Press releases from the Moto2 and 125cc teams from Friday at Silverstone:
MAHINDRA STORMS TO THE TOP AT SILVERSTONE ON FREE PRACTICE DAY
10 June, 2011: Everything came together for Brit rider Danny Webb during the rain-lashed 125GP Free Practice session at Silverstone, who stormed up the timesheets to set the second fastest wet lap time of the day.
Despite the ever-changing wet weather, the 20-year-old had a superb start to his home race when he was also clocked with the fourth fastest top speed down the main straight.
Conditions changed radically during the day. The morning session was dry but cool, and Webb was able to consistently run fast lap times. His team-mate Marcel Schrötter was running in 14th position in Free Practice 2, and has been using the track time to further develop his new bike.
The afternoon saw rain from the start, beginning with wet patches on the course but soon spreading to soak the whole track. Webb revelled in the inclement weather conditions, heading the timesheets to finish second fastest by the end of the session. Schrötter moved up to 14th, and felt that had the temperature been higher, he could improve further.
Both racers and the Mahindra team are eagerly looking forward to tomorrow's qualifying session and Sunday's race. The Mahindra Racing 125 GP bike is the only one in the very competitive series for which the manufacturer creates both the engine and the chassis.
Danny Webb: Second position (wet session) – 2:36.956, Eighth overall – 2:18.672
"The whole day's been very positive. We were going really well this morning in the dry, the bike's fast and I'm feeling good. The weather was strange: on one half of the track it was pouring down and the other half was still dry. But the grip was quite good, and I was enjoying myself. If we can keep up this good feeling, we'll have a great weekend."
Marcel Schrötter: Fourteenth position (wet session) – 2:41.938, 20th overall – 2:21.056
"We're not making many suspension adjustments now: we have found a good base setting for me and I'm getting much more confident. I think I could have been in the top five in the wet, but my engine was running too cool and down on power, so I had to stop to get some tape on the radiator. Then the rain really came down, and it was difficult to get up to speed. In the morning, I know where I was losing time, so I can improve in the dry."
Fifth in the wet
With an excellent fifth lap time Luis Salom again was one of the fastest riders in the 125cc field. The Spaniard set his time (2.38.161) on Silverstone in the wet. Frenchman Johann Zarco beat the rest by far and was almost four seconds faster than Salom. Obviously Zarco used his frustration about his time penalty in Barcelona well.
The second free practice started with a little drizzle Friday afternoon, which soon turned into a serious shower. The RW Racing GP-team used the circumstances to its benefit and send Salom out for a 20 minute stint in which he gathered as much data as possible. Some showers are expected on Saturday, the weather outlook for the race on Sunday is fully wet.
In the first free practice, on Friday morning, Salom was much faster (2.19.277) but had tob e satisfied with tenth. ,,I set this lap time while riding on my own, without any slipstream,'' the Spaniard explained. ,,Therefore I'm pretty satisfied with it. In the slipstream of one of the faster riders you can be at least a second faster.''
RAIN WELCOMES 125 RIDERS TO SILVERSTONE
BANKIA Aspar riders make careful start to wet weekend in England
It is hard to believe from the weather at least that we are in the middle of June but the start of the British summer at Silverstone provided a wet and cold welcome to the 125cc World Championship. Ambient temperatures of just 11°C and light morning rain made for a tricky opening free practice session that provided just five minutes of dry track time, whilst the afternoon was little better.
On a damp surface and with limited visibility the BANKIA Aspar Team riders made a cautious start to their weekend, with Nico Terol lapping second fastest ahead of Adrián Martín in eleventh and Héctor Faubel in fifteenth on the overall time sheets. As series leader Terol, fastest in both sessions, used the day to adapt his set-up, Martín was sixth fastest in the wet conditions this afternoon whilst Faubel spent the day finding his bearings at a circuit he is riding for the first time on a 125.
2nd Nico Terol 2.16.619 (20 laps): "The lap times weren't too fast this morning because the track surface was quite slippery and it was very cold. Even so my feeling with the bike was good. In the afternoon it started to rain again just when we went out on to the track and I almost crashed, but we came in and changed to the wet setting and I was able to get on the pace without risking too much. Little by little I got a good feeling which should stand me in good stead this weekend. The track is still quite bumpy and we had to work hard to set good lap times. It looks as though it will keep raining all weekend so we'll have to keep working hard."
11th Adrián Martín 2.19.429 (21 laps): "The bike was working well today and it looks as though the wet weather suits us because I felt comfortable today. It was a strange day because I felt a little lost this morning and then the afternoon was spent getting used to the track in the wet. There were some sections that were very wet and others where it was barely damp so it was tricky. I tried to adapt as well as I could and hopefully we can get even more comfortable tomorrow."
