Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first day of practice at Phillip Island:
Viñales returns with good pace
Maverick takes third best time in first practices in Australia. Rins, Oliveira and Márquez debut at Phillip Island with fifteenth, seventeenth and twenty-third place, respectively.
For the third consecutive week, the World Championship had free practice sessions to contest this Friday —this time at the Grand Prix of Australia. In Moto3, Maverick Viñales was back on his bike, finishing the day with the third fastest time. Rins, Oliveira and Márquez were all new to the technical layout of Phillip Island, but finished fifteenth, seventeenth and twenty-third, respectively.
Maverick Viñales was out on track focused on the job at hand. After finding his pace, despite a small crash, he recorded the fourth fastest time in a session dominated by Sandro Cortese. In the first run, Oliveira surprised with an excellent fifth place, with Rins and Márquez fifteenth and seventeenth, respectively.
Despite light rain at the end of the first Moto2 session, the second free practice for Moto3 finished in the dry and the riders managed to reduce their times from the morning. Viñales has stopped the clock at 1’39.495 milliseconds, 0.282 milliseconds off the best time of the day, set by Jonas Folger. A crash in the first few minutes prevented a repeat performance from Miguel Oliveira, who ended the day with the seventeenth fastest time, two tenths off teammate Álex Rins —fifteenth. Álex Márquez also had a fall on the opening laps, suffering a hard hit to his hand. He could not get back on track due to the damage to his bike, and ended the day in twenty-third position.
FP1 - 1:41.020, 14 laps, 62 km.
FP2 - 1:39.495, 16 laps, 71 km.
"I'm happy and I have a good feeling. Apart from the cold and rain, the first time out at the circuit has been very good. Again, I feel good on the bike. The track is tough, because the asphalt is very cold, and in the morning I crashed, but in the afternoon I could practice better. We found a good setting for the chassis and will have to try to get the most out of it."
FP1 - 1:41.085, 20 laps, 89 km.
FP2 - 1:40.921, 15 laps, 67 km.
"This morning things went quite well, although it was the first time we had ridden at Phillip Island. At first we had some problems with the setup of the bike, but with the team we have made changes ahead of the afternoon session. However, we could not find a definitive solution. I need to improve my feeling, especially with the front end of the bike, but tomorrow we will try to improve these aspects."
FP1 - 1:41.145, 13 laps, 58 km.
FP2 - 1:40.740, 17 laps, 76 km.
"In the first session we started with good pace and had a good feeling, though later, because of the bumps on the circuit, I crashed in the first corner. In the afternoon, I slowly found my feeling with the bike, but we needed more laps. We still have to improve in many ways, so for tomorrow we have much work to do."
FP1 - 1:41.261, 16 laps, 71 km.
FP2 - 1:46.739, 2 laps, 9 km.
"It was a new track for us and we had to adapt fast in order to place high up. In the morning we went pretty well, although we were still lacking a little something. In the afternoon, I had a small crash at the start of the session that did not allow us to go out anymore. Tomorrow we will have to work harder and be more focused."
FOLGER FASTEST ON FIRST DAY AT PHILLIP ISLAND
MAPFRE Aspar rider destroys final two sectors on his final lap to stop the clock at 1'39.213
If there is one thing predictable about the weather at Phillip Island it's its unpredictability and there was a traditional welcome for the paddock today as equal measures of cold, wind, rain and sunshine signalled the start of the Australian Grand Prix. Sandro Cortese completed his first laps as 2012 Moto3 World Champion and Maverick Viñales returned to action after his well-publicised walkout in Malaysia but it was MAPFRE Aspar rider Jonas Folger who stole the headlines with the fastest lap of the day.
After lapping third fastest this morning Folger went on to dominate in the afternoon, just as he did at Sepang a week ago, a best effort of 1'39.213 leaving Cortese and Viñales trailing. The German was particularly impressive through the final two sectors of the Phillip Island circuit and it was there that he made up the majority of his advantage when he secured the fastest time of the day on his fifteenth lap. His team-mate Luca Amato battled through the windy conditions as he tried his best to learn the circuit, gradually shaving three seconds off his lap time to stop the clock at 1'43.753.
1st Jonas Folger 1.39.213 (31 laps): "We have change the angle of the front suspension here, which is something we have wanted to try for a while. At first I wasn't keen but we tried to push the pace a bit more in the afternoon and my feeling was a lot better. The bike feels more stable and it is easier to get it turned. The lap times are good, I am happy and I can see we are on the right track so tomorrow we'll keep it going. The team did a great job today, we even had time to try two different exhausts and a different tyre compound but the biggest step was with the front end. We have started well so hopefully we can continue like this and fight for pole tomorrow."
