Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first day of practice at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia:
Oliveira once again amongst fastest riders
Portuguese rider fourth on first visit to Malaysia, with Rins also amongst the top ten. Álex Márquez places thirteenth, whilst Viñales does not participate in free practice.
The Moto3 World Championship continued straight on from the Japanese GP with a return to action at the Malaysian circuit of Sepang. Miguel Oliveira was fourth on an opening day of practice dominated by Jonas Folger, with Álex Rins and Álex Márquez also starting well with tenth and thirteenth place, respectively. Second in the World Championship, Maverick Viñales did not participate in the sessions after announcing that he had severed his contract with his team.
The first session of free practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix was a positive one for Álex Rins and Miguel Oliveira, who on their debut at the Sepang circuit were fifth and eighth fastest, respectively. Álex Márquez had problems that after sixteen laps has left him running three seconds back, twenty-third on the timesheets.
Lowering their lap times, the Repsol riders improved their performance in the second practice session, in which Miguel Oliveira stopped the clock at 2’16.24 milliseconds, the fifth quickest time and 0.986 off fastest rider Folger. Teammate Álex Rins finished ninth, dropping half a second from his time from the morning, plus there was also improvement from Álex Márquez. The Spaniard was almost a second and a half faster than in the first session, placing twelfth.
Ten minutes from the end, rain fell on the track and ended the first day of Moto3 action. Tomorrow sees the final practice session, plus qualifying to decide the Sunday grid.
FP1 - 2:16.510, 11 laps, 61 km.
FP2 - 2:16.024, 9 laps, 50 km.
“Today the day went pretty well, although we suffered some setbacks in the first session and a mechanical problem did not allow me to be on top form. In the afternoon I suffered a minor crash, but I am fine. We are going in the right direction and I feel comfortable with the setup of the bike. Now we must close the gap to the frontrunners, as we are suffering on the straights compared to the KTMs. Our goal in practice tomorrow is to find a good slipstream and squeeze the most from our bike."
FP1 - 2:16.903, 15 laps, 83 km.
FP2 - 2:16.421, 12 laps, 66 km.
“That wasn’t all bad for us. We had a bit more trouble than normal, as it is my first visit to Sepang, but I think that we can be happy with the job that we did. We have to lower our times because today we were riding alone, so there is still room for improvement. The rain affected us and we were unable to continue with our work schedule."
FP1 - 2:18.428, 16 laps, 89 km.
FP2 - 2:16.958, 11 laps, 61 km.
“This morning I had a lot of difficulties, as both I and the bike were not at our best. In the second half of the day things changed; we took an important step forward and I had fun again. We should reflect positively on today’s practices, but will also have to continue improving tomorrow."
JONAS FOLGER MAKES STRONG START AT SEPANG
MAPFRE Aspar rider dominates opening free practice sessions in Malaysia
Just five days after rubbing shoulders for the race win in Japan the Moto3 riders were back on track several thousand kilometres away today as the first free practice sessions for the Malaysian Grand Prix took place at the Sepang circuit, where as well as dealing with the physical fatigue of their travels the riders also had to contend with 35ºC temperatures and 60% humidity. The day started with the surprise absence of Maverick Viñales following a split with his team and it ended with another storm as the heavens opened for the final few minutes of the afternoon session for the minor category.
MAPFRE Aspar rider Jonas Folger proved that he has moved on from the racing incident that ruled him out of the running for victory at Motegi with a dominant performance today, leading both free practice sessions. Sepang is one of his favourite circuits and he is already threatening to break the 2'15 barrier on the Moto3 bike, clocking an impressive best effort of 2'15.038 this afternoon. Luca Amato faced the daunting challenge of finding his way around this vast circuit on his first visit here, ending the day with the 28th fastest time.
1st Jonas Folger 2.15.038 (23 laps): "I am very happy because we have done a great job with the set-up today. Thanks to that I feel really comfortable on the bike and once again we have taken another step forward - not just on race day but also in practice now too. Tomorrow we will continue working in the same way and try to keep improving so that we can build on the performance from Japan. It is a shame that it rained for the last ten minutes because I think we could have improved our lap times much further. In any case we have started this round well and that gives us extra motivation for tomorrow."
