Press releases from the Moto2 and 125 teams after the first day of practice at Le Mans:
FARMINGDALE NJ- May 13, 2011-Tech 3 Racing Looking Forward to Great Weekend in France
Round 4 of the 2011 Moto2 Grand Prix Season will take place this weekend in France. Bel-Ray backed Tech3 racers, Bradley Smith and Mike DiMeglio are both prepared to capture motorcycle racing glory.
The event held at the legendary Bugatti Circuit in LeMans, France marks the home event for both Mike DiMeglio and the home base for the Tech3 team. The Monster Energy Grand Prix de France is title sponsored by Monster Energy, who also serves as a personal sponsor for both DiMeglio and teammate Bradley Smith as well. The pressure to perform will certainly be high this weekend for both racers.
Coming off a season best 9th in Estoril, Portugal, DiMeglio is on the right track after struggling early in the season. He comes into LeMans with a new found confidence. DiMeglio is currently inside the top 20 in the season points standings at 17th place.
Despite a poor finish in Portugal, Smith was positive about the weekend. Although he ran in the top 10 early in the race, he suffered a puncture in the rear tire. After pitting for repair, he could only manage a 29th place finish. His time on the track was positive as he gained valuable setup knowledge to use heading into this weekend in France. Even with his Estoril results, Smith is currently 8th in the season's standings.
Follow the teams results this season on www.belray.com.
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Excellent start off the weekend in Le Mans
The first day of the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France has started good for the Dutch RW Racing GP team. The RW Racing GP rider Luis Salom finishes the first day at a respectable sixth position.
In the first free practice on the Friday morning Luis Salom was riding a solid session. The Spaniard rode every lap faster and faster and was using this session to set-up a good chassis! for the weekend. In his last stint the young talent rider finish on an eleventh position.
Between the two free practices sessions the data was analyzed and the team changed the suspension of the Aprilia RSA. It immediately worked out in the second session of the Friday. Salom rode halfway though the session automatically faster lap times than the morning session and was continuous around the top 10. In the last fifteen the Spaniard managed to climb into the top 10 and pressed in the final minutes of the session a number of fast laps out and closed the session off to a respectable sixth position.
Luis Salom (6t h, 1:44.850):
"This afternoon it went really well! We have a lot of data collected in the morning session and after we had watched this data, the team decided to try a different setting. This worked out good and I got a better feeling with the bike than in the morning. I can ride continuous fast lap times and I'm very pleased with the difference to the top 3, which is not so big. I only have to give in 0.4 seconds to the second man Efren Vazquez. There's more in and with a few small changes I will be able to improve my lap time. Now see what the other riders will do tomorrow in the free practice and qualifying session but I know for sure that I will finish these sessions at least in the top eight. My goal for the qualification session is the second row but this means I have to finish this session into the top 6. I'm looking forward for tomorrow and I will give everything to get a good star! ting place for Sunday's race! "
NICO TEROL DOMINATES WITH LAP RECORD PACE AT LE MANS
BANKIA Aspar rider relentless at scene of first career pole
The 125cc riders got the action underway at the Grand Prix de France today, where perfect weather made for closer and more diverse results than in the previous three rounds of the season so far. Even though BANKIA Aspar rider Nico Terol has been fastest in both free practice sessions he was challenged this afternoon by his team-mate Héctor Faubel and fellow Spaniard Efren Vázquez. The ideal conditions also lent themselves to fast lap times, with Terol just a thousandth of a second off the record.
Terol dominated the morning session although he was forced out of top spot for much of the afternoon by Vázquez. Two fast laps at the end of the session lifted him above his compatriot by half a second and the series leader looks certain to break the lap record with more track time tomorrow. Faubel is currently nine tenths off the fastest lap, having spent much of the session just a couple of tenths off the top. The Spaniard is determined to make up for his Estoril nightmare here and he is confident of making vast improvements to his lap times tomorrow by brushing up his pace in the first sector. The third BANKIA Aspar rider Adrián Martín made a good start to life at this track, lapping inside the top ten and finishing just 1.7 seconds shy of Terol's fastest lap.
1st Nico Terol 1.43.788 (33 laps): "To be back at the circuit where I scored my first pole is a source of great motivation but the track was slippery this morning so we have started off steadily and gradually built our pace. My pace was really good this afternoon and in the end my best lap was as good as my pole time from last year. That shows how high the level is and also means that we have started the Grand Prix strongly. There is a quite big gap to second place but not as big as it has been in past races and I'm sure it will be even smaller tomorrow. All I am trying to do is challenge myself and have the bike ready for Sunday."
