Press release previews from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams ahead of the Aragon Grand Prix:
Moto2 Championship battle heads to Aragon
Gosselies, Belgium – 22 September 2014: With the Marc VDS Racing Team’s Tito Rabat and Mika Kallio separated by just 22 points at the top of the Moto2 World Championship standings this weekend’s Grand Prix of Aragon could prove pivotal in the battle for the title.
In Misano Rabat became only the third rider ever to score three successive wins in the hotly contested Moto2 World Championship – the others being former champions, Marc Marquez and Toni Elias - but the 25-year-old Spaniard is keen to extend that winning streak at a track where he finished second 12 months ago.
A win this weekend would put Rabat more than 25 points – or one win – ahead of Kallio; an important psychological advantage going into the three overseas races that follow immediately after the Grand Prix of Aragon.
Kallio, of course, heads to Spain determined to reverse the results of the last three races, where he’s finished second to his Marc VDS teammate each time. The 31-year-old Finn has three race wins to his name this season, has been on the podium in every race since Assen and is keen to add another win in Aragon this weekend, to close the gap to his teammate in the championship standings.
Jorge Navarro heads home to Aragon after confidence boosting points scoring finish in Misano, his second since joining the Marc VDS Racing Team at Indianapolis. For the first time this season Navarro will not need to learn his way around a new track during free practice on Friday, as he’s raced at Aragon in the Spanish Championship and tested there aboard the Kalex-KTM ahead of the CEV round at Navarra.
“It’s a little different racing in Spain, because you can feel the support of the home crowd, but that won’t alter my approach to this weekend’s race in Aragon. It’s still very close between Mika and me in the championship, so I go to Aragon with the same aim as always; to work hard with my crew, focus on my job, put in 100% and, on Sunday, try and fight for the race win.”
“Now it’s time to think about the championship, as the end of the season is approaching and we have just five races left in which to decide things. It’s still close in the standings, but the last three races didn’t go our way; my race pace was good, but Tito just seemed to have more rear grip at the end of the race, which he used to his advantage. Maybe we need to modify our strategy for the remaining races and think about how we can save the tyres for the final laps because, now, I need to keep Tito behind me. He’s the main target because, unless we hit a problem, the others are maybe too far behind to challenge for the title. It looks like it’s going to be down to me or him now and I hope we can regain the upper hand this weekend in Aragon.”
“I like the Aragon circuit, it’s one of my favourites in Spain, and it will be good to finally race a Grand Prix at a track at which I’ve raced before. We tested at Aragon ahead of the CEV round at Navarra and we definitely made a big step forward with the Kalex-KTM there, so I feel confident going into the weekend and I’m hoping for a good result in the race on Sunday.”
MAPFRE Aspar riders target repeat of Motorland heroics
Nico Terol and Jordi Torrres taking heart from superb Aragón weekend last season
It started as a replacement venue but the Motorland Circuit in Aragón welcomes the MotoGP World Championship this weekend very much as a fixture on the calendar. The stunning facility designed by Hermann Tilke hosts the fourteenth round of the 2014 season, the third Spanish race of the year after Jerez and Barcelona and the final round on European soil before the 'flyaways' in Japan, Malaysia and Australia. Tito Rabat has opened up a 22-point advantage over his closest rival and team-mate Mika Kallio at the top of the championship, a gap he will be determined to extend in front of his home crowd this weekend.
The fastest man at Aragon last season in the Moto2 class was undoubtedly MAPFRE Aspar rider Nico Terol, who charged from his first pole position in the class to a dominant victory. Nico also took 125cc victory here in 2011 to add to a second place in 2010 – memories he will look to draw on this weekend as he looks to build on a positive return to action at Misano last time out. Jordi Torres also has good memories of Motorland having set a very competitive pace in practice last year only to be limited to sixth place in the race by a clutch problem. The MAPFRE Aspar rider is planning to use his data from twelve months ago to establish and solid base set-up and make a strong start to the weekend when the action gets underway on Friday morning.
Nico Terol: “I had an unforgettable weekend at Motorland last year. I set my first Moto2 pole and escaped to a clear victory in the race. It was a perfect weekend, I was fastest in almost every session and dominated the race. I always really enjoy riding at Motorland because it's a good track for me. I go there after rediscovering my best form at Misano and even though I didn't finish the race there because of a technical problem I felt comfortable all weekend and got my confidence back. We took a big step forward at Misano and I am sure we'll take another at Aragón. I am looking forward to competing at a home circuit. Motorland is a wide track with a lot of grip and several direction changes. The final corner onto the straight is awesome because the bike starts to slide as you open the throttle and it's great fun.”
Jordi Torres: “Motorland is almost here and I am really looking forward to it. We don't like finishing where we ended up at Misano so we will keep doing all we can to get out of this hole. We had a really positive weekend at Motorland last year so we'll go out with the same setting and try to get a good feel from the first session on Friday. We lost our way a little at Misano, struggled to understand the bike, so for Motorland we want to go back to the data from lasts season and make small changes from there. It is a varied and enjoyable circuit so hopefully I can have fun there this weekend.”
Moto3 - San Carlo Team Italia goes to Aragon aiming to redeem Misano
Matteo Ferrari and Andrea Locatelli ready for MotorLand Aragón
The MotorLand Aragón Circuit entered the MotoGP calendar in 2010 and the next 26-28 September will host the fourteenth round of the 2014 season. It will give San Carlo Team Italia a precious opportunity to redeem their unlucky Misano Grand Prix.