28th Luca Amato 2.18.687 (25 vueltas): "Sepang is enormous - it is the first time I have ever ridden somewhere so huge. Some parts are tricky but I like it. The first session was a bit strange because I was trying to memorize the track and find some reference points but it was so difficult. In the afternoon we kept working at it and little by little I was able to get a feel for the place. We lost ten minutes at the end because of the rain, which was a shame because I was starting to find some pace. Hopefully we can pick up where we left off tomorrow and adapt to this track as quickly as possible."
NICCOLO CONFIDENT FOR SECOND DAY AT SEPANG
Team San Carlo Honda Gresini Moto3 rider Niccolo Antonelli lapped 21st and 28th fastest respectively in the opening two free practice sessions for the Malaysian GP today but his pace was not a true reflection of his potential around the Sepang circuit. After spending FP1 studying the vast layout of the track his work was interrupted by a thunderstorm with ten minutes remaining of FP2 and his lap time was actually a second and a half slower than his best effort from the morning. There is every reason for optimism, then, that he can step up his pace ahead of qualifying tomorrow.
Niccolo’ Antonelli (28th 2’ 18” 204 - 28° 2’ 19” 833) “I am not really happy with the final position today but I am confident we can do much better than this tomorrow. If it hadn't rained at the end of the session we could have probably moved up today but it doesn't matter because we have time tomorrow. We have concentrated on improving the set-up of the bike for this track and unfortunately when each lap is so long you get less time to make pit-stops during the session.”
Fausto Gresini “We planned our work today with a view to tomorrow's sessions and we are sure that Niccolò will make up a lot of ground on the top guys. The potential is there and if it weren't for the rain he would have already made big improvements in the final few minutes of this afternoon. We are confident about tomorrow.”
SEPANG: TOP 5 FOR IANNONE IN FREE PRACTICE N. 2, NINETEENTH TIME FOR ANDREOZZI
The Moto2 class got out on the track for the first two sessions of free practice for the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix, the fifteenth round of the 2012 season.
The day started off positively for Iannone, who got back within the top 10 in the session of the morning, putting together a few good lap times. In the free practice n. 2, Andrea set his personal best time on damp track, just a few minutes before it started raining heavily. Once the track was completely wet, Iannone and his crew arranged a final run to verify some choices in case of rain.
Andreozzi took advantage of today’s practices in order to get to know the track of Sepang, where he’s racing for the first time. A crash soon after the beginning of the afternoon session prevented him from taking advantage of the time at disposal at its best, even if eventually Alessandro managed to get back on the track and complete a couple of laps on wet track, gathering some useful data for the upcoming sessions.
Andrea Iannone #29 - 4th with 2'16.399
“This was quite a particular day, the weather conditions were strange. In the morning we were kind of fast, but we still have the same problems as in Japan, even if those problems don’t slow us down as much as in that circuit and they affect our results less. I hope the session of tomorrow works out well, with favourable weather conditions, so that we can try and find a way to solve these problems, or at least limit them. We’ll see what my chief mechanic and crew decide, but I’m confident. With the lap times of the second session we can’t really make any real remark, we’re fourth, but these aren’t concrete times. Everything is postponed to tomorrow, I hope things will go well in order to be competitive.”
Alessandro Andreozzi #22 - 19th with 2'22.231
“We took advantage of the session of the morning in order to learn the track, which is new for me, so that we have some information and we got to know it as much as possible. This afternoon rain prevented us from working as we had hoped. As soon as we got out on the track for free practice n. 2, the track was almost dry and I crashed out when I was completing my second fast lap. I managed to get back to the pit box, the guys fixed the bike and prepared the setting for wet track. We managed to complete a couple of laps, which were useful to see the reactions of the Speed Up machine.”
Good start for Marc Márquez in Sepang
Repsol rider third in dry session and sets good pace in second run on track dampened by rain.
The start of the Malaysian GP weekend offered up the two sides of the event: In the morning, there were high temperatures and good grip on a dry track, whilst in the afternoon there were showers typical of Sepang. Marc Márquez ended the first session in third with a time 0.333 off top rider Pol Espargaró. In the second session he undertook eleven laps to test out his feeling on a wet track.