4th Héctor Faubel 1.44.711 (28 laps): "We went the wrong way with the set-up this morning, a bit like in Portugal, but we went back to what we had at Jerez and Qatar and I felt comfortable immediately. I was losing a lot of time in the first sector so we need to look at the gearbox setting because I am dropping a lot of revs between shifts. Apart from that the bike is working really well and we know how to improve it so I am calm. We put some good laps together by the end and I am feeling satisfied with the work done and confident about what is to come."
10th Adrián Martín 1.45.507 (33 laps): "In Portugal we had a positive weekend and that has helped us improve a lot on a psychological level and in terms of the bike setting. In the space of just one round everything feels different, the bike is running really well and I feel comfortable so I hope we can continue. I have got a good set-up for tomorrow so we have to think about how we can get a little more out of it before qualifying. I think we have a good pace for the race because we have closed the gap to the top."
Marc Márquez concludes sixth in the first practice day in France
The Repsol rider shows a progressive improvement in the two first free practice sessions in Le Mans, despite a minor crash due to the presence of oil on track
The first Free Practice session that took place today at the Bugatti circuit in Le Mans allowed Marc Márquez and his team to reach the first conclusions for the French Grand Prix. The Repsol rider was able to make the most of a sunny day in the French track to complete 44 laps and prepare the set-up of his Moto2 in two extensive sessions where he set the sixth fastest time, 527 thousandths behind Stefan Bradl.
The morning Practice Session allowed the Repsol rider to set the first references in the Moto2 class and to gradually improve his pace in the very technical French circuit. By mid session, the practice had to be suspended due to an incident on corner 10, where a rider spilled some oil from his bike's engine and then some riders crashed. One of them was Marc Márquez, who was able to return to the garage to repair the left-hand peg and the clutch lever, apart from making some changes to the front fork adjustments. Finally, he could go back out to the track when the session resumed and finished ninth.
In the second session and with the asphalt temperature rising to 45ºC, times were reduces lap after lap in a very close session that finished with Márquez in sixth. The Repsol rider set a time of 1 minute, 39 seconds and 236 thousandths, finishing inside the group gathering from third to tenth, who were separated by only 254 thousandths.
FP1 - 1:39.764, 23 laps, 96 km.
FP2 - 1:39.236, 21 laps, 88 km.
"We are happy with the work we did today, as each time we took the track we improved our times. In the first Free Session, it was a bit difficult because we arrive to a circuit hat is new for me, although I know it from 125cc, but the lines and the references are different. We have to go slowly to avoid any mistakes.
I crashed due to an oil spill on track. I did not see the flag, or maybe they had not time to show it, but it was nothing serious. In the second Practice Session, we followed the same line, improving with each step. It is clear that we need to improve a bit in some aspects, but we will be again near the fastest in no time and that is always positive".
LE MANS GP: ANDREA IANNONE SETS THE FIFTH BEST LAPTIME IN THE SECOND FREE PRACTICE
Today was the first day of the fourth event of 2011 season for the Moto2 category, at the French circuit in Le Mans.
The day finished with a spot within the top-10 for Speed Master team. During the morning session, Iannone and his crew managed to arrange some modifications to optimize the drivability of the Suter MMXI machine. In the second free practice of this afternoon, the rider from Vasto could improve his lap time and verify the changes worked out for the set-up, making sure he had an improvement with the feeling with his bike that can help in tomorrow's qualifying session.
With the lap-time of 1'39.196, Andrea grabbed the fifth spot at the end of the first day of the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France, 0.487 seconds off today's best laptime.
Andrea Iannone, #29 — free practice n. 2: 5th with 1'39.196
"This wasn't an easy day: in the morning I wasn't happy, but we worked for the afternoon, hoping to fix a few things. As a matter of facts the bike improved, even if we still haven't got a perfect set-up. We have to be faster and stronger during the practice sessions. It looks like we are working in the right direction and that we are making some good steps forward with the bike. Tomorrow we'll work again and we'll try to do well—not only on Sunday, but on Saturday too. Starting from tomorrow, we'd be able to have a better and more exciting Sunday. Let's see if all the modifications we have in mind work out decently. I'd like to thank Suter, as the technicians did a great work and their support is essential, in particular Giussani, who isn't here at this GP and I'm sorry about that, and I'd like to thank my team, too, as the mechanics do their best every time."