29th Luca Amato 1.43.753 (32 laps): "I honestly haven't enjoyed the circuit, it's too bumpy. This morning I focused on getting to know it and then tried to set the bike up. The wind made it even more difficult to stay on the right line and I was getting out of shape in every braking zone. The good thing is that we improved a lot from a 1'46 this morning to a 1'43 by the end. After a lot of work we have found a better set-up that gives me more stability. Tomorrow we have to keep working and I have to get used to the track."
TOP 5 FOR IANNONE IN FREE PRACTICE N. 2 AT PHILLIP ISLAND, TWENTY-NINTH TIME FOR ANDREOZZI
Today’s sessions on track, at the circuit of Phillip Island, set the beginning of the penultimate Grand Prix of the 2012 season for the Moto2 class.
In FP1, Iannone grabbed a spot within the top 10, gathering some important data in order to start working on the decisions for the weekend. There wasn’t much of a chance to take full advantage of the afternoon session, because of a rain shower halfway though the practice: after the laps he completed initially, Iannone scored a competitive time and managed to make some basic choices for the setting of the Speed Up machine.
Phillip Island is another new track for Andreozzi: the Italian and his technicians used the day for an initial approach to the Australian circuit, to get to know its characteristics during the practice of the morning. Alessandro made some steps forward in the afternoon, and with his crew he’ll use tomorrow’s session to sort out some other choices for the bike.
Andrea Iannone #29 - 5th with 1'35.769
“This was quite a difficult day. We didn’t manage to complete many laps, in particular in the afternoon, when it started raining halfway through the session. We started off with some good conditions, it was warmer than in the morning and we had planned to try out some options that we had thought about. When we began, the bike was working quite well and it was fast, even if, once we reach the limit and when we look for something more, we have some problems with the chattering. We struggle in the fast corners, but we have some ideas on our mind and I’m confident for tomorrow. I hope to be competitive and to have the chance to face the day at its best. Thanks to Speed Master team and the crew.”
Alessandro Andreozzi #22 - 29th with 1'38.773
“This morning we got out on the track for the first session at Phillip Island, it was the first time for me on this circuit: it has quite a difficult and technical layout and we focused in order to learn it. In the afternoon we managed to improve a little, but unfortunately halfway through FP2 it started raining and we had to stop, there wasn’t enough time to restart. Tomorrow we’ll try another option for the forks and we’ll see what solution will help us more.”
MotoGP Moto3 - Positive debut for Team Italia in Australia
Fenati is fifth after Friday's free practice, Tonucci twelfth.
Team Italia riders had a positive start to their week-end in Australia, placing their Honda-FTR bikes among the top of the time sheets.
Romano Fenati (Team Italia FTR Honda#5), after a first session to get acquainted with the track, quickly learned the fast corners and improved by over two seconds between FP1 (18th) and FP2 (5th). With a 1'40"267, he is 1"054 behind Folger, who was fastest today with a 1'39"445.
Alessandro Tonucci (Team Italia FTR Honda#19) also improved throughout the day. He took seven tenths off his FP1 time of 1'41"361, closing in 12th position with a 1'40"625 and posting the top speed among Honda- FTR riders (233,1 Km/h).
Romano Fenati (Team Italia FTR Honda#5) 37 laps, 1'40"267
"It's been a good day. I love the track and the team worked well to help me out. We still have to improve in a few corners, and we'll try to fix the setup ahead of qualifiers. We have great potential."
Alessandro Tonucci (Team Italia FTR Honda#19) 35 laps, 1'40"625
"The bike works great. The engine is super fast, we just need to adjust the setup a little bit. We have a good pace and we're not far from the top. We'll aim at top rows tomorrow."
Roberto Locatelli (FMI Technical Coordinator)
"Great teamwork, as usual. Fenati is fifth and Tonucci twelfth, both are fast and have a good pace. We need to stay focused ahead of qualifiers to allow them to get off a good start during the race, but we definitely showed potential here."
Day cut short for Márquez
Repsol rider unable to complete a morning lap with electronic issue, finishing fourth in second session interrupted by rain.
Marc Márquez did not had the best of starts to the Australian Grand Prix, in which after two practice sessions he was only able to complete 13 laps. Said 13 laps were completed in the second outing, after a problem with a connector affected his morning run. In the end, the Spaniard was fourth in the afternoon on the timesheets, seventh in the combined classification led by Pol Espargaró.
Marc Márquez had three attempts to get things going on his Moto2 machine during the first practice session of the penultimate round of the World Championship, taking place at Phillip Island in Australia. However, he made three early returns to the pits with an electronic problem. His team could not resolve the issue and it was not until the second session that he was able to ride with normality.
