive on the gas. In this area, I have to improve a little bit regarding my riding and maybe we can find a bit something with some fine-tuning to the setting. In the end, I'm satisfied. Everything was working perfect, I felt strong on the brakes and in turning at the fast corners. That was lots of fun. That's why I'm looking forward to Mugello even more. The track there is very fast as I was already there for a riding training and I only can say that I like Mugello very much. A big thank you to the team, they have done a great work again."
Jochen KIEFER (Team manager / Technical director):
"In general, it was a mixed weekend for us. It started badly on Friday, because we could not find a good setup in the dry. In addition, a few technical problems have occurred. Until Saturday we could solve everything. However, then the rain made a dash by the bill. Therefore, we had to start from scratch again but for the wet conditions we had a very good setup."
"Lukas felt very comfortable with it. The qualifying result speaks for itself, but his performance was really a first-class one. Of course, because of the great grid position, we secretly hoped that we could get a better result. But once it was clear that it would be a dry race, we knew it would be difficult to do a similar job. But we are not disappointed. On the contrary, we are happy that Lukas never gave up his race. In the last third of the race, he has even increased his pace again, and he put in really strong lap times. He showed that he has the speed, which it needs to take him to fight for the top-15. In wet conditions, we certainly could have taken our first points this year. But if and if does ‘t help us. We are satisfied with Lukas performance today. He has proven that he is a fighter and learns with every session. In addition, it was a big burden for him as a rookie, that he started in his fifth race only from the third row. It was clearly to see that he was nervous before the start. This isn’t easy to put away in this world-class field. Nevertheless, he has done his job perfect again."