Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the race on Sunday at Le Mans:
Grand Prix of France
Le Mans, May 19th, 2012
Two images capture better than enithing else the Ambrogio Next Racing's day: Simone Grotzkyj biting his hands, and Giulian Pedone throwing his hat into the air. The Italian rider, who made a sensational comeback (starting from 24th on the grid, after eight laps he was already 10th , at a pace that was often better than the first two) was halted in the run-up to first positions by a crash that, as he himself says, happened almost on the straight, because of the water that had flooded the track. Giulian, after an excellent start, stabilized his pace at a fast and steady rhythm, gettein a well deserved tenth position. The best placement of his still short career in the World Championship.
Giulian Pedone (50'58 "141 - 10 °)" I had thought it would be a tough race. Well, it was even more difficult. I had a very strong start, making up several positions. When I saw a couple of riders crashing right in front of me, I knew I had to run with the utmost care. I lowered a bit my rhythm, still fast enough but at the same time not risking tto much. The pace was the secret of it. I am very happy, because at every lap I always get a better knowledge and control of the new bike. Just fine".
Simone Grotzkyj (nc) "Yesterday, a mechanical problem forced me to give up the most important stint of qualifying. My mechanics worked flat out, and in this morning's warm-up, the situation was what had to be. We were OK. In the race, I started as a cannonball, trying to make the most of the usual tussle in the first kilometers. Then, I started my race, which was fast but without anything strange or exaggerated. No risk. The bike responded very well. I crashed in what is not even appropriate to call a corner, where we just close for a while the sixth gear. I think a patch. I must have made quite a a big tumble, because people, when I got up, greeted me with a “ola”. We can do well".
Fiorenzo Caponera (Team Principal) "Despite tricky weather conditions, we have taken a major step forward. The potential is great, and will come out. We just have to work hard to make up for the lost time. "
Álex Rins takes wet podium at Le Mans
Repsol rider takes first place and maiden GP podium. Viñales and Oliveira crash when chasing the win in accident-filled race.
Repsol Media Service France, Le Mans Circuit Sunday 20/05/2012
Rainfall made for an unpredictable French Grand Prix at Le Mans for the Moto3 riders, as the track became incredibly slippery and difficult to judge. Just 15 of the 36 starters completed the race, with two Repsol riders —Maverick Viñales and Miguel Oliveira— amongst those experiencing crashes.
Maverick took the early lead, whilst a bad start relegated Oliveira to tenth. Rins made up eight places from the start line. The first time across the line was taken by Maverick in second, with Oliveira eighth and Rins sixteenth. Many riders made attempts to break away, including Salom and Faubel, but the ever-alert Oliveira and Maverick managed to keep them close. It was clear that this was going to be a question of endurance, and so it proved. Rider after rider went to ground, including some of the leaders.
It looked as if Oliveira was going to be able to escape for his first Grand Prix victory, taking advantage of a crash for Faubel on lap thirteen, but he followed the Spaniard in crashing two laps later. That left the lead to Viñales, with Rins behind in sixth and keeping up with the pace —despite riding with a fractured right little finger.
Viñales was the favourite for victory, but the twist in the tale came when he also made a mistake and crashed on the exit of a corner. French rider Louis Rossi took the win, with Álex Rins coming out on top in a battle with Antonelli to take his first podium. His third place deserves extra credit as it came in just his fourth GP, in very difficult conditions.
Following the French GP, Viñales lies second in the overall standings, twelve points off leader Sandro Cortese. Oliveira drops down to sixteenth with eleven points and Rins moves up to fifth with forty-four.
"That was a really hard race, with a lot of water on the track and a lot of rain falling. I am happy —obviously not because of the crash, but because of the pace that we had up until then. We made a bit of a rookie mistake in pushing harder, which led to my crash. I could have had a great race and extended my advantage in the overall standings, but now I have to turn my attention to Montmeló in two weeks time".
“I did everything that we had planned. At the start of the race we took things with calm, as the weather conditions were very difficult for everyone. I followed the leader and didn’t want to be the one setting the pace. That was our plan, but when Faubel crashed I was left up at the front on my own.
My aim was still to keep going at my own pace, but my fall put an end to that. The conditions were really tough, so it was always going to be a question of seeing who could keep upright. I want to apologise to my team, because I don’t think that we deserved this".
3th at 28.899 sec.
“I still can’t believe it. This was a completely unexpected result for us, starting from 26th. I started with the intention of enjoying the race and doing as well as possible, but the fact that many riders ahead of me crashed out allowed me to move up positions. That further added to my motivation, and finishing third is a great result. My hand didn’t bother me too much; yesterday I broke my little finger but I had an injection this morning that helped me to put up with it today without too many problems".
Marc Márquez crashes out in tricky Le Mans race
Repsol rider retires from French GP and drops to second in World Championship —one point from the leader.
Repsol Media Service France, Le Mans Circuit Sunday 20/05/2012
The Moto2 French GP was a natural continuation of the preceding Moto3 race, with a wet track and numerous crashes that gradually took riders out of the running for the win. Marc Márquez opted for a patient strategy and took a cautious approach to the opening laps, completing his opening time around the Le Mans circuit in eighth. However, despite his plans, the Spaniard crashed out on lap eleven when in fourth place, forcing him to retire early to his garage.
The weather played an important role in the Moto2 contest. Once the lights went out, the Repsol rider was prudent and made a special effort to avoid early traffic on the opening lap, but an unavoidable collision with Alex de Angelis dropped him down to eighth.