The Repsol rider clocked his best time on his sixth lap, a 1’35.703 that was 1.125 seconds off the top spot. After 13 laps and with 15 minutes remaining in the session, rain brought things to a close and the riders will have to wait until tomorrow to continue their preparations.
FP1 - Not classified
FP2 - 1:35.703, 13 laps, 58 km.
“We had an electrical issue this morning due to the crash in Malaysia, in which a connector broke. The bike would start, but in gear it would shake and then cut out. When the first session was over, the team found out where the problem was and solved it, which is the most important thing. In the afternoon we were able to go out and, in only 13 laps, we were able to get on the pace. Pol Espargaró might be far ahead, but we have room for improvement. We weren’t able to try out the tyres, because we didn’t have enough time, so we will wait until tomorrow and hope that we can do all the necessary tests.
It’s better to have these problems today and not on Sunday. When these things happen, you realize that we are only lacking two points but that in a World Championship there are a thousand ways to lose. We will be giving 100% as always.”
NICCOLO SATISFIED WITH FIRST DAY AT PHILLIP ISLAND
There is optimism in the Team San Carlo Honda Gresini Moto3 garage after the opening free practice sessions of the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island today. Niccolò Antonelli was satisfied with his performance in the knowledge that he and the team know exactly how and where to improve the bike before tomorrow's crucial qualifying practice.
Niccolo Antonelli (19th 1’ 41” 362) “That's more like it! The position clearly isn't the best but my feeling with the bike is good and above all we have found a way with the engineers to improve my confidence on the front-end and attack the corners in a way that improves the lap time. Overall I am satisfied and looking forward to tomorrow.”
Fausto Gresini “Finally Niccolò came back in to the garage with a smile on his face, giving good feedback to the engineers so that they can improve the bike for tomorrow. This is another sign of his growth as a rider and another reason to look forward to the future with optimism. He worked with determination and conviction and that is hugely important when it comes to turning potential into results.”
Strong start to Phillip Island weekend for Redding and Kallio
Phillip Island, Australia - 26 October 2012: Scott Redding was second quickest on combined times at Phillip Island today, after both 45-minute free practice sessions were disrupted by rain. Mika Kallio finished two places further back in fourth position, but just a tenth of second off his Marc VDS teammate's lap time.
Both Marc VDS riders were quick to make their mark in this morning's 45-minute opening free practice, as dark clouds over the Bass Strait promised rain at some point during the session. The notoriously changeable weather did play a part in the session, with rain arriving at the 30-minute mark, but it was sporadic and stopped almost as quickly as it had started.
The timing was similar this afternoon, with the rain arriving with just 15-minutes of the second free practice session left to run, but this time it was prolonged and heavy enough to leave the track fully wet. Both Marc VDS riders took to the circuit on full wet tyres, but the blustery wind that seems ever present at Phillip Island mean the track was almost fully dry again three laps after the rain had stopped.
Despite the disruptions, Redding and Kallio were happy to finish inside the top five today and both are confident of further improvements ahead of qualifying tomorrow afternoon.
Scott Redding #45: 2nd - 1'35.359
"It was pretty good out there this morning, but chatter and the bumps are still a bit of an issue. The bumps seem to be worse than ever this year and they're unsettling the bike quite a lot, but I was still able to put in a few quick laps. This afternoon wasn't too bad either, but as soon as I put the new tyres in it started raining. It's a bit frustrating when that happens, because you just want to get out there and confirm your settings. I did a couple of laps on wets at the end, but it was a pretty pointless exercise as the track dried so quickly it was steaming in places."
Mika Kallio #36: 4th - 1'35.484
"The first practice was good. We ran with the same set-up as warm up in Malaysia and the bike felt good and well balanced. We also tested two different rear tyres and I think we have a good idea which one we'll use in the race if conditions allow. In the afternoon we tried a different setting on the front fork, but it was apparent straight away that it didn't give the improvement we were looking for. We then tested the other front tyre and that didn't really work either. Unfortunately, after we'd combined the best settings on the bike it started raining. I did a couple of laps on wets, but the track dried so quickly that it wasn't really that useful. We know from this morning we have a pretty good dry set-up, so we'll focus on refining that further tomorrow."
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"Both riders were quick from the start today, confirming the effectiveness of the dry set ups that they didn't get the chance to use in Malaysia. The track appears to be bumpier than in previous years, but it's the same for everyone and just something we have to get used to. Scott had some chatter issues this morning, which we made some changes to counter, but we didn't really get the chance to test them on new tyres because of the rain in the second session. Mika went a bit the wrong way with set-up for this afternoon and, again, the rain didn't give him a chance to switch back to the set-up that worked so well this morning. I'm confident that, if dry tomorrow, Scott and Mika will continue to improve and both will be looking at a position on the front two rows of the grid in qualifying."
