Press releases from the Moto2 and 125cc teams after the races at Motegi on Sunday:
Podium and lead for Márquez
With today's second position, the Repsol rider takes the lead of the overall classification with an advantage of one point in his debut year in Moto2
After a smart race in the Japanese Grand Prix, Marc Márquez increased his brilliant run that allowed him to score 190 of the 200 points up for grabs. Spectacular numbers that took him directly to the top position in the intermediate category. In today's race, the main rival of the Repsol rider was the Italian rider Andrea Iannone, who led most of the race until taking the final victory, followed by Emilio Alzamora's pupil.
The two riders had a very exciting duel during the main part of the race until, just a few laps before the end, Márquez secured second position. With Bradl in fourth position, this result was enough to culminate a spectacular recovery and take the first position of the overall standings by only one point in his first year in Moto2.
Best race result of 11th place for Xavier Siméon in Japan
Xavier Siméon finished the Japanese Grand Prix at the Twin Ring Motegi in impressive 11th place despite strong stomach pain that occurred mid-race.
The 22 year old battled his way through the field after starting the race in 16th position. Unfortunately from lap 16 on he experienced strong stomach pain that prevent him from improving any further than 11th. Nevertheless the Belgian is happy with his progress this weekend and with the fantastic work o f his Tech3 B Team. Once again he could prove the competitive package he has with the Mistral 610 bike.
The concentration is now on the next round of the Moto2 championship that will take place in two weeks time at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia.
Xavier Siméon, 11th – 5 points:
"The 11th place is my best race result so far this season and I am very happy. My target was a Top 10 finish and I just missed out on that, but I am happy with the progress we made this weekend. My speed was very fast. Unfortunately I experienced strong stomach pain from lap 16 or 17 on and I could not maintain my rhythm with that or fight any harder than I did. My team did a great job this weekend and we made another step into the right direction. Now we have to concentrate to improve further also in Australia for the next race and the next step forward."
Hervé Poncharal, Team Manager:
"I am really happy for Xavier. He rode a good race today at the Twin Ring Motegi. Unfortunately he suffered from some stomach pain that did not allow him to go any further up. I am sure he could have finished in the Top 10, but 11th is a fantastic result and I am really happy with the Tech3 B Team and I am happy RTL Belgium is getting a decent result for all their great support. The Mistral 610 is a competitive package and we are delighted with the progress Xavier makes with it."
RW Racing GP leaves Japan empty handed
RW Racing GP and Luis Salom return back home empty handed after the Japanese Grand Prix. A poor start followed by a crash in turn two meant that the result was certainly not what the team had envisioned. No one could be satisfied with the 23rd place.
At the start of the 125cc race at Motegi Luis Salom let the clutch slip too early and the bike dropped dead. In an attempt to make up the loss quickly, he braked late for turn two. He went straight and took Josep Rodriguez with him in the crash. Both riders were able to rejoin the race.
Salom began catching up as the thirtieth, 38 seconds behind the last man. With a crooked clutch pedal racing it was difficult, but nevertheless he managed to climb to 23rd place, although it was not the result for which he had come to Japan.
"The only positive thing is that I didn´t hurt myself in the crash," said Shalom. "I have considered to quit, but it that case are you sure you have nothing. I prefered to ride on and see where it brings me, because you never know. I'm very sorry for the team that worked hard. Two crashes in one weekend - affecting the result heavily - is not good."
Ninth in the championship was not in danger, but the scoreless result made the pursuit for eight – with Sergio Gadea out of the championship quite possible – more difficult. In about one week the team flies back to the east, for the Grand Prix of Australia and Malaysia. "It has to be done there," said Salom. "These are two of my favorite tracks and I am determined to grab eighth place. I want to end the season well. Not only to forget these kind of races."
GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN: THIRD VICTORY OF 2011 SEASON FOR ANDREA IANNONE
The fourteenth race for the 2011 Moto2 World Championship was held today at the circuit of Twin Ring Motegi.