Márquez kept his patience and moved up the order, ascending to third off the rear wheel of Scott Redding. However, on the eleventh lap he crashed out at turn ten, having just been overtaken by Johann Zarco. The Repsol rider picked up his bike and looked to rejoin the race, but was obliged to retire. With this latest result, Márquez concedes the World Championship lead to Pol Espargaró, whose sixth place took him one point clear of his compatriot.
The fifth round of the season —the Catalan Grand Prix— takes place on June 3rd.
"It rained in the warmup and I felt good, but there was a lot more water on the track in the race and I didn’t feel as comfortable as in the morning. I made contact with De Angelis and a number of riders got past, so I decided to take things with calm and keep regaining confidence. That’s what riding in the wet is all about. I was feeling comfortable and steady on the bike, then suddenly a small mistake made the bike slide abruptly from the rear and I couldn’t stop it. The positive is that we are still just a point of the lead and now we have experience in the wet. Now we will focus on Montmeló —I can’t wait".
FRENCH GP: IANNONE GETS CLOSE TO THE PODIUM, BAD DAY FOR MIKE DI MEGLIO
The fourth race of 2012 season for the middle class was held today at the French track of Le Mans.
Heavy rain fell at the beginning of the day, and therefore the race was declared wet. Andrea Iannone, who started from the fifth spot on the grid, went cautiously through the initial phases of the race, so that he could adapt himself and verify the conditions of the track. The Italian then reached the leading group, soon losing it in order not to hit a rider who had fallen in the middle of the track. Iannone immediately restarted his comeback, setting great lap times and grabbing a well deserved fourth position.
Andrea, with the thirteen points he earned today, holds now the fourth position in the Championship.
It was a tough race for Di Meglio. With a crash on the first lap, the Frenchman rejoined the race and did all he could to comeback. On the seventeenth lap, Mike crashed out, ending his home Grand Prix without obtaining any point for the Championship.
Andrea Iannone #29 - 4th
“This was a really difficult race. It wasn’t easy not to fall, the conditions were critic, the track was very slippery. Let’s say that, in the end, this race went well for us, because this morning on wet track we were struggling. For the race we had a better feeling and we managed to put together a good job, achieving this result. Now we’ll wait to get to Barcelona, where we’ll try to obtain something more.”
Mike di Meglio #63 - crashed out
“I started so so, and on the first lap in a turn I fell and, when I restarted, I was kind of far. My right boot was open and that was making it difficult to ride well. I was trying to comeback, but I crashed out. I didn’t hurt myself, but I’m really sorry because we didn’t get any point and the crew has worked very hard. I hope next time things will go better.”
MotoGP Moto3: a race to forget for Team Italia: Fenati crashes, Tonucci scores points in 14th race
It was a tough Sunday for Team Italia FMI riders and the whole Moto3 field, as the weather made it an elimination race.
Romano Fenati needs to put Le Mans behind. The rain spoiled yesterday's qualifiers and today, being even more intense, turned the French GP into a lottery. Fenny was coming back strong after a couple of conservative laps, but was forced to retire after crashing out in Lap 3.
It was a difficult race for Tonucci as well, but his resilience carried him to the checkered flag. Tonu climbed back to 15th place after starting 23rd, but had to come into the pits during Lap 7 due to an electric problem to a sensor caused by the rain. After joining the race back, he fought hard to finish 14th.
Homeboy Rossi won the race, followed by Moncayo, Rins and Antonelli. Among the many crashes were those of championship leader Cortese (who finished 6th), Viñales and Salom (both forced to retire).
Alessandro Tonucci (Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#19) 14th, 2 laps behind
"Bad luck influenced my performance today. Without the electric problem, I could have finished among the top 7 riders. Still, having scored points makes me happy. I want to thank my team, which supported my constantly throughout this week-end and especially when I forced to go back to the pits. If the weather will be nice in Spain, I'll be able to do better."
Romano Fenati (Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#5) crashed out
"I crashed out as I was climbing my way back. I'm sorry, it was a mistake due to lack of experience. I could have scored important points for the championship. Now we head to Barcelona, a track that I already know and enjoy. I'm sure I can do well there, especially if the weather helps us out."
Alfredo Mastropasqua (Team Italia FMI manager)
"It was a learning experience for Romano, who has yet to improve his approach in the wet. With a safer strategy, we could have scored some good results. I want to point out that Fenati's words about the transmission right after the race turned out to be incorrect. After checking the bike and the telemetery, our technicians discovered that the chain fell due to the crash. Tonucci did great, not giving up and finishing a difficult race. I also want to congratulate Antonelli for having such a good race."
POINTS FOR MAHINDRA AT STREAMING LE MANS
Le Mans – Sunday, 20 May, 2012: Mahindra’s Marcel Schrötter claimed a determined 12th place in today’s French GP, soldiering on in conditions that saw falls for more than half of the 33 starters to take the first points for the all-new Mahindra MGP-30 Moto3™ machine.
It was a cheering reward after a difficult weekend for the Indian team, race-developing two of only four independently made machines in a grid made up of fully-fledged over-the-counter production racers.
Marcel’s four points made up for Danny Webb’s disappointment. The 21-year-old Englishman had started from pit lane, and was picking his way forward through the spray and past the debris when he too fell victim to the slippery conditions.
Schrötter (19, from Germany) had started from the back of the grid after problems in qualifying, and knew he faced an uphill task. But he showed true grit as he battled sliding tyres and treacherous tarmac to bring the white-and-red machine home.