MAPFRE ASPAR RIDERS GET TO GRIPS WITH PHILLIP ISLAND
Nico Terol and Jordi Torres look for front-end feel at the island after finishing 22nd and 24th fastest
There was no time for travel weariness today as the Moto2 World Championship continued his relentless march to the finish line with the penultimate round of the season getting underway in Australia, the third Grand Prix in as many weekends. Low temperatures of just 14ºC didn't make life easy for the riders but Pol Espargaró showed no signs of slowing down as he aims to keep his slim title hopes alive, the Spaniard taking control of both free practice sessions.
It wasn't an ideal start to the weekend for the MAPFRE Aspar Team, with both Nico Terol and Jordi Torres working hard to find a comfortable set-up for their machines without success. Both riders are struggling for front-end feel here and find themselves some way down the order after the opening day, with Terol 22nd fastest and Torres 24th. It is a situation they will look to turn around tomorrow.
22nd Nico Terol 1.37.088 (32 laps): "The first day at Phillip Island hasn't gone as I would have liked. We spent the first session trying to get a feeling and the track was quite dirty. In the afternoon we had some problems with the front end and I couldn't get the bike to turn. It was moving around a lot in corner entry and when I opened the gas I was running wide. I didn't feel safe on the bike and I think we have to play around with the front fork to find a more stable setting. Anyway, it's the first day and we are not getting downhearted. We will work hard this evening to see where we can improve and I am sure we'll turn the situation around tomorrow."
24th Jordi Torres 1.37.141 (33 laps): "This is a magical circuit but it's quite tough and we knew we had to push hard from the first minute. We have worked hard without finding a setting that I was comfortable with. We have tried to find something to combat the bumps because the bike is a bit too aggressive. In the afternoon we were held up a little by the rain but we still have two sessions tomorrow. I had to ride carefully today so as not to crash because I wasn't comfortable and had a big moment this afternoon that thankfully I managed to save."
WILAIROT FINDS CONFIDENCE DOWN UNDER
Despite a slight technical setback that cost him time during the first free practice session this morning and a light cold Rattapark Wilairot enjoyed a positive first day at the Australian Grand Prix.
Ratthapark Wilairot (22nd 1’ 37” 228) “It was a shame about the problem with the bike this morning because it cost us around twenty minutes of track time. In the afternoon we tried a new rear shock which helped resolve the chatter problem and I was able to continue to rebuild my confidence with the bike. Like I said it was a shame we didn't get more time on track today but for tomorrow we have some more ideas and if we can make progress like today then I am sure we can gain some positions on the grid. My physical condition is not good, on the bike or off it, so hopefully I can also improve this for tomorrow.”
GINO REA CLOSE TO TOP 15 AT PHILLIP ISLAND
Just five days after his debut podium at Sepang Gino Rea was back on track at Phillip Island today hoping to build on that result with another positive Grand Prix. The British rider is in touch with the top fifteen after the opening day of free practice and is hoping to break into them during tomorrow's final free practice and qualifying sessions.
Gino Rea (19th 1’ 36” 884) “Not such a bad day today. We struggled in the first practice but improved the bike for the afternoon and closed the gap to the top ten. We still have some areas to work on and improve for tomorrow but my feeling is better and this helps my confidence. Hopefully we can keep moving in the same direction and break into the top fifteen tomorrow.”
Fausto Gresini “The podium at Sepang has given Gino a boost and his determination to find a setting for the dry will be important. He's close to lap times of the top fifteen but actually the top ten is not that far away either so if he keeps working with the same intensity tomorrow I think he can have a good race.”
RW Racing GP struggling on first day
The Phillip Island weather conditions are not in favor of RW Racing GP. The first day of the Australian GP on the southern island near Melbourne was not satisfactory to Luis Salom and Brad Binder. Both were struggling with the setup of their bikes.
The weather didn’t help: with an air temperature of only 12 degrees Celsius it was simply cold. In both free practice sessions the track was a bit damp due to earlier rain but drying out quickly in the strong wind.
Still Luis Salom was in the top 10 for most of the time. Only in the last few minutes of the practice he dropped out of it.
Luis Salom (11th): "I didn’t have a good feeling with the bike. To find the right setup for the suspension was an issue today. We will have to work hard and go through all the data, corner by corner, to find a solution.’’
Brad Binder (22nd): "It was a difficult day. I’m struggling in some parts of the track and finding the right adjustments for the suspension was hard. Phillip Island is a challenging track on which everything has to be right.’’
Team manager Johan Stigefelt: "It was a difficult first day. We are going through all the data to see what happens with the bike on different parts of the track. I’m sure we will find a solution in that. I expect it will be better tomorrow and both riders will have a good qualifying.’’