This was a perfect day to finish the weekend with for Speed Master team. Andrea Iannone, after a good warm up in which he set the overall best lap-time (1'52.268), proved his incredible bravery on the track during the race. Starting from the third spot of the starting grid, the rider from Vasto grabbed the lead since the first turn, maintaining the first position for most of the time. Once he managed to create some gap from the guys behind him, Andrea had no rivals. The bike turned off suddenly on the nineteenth lap and that made him lose the advantage he had on Marquez, but in few turns he moved up again and achieved a fantastic victory.
With the twenty-five points that Iannone got today, he now has a total of 157 points, and he's still in third position in the Championship Classification.
Andrea Iannone, #29 — race: 1st
"I'm really happy with the result we achieved today. I knew this was going to be a difficult and very fast race, but we had a good setting for our Suter MMXI and we managed to keep a consistent pace from the start till the end of the race. I got scared when the bike turned off with few laps to go, but luckily its performance went back to normal straight away. I really have to thank the team for the work they've done during the weekend: we managed to find a good solution since the qualifying session and we improved. I hope that from here on we can work in this way and keep up this level of competitiveness. I'd also like to congratulate Marquez and Luthi, they were some tough rivals."
MORE POINTS FOR MAHINDRA AT MOTEGI
Sunday, 2 October, 2011: Mahindra rider Marcel Schrötter finished in the points again at Motegi, with 12th place adding to his personal tally and reinforcing the team's third place in the manufacturers' championship as the end of the season approaches.
But the race brought heart-break to team-mate Danny Webb (20). The English rider made a brilliant start and held a strong 11th place for the first eight of 20 laps of the 4.801-km circuit north-east of Tokyo – only for his engine to stop for the most prosaic and unpredictable of reasons ... the failure of two studs securing the cylinder head.
Schrötter (18, from Germany) had been slowed by two crashes in front of him in the opening two laps and lost touch with Webb, but held his position almost to the end. Only with four laps to go did his choice of soft tyres leave him unable to defend himself when another rider took 11th place from him, but he held 12th to the flag.
The Mahindra team, the only one in the paddock to make its own engine and chassis, was operating at half-strength, with a skeleton staff of four Italian freelance mechanics replacing eight regulars who had taken the option not to attend the race due to fears of radiation from the Fukushima nuclear plant.
"Considering the team was at half-strength with no regular mechanics, it was a satisfying weekend. We battled the odds, and at least we had one bike in the points. It would have been double points, but for a small but costly problem for Danny. All the odds were stacked against us, but we managed to take something from positive from the weekend," said Team Principal Mufaddal Choonia.
"I believe we demonstrated the value of the Mahindra brand – accepting no limits. We added to our points tally, and reinforced our position of third in the manufacturers' championship," he said.
Team manager Nicola Casadei added: "It was not so bad, considering our situation. Marcel in the points again, and I am sure Danny would have been in the top ten."
The next round is the Australian GP at Phillip Island in two weeks.
MARCEL SCHRÖTTER – 12th Position
I think we did a good job in a difficult weekend. It was hard to set up the bike, but we still qualified well. In the race I got a good start, but in the second corner two riders crashed in front of me and I had to brake. On the next lap in the same corner the same thing and I nearly hit the fallen bike. It meant I lost touch with Danny. I was on my own until near the end, when Jakub Kornfeil caught me. I was using soft tyres, and so I couldn't push any harder. But more points is good.
DANNY WEBB – Did Not Finish
I was sure I was going to get my first top ten of the year. I felt comfortable with my pace, and although I was alone I knew I could keep it up and stay consistent. Then a cylinder-head stud sheared, and that was that. It's hard to take: I've had so much bad luck this year. I hope it changes soon.