15th Héctor Faubel 2.20.570 (20 laps): "I was a bit lost this morning because this is a new track for me on the 125. We were ready for dry conditions this afternoon but it started to rain in a really strange way and there were puddles in places and dry patches in others. We know what to expect when we come to England so we just have to get used to it. I am happy because the bike feels good again in all conditions but whatever weather we get tomorrow I hope it stays consistent."
Marc Márquez, competitive on dry and wet tarmac
The Repsol rider finished sixth in the morning's dry session and second in the afternoon with the track wet
Marc Márquez returned to action this morning on the British circuit of Silverstone after his excellent performance last week at the Catalunya Grand Prix, where the Repsol rider finished second in front of his fans. In this first day of practice, Emilio Alzamora's pupil set the sixth fastest time in the morning and the second in the afternoon. The weather, as usual in this area, was the main protagonist of the day.
In the first session, the current 125cc World Championship improved steadily, placing himself among the fastest of the class until taking the second position. Despite maintaining that place for a long time, in the last minutes some riders where able to improve his time and he finished sixth in the morning session.
The second session started with the track completely wet due to the rain that fell on the British circuit in the previous 125cc session. The times were naturally slower and, despite the track drying quickly, conditions were very not easy, with some areas dry and other wet. Márquez was strong under that difficult conditions and he took the lead of the classification after the first half of the session.
He kept the first position until the last minute, when the Swiss rider Krummenacher outperformed him. Despite getting out on track in the last 8 minutes with slick tyres, the Repsol rider did not want to take any unnecessary risks in this first day of practice and he settled for the second place.
FP1 - 2:10.750, 16 laps, 94 km.
FP2 - 2:15.207, 15 laps, 88 km.
"We are slowly finding a base for the set-up that allows us to arrive to a circuit and ride comfortably. We are getting to it, although we still have a lot to do and here we still have many things to improve.
Anyway, we are satisfied because both in the morning and the afternoon we were amongst the top riders. Tomorrow we need to keep working like that, with the same concentration and improve those areas of the bikes that are not perfect yet.
I am happy with the way I feel on track and with the confidence I have on the bike. We will see which conditions we find tomorrow and on Sunday, although it seems that it will rain again. In the afternoon the practice was a bit strange, because there was a part of the circuit completely wet while the other was dry, so conditions were not good enough either for dry tyres or for wet tyres.
I think everyone will be able to improve a lot, because today was the free practice and nobody wanted to crash, so the results are not very significant. At least we were able to do some laps and take references of this circuit for Moto2".
DREARY START TO SILVERSTONE ACTION
Typical British weather welcomed the teams to Silverstone today, giving them little opportunity to work on the set-up of their machines. Michele Pirro was also the unfortunate victim of a mistake by Aleix Espargaro, suffering a crash as a result, whilst Yuki Takahashi did his best to gather confidence despite the mixture of damp and dry conditions on track. Hopefully the pair will have better luck tomorrow.
Yuki Takahashi (13° 2'11"922 – 14° 2'21"301) "I used the morning session to get used to the track, without making any major changes to the bike. Then in the afternoon we did not get chance to use the data from the morning because of the conditions. The track was partly wet and partly dry so it was impossible to work on. Maybe I could have gone faster on slicks but that wasn't the plan today."
Michele Pirro (23° 2'12"271 – 7° 2'19"246 ) "I am disappointed with the incident this morning caused by Espargarò, which denied me the opportunity to spend valuable time on a track I don't know. Then we lost time in the afternoon because of the weather so we have not done many laps and we don't have much data for the set-up. Hopefully we can have better conditions tomorrow and get some work done ahead of the race."
Fausto Gresini "It wasn't a very exciting day and the conditions were strange thanks to the typical English weather. It was dry in the morning and partially wet in the afternoon, which means the riders will have to work on their set-up tomorrow. To make things even more complicated Michele Pirro was literally knocked off by a distracted Aleix Espargaro. "
REDDING RETURNS HOME TO SILVERSTONE IN STYLE
Briton Scott Redding made a stunning return to home shores at the Silverstone circuit today, the Marc VDS Racing rider topping the timesheets at the end of an opening day of Moto2 practice dominated by cool and unpredictable conditions.
Redding was in imperious form this morning, the 18-year-old dominating the first free practice session to finish an impressive 0.591s clear of Moto2 World Championship leader Stefan Bradl.
Working on improving rear grip entering corners with his Suter MMXI machine, the margin of Redding's advantage was particularly impressive given how close and competitive the Moto2 class usually is.