INTENSE FIRST DAY FOR MAPFRE ASPAR PAIR AT LE MANS
Julián Simón and Xavi Forés hoping to move up the order from tenth and thirtieth respectively
As expected the arrival of a shorter and less technical circuit on the Moto2 horizon led to closer lap times and an entertaining battle for positions in the opening two free practice sessions. Sixteen riders are separated by a mere second on the time sheets and the general feeling is that any one of the top ten could be a candidate for pole position tomorrow, although Stefan Bradl provisionally holds top spot overnight. An oil leak in turn ten caused several riders to crash this morning and saw the red flags come out although thankfully nobody was injured.
There was plenty of hard work going on in the MAPFRE Aspar garage as the riders looked to establish a base setting for their machines at this track. Julián Simón worked on both set-up and tyre choice, lapping tenth fastest on a satisfactory opening day. Xavi Forés completed no fewer than forty laps as he focused purely on learning the track layout and he is confident of making up several positions from 30th overall.
10th Julián Simón 1.39.389 (34 laps): "We spent today getting the bike set up and improving my feeling with it. We tried two very similar tyes and they both work well so we have a nice choice to make for Sunday. I am happy because my feeling with the bike was good, the lap times are close and the difference between the riders mainly comes down to what tyre they were on for their best lap. I didn't set a good time on fresh rubber so I am confident that I have the pace. We are on the right track and hopefully we can improve tomorrow."
30th Xavi Forés 1.40.362 (40 laps): "I am quite happy because I feel comfortable with the bike, more so than I have been up to now. We are improving the set-up day by day and that makes it easier for me to find my lines and stay consistent over a few laps. We worked hard this afternoon on improving in the first two sectors because that is where we were struggling. It was just a case of doing that and trying to learn the track more. We are only a little over a second off the top time, which is positive because this category is so close and a second off your lap time can propel you up the order."
TAKAHASHI EIGHTH AND PIRRO 24TH ON MIXED FIRST DAY AT LE MANS
It was a first day of mixed fortunes for Team Gresini pair Yuki Takahashi and Michele Pirro at Le Mans, the Japanese rider some way off his potential with eighth place this afternoon whilst a crash for his Italian team-mate put the skids on the hard work he had done throughout the opening session. Tomorrow is another day and both riders will look to put the experience to good use as they target good positions on the grid. A crash for Takahashi this morning also contributed to slowing down his progress.
Yuki Takahashi (8th 1' 39" 294) "The crash this morning was a shame because we had made a good start. It was a setback for the team because they had to replace the engine. In the afternoon we came out strongly again but in the end I wasn't able to back up the good work we did with the lap time. We need to decide on the best route to take and transfer the potential of bike and rider to the track."
Michele Pirro (24th 1'' 40" 247 ) "I craashed in the last ten minutes of the session this afternoon and it ruined the day. We had only just changed the tyres so it wasn't a good time to crash. I was pushing hard and lost the front so it's a shame because it leaves us with a lot of work to do tomorrow to try and find our definitive set-up for the race."
Fausto Gresini "We are suffering a little. We are certain that our potential is higher than this but at the moment we are not able to reach it. Yuki was fighting for the top positions but at the end we went for a harder tyre, which didn't suit our bike and other riders were able to go faster. I am sure we know how to fix this for tomorrow and improve our position. We want to be fighting for the top positions in this category and we have the potential so it is up to us to do so."
REDDING AND KALLIO AIM FOR IMPROVEMENTS AFTER POSITIVE START
Marc VDS Racing Team riders Scott Redding and Mika Kallio are confident they can improve on their impressive practice pace, after both made a positive start to the fourth round of the 2011 Moto2 World Championship at the legendary Bugatti Circuit in Le Mans today.
Today's practice sessions took place in ideal conditions with air temperatures reaching 22 degrees under clear and sunny skies. The conditions presented Redding and Kallio with the perfect opportunity to fine-tune the set-up of their Suter MMXI machines following a valuable two-day test session immediately after the recent Estoril race in Portugal.
Today proved once again just how ultra-competitive the Moto2 class is with Redding's best time leaving him less than 0.3s away from the top six, the British rider concentrating on improving his pace on the hard Dunlop rear tyre option to finish with a best time of 1.39.502.
The 18-year-old, who was sixth quickest this morning, also worked on a range of engine braking settings to improve braking stability to finish 11th on the combined timesheets.
Finnish teammate Kallio ended 17th fastest as he worked closely with his Marc VDS Racing crew to improve his confidence on fresh tyres. Kallio had earlier demonstrated a fast and consistent pace on worn tyres but was unable to improve his lap times as much as his competitors on new rubber.
Kallio though is still optimistic that he can fight for a top ten finish in Sunday's 26-lap race as the Marc VDS Racing Team aims to clinch its first points of this year's World Championship campaign.