Marc Márquez, new Moto2 leader
The Repsol rider finishes the Japanese Grand Prix in second place and takes the lead of the overall standings with an advantage of one point
The statistics of this year say that when Marc Márquez scores in a Moto2 race, he is in first or second position; a consistency that, after the retirements of the first races, has taken him to the first position of the Championship three rounds before the end. Despite confidence problems during the weekend, the Repsol rider was able to finish second and take seven points more than Stefan Bradl, who he has overtaken in the overall standings by one point.
From the moment the red lights went out, it was clear that the strongest man today was Andrea Iannone. The Italian started from the first row led by Márquez, but he overtook the Spanish rider before reaching the first corner and tried to build some margin to secure his first victory of the season. Márquez would not let him escape and was always at his wheel, followed by Simone Corsi and Stefan Bradl who, starting from the eighth place, overtook four rivals in the first laps to be part of the group of first riders that spearheaded the race.
After seven laps, Márquez launched an attack and took the lead but, contrary to the last few races, he was not able to escape from his rivals and a lap later was overtaken by Iannone and even Bradl. Just a few corners later, he recovered the second place, but by that time Iannone had pushed to the limit, setting the fastest lap of the race and building some advantage over the Spaniard. Emilio Alzamora's pupil tried to recover the lost ground and, although he was able to set a margin over Corsi y Bradl, he could not catch Iannone.
Five laps from the end, a technical problem for the Italian —his engine stop for a second— allowed Márquez to take the lead of the race, but it was only for a lap, the time Iannone took to recover the lost ground and overtake the Repsol rider, on his way to victory. With Bradl fighting for the third place of the podium several seconds behind, Márquez settled for the second position, which was rewarded with the final fourth position for the German, a result that leaves the Spaniard as leader of the World Championship by one point, only three races before the end of the championship.
2nd at 1.999 sec.
"It was a difficult race. Maybe here we did not find the perfect setup, but the team did a very good job, improving during the weekend.
Today Iannone was a bit faster and I tried to do my best to win the race, but it is true that in the last laps I thought a bit more about the Championship and I saw on the board ten laps before the end that they said "P2 OK".
Today it was a tough race for us, but to finish in second place when we do not have a perfect setup is a very good result".
Top 10 for battling Smith in Japan
Tech 3 Racing Team rider Bradley Smith battled hard to another impressive top 10 Moto2 result at a cool and cloudy Twin Ring Motegi circuit in Japan this afternoon.
Smith got a decent start from the second row of the grid and held fourth place on the opening lap, but a lack of rear grip in the coolest temperatures experienced all weekend meant the 20-year-old was unable to launch an attack to try and claim a fourth podium finish of the campaign.
The British rider once again showed his grit and determination to come out on top of a titanic tussle for seventh place involving Dominique Aegerter, Esteve Rabat and Mika Kallio. Despite not having the rear grip he anticipated, Smith held off the trio wi th some outstanding riding on worn tyres to collect his ninth top 10 finish of the 2011 World Championship.
The 23-lap race proved to be a difficult experience for team-mate Mike di Meglio. He had just forced his way into the top 20 when he tangled with Santiago Hernandez on lap seven. The incident relegated him to 32nd but he continued to battle hard and at the chequered flag he had recovered to 27th.
Bradley Smith 7th – 121 points:
"We can't be satisfied to start the race fourth and finish back in seventh, but I did the best job I could with the package I had today. I started the race full of confidence that I could compete for the podium based on how competitive my times were in practice and qualifying. But right from the start it was obvious I didn't have the same grip I had all weekend and it made it very diff icult. I'm not really sure why we didn't have the same grip, so we need to analyse deeper and try and find an explanation. In the early laps I couldn't keep my pace and lost a few places, so I suppose I should be satisfied that I kept my head down and battled hard right to the end to take seventh. My pace was consistent over the final 10 laps, so that is a positive, but I am pretty disappointed to finish so far back. We'll put this result behind us and try and fight again for the top six in Australia, which is a track I can't wait to ride the Mistral 610 at."