This afternoon's session started on a rapidly drying track after heavy earlier rain disrupted the 125cc and MotoGP sessions. Some sections were still littered with large damp patches, and Redding opted to use wet Dunlop tyres throughout, grasping the perfect opportunity to improve his confidence and speed in changeable conditions, which has been one of the weak points he's been determined to improve on during the 2011 Moto2 World Championship.
Mika Kallio produced a solid performance today too, the Finnish rider aiming to build on the confidence gained from his eighth place finish in last weekend's Catalunya race near Barcelona.
With forecasts showing more unpredictable weather is likely over the weekend, Kallio ran full wet tyres and slicks on a damp track this afternoon, his Marc VDS Racing crew making sure he is prepared for every eventuality on Sunday. He was 14th fastest in the dry this morning and 12th quickest this afternoon.
Scott Redding #45 - 2.09.808 - 27 laps - 1st position
"This morning was awesome and I felt great straight from the first lap. I had a lot of confidence with the bike and I was in the zone and just getting quicker and quicker. Even I was surprised though to be nearly 0.6s faster than Bradl, who has been on fire this season. I'm also happy with this afternoon because 90 per cent of the track was dry but we decided to stay out on wets. I've struggled a little bit in those patchy conditions before, so it was great to get some experience and work on my riding in those conditions. The British fans have been awesome and hopefully I'll be able to carry on this form for the race. I'd prefer it to be a full wet or dry race rather than those tricky in between conditions, but I'll be ready to gas it up no matter what gets thrown at us."
Mika Kallio #36 - 2.11.958 - 29 laps - 14th position
"We made good progress with the set-up of the bike in Catalunya last weekend, so this morning we were trying to improve the Suter MMXI package even more with a few ideas. We made solid progress and we were looking to find some more time in the dry this afternoon, but unfortunately the track was still quite wet in parts after the earlier rain. I went out with a dry setting on wet tyres because that is a situation we could find ourselves in on Sunday. I was in second position while everybody was assessing the track and then we went out on slicks while the track was still damp, again just making sure we are best prepared in case we have to race in those conditions on Sunday. I could make up lots of time in the first section where it was dry but I was losing a lot of time in the second section where it was still quite wet. The final times were decided by who wanted to push it to the limit, and I didn't want to take so many risks at this stage of the weekend."
Pete Benson - Scott Redding Crew Chief
"This morning was really good and this afternoon we learnt a lot, even though we ended up much lower down the timesheets. Scott did a fantastic job this morning; such a big advantage is not so easy to establish against this level of competition. Scott loves really fast tracks and today he showed that again. We made a couple of small tweaks to the bike based on what we learned at Barcelona and we improved rear grip on corner entry, though we can still find another step in that area. He's obviously got a little bit of extra motivation here, with it being his home race with a lot of British support, and I'm sure we'd have seen him in the top five this afternoon if he'd come in and switched to slick tyres. But we could have a wet start to the race and the track might dry quickly, so it was good to get some valuable information in those conditions in case we have to tackle them again on Sunday."
DAY OF LEARNING FOR MAPFRE ASPAR PAIR AT SILVERSTONE
Xavi Forés and Jordi Torres get to grips with new track on tricky first day
Like their contemporaries in the MotoGP and 125cc classes it was a day of mixed conditions for the Moto2 riders at Silverstone, where a partially damp track made for difficult choices in terms of set-up and tyres. The majority went for slicks as time progressed but a slippery circuit never fully dried out. The changeable weather looks set to stay for the weekend, meaning the riders have no option but to adapt as best they can.
MAPFRE Aspar welcome a new rider to the fold in the shape of Spanish Championship regular Jordi Torres, who enjoyed a positive first day at Grand Prix level in place of the injured Julián Simón. Whilst this was a first experience of the Silverstone circuit for Torres, Xavi Forés has been here before in the World Supersport series although the layout has been modified, making it a day of adaptation for him too.
32nd Jordi Torrés 2.13.689 (22 laps): "This was my first day at a completely new circuit to me. Silverstone is a really nice, technical track. It has fast and flowing corners that you have to get right and I had to get used to the track, the bike and the tyres today. This morning I felt comfortable and it was a satisfactory first point of contact. The conditions made it hard this afternoon but I am happy with the work we did. I will keep working to adapt my riding style tomorrow and get as much information as possible."
33rd Xavi Forés 2.13.770 (24 laps): "The current Silverstone is nothing like the one I rode before in Supersport so it was a learning day for me. It didn't go as well as I'd hoped and the rain held us back today, I didn't feel comfortable at any point. Anyway, we have a full day to work and I want to make the most of it. We started out with the same setting as Barcelona but this track is quite different so we had to take a backward step. We have work to do tomorrow."