Scott Redding #45 - 1.39.502 - 36 laps
"It was a good day and I was happy this morning to be in the top six and looking really strong. I only just missed out on the top ten this afternoon so I am confident we've got a good set-up with the bike and we just need to make some small tweaks to be higher up the order. I've been mainly working on getting the right feeling with the harder tyre today. I feel very confident with the soft rear tyre here but I'm struggling a little bit to push with the same level of confidence with the harder option. When I put the hard tyre in I have a problem with the bike sliding and I can't stop the bike with it. I keep running straight on but we played around with the suspension and the engine braking to help and we've got some more ideas to try tomorrow, so I'm sure we'll be competing for a top ten place on the grid in qualifying. My confidence is definitely getting better with the front too, so I know after the disappointment of the first three races that I can be fighting for a top result on Sunday, which is something the Team deserve for all their hard work."
Mika Kallio #36 - 1.39.857 - 37 laps
"I'm reasonably happy but I know I can be much faster. I am only 0.6s away from the top six and I understand the reasons why I was unable to find those few tenths that I need to be much higher up the timesheets than 17th. In the afternoon session I used just one front tyre and I'd already done some laps on it this morning. So it had over 30 laps on it by the end but the biggest problem at the moment is that I can't take full advantage of the grip that comes when I put in a new rear tyre. I can immediately feel that the tyre has more grip and it gives me more feeling, but it is not reflected in the final lap time. I'm faster than I am with the old tyre but it is still not enough and this is the difference between me and the other riders at the moment. When they put in a new rear tyre they can make a big step, but I don't make such a big improvement. This is a problem I've had this year at the other tracks. The gap is not big between me and the rest on used tyres, but I need to improve my speed when the tyres are brand new. I am still confident that we can have a positive weekend and score my first points of the season."
Pete Benson: Scott Redding Crew Chief
"Today was very positive for Scott and we've given ourselves a good base to make sure we have a positive outcome in Sunday's race. The Estoril test recently was invaluable because it helped us try out a few settings and modifications to the bike that have improved Scott's overall confidence with the bike. Today was really the closest we've been to the fastest pace in both sessions all year, so that bodes well for the rest of the weekend. And Scott has been able to lap very consistently too, so that's another positive. We'll focus on helping him stop the bike better tomorrow with some more changes to the engine braking set-up. He seems more comfortable on the softer tyre, so we need to try and make him more comfortable on the harder compound. It is not a big problem because we know that we can race with both tyres. It was a very close session again and we ended not a million miles away, so we're optimistic we can get those first points on the board."
Comeback for Max Neukirchner
New Chassis for Anthony West
MZ factory rider Max Neukirchner gave a heroic comeback at the French Grand Prix in Le Mans. Just two weeks after suffering an open fracture of his left little finger in a practice crash at Estoril, the 28-year-old German returned to the race track with a special glove. On the first day of practice, he had more problems with the set-up of his bike than with his finger and settled for 34th place.
Anthony West, who scored 35th position directly behind Neukirchner, received a new FTR chassis for the French Grand Prix and has now the same technical base as his German team-mate. Originally, the team had planned to use MZ's latest tubular trellis steel frame at Le Mans, but when chattering problems occurred in a Spanish Championship race at Aragón, the GP debut of the new chassis was further postponed. "It became obvious at Aragón that our chassis needed more development time", said MZ CEO Martin Wimmer. "We have to re-assess the torsional rigidity of our frame and we need more testing, which is impossible on a Grand Prix weekend. We didn't want to put this kind of time pressure on our GP team, so we decided to give Anthony the same chassis as Max. Now we have time until the Sachsenring-Grand Prix to improve or even re-develop our own design!"
Max Neukirchner – 34th, in 1:40.638 min.:
"My finger was okay. I had to save two front end slides, and these were moments when it really hurt. But all in all, we struggled more with the bike's set-up than with my injury. I was riding with the harder rear tyre for quite some time and put my best lap time in on this compound, and when we changed for the softer option, I was convinced to be able to go faster. But instead, the front wanted to fold away whenever I tried to attack. We now think that the softer compound created too much grip and pushed the front. Normally, you should be able to improve by a second per lap quite easily with new and softer tyres!"
Anthony West – 35th, in 1:40.703 min.:
"It's nice to have a new and competitive chassis, but it's also difficult to ride a different bike every weekend. We have the same problems that you always have on a new machine, trying to find a base set-up and the right balance. We kept working at it, but then we had a problem with a rear wheel that wasn't balanced and I wasn't able to push. But all in all I'm happy. Finally I have this bike and we now just need some more time to improve and to get some consistency!"