Mike di Meglio: 27th – 12 points:
"That was a very bad race for me. I had a quite good start, but then there was an incident that ruined everything. I had to fight very hard to come back after I was pushed out by Hernandez while we were passing each other in the second corner. It is very difficult to explain how I feel, as I really wanted to have a good finish. We will try again in Australia and I hope I will be more lucky there."
Herve Poncharal – Team Manager:
"We went into the race with high expectations that Bradley could battle for the podium because he had been very fast and consistent all weekend. He made a good start but he immediately started to lose some places, so we knew he didn't have the same feeling or confidence like he had in practice and qualifying because normally this never happens to him. The bike was set-up the same for the race as qualifying, but it is clear that Bradley has some rear grip issues and we need to investigate further what happened. It is a shame for him and the Tech 3 Racing Team because we could have definitely been in the hunt for a podium today. Bradley still did a great job and never gave up and he showed his fighting spirit to take seventh. He i s still in the fight for the third in the Championship and we hope he can be battling at the front again in Phillip Island. Mike had another tough race and he was a bit unlucky to get caught up in an incident with another rider. We hope he can be competing for the points again in Phillip Island."
FIRST PODIUM DOUBLE OF 2011 FOR BANKIA ASPAR
Nico Terol and Héctor Faubel step onto the podium in second and third place in Japan
The 125cc Japanese Grand Prix was dominated by the front row starters, as Terol, Faubel and Zarco showed their strength almost from the moment the red lights went out. A drop in temperatures to 17ºc at Motegi changed the game slightly on race day, but the pace was as high as ever: 1.58.508 had been the fastest lap of the weekend, and the top three were riding regularly in the 1'58 mark. Terol led the first part of the race, but Zarco took the win in the end.
BANKIA Aspar's Nico Terol and Héctor Faubel were able to end their weekend on the podium, with second and third place. The former took another important second place finish to keep up his lead of the world championship, and had made a strong push for the opening thirteen laps. However, running wide on lap fifteen lost Terol valuable tenths to Zarco, and from then on he preferred a cautious approach in order to confirm second. It was his fourth consecutive podium and he leaves Japan with a 31 point advantage in the overall standings.
Héctor Faubel's third place also came after a battle with Zarco, who the Spaniard passed on a couple of occasions. His neck was still sore from a crash at the previous round in Aragón, and the injury gradually took its toll. Nonetheless, Faubel was able to bring his bike home in the final podium spot.
BANKIA Aspar Team's Adrián Martín had a third successful race in a row, with a strong start and a long spell amongst the chasing pack. He placed eighth at the end of the race.
2nd Nico Terol: "In theory my tyre choice was pretty clear, but in the race my rubber was destroyed at the halfway point. Right at that time I ran a little wide at the end of the straight when I was pushing too hard, and had to change my line. I made a mistake trying to get too close to the rider ahead of me, whilst he kept up his pace. With the scare and my tyres going off early, I preferred to conserve second place for the championship. We were on a run of three consecutive wins, and I am satisfied with this second place. We've got three races coming up that I really enjoy -in particular Phillip Island and Sepang. I will be riding in front of my home fans at Cheste too. This round has left a bittersweet taste in my mouth, because I wasn't able to battle for the win at the end of the race, but this little bit of anger will be used as positive energy for the next race."
3rd Héctor Faubel: "This was a race of two very different parts. My back and neck were bothering me all weekend, but I still thought that I would be able to last the race. I was riding very comfortably at the start, but with nine laps to go the painkillers started to wear off. When I was shaken by the bike I felt a lot of pain in my neck and lost concentration, because I was no longer feeling at ease. I could barely lean in for the left-handers with five laps to go. It was hard to finish this race, but I wanted to take a podium in any way I could. I am happy despite the pain, because this rostrum is very important for me and the team when we look at what happened at Aragón".