“It shows that you must never give up. We are working hard to develop this new machine and there is a lot of work to do. But if we all work together we can do it,” said Mahindra Racing COO Mufaddal Choonia. .
The race, fourth of 17 rounds, was won by French home hero Louis Rossi, survivor of a leading group that was ravaged by crashes.
MARCEL SCHRÖTTER – 12th Position
We had so many problems this weekend and the conditions were treacherous. Our engine is quite aggressive, making it more difficult in the wet. From the start, it was so difficult – so slippery you could hardly go round the corners. By the end I just wanted to finish, even if I lost positions. But it paid off, because so many other riders crashed, and I did finish and it is good to get points.
DANNY WEBB – Did Not Finish
I had a problem on the grid and had to start from pit lane ... they’d already gone when I got going. I overtook one person and had quite a nice rhythm. I could see I was starting to catch Marcel, then I tried a little bit too hard, and the bike was down. We’ve had loads of problems this weekend, but we’ll keep trying and we’ll be alright.
POINTS SMALL RECOMPENSE FOR MAPFRE ASPAR RIDERS
Tough race at Le Mans ends with Elias in 12th and Terol in 14th, claiming first Moto2 points.
The Moto2 race started in adverse conditions at the French GP and the track only became more difficult before the end. Many riders fell when chasing the victory and points -even the most experienced competitors on the grid. The race was eventually won by Thomas Luthi, after he best managed a wet track at Le Mans.
MAPFRE ASPAR rider Toni Elias started the race from tenth, and had moved up a position by the end of the first lap. However, difficulties with the rear of his bike meant that the former Moto2 World Champion could not get comfortable, and was left behind by the group ahead on the final sector. Elias narrowly avoided a crash on numerous occasions, but was able to bring his bike home in 12th position.
Nico Terol also claimed points -his first in the Moto2 class. The reigning 125cc World Champion had qualified in 17th, and decided to take things cautiously in the early going. His prudence allowed him to complete the race, although he would have liked to have done even better and would have preferred a dry contest.
The next round of the Moto2 World Championship is a home race for both riders: The Catalan GP at Montmeló. The duo are hoping for a dry weekend on June 3rd.
12th Toni Elias: "I'm not happy. I didn't have rear grip, right from the start. I had scare after scare and everyone else was opening the throttle before me. I lost them gradually, as they were taking half a second off me per lap. I almost ran over De Angelis when he fell in front of me, and from then on I lost touch with the group. In any case, we take some points away and keep on adding them to our tally. There were places on track where I was faster than others, but on the final sector they were just leaving me behind when they got on the gas. This was my 200th GP, but we celebrated this as a team yesterday. Today it was just a number. The most important thing is to keep on going and to focus on my home race at Montmeló. We have noted what didn't work in the wet this time around, in order to improve for next time, but I hope that there are no more wet races. I should maybe be going to Montserrat this week, to get some luck there."
14th Nico Terol: "Today the conditions were too difficult to be riding a bike, at a circuit where you slide around a lot. I felt very confident in the dry, with sixth in one of the weekend practice sessions, and I started off well in the wet today. However, I was lacking pace and I think that I should have been aiming for the top ten. In any case, at the end of the day I've picked up my first Moto2 points, which is a positive. The next race is at the Circuit de Catalunya, which is a track that I love."
BANKIA ASPAR TEAM EARN PODIUM AT WET LE MANS
Alberto Moncayo tackles tough conditions with aplomb for podium finish; Faubel crashes out whilst leading the race
A wet Moto3 race at Le Mans was a lottery for the riders, as the first to take on a slippery Le Mans circuit. Only 15 competitors made it to the chequered flag, whilst 18 fell by the wayside. The race was won by 22 year-old Frenchman Louis Rossi, with Alberto Moncayo and Álex Rins joining him on the first podium of the day.
The Moto3 riders had already experienced rainy conditions at the French track on Saturday, but the morning rainfall was what really complicated their weekend. The warmups took place in the wet, with most showing caution before the 11am race start.
BANKIA ASPAR rider Alberto Moncayo was one of the best in the wet, starting from fifth on the grid and riding a studious race. The Spaniard was in third place with seven laps to go, thanks to some crashes ahead of him and an uncanny ability to stay upright. Then the man ahead of him, Sandro Cortese, went down and added his name to a list that included Luis Salom, Maverick Viñales, Miguel Oliveira and Jakob Fornfeil: All riders to crash when part of the leading pack. Moncayo thus moved up to second, claiming his best ever World Championship result and putting the BANKIA ASPAR team back on the podium.
Teammate Héctor Faubel could also have been on the rostrum. He was fourth on the grid and one of the most experienced riders in the race, using his wisdom to know when to push and when to hold back in the early going. Faubel led on lap three, to the delight of the BANKI A ASPAR garage. With twelve laps gone, however, a strange crash put the former 125cc runner-up out of the game. It was a shame for the Spaniard, who had established himself as a favourite for the win and had returned to form with the arrival of the rain.
The next race for the BANKIA ASPAR TEAM takes place in two weeks time, at the Montmeló circuit. The Catalan GP is a home round for Moncayo, Faubel and for the team.
2nd Alberto Moncayo: "That was my best start of the year and my best race to boot. I took things with calm on the opening laps, keeping up with the lead group, but the rain started to come down more heavily at the midway point of the race. Riders were falling at the front, because they weren't dropping their pace and the track conditions were worsening. These are races for the fastest and most intelligent riders, and we knew when to rein things in slightly. Rins caught up with me and I gave all that I had to hold onto second place -the best result of my career. This is a big boost for the team, as this is where we should be all the time. We have to change our mentality now, and see if we receive some adjustments to improve things in the dry at the next race."