First impressions for the Moto2 leader at Sepang were positive, and he recorded his best lap on his fourth of seventeen. He stopped the clock in 2’38.348, 3 tenths off the best time of the day.
The second session featured mixed conditions, with part of the circuit dry and the other wet, and Márquez rode one lap before coming back into the garage. The track gradually dried, but another shower made conditions completely wet and the Repsol rider went back out for the final 15 minutes. He put in 11 laps and achieved a best time of 2’24.498.
FP1 - 2:08.348, 17 laps, 94 km.
FP2 - 2:24.498, 11 laps, 61 km.
“The first day went well and we are fairly happy. In the morning we stuck to our normal Friday routine and, having not found the best setup, we still have to work more. In the afternoon we planned to continue with the race setup plan, but we were unable to do so because of the rain. It was good for us to ride in the wet to see how the track is in those conditions, how the grip is, preparing for if it rains on Sunday. With the heat here there are a lot of heavy showers."
Mixed Malaysian weather disrupts opening day at Sepang
Sepang, Malaysia - 19 October 2012: As it has so many times in the past, the weather at Sepang played a major part in today's two Moto2 free practice sessions. Scott Redding was 12th and Mika Kallio 17th in this morning's 45-minute session, which was held in typically hot and humid conditions. Rain shortly after the start of this afternoon's second free practice meant that neither Marc VDS rider was able to improve their lap time.
Redding and his crew stuck to just one set of tyres during this morning's first 45-minute session, working to find a set-up to maximise tyre life for Sunday's race. With tyres dropping off in performance after just four or five laps the 19-year-old Briton evaluated a number of changes to his Kalex Moto2 machine designed to increase the amount of grip available on worn tyres. He ended the session 12th fastest, but just 0.620s from the top of the timesheet.
Redding's plan was to do the same with the other tyre option from Dunlop this afternoon, but the arrival of heavy rain just minutes into the 45-minute session necessitated a change to full wet tyres. The Marc VDS rider took to the track with 20 minutes of the session remaining, but was left with too little time to refine the wet set-up on the bike.
Mika Kallio continued to pay dearly for the crash with Marc Marquez in Japan last weekend, with the 29-year-old Finn complaining of a strange feeling with the bike from the start of this morning's free practice. The Marc VDS crew made a number of set-up changes to no avail and now suspect that the frame was more badly damaged in the Motegi crash than first suspected.
Kallio was using an evolution version of the Kalex chassis, but will switch back to the standard frame for tomorrow's final free practice and all-important qualifying session. The Finn will also receive a new engine, after Geo Technology engineers identified a problem with his current engine using the data from the Motegi race and today's two free practice sessions.
Scott Redding #45: 12th - 2'08.635
"There was more grip than I was expecting this morning, but the tyres dropped off a lot after just four or five laps. We stayed on the same set to try a couple of things with the bike on worn tyres, so I was pretty happy to finish less than a second off the fastest time. The idea was to try the second tyre option this afternoon, but I didn't even manage one lap before the rain arrived. It took a while for the track to be suitable tor wets, which meant we didn't have much time to work on wet set-up once I got back out there. Hopefully we'll have a dry session tomorrow morning and we can revert to our original plan with the second tyre option."
Mika Kallio #36: 17th - 2'09.156
"From the very start today I had massive chatter problems, not just on fast laps, but also on laps where I was ten seconds off the pace. This afternoon in the wet I had a similar problem; the bike wasn't chattering but it was juddering under braking and on corner entry. We're not certain it's the frame causing the issue, but it's the most likely culprit, so we'll change it for tomorrow. In Japan I had a problem selecting the lower gears and even ran into the gravel at the hairpin in the race after missing a gear going into the turn. I had similar issues today and it looks like they've identified a problem with the gearbox from the data. So, not only will I have a new frame tomorrow but a new engine too; it's like today didn't happen!"