8th Adrián Martín: "Today I was able to check that I am capable of forming part of the training group. I am very happy, and it has been an almost flawless weekend. Maybe we could have done a little better, but after the run that we were on before Aragón we are favouring caution. I had a lot of fun and felt strong, but it's a pity that on the last lap I made a mistake on the run to the line that slowed the bike down too much. I'm satisfied; eighth is a good result, as I was defending well throughout the race and never dropped out of that chasing group. I'm happy to have got a result like this at Motegi, which is a track that I like, and to have started the flyaway in a positive fashion."
KALLIO FIGHTS HARD FOR TOP TEN IN JAPAN
Mika Kallio extended his run of impressive results in the ultra-competitive Moto2 class at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit in Japan today, the Marc VDS Racing Team rider racing to a fourth consecutive points-scoring finish.
Kallio made a terrific start from 12th on the grid and claimed eighth from Bradley Smith on lap four to immediately launch a pursuit of Alex de Angelis in sixth, who was just over a second ahead.
Maintaining a fast pace in the low 1.53 bracket, Kallio then became locked in a riveting four-rider fight for seventh involving Smith, Dominique Aegerter and Esteve Rabat. As the battle intensified, Kallio superbly upped his pace to match the speed of the leading group and on lap 19 he set his best time of the race with a 1.52.832.
That was the eighth best lap of the 23-lap encounter and despite exerting tremendous pressure on the trio in front, Kallio had to settle for 10th place at the chequered flag.
British rider Scott Redding was locked in his own exciting fight, but it wasn't for the position he anticipated as he experienced a difficult race. With limited time to tap into the potential of the new 2012 Suter MMXII chassis he used in practice and qualifying, Redding started the race on this year's frame, which his crew felt would give him the best chance of fighting inside the top six for the fourth successive race.
But with temperatures at a weekend low of just 19 degrees, Redding was unable to find the maximum grip levels with his hard compound Dunlop rear tyre selection. He battled hard to remain in contention for the top 15 in the early laps but without the traction he anticipated he eventually crossed the line in 20th position.
Mika Kallio #36: 10th Position
"I am pretty satisfied with the race because the goal was to be in the top 10 again and we managed to achieve that. But I definitely thought I could get my best result of the season in the middle of the race. It was another intense battle for seventh and I did absolutely everything possible to gain some places. I was pushing right on the limit but the problem was the four of us battling for seventh were all running the same pace, so the gap between us remained the same. It was still a positive result and I want to say a big thanks to the Marc VDS Racing Team because all weekend we were very strong and competitive, so we can look forward to the last three races with a lot of confidence."
Scott Redding #45: 20th Position
"That was a tough ending to a pretty tough weekend, so we just need to regroup and come back stronger in Phillip Island. The new chassis has a lot of potential, but we ran the current frame because we thought we'd be better off racing the bike in a spec we have a lot more experience of. The bike felt pretty good in the warm-up but I just didn't have any grip at all right from the start. It was frustrating because there was nothing I could do and each time I tried to push I had a pretty big moment. We ran the harder tyre because that was the tyre everybody had been doing the fast times on all weekend. There wasn't a big difference between the soft and the hard but obviously we were on the wrong one."
Michael Bartholemy - Team Manager
"We hoped that Mika and Scott would both be battling inside the top 10 today but unfortunately we could only achieve 50 per cent of our target. Mika rode another very strong race and now we are used to seeing him competing for the top 10, which is where we know a rider with his talent should be. Once again he was fighting in a really tough battle and he never gave up, so to come away with another top 10 is a satisfying result for Mika. Obviously we expected Scott to be much more competitive considering the way he has been performing in the last three races. These tyres were made for the original race in April and earlier in the season he struggled on them and unfortunately it was no different in the race. We are confident he can bounce back in Phillip Island where he was amazing last year. He fought for the victory until the last lap, so hopefully he can do the same next weekend."