DNF Héctor Faubel: "We knew that we were strong in the wet and I kept up a good pace. The crash seems strange to me, because I was comfortable and was saving something for the end. I am happy with my riding but annoyed at the same time, because I led the race but could have taken a podium if I had stayed upright. That's racing and I always try to win when I see that there is a chance. The best thing about the weekend has been solving the engine braking issue and goingfast in the wet."
ANTONELLI NARROWLY MISSES PODIUM FROM 27TH ON GRID
Niccolò Antonelli produced arguably the ride of the day at Le Mans today as he charged from 27th place on the grid to narrowly miss out on a podium finish in fourth place. The youngster looked set for a first top three finish in only his fourth Grand Prix start until the final lap when he almost crashed and backed off to take what was still easily his best finish in an extraordinary race.
Niccolo’ Antonelli (4th) “We didn't expect this result after the crash yesterday in qualifying but the race went perfectly even though I didn't get a great start. Lap by lap I got more and more confident with the bike, which the engineers had set-up perfectly, and started making up positions. When I reached Rins I couldn't believe I was fighting for the podium but I kept pushing hard until the end when I almost crashed and backed off. Fourth place after eighth at Jerez and sixth at Estoril shows we are making progress and it gives me a lot of satisfaction. ”
Fausto Gresini “It was a difficult but wonderful race. The track conditions were risky but starting from 27th Niccolò rode very well. He showed a maturity beyond his years and he has followed every bit of advice we have given him since day one. He slowly built his confidence in the race and then made the push to lap in the same times as the guys at the front. He took some risks at the end but he had to give it a go at that stage. It was a wonderfully exciting race and it was great to see, we needed it.”
Smith marks 100th race with eventful 10th place in France
Bradley Smith's 100th Grand Prix appearance in the Tech 3 Racing Team's home race at Le Mans today turned out to be an eventful affair, with the British rider battling for a stunning podium before eventually finishing 10th.
A phenomenal start from 19th on the grid saw Smith finish the first lap in treacherously wet conditions in sixth place. Expertly understanding how hard he could attack on a soaking wet surface, Smith moved into the top three just five laps later to pursue Pol Espargaro and Thomas Luthi.
The 21-year-old's hopes though of securing a fir st rostrum of the 2012 World Championship campaign were ended by a small mistake while he was running in fourth on lap nine. Smith momentarily ran off track and re-joined the race in 14th, but immediately recovered his fast rhythm to launch a brilliant fight back.
He was back inside the top 10 on lap 17 and then superbly fought his way through to sixth on the final lap when he lost the front-end of his Mistral 610 machine at the last corner while fighting to claim his best result of the season.
He remounted to finish 10th, a result which moves him into eighth position in the World Championship classification.
Smith was the lone representative for the Tech 3 Racing Team in Le Mans today, with team-mate Xavier Simeon unfortunately unable to start the 26-lap race through injury.
The Belgian rider suffered a broken left hand and foot in a heavy qualifying crash yesterday. He will undergo surgery on the right hand in Belgium tomorrow (Monday) and begin his recovery.
Bradley Smith 10th – 24 points:
“It was an eventful way to mark my 100th race and I suppose it could have been better and it could have been worse. I had a brilliant first couple of laps and was quickly battling for the podium. It was difficult because I wanted to be aggressive and push but I had to be careful not to take too many risks with the conditions so tricky. The bike was sliding around a lot, particularly on corner entry, and that's why I ran off. I recovered my confidence and pace really quickly and it was great to battle my way back inside the top six. But I made a small mistake at the final corner and crashed. I'm happy because I could pick the bike up and still finish 10th and I was also very fast in the wet conditions. But I'm a little bit disappointed too because it was possible to fight for the podium, and that would have been an amazing way to celebrate my 100th race."
Herve Poncharal – Team Manager:
“Firstly I want to wish Xavier a speedy recovery. He had a big crash but fortunately after extensive checks in hospital, he has no serious injuries and he will be back in Belgium tomorrow where he is likely to have an operation on the broken hand. It was nice to see him in the garage today and everybody at Tech 3 Racing wishes him well and we hope to see him back on the Mistral 610 machine soon. The race was eventful to say the least. Bradley made an astonishing start and gained a lot of places and we were starting to dream of a podium, which didn't seem likely from the seventh row. In those difficult conditions it is difficult to be so precise on every lap and he made a slight mistake that dropped him out of the top 10. He rode brilliantly to get back into sixth and then crashed at the last corner, which is a big pity. He still got 10th but it should have been a better result and could have triggered a run of form like from Silverstone last year where he was incredibly strong and always at the front."
Moncayo finishes second in wet Le Mans Moto3 GP
Spain’s Alberto Moncayo managed to survive a race that scattered half the field in the gravel like wet confetti when he brought his Kalex-KTM home in second placein Rd. 4 of the Moto3 GP on the rain-soaked Le Mans circuit.
In what transpired as a battle of attrition that spared neither veterans nor newcomers Moncayo finished second behind French rider Louis Rossi. Only 15 of the 32 starters registered a result at the traditional French venue.
Red Bull KTM factory rider and championship leader Sandro Cortese started on the second line on his KTM Moto3 bike and rode a careful race in the middle of the pack while riders disappeared both in front and behind him. After a series of race incidents he looked set to pick up second place as the 24 laps drew to a dramatic close. Then he too got caught in the treacherous conditions and it was only impressive acrobatics and excellent balance that kept him upright. Cortese went on to finish in sixth but still picked up 10 championship points to extend his lead in the championship by 12 points.