Thomas Lüthi lacks feeling at Silverstone
Cool temperatures followed by a rain shower in the afternoon and the special characteristics of the fast Silverstone circuit made it difficult for Thomas Lüthi to get up to speed on the first day of practice for the British Motorcycle Grand Prix. "I hardly recognised my own bike it felt so different", said the 24-year-old Team Interwetten Paddock Moto2 rider, who normally battles with the top contenders but had to settle for 21st position so far.
For the second free practice session in the afternoon, crew chief Alfred Willecke and the other technicians worked on a new set-up of chassis and suspension, but then rain spoiled all efforts to get closer to the top of the time sheet. Towards the end of the session, the track started to dry up and some of the riders went out on slicks again. But nobody came even close to the previous lap times in completely dry conditions. Lüthi, who crashed at the last race in Barcelona and is still suffering from bruises and a stiff neck, therefore preferred to stay in his garage.
Tom Lüthi – 21st in 2.12,200 min.:
"It's a pity that we had such adverse conditions with wet tarmac on the first part and dry asphalt on the last part of the track. We really could have used that afternoon session so sort through the problems that we had in the morning. We went the wrong way with the set-up for the first session, and since it rained in the afternoon, we now hope for good conditions tomorrow to achieve our main goal. Currently, we are trying radical changes to the bike in order to find more rear wheel grip and a more forgiving bike when you are right at the limit. This season so far, I went as fast as anybody in practice, but riding those speeds was always an exercise on a knife's edge. Trying to maintain that sort of pace throughout a whole race was difficult and, ultimately, contributed to my race crashes. I'm sure we will be able to fix that – but today, my feeling for the bike was far from good!"
Terrell Thien, Team Manager:
"This morning, the bike behaved completely differently to the way we know. Nothing seemed to be working, which obviously has to do with the track characteristics here at Silverstone. We knew the right way to fix things for this circuit, but then a rain shower came down. Even though it started to dry up towards the end of practice, Tom and the technicians decided eight minutes from the end against a run on slick tyres. If we had went out on slicks a bit earlier like some of the other riders, we might have achieved something. But it was too late anyway!"
Alfred Willecke – Crew Chief:
"We weren't where we wanted to be with the bike this morning and we had a precise plan how to improve things in the afternoon. Unfortunately, bad weather hit and spoilt our strategy. Maybe we could have learned something on the last two or three laps if we had gone out on slicks in the end, but the track still was not entirely dry and we didn't want to risk a crash on the damp spots. Considering that Tom still feels the after-effects of his race crash at Barcelona, I think it was the right decision!"
Neukirchner storms to 15th position
West finds new set-up tricks
Even in former times as a World Superbike rider, the Silverstone raceway was one of Max Neukirchner's favourite circuits. On the first day of practice for the British Grand Prix, the 28-year-old MZ factory rider needed just 12 laps to storm to 15th place in the 38-rider-strong Moto2 field. Due to a change in the weather conditions with a rain shower at around lunchtime, Neukirchner wasn't able to improve on his performance in the afternoon. He now hopes to be able to further fine-tune the settings of his FTR chassis in dry conditions on Saturday.
Team-mate Anthony West, who has also been on an FTR chassis since the French Grand Prix, learned a lot in the wet afternoon session. Having struggled during a rainy practice session at Barcelona last week, we now tried an especially soft suspension set-up on his new bike – a choice that now seems to have been the lucky draw.
Max Neukirchner – 15th in 2.11,985 min.:
"Things went really well this morning and we had a good idea how to further improve the bike in the afternoon. But then the rain spoilt our strategy. We stayed in the garage for a long time because it made little sense to go out and ruin the rain tyres – on the half wet, half dry track, they were finished after only ten laps. 20 minutes from the end I then went out anyway, on rain tyres once again, and as it turned out, slicks would have been the better choice. I stayed out until the very end because I didn't want to have yet another pit stop. Altogether, that session didn't help us much. I hope for dry conditions tomorrow so we can confirm our improvements!"
Anthony West – 35th in 2.14,869 min.:
"In last year's race, I was able to pass a lot of riders and beat some good bikes, so I was looking forward to coming back here. In the first practice, the bike wasn't too back but it still was difficult to get a good feeling. In the second session, the track was half wet, half dry and I ran wet tyres for most of the time. The wet conditions were good in one way, because in Barcelona we had a lot of problems in the rain and now we went really soft with the settings. The bike definitely felt better so this is something we might even keep in the dry. Springs and suspension on the FTR have been way too hard in comparison to my old MZ .The MZ is more flexible and gives more feeling, whereas the new bike is super-stiff and the suspension has been too stiff as well. My only problem: All the other riders found those things in pre-season testing and I have to set the bike up during the race!"