JORDI TORRES' JAPANESE GP ENDED BY HIT FROM BEHIND
After a positive weekend, MAPFRE Aspar rider is taken out of Motegi race by another rider on lap one.
Low temperatures and a risk of rain gave the Moto2 riders an added unknown at Motegi on Sunday, but they approached the race in the same way as any other. The frontrunners attempted an early break away, with Andrea Iannone and poleman Marc Márquez the two fastest out of the blocks. It wasn't as exciting an affair as the previous round at Aragón, but the Moto2 contest was still an entertaining tussle behind leader Iannone. Márquez, Corsi and Bradl were early participants in the battle, and were later joined by Alex De Angelis and Thomas Luthi. Crossing the line in isolation, the top three consisted of Iannone, Márquez and Luthi.
MAPFRE Aspar rider Jordi Torres had reason to expect one of his best races of the season in Japan, having shown continual improvement since Friday morning. He earned his highest qualifying position of the season and was going for points at Motegi, but it wasn't to be. Starting from eleventh, Torres was holding his own off the line, but paid the price for joining a packed group when he was hit from behind at Turn 4. That ended his race and meant that he will have to wait until the next round in Australia in order to continue his progress.
Jordi Torres (DNF): "First of all I want to thank the team for the great job that they are doing for me -even though the results haven't come yet. We had worked a lot on our pace and had made a plan for the start of the race. I took off well and was getting a feel for the race, trying to get settled into a group. However, on the second left hander I was hit from behind, and was unable to avoid crashing. I had no prior warning, and it was a real pity to end a weekend of hard work in this fashion. I am satisfied with how the team and I worked here in Japan, and it is good to know that we are getting better and finding our way in the class. On the other hand, getting taken out by another rider is never nice, and I hope for better luck next time."
The Grand Prix of Japan was another to forget for Yuki Takahashi, Michele Pirro and il Team Gresini Moto2, just when it seemed they were on the right path and everything was in place for a good race. The new Moriwaki chassis gave positive feedback in practice but the potential was not confirmed in race spec. The riders and team are running out of time to make a positive finish to the season, with just three races remaining.
Michel Pirro (13th) "Our problem today was the same as usual – we were unable to maintain our pace in the race and fight with the others. We have improved in practice when we are lapping alone but need to be more competitive when fighting with other riders."
Yuki Takahashi (30th) "I felt we had taken a step forward in practice but I struggled from the start of the race. I have to push beyond the limit to stay with the others and in the end I was forced into a mistake."
Fausto Gresini "I am very disappointed with this result and struggling to understand it. We used the new Moriwaki frame and even though there were positive signs over a few laps we were not competitive today. The riders are proving that they have the ability to turn this situation around so I hope we can help them be competitive again. We are running out of time but we will try."
Tom Luthi celebrates podium comeback in Japan
Thomas Luthi celebrates his comeback on the podium of the motorcycle world championship. The 24-year-old star of Team Interwetten Paddock Moto2 battled his way to a fantastic third place at the Grand Prix of Japan, which is his biggest success since his third and second place at the season-opening races of Qatar and Jerez.
Consistently fast and competitive lap times in all practice sessions had confirmed the hard and successful work of the last weeks, in which Luthi and his team established and fine-tuned a new base set-up on their Suter MMXI prototype. Third after the start of the race, Luthi struggled for a while to find the right feeling with a full load of fuel and held fifth position for several laps. But in a fantastic final, he pulled all stops to overtake Simone Corsi and Stefan Bradl and to re-gain third place.
The overtaking manoeuvre of Bradl was also a present to fellow Suter rider Marc Márquez in second place, who then managed to climb to the top of the point rankings by one point. "My special thanks to Tom – he gave us the lead in the world championship", smiled Eskil Suter, CEO of Suter Racing Technology. It also was a very special day for him and his company, as he was able to celebrate a triple success with three Suter riders in the top three position, the championship lead of Márquez and the early win of the manufacturer's title.