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"We know that tyre wear is going to be an issue here, which is why Scott and his crew focussed on maximising rear grip on used tyres for the whole of this morning's session. Even though he wasn't looking for a fast lap time, he was within a second of the fastest time, which bodes well for the race. The idea was to switch to the other tyres this afternoon, but the weather put paid to that. Mika's feeling with the bike is very important and he is ultra-sensitive to even small set-up changes, but he had big problems from the start today and declared the bike very difficult to ride. We think now that the frame was damaged in the Motegi crash, but it's almost impossible to test when we're on the flyaway races. To play safe we'll go back to the older frame on Mika's bike tomorrow; it's not an ideal situation, but it's better than chasing our tails trying to find a set-up on a damaged bike."
Rain stops Moto3 in Sepang
Raindrops stopped the second free practice for Moto3 in Sepang with still ten minutes to go. It didn’t matter much for the RW Racing GP riders although Brad Binder was on the move to a top 10 spot.
The South African had a good start of the Malaysian Grand Prix and feels there still is a lot of improvement possible.
His Spanish team mate Luis Salom had a more difficult session. Already in his fourth lap (out of ten) he set his fastest time of the day. At the time he set it, ten minutes into the practice session, it was the fastest lap but Salom had dropped to 8 by the time it started to rain.
Luis Salom (8th): "We have a problem with the setup of the bike. Therefore I didn’t have a good feeling and couldn’t push the bike the way I wanted to. We know what direction we have to go to solve it. I’m sure it will be much better tomorrow.’’
Brad Binder (11th): "We have made a big step forward. My feeling with the bike is good. I think we can improve a bit more and maybe have a top 10 start.’’
Team manager Johan Stigefelt: "Together with Kalex we are working on the chassis of Luis’ bike to give him a better setup. We know where to find it. Brad did a good job and can be even better. So far everything looks fine.’’
TEROL ON THE PACE WITH SEVENTH FASTEST TIME AT SEPANG
Torres nineteenth and already faster than his pace here last year
The minimal differences between the lap times in the Moto2 class held firm today around one of the longest circuits on the calendar as the top fifteen riders all rode within the same second in the opening free practice session at Sepang. Pol Espargaró set the pace but he was closely followed by the likes of Marc Márquez, Bradley Smith, Tito Rabat and Nico Terol. The situation was turned on its head somewhat in the afternoon thanks to a heavy downpour just a few minutes into the day's second session, forcing the riders back into the pit to change to wet tyres and adapt their set-up to the torrential conditions.
It was a positive day for the MAPFRE Aspar Team in all weather, Terol clocking the seventh fastest time overall thanks to his efforts this morning, when he set a consistent pace in the 2'08s. With work to do particularly in the final sector Nico finds himself just four tenths off the fastest lap of the day and feeling optimistic also about his wet setting. Jordi Torres was equally satisfied after improving on his lap times here from last year in the space of just one session. He also felt good in the wet conditions and is hopeful of improving on nineteenth position when the action resumes tomorrow.
7th Nico Terol 2.08.467 (28 laps): "I am happy with the job we have done today. I had a good feeling on the dry track this morning and felt comfortable from the start, which meant I could push without taking too many risks. We are four tenths off the fastest time and I think that's good for the first session. The best thing is that I set the time on my own and was able to stay in a consistent rhythm of 2'08s. I felt good at the start of the session this afternoon even though the track was damp and then when it rained we were able to try some wet settings and we improved on every lap. It was probably one of my best wet sessions ever."
19th Jordi Torres 2.09.420 (29 laps): "We tried some geometry changes today that we have been planning since Japan. We have altered the wheelbase and played around with the weight balance and the feeling was really good so it looks like we have gone the right way. We spent the morning experimenting and didn't push for a lap time. The plan was to do that this afternoon as well as making a couple more changes but the rain came. It gave us the chance to try a wet setting and be prepared in case we get a wet race. In general I am happy because I've improved my lap times from last year already and that was without even pushing."
MotoGP Moto3 - Team Italia off to a good start in Sepang
After conquering his first podium in Motegi, Alessandro Tonucci (Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#19) confirms his form by being the fastest Italian in Sepang. During the first two free practice sessions, the rider improved by over a second to post the fifth best time with a 2'16"082, 1"044 behind Folger, who was fastest in both sessions.
Romano Fenati (Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#5), at his debut at the track, had to learn the layout during FP1 and was able to improve by almost two seconds in the afternoon. He stopped the clock on 2'16"231, which grants him the seventh provisional spot before the rain came to end the second session with a few minutes left on the clock.