Austrian Arthur Sissis, riding in his rookie year with the KTM factory team, showed maturity and bravery for his fifth place and career best in the series. The only other KTM rider to finish in the points was Niklas Ajo of Finland who somehow finished the race in fifteenth place after a crash and a visit back to the pits.
It was a disappointing race for KTM’s Malaysian rider Zulfahmi Khairuddin who started well and even led the race for some of the opening laps before dropping back to fifth. He too was caught out with only a handful of laps to go and ended in the gravel. Another victim was long time race leader, veteran Spanish rider Hector who exited on the Kalex KTM in the second half of the race during a phase that saw three of the top six go down including fourth placed Luis Salom on the RW Kalex-KTM
Bruised and battered Moto3 riders now have till June 3 to regroup when they will reconvene at the Catalunya Circuit for Rd. 5 in what is shaping up to be an eventful and exciting first year of racing in this new Moto3 GP class.
WILAIROT TAKES ENCOURAGING NINTH
Ratthapark Wilairot lived up to his prediction last night that he could fight for a top ten spot in the rain by taking ninth place at a soaking French Grand Prix today. “Feem” gradually built his pace and confidence to make up positions throughout the race, by the end of which he was amongst the fastest riders on track. It was a positive debut for the Thai rider on the Suter chassis that gives the team optimism for the rest of the season.
Ratthapark Wilairot (9th) “The result is very good. The conditions were very slippery so it was important to start the race step by step and build confidence. I am very happy for the team because we have picked up our first points of the season and they deserve it. The bike was great to ride in the wet but now we hope to get lots of time on it in the dry!"
Fausto Gresini “Feem had a great race. The most important thing was to finish it which he did with an excellent ninth place. He looks good on the bike and that is a positive sign for the future. Obviously there is a lot to learn and he needs to crash less because any more injuries could compromise his season.”
GREAT RACE SPOILED BY ANOTHER RIDER FOR REA
Gino Rea made an incredible start to the French Grand Prix today, storming through to third place before being taken out of the race by a collision with Johann Zarco. It was a frustrating finish to the British rider's first appearance at Le Mans but he has at least demonstrated the potential to be a frontrunner in future races on board the Suter.
Gino Rea (DNF) “We've had a tough start to the year and when you have an opportunity like this and somebody makes a crazy pass that puts you out of the race it is frustrating. I could pretty much do what I wanted on the bike and I'd only had one major moment with it before the crash. I'm sorry for the team but we have a lot of positives to take from the weekend and it's important we do that.”
Fausto Gresini “I am disappointed for Gino because he was having a great race. It was nice to see him fighting at the front, I would just like to see him be a little less aggressive over the first couple of laps because he was at risk of crashing on a couple of occasions. Then came the contact with Zarco. Anyway, he has shown his potential now and adapted well to the Suter so I am sure we will see some top performances too. Obviously there is a lot to learn and he needs to crash less because any more injuries could compromise his season”
Redding storms to podium at rain-lashed Le Mans
Le Mans, France - 20 May 2012: The Marc VDS Racing Team's Scott Redding made a stunning return to the podium in today's rain-lashed French Moto2 race at Le Mans, the British rider mastering treacherous conditions to finish in a richly deserved third position.
Teammate Mika Kallio also used all his experience to produce a confident and assured display on a soaking surface to secure a season best fifth position.
Redding made an aggressive start from the second row of the grid and quickly assessed grip levels to put his Kalex machine inside the top three for the opening 12 laps.
Redding's new smooth riding style that he started using in France to help conserve his Dunlop tyres over a race distance was also a huge benefit in the wet conditions and the 19-year-old kept himself in contention for the podium, despite slipping back to fourth on lap 13.
In conditions that demanded immense skill and concentration, Redding was promoted back into third on lap 22 when hard charging French rider Johann Zarco crashed out of second place.
Redding then rode a faultless final five laps to secure his first podium since the 2010 Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island, a result made even more special coming in the home race for the Marc VDS Racing Team's technical sponsor Elf.
Kallio was in contention for the top five throughout the 26-lap encounter and he expertly maintained a fast and consistent pace, despite encountering rear grip issues at the rain-soaked Bugatti track.
He dropped back into a group of five riders battling for fifth, but a fantastic late attack saw him leave title contender Pol Espargaro, Bradley Smith, Julian Simon and wet weather specialist Anthony West trailing in his wake.
Scott Redding #45: 3rd Position
"I am really happy because it feels like a long time since I was on the podium and this is a great result for me and the Marc VDS Team. We have been threatening to get a result like this all season and it feels great because last year was a bit of a disaster and we made a big gamble to change the chassis to Kalex. Right from the start of testing it made a big difference to my confidence. Apart from the result, the positive is that I felt confident in the rain. I had a great feeling with the bike and to be on the podium in the rain is a special feeling. It was tough at the start because each time I touched the throttle I'd lose the rear, so I just calmed down and tried to be smooth and attacked when I felt comfortable. Once I got back into third I just kept my concentration because it was easy to make a mistake and now we can move forward with a lot of confidence that I'm competitive in both wet and dry."