Thomas Luthi – 3rd, + 3,686 sec.:
"It's great to be back on the podium. I am very happy. The final of the race was especially satisfying, as I won the fight against Stefan Bradl and Simone Corsi. I was very strong on the brakes and once I got past these two, I was able to go even faster and ride at the very limit. The only thing left to do for us is to improve for the first part of the race. My feeling for the bike with a full load of fuel wasn't quite there, which allowed Iannone and Márquez to pull away. There are a few things left to do on the bike, and maybe the new swingarm will help that we have been promised for the race in Australia. But all in all we worked very well and efficiently. My goal is to keep this kind of momentum for the last races of this season!"
Terrell Thien – Team Manager:
"Tom's success was in the air since he took the best time in practice on Friday. He was able to improve further and rode a fantastic race. He struggled to keep up in the beginning, but he put up a great fight in the end. I also want to congratulate our manufacturer Eskil Suter and his crew from Suter Racing Technology who won the manufacturer's title today!"
Daniel M. Epp – PADDOCK Grand Prix Management:
"I am very happy about this podium finish. We were right up there in all practice sessions and we were competitive all weekend long. In all the battles for third place, Tom stood his ground and was the stronger rider in the end. Now we are just eleven points behind fourth place in the championship. It's our goal to bridge this gap in the last three races of the season. My congratulations to Eskil Suter for winning the manufacturer's title - this confirms once again that Tom rides the right bike!"
Triple success for Suter Racing Technology: All-out podium, world championship lead and manufacturer's title
Suter Racing Technology has had many reasons to celebrate this season so far. But nothing came close to the historic triple success at the Grand Prix of Japan: With Andrea Iannone, Marc Márquez and Thomas Luthi, three Suter MMXI riders conquered all three podium positions in the Moto2 category. Spain's young hero Márquez took the lead in the rider's world championship. And at the same time, Suter won this year's manufacturer's title.
Andrea Iannone had the best start in the race, took the lead immediately and knew an answer to all the attacks of Marc Márquez. When the 18-year-old Spaniard settled for a safe second place with three laps to go, the Italian opened a gap and crossed the line 1.99 seconds before Márquez.
Whereas Iannone and Márquez dominated the race with relative ease, Tom Luthi struggled to match the high pace at the beginning of the race. "I didn't quite have the feeling for the bike with a full load of fuel", explained Luthi later. But as the race went on, he found back to his rhythm and was eventually able to overtake Simone Corsi and Stefan Bradl.
"My special thanks go to Tom. His overtaking manoeuvre against Bradl gave Marc the lead in the championship", smiled Eskil Suter, CEO of Suter Racing Technology. "Tom rode a very fast race and did a great job. He and his team worked very hard for this success. I am very happy for him."
"All in all, things couldn't have been better for us today. The race was a demonstration of strength of our riders and teams. It also was proof that our bike is very competitive. To fill the podium completely is not an easy task in the Moto2 category. To take the lead in the rider's championship and to win the manufacturer's title all at the same time is an especially nice reward for all our staff and our partners that support this project."
"I want to thank all our teams for their fantastic cooperation despite all rivalry on the race track. Our success shows that it's better to push ahead as a team instead of fighting against each other on all levels. Our riders battle on the track, but the teams help each other out in the paddock, like they did when the severely damaged bike of Márquez had to be rebuilt very quickly after his crash in the warm-up session of Silverstone."
"Marc's race today was another masterpiece. The most important thing was to stay ahead of Stefan Bradl and this is exactly what Marc concentrated on. I'm sure he could have battled with Iannone to the very end, but at this stage of the championship, he was clever enough not to take unnecessary risks. This boy is super-intelligent and he knows exactly which limits he shouldn't exceed."
"Andrea was very strong in practice and highly motivated for the race. He is lightning-fast and now he also has the bike and its set-up under control. He rode the fastest lap of the race and was the dominant rider today."