Alessandro Tonucci (Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#19) 26 laps, 2'16"082
"We started well. We began with the bike we used in Japan, then slowly tweaked the setup to better suit this track. We found the way during FP2, and we're confident about qualifiers."
Romano Fenati (Team Italia FMI FTR Honda#5) 23 laps, 2'16"231
"When Ajo hit me during FP1 I lost my rhythm and couldn't lap as I would have liked to. During FP2 we found good solutions for this track, and climbed back. I'm still working on race pace, as it will be the key on Sunday. But I think we can be strong during qualifiers."
Roberto Locatelli (FMI Technical Coordinator)
"Great start to our campaign here. Both our riders were able to show their talent and be at the front. It's nice to see that Tonucci made a definite step forward, as well as to confirm Fenati's talent in adapting to new tracks. We want to be among the protagonists during tomorrow's qualifiers."
WET DEBUT IN SEPANG FOR CAME IODARACING TEAM
The rain conditioned the second free practice of Malaysian Grand Prix. It started to rain during the last minutes of Moto3 practice, just few MotoGP riders went on track with the damp asphalt, while during the Moto2 practice it started a tipical tropical storm.
Danilo Petrucci has finished the free practice in 21st position with 2’00.818. The Came Iodaracing Team young rider has worked a lot on the setting of his IODA-SUTER, while in the afternoon he prefered to not take part at the practice because of the damp track.
Simone Corsi in Moto2 has got the 10th place with 2’08.534. The Roman rider was for a long time in the leading positions during the first free practice where he tested different suspension settings and tyres for his FTR. Because of the heavy rain in the afternoon he decided to stay at the pit.
Armando Pontone, after two dry practices, finished with his TR002 in 30th position with 2’19.323. The Iodaracing Project rider has found quickly a good feeling with this fast track beeing very close to his opponents at his debut in Sepang Circuit.
"This morning we tested different solutions for our IODA-SUTER – Petrucci said – with some good results, but during the second practice the track was damp and we couldn’t continue to work on the bike”.
"In the first practice we were quite competitive – Corsi declared – so we have tested some new regulations for my FTR in the last minutes, during the afternoon it started to rain and I prefered to not ride”.
"I found a good feeling with this track very fast – Pontone said – and I’m already very close to my rivals and this is good for tomorrow qualifying practice”.
REA'S SEPANG PREPARATIONS HIT A WET PATCH
A heavy afternoon downpour denied Gino Rea and his team the opportunity to continue set-up work at Sepang in the second free practice session today. After a first opportunity to learn the track and gather data this morning the British rider was hoping to make a big step forward in the second session but now his plans have been put back until tomorrow.
Gino Rea (23rd 2’ 09” 727) “We had some issues this morning so we were looking forward to having the chance to try some new things this afternoon and unfortunately because of the weather we didn't get chance. Then we had an exhaust problem this afternoon so we didn't get much chance to find a wet setting either. All in all it has been a strange first day here so hopefully we get more 'normal' conditions tomorrow so that we can set the suspension up with the chassis and learn the track better.”
Fausto Gresini “Everything looked to be in place to make big improvements this afternoon but the weather has not helped the team or Gino and the work they planned for the second session will now have to be completed tomorrow.
SET-UP WORK STALLED BY SEPANG STORM
Ratthapark Wilairot's weekend started off in positive fashion at Sepang this morning, the Thai rider registering a decent pace in the opening free practice session despite some problems that he hoped to solve this afternoon. Unfortunately he didn't get chance to do so thanks to a heavy afternoon thunderstorm and now 'Feem' and his team will have extra work to do tomorrow.
Ratthapark Wilairot (27th 2’ 10” 349) “I felt comfortable this morning and I tried to push from the first laps to give the team some good information. The balance of the bike wasn't quite right so we had some ideas to change it this afternoon and unfortunately we didn't get chance. The wet setting wasn't perfect either and we had some issues during the session but overall we have a good base to work from and some data for tomorrow whatever the weather.”
Fausto Gresini “It was a shame about the rain because Feem looked in determined mood this morning at a circuit he particularly likes. He started the weekend on the right foot and they had a good plan for this afternoon but unfortunately the weather put paid to that.”