Mika Kallio #36: 5th Position
"I've got to be satisfied with fifth and my best result of the season because it was so easy to make an error and crash. I was fast and able to stay with the leading group at the start, but once they picked up the pace I was unable to go with them without taking too many risks. I didn't have the rear grip so when I released the front brake at the apex of the corner, I had to be very careful getting back on the throttle. That was costing me some time and each time I pushed I almost crashed. I dropped back into a group but towards the end of the race I got my head down and made some good overtakes, improving my lap time by a second by taking a few more risks. Fifth is a good result and Scott's podium meant it was a very positive weekend for Marc VDS."
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"I am delighted with Scott and Mika today because to have both of them in the top five is a fantastic result for the Marc VDS Racing Team and reflects our high potential in 2012. It was easy to make a mistake with the conditions so difficult, but both of them kept their cool and gave us a perfect ending to a very positive weekend. In the dry I was confident we could achieve this result, but I was very worried when it was raining. I woke up at 4am this morning a little worried because Scott hasn't been that competitive in the rain recently. So for him to deliver a performance like that is a brilliant reward for him and his crew. Mika also did an outstanding job because without his determination, fifth could have been 10th. He showed real class and experience at the end to pull away from some strong riders, including Espargaro. This weekend was a big event for Elf too, so it gives us even more pleasure to get this result in France for them. I'd also like to congratulate our car team who finished fourth, and the highest placed BMW team, on their debut at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring today."
STONER THIRD, PEDROSA FOURTH AT SOAKING LE MAN
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V) rode to a solid third-place finish in treacherous wet conditions at Le Mans today. Team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) finished one place behind the Australian. MotoGP rookie Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP RC213V) rode to a heroic fifth-place finish, despite suffering the effects of a nasty tumble during yesterday’s qualifying session.
Stoner – who announced last Thursday that he will retire from the sport at the end of this year – looked like he might challenge race winner Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) for the lead during the mid-stages of the race. After reducing the gap on his title rival he found he was unable to maintain his attacking pace once the track began to dry and his rear tyre overheated. During the final laps he came under pressure from Valentino Rossi (Ducati) who was able to sneak past into second place on the final lap.
After four rounds Stoner and Lorenzo have won two races each, but today’s result moves the Spaniard back into the title lead he had held following his success in last month’s season-opening Qatar GP. Eight points now separate the pair with 14 rounds still to go.
During the early laps Pedrosa suffered from a lack of temperature in the rear tyre – an issue that also hampered Stoner – and the Spaniard decided that this was one of those races in which it would be foolish to take too many risks. His decision paid dividends when Yamaha riders Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso slid off in front of him, promoting him to fourth.
Moto2 World Champion Bradl had another impressive ride, scoring his best MotoGP result despite yesterday’s tumble. The German made a stunning start from 13th on the grid and spent much of the race chasing Pedrosa, then resisted pressure from Nicky Hayden (Ducati) during the later laps.
Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V) was not able to get comfortable in the conditions and opted to settle for a finish rather than risk a crash. He brought his RCV home in tenth place.
Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR-Honda) had an altogether tougher time on his Fireblade-powered CRT machine. He struggled with electronics issues and could only manage 14th place, a lap down on the winner.
Thomas Luthi (Interwetten-Paddock-Suter) dominated the soaking Moto2 race, beating Claudio Corti (Italtrans Racing – Kalex) by more than six seconds. The final podium place went to Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team-Kalex).
There were plenty of tumbles in the 26-lap event, but Luthi rode a perfect race, running with the lead pack during the early stages as he waited for his rear tyre to warm up. He then moved into the lead at one-third distance, from where he built a comfortable three-second advantage. He looked safe in first position until he came under pressure from local Johann Zarco (JIR Moto2 – Motobi). The Frenchman was hoping to repeat the feat of compatriot Louis Rossi, who had won the earlier Moto3 race, but he overdid it with four laps to go, crashing out at the Chemin aux Boeufs chicane.
That took the pressure off Luthi who was delighted with his second Moto2 win, following on from his debut success in the class at last year’s Malaysian Grand Prix. Corti also rode well, coming through from ninth on the grid to score his first Grand Prix podium result. Redding’s determined ride to third place gave him his first podium since the 2010 Australian Grand Prix.
Andrea Iannone (Speed Master – Speed Up) crossed the line in fourth place, the Italian dropping back after threatening Redding in the latter stages. Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team – Kalex) won a frantic battle for fifth, just beating lap-one leader Pol Espargaro (Pons 40 HP Tuenti-Kalex) whose sixth-place finish moved him into the lead of the Honda-powered World Championship, just one point ahead of Marc Marquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol-Suter) who was one of today’s fallers. Marquez slid off at the same corner that claimed Zarco while running fourth, just before half distance. Former GP winner Anthony West (QMMF Racing – Moriwaki) had his first points score of the year in seventh position.
Luthi’s dominant victory moves him to within two points of Marquez, who had won two of the first three races.
In the new Moto3 class local Louis Rossi (Racing Team Germany – FTR Honda) won a fairytale victory. The 22-year-old from Le Mans survived the treacherous wet conditions to win by a remarkable 27 seconds after many of his rivals had fallen by the wayside. Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda) made it two Honda-powered machines on the podium, the 16-year-old Spaniard finishing in third place, behind Alberto Moncayo (KTM).
Rossi had a charging race from 15th on the grid, the Frenchman keeping his head while many of his rivals lost theirs and fell in front of him. Among the earlier leaders who crashed were Miguel Oliveira (Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda) and Maverick Vinales (Blusens Avintia – FTR Honda), who slid out of first place on laps 16 and 17. Those two tumbles promoted Rossi to first place with eight laps to go.