"Dominique Aegerter also rode an impressive race. If he manages to grit his teeth even more and to stay with the front group, he will very soon also be a podium candidate."
"With three riders on the podium and five riders in the top ten, we can once again be proud of our team effort. It was simply sensational!"
West and Neukirchner 12th and 18th in Japanese thriller
MZ factory riders Anthony West and Max Neukirchner turned the Grand Prix of Japan at Motegi into a thriller and battled from poor grid positions to the maximum possible. West, who was qualified in 22nd place, fought his way to twelfth spot. Team-mate Max Neukirchner also pulled all stops and recovered from 29th on the grid to take 18th place in the end.
"The trend is positive", said MZ CEO Martin Wimmer. "Anthony did lap times at around 1.53.0 minutes, which was seven tenths of a second faster than in practice. He was able to match the pace of the race leaders before he got a clutch problem. Without this problem, he could have finished in the top ten!"
Anthony West – 12th + 20,815 sec.:
"I had a good start but then I got caught up with another rider who came from the inside line all the way to the outside. Then there was a crash in turn two, which helped me a bit. I then was able to fight and make up ground, catching people. My lap times where faster than in qualifying, which was good, but unfortunately I got a problem with the clutch. The bike was hopping then and in the corners I started losing the front, so I just held my pace until the end. Now I look forward to my home Grand Prix in Australia where I need a good result!"
Max Neukirchner – 18th + 39,609 sec.:
"In the first corner of the race, I was in third gear instead of second. I didn't want to shift back again and lost lots of places on the next straight. Then the crash in turn two happened right in front of me. I had to take avoiding action and lost places again. I also struggled with a lack of grip on the first laps. It gotter better as the race went on and I did my best lap time in the second-last lap. But all in all, it was a tough race: I think the balance of the bike wasn't right, because we were here for the first time and didn't have any data!"
FIVE RIDERS IN TOP 15 AND POINTS FOR FTR MOTO IN JAPAN
FTR MOTO filled a third of the point-scoring finishes in Sunday's 14th round of the Moto2 World Championship at Motegi in Japan with five M211 riders scoring valuable points, all led by fifth-placed finisher Simone Corsi.
Corsi took his 12th top 10 finish from the 14 rounds and has finished all 14 races in the top 15. The Ioda Project Racing rider set the fastest lap of the race and new lap record as he fought through to third place, eventually missing out on his third podium finish of the year by less than a second.
Esteve Rabat – on the Blusens STX was embroiled in a four-way battle for seventh place, crossing the finish line in ninth place after qualifying in 17th spot. Rabat moves up to eighth place in the World Championship. Anthony West took 12th place on the first of the MZ-FTRs while Corsi's Ioda team-mate Mattia Pasini finished 14th with Pol Espargaro (HP Tuenti Speed Up) completing the point-scoring by taking 15th place.
Eleven of the 12 FTR M211s finished the race with only Santiago Hernandez not making the chequered flag, the luckless Colombian crashing out with six laps to go on his SAG Team machine, escaping injury.
Kenny Noyes (FOGI/GP Tech M211) once more narrowly missed out on his first points of the year, the American finished in 17th place, 01.s second ahead of Max Neukirchner on the second of the MZ-FTRs.
Speed Up's Valentin Debise took 21st place with Ratthapark Wilairot (Thai Honda Singha SAG) 22nd and Yonny Hernandez – returning from injury – 23rd on the Blusens STX M211. Joan Olive finished 26th on the Aeroport de Castello machine run by former racer Alex Debon.
"We were hopeful of a podium finish at Motegi after Karel Abraham achieved one last year but it wasn't to be – even though Simone Corsi came so close," said FTR's Steve Bones.
He added: "The consistency and race pace of the M211 was a major positive. We got plenty of riders in the top 15 and it all bodes well for the remaining three races of the year in Australia, Malaysia and Spain."