Niccolo Antonelli (San Carlo Gresini – FTR Honda) made it three Hondas in the top four, the 16-year-old Italian rookie fighting Rins for third place until he had a huge moment on the last lap that had him off the track and fighting for control. Antonelli regained the tarmac to score his best Grand Prix finish. Rins’ results was especially impressive since he fractured the little finger in his right hand when he crashed yesterday.
The MotoGP circus now returns southward for the Catalan Grand Prix at Catalunya on June 1/2/3.
MotoGP rider quotes
Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda: 3rd
“I was pretty happy to hold on for a podium today. In the early stages Cal, Valentino and Dovi were behind me putting on a lot of pressure, but we managed to pull a small gap on them as I was chasing Jorge. Then as soon as the rain stopped and the track was less wet, our tyre temperatures got too high, we started spinning and there wasn’t anything I could do about it. I thought the three of them would catch up and perhaps overtake me, but we managed to hold on for third. I enjoyed the battle with Valentino at the end, there was clean overtaking and we swapped positions a few times, but in the end we knew that Valentino had better pace than us and after he passed there was no way I could stay with him. We did everything we could today and to come away with a podium is a good result.”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 4th
“I had no traction out of the corners, especially in first and second gear, and I wasn’t able to advance. We made a few changes to the configuration of the bike after warm-up, hoping to improve it a bit. In the end it was other way around, but these things can happen. In the race I immediately realised it was not my day, not a day to take risks and it was important to simply reach the best position. I was lucky – after the crashes of both Tech 3 Yamaha – to finish fourth. Wet races can be like this and today was just not our day. We lost many points to Lorenzo, but the Championship is very long and we will have our time. This race is over and we must now think towards Catalunya. I’m really looking forward to going there. It’s a circuit that motivates me a lot and I will have all my family and friends with me. The team is working very well, we have a good bike and we’ve been fast in every race, but we need to be determined. Let’s see if we can speed up a little and take our first win of the season in Catalunya.”
Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 5th “This is a fantastic feeling! I am very happy and the whole team is happy too: this makes me very proud. Honestly I think nobody was expecting such a good result in my fourth race in this class. In general the weekend was tough because we were struggling a lot in finding the right set-up during the dry sessions and I also had a big crash in yesterday’s qualifying. Finally it rained before the race and I knew we had a good package for the wet. Already on my sighting lap I could feel that the bike was good and my first lap was amazing. After the first split I was in seventh. After that I rode behind Pedrosa for a long time. He has a very precise riding style and I learnt a lot from him. When it started to dry I could ride with more confidence, adapting to the situation even if Hayden was trying to catch me.”
Alvaro Bautista, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 10th
“I didn’t feel in tune with the bike and I couldn’t keep up with the group of riders ahead of me. The only option was to try and finish the race as best I could, and that is what I managed to do. I’m rather disappointed with how things went today.”
Michel Pirro, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 14th
“Unfortunately, this is the first time that I have been lapped in my life, and that left me feeling very bitter. The electronics didn’t help me at all, and without electronics things become very difficult in the wet. I just tried to take home the best result that I could, and I remain very disappointed.”
Moto2 rider quotes
Thomas Luthi, Interwetten-Paddock-Suter: race winner
“It was a very difficult race. In the beginning it was important to find a good rhythm, but I was having many slides from the rear and I could see it was the same for Scott in front of me. Whenever I touched the throttle with any lean angle I lost the rear. It seemed like Pol didn’t have the same problem and he made a small gap. I thought, okay, settle down, bring in the tyre and then start to push. I found my rhythm, got into the lead and made a gap. But every lap was at the limit and halfway through the rain came again and Zarco was catching me fast. If he had passed me I would have had to let him go. But then he crashed and things became a little bit easier for me. I have to say thank you to the team. There’s a great spirit within our team and I think we’re only get stronger, which gives me a lot of motivation. Early in the race I had lots of slides from the rear, but I could see that the other guys couldn’t go any faster. So I tried to get into a rhythm, take the lead and make a gap, and it happened. This is an important day for the championship.”
Claudio Corti, Italtrans Racing – Kalex: 2nd
“I never go fast in the wet, so this result is unbelievable. I don’t like the rain and I don’t like this track, so this is very strange! In the beginning I was with many other riders, trying to keep my concentration. Then when De Angelis crashed and was sliding along in the middle of the track I lost a bit of concentration. After that I tried again and rode some good lap times, trying to catch the guys in front. Then when Zarco crashed in front of me I decided it was better to relax a bit and make sure of the podium.”
Scott Redding, Marc VDS Racing Team-Kalex: 3rd
“We’ve been close all season after we made the gamble to switch to a Kalex chassis. We were close in Qatar, and then I messed up at Estoril. I’ve been trying to get the balance right, trying to calm myself down because I’ve been riding too aggressively. I’ve definitely calmed down a bit and I’m still going fast so that’s good. It took time for my rear tyre to come in – I was losing the rear every time I touched the gas. It took time for the tyre to come in. After that I was focused on not making any mistakes. Today it was all about being smooth and consistent.”
Moto3 Rider Quotes Louis Rossi, Racing Team Germany – FTR Honda: race winner
“The conditions were horrible, but finally the race had a very nice end for me! To win here, in my home country, in my home town is incredible. I think I need some time to go back to my box and think about what has happened! The race was so long and the last seven laps were so hard. I was trying not to make mistakes and I was talking to myself, telling myself to keep concentrated. I was trying to brake at the same points and give gas at the same points, but with a little more safety. This was the first time in a long time that I’ve led a race! It will be different in the dry. We need to work some more if we are to be able to score podiums in dry conditions.”
Alex Rins, Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda: 3rd
“I still don’t believe I got a podium! It was an unexpected result because we started from 26th on the grid. I went into the race with the aim of enjoying myself and doing my best. Many riders crashed and this allowed me to move up a few positions which motivated me even more. And finally I finished third which is a great result. My injured right hand didn’t bother me much. Before the race I had some painkilling medication, so I was able to ride without many problems.”
Niccolo Antonelli, San Carlo Gresini – FTR Honda: 4th
“We didn’t expect this result after yesterday’s crash in qualifying, but the race went perfectly even though I didn’t get a great start. Lap by lap I got more and more confident with the bike – which the engineers had set up perfectly – and I started making up positions. When I caught Rins I couldn’t believe I was fighting for the podium but I kept pushing hard until the end when I almost crashed and had to back off. Fourth place after eighth at Jerez and sixth at Estoril shows we are making progress and it gives me a lot of satisfaction.”
A day to be forgotten for the NGM Mobile Forward Racing Team
Things have not gone as expected today in the French GP at the Bugatti circuit on this 4th round of the Moto2 world Championship. The bad weather has once more made things difficult for De Angelis and Takahashi after a very good start of both riders.
Only three turns after the green light Yuki Takahashi was touched by Mike di Meglio: the Japanese rider fortunately was able to avoid Krummenacher, who was already on the floor. He then rejoins the race knowing that his race was inevitability compromised and ended in 18th position.
Alex De Angelis crashes only after 4 laps while he was in forth position and closing the gap with the first three riders. In the crash the rider from San Marino was hurled of his bike and slid back on the track fortunately without any major consequences.
Alex De Angelis – Crash Out
“I am really sorry, I made a mistake. I made a good start and a good first couple of laps. I was calm and fast but exiting the turn I lost the grip on the back of the bike and in the change of direction I slipped. I am really sorry because today we could have taken home the best result so far this season. I also like to say how sorry I am to the sponsors because they are doing everything they can to provide me with everything I need to succeed.”
Yuki Takahashi – 18º
“Yesterday we made some modifications with which I immediately felt good but today with the change of weather we had to try to adapt the setting for wet during the warm up and we were not very successful. We made more changes before the race. At the beginning of the race another rider and I touched and I had to crash so I wouldn’t go over him. After that I rejoined the race and tried to make the best out of it.”
Pietro Caprara – Moto2 Technical Manager
“Its a shame for Alex because the modifications we made from the warm up to race were good. In the first lap he was able to have a good rhythm and stay with the top of the group. For sure, considering the difficulties of this track, it being very slippery. It could have been a good chance to finish in fourth or fifth position. The most important thing is that made a good step in the setting, especially in both dry and wet conditions and it will be a good point from which to start in Barcelona. For Yuki, it was also a shame because he had a good average lap time in race distance but he was involved in a crash in the first corner. He rejoined the race and was recovering the gap gradually but unfortunately he was to far. The new setting of the bike is better suited for his riding and this make us confident for Barcelona."
Tom Luthi celebrates Moto2 victory in Le Mans
Brave Alex Rins battles to podium in Moto3 class
Suter Moto2 rider Tom Luthi celebrated a fantastic victory at the rain-soaked French Grand Prix. The 25-year-old from Switzerland started from second place on the grid and held second spot until the eighth of 26 laps, before he swept past Spaniard Pol Espargaro to take a lead that was never contested until he crossed the chequered flag more than six seconds ahead of Italian Claudio Corti in second place.
Whereas Luthi was “as happy as never before” on his victory lap with the Swiss flag, his world championship rival and fellow Suter rider Marc Márquez didn’t have a good day. Starting from pole position, he collided with another rider early on in the race and lost some positions. He was just finding back to his rhythm and clawed his way back to fourth, when the rear end stepped out and he crashed on the eleventh lap.
In an incident-packed race, Suter-newcomer Ratthapark Wilairot was second best Suter rider in ninth place. Julian Simón had held this position up until the last corner when his bike stopped with an electric problem. The Spaniard pushed his bike across the line and managed to save some points with 13th position, right behind Suter rider Toni Elias and ahead of Nico Terol, Dominique Aegerter and Roberto Rolfo, also on Suter.
In the Moto3 race, Spaniard Hector Faubel was making the initial pace ahead of Suter Honda rider Miguel Oliveira, who had qualified in third position. When Faubel crashed and Oliveira had a free track ahead of himself, everything seemed to point toward the first ever Suter victory in this new category. Four laps later however, Oliveira also fell victim to the treacherous conditions and crashed.
Team-mate Alex Rins saved the day for Suter and the Estrella Galicia racing team in heroic fashion: Despite the fractured little finger of his right hand, he kept a steady and fast pace and was awarded with third position.
In the MotoGP race, Suter BMW rider Chris Vermeulen, who jumped in as a replacement for injured Colin Edwards, has such trouble with his helmet visor fogging up that he was forced to pull in for two pit stops and that he eventually finished in 17th position. However, the mission for the team was still accomplished, with the Australian giving valuable opinions about the latest developments.
“It was a very interesting weekend for us”, said Alessandro Giussani, MotoGP project leader at Suter Racing Technology. “We tested a new Bosch software and we made a big step with the management of the engine brake and the traction control. The focus of Chris is a bit more on engine brake and the attention of Colin Edwards a bit more on throttle response, but in the end, the comments of both riders point into the same direction. Over the course of the weekend and in the race, for which we programmed the motor management only this morning, Chris gained a lot of confidence with the bike. We just need more test kilometres!”