Matteo Ferrari (Mahindra MGP3O #3) has already raced a Moto3 bike at the track last year and he is confident to be able to move up the order taking advantage of the latest changes the team made to his bike setup during Misano’s warm-up session.
Making his debut at the MotorLand Aragón Circuit this weekend, Andrea Locatelli (Mahindra MGP3O #55) will continue his technical and professional growth path that has recently allowed him to put himself in the spotlight showing his worth in the demanding Moto3 Championship field.
Virginio Ferrari (Riders Manager - San Carlo Team Italia Moto3)
"We arrive at the track confident and hopeful as always. Our main target is to allow our riders to tackle the race weekend with serenity, working on the setup of their bike in order to reach, if possible, an adequate level of competitiveness. We are certain of the value of Matteo and Andrea: they are two strong, fast and talented riders who already demonstrate to be able to stay up front, as it recently happened in the first day of practice at Misano".
Guevara in top form for third home race
MAPFRE Aspar rider targeting podium after establishing himself as a consistent frontrunner
Whilst the talk up to recently was of a five-way fight for the title in the Moto3 World Championship it is looking more and more like a three-way affair, with Jack Miller, Alex Márquez and Alex Rins on course for a battle to the final round. Twenty points cover the top three right now but Miller needs a response after some strong recent form from the two Spaniards. The bad news for the Australian is that the next race is on his rivals' home turf, with Aragón playing host to the third Spanish round of the season and the last on European soil before the 'flyaway' races to Malaysia, Australia and Japan.
The goal for MAPFRE Aspar rider Juanfran Guevara is to turn his recent frontrunning form into a podium finish at the circuit where he set pole position in the Spanish Championship last season. The youngster has gone from strength to strength in the second half of the season and he has become a consistent feature in the front pack, putting together a strong run of points-scoring finishes. A top three finish before the end of the season is the goal, and there could be no better place to do it than Motorland.
Juanfran Guevara: “We are putting together a strong second half to the season, we've improved at every race, so our motivation is very high to continue that trend at Motorland. I like this circuit and I have gone well there in the past, in fact I set pole position in the Spanish Championship last year, and certain parts of the track should suit our bike so the intention is to take advantage of that. Our method is is working well at the moment so we won't change anything this weekend, just some small alterations to the set-up. Our recent results and progress have given us a lot of confidence, there is great harmony between the team and myself. I think that's fundamental and the main factor behind our recent success.”
Last round for Red Bull KTM Ajo before flyaway races
Jack Miller leads Moto3 standings heading to Aragon Grand Prix, the last race before travelling to Japan. Karel Hanika wants fresh start at third Spanish round of the year.
09/24/2014 - MotorLand Aragon, Spain
He returned to the podium at San Marino, but Jack Miller wants to add more victories to his tally in the five remaining Grands Prix this season. The first opportunity for him comes this weekend at MotorLand Aragon, where the Australian will attempt to extend his current 9-point lead in the Moto3 overall standings. Red Bull KTM Ajo teammate Karel Hanika is confident of scoring further points at the third Spanish round of the year.
Jack Miller took pole position and the third position in the race at Misano, but these results were not sufficient to satiate his hunger for success. The Australian wants to fight for the win at a circuit where he has already undertaken tests this season. Calm and comfortable on his KTM, the Aussie is confident of putting in his best showing at this track.
Karel Hanika could not get comfortable at Misano due to a lack of track time, caused by wet weather during practice. This weekend he wants to rebound with a good result, enabling him to return to the points. A victory at Aragon in 2012 and another in 2013 in the Red Bull Rookies Cup give the young Czech reason to be positive.
The schedule for the Aragon Grand Prix will follow the usual European timetable, with the first free practice taking place on Friday at 9.00am. Qualifying is on Saturday and the race begins on Sunday at 11:00am.
8 JACK MILLER
"MotorLand Aragon has a couple of long straights, so we have to work on our top speed. We had a couple of tests there and the pace we showed was very good. Now I’m raring to get out on track, because I quite like the circuit. We go there off a good podium at Misano and I think we're heading in the right direction. We are strong and we will push our hardest at MotorLand to be able to fight for victory. Then we will see where we are."
98 KAREL HANIKA
"MotorLand is a very nice track. It is a track that I really like, especially the first sector, which is where my style is best suited. We have been training hard this past week with cycling and doing motocross with Jack [Miller], so I hope this weekend at MotorLand we can do better than in San Marino. At Misano, due to the weather, we lacked the laps to feel fully comfortable on track."
Third Spanish event for Husqvarna riders
Danny Kent wants to score points for the seventh consecutive time this season at MotorLand Aragon. Niklas Ajo aims to rebound from latest result in Sunday’s race.
09/24/2014 - MotorLand Aragon, Spain
Moto3 World Championship action returns this weekend at MotorLand Aragon, with the fourteenth round of the campaign and the third Spanish event of 2014. The Aragon GP will be the final race before the trio of flyaway races. Danny Kent and Niklas Ajo are hoping to occupy positions high up the order on Sunday, after failing to convert strong qualifying performances into race results in San Marino.
Danny Kent, who has scored points at 12 of the 13 races so far, wants to keep adding the maximum number of points possible to his tally. The MotorLand Aragon track has always favoured the Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo rider: Both times he has raced there in the lower cylinder category he has always started from the second row of the grid -at the race two years ago he was fourth and only 1 second off victory. Eleventh in the overall standings, the Briton hopes to ascend places in the remaining five races.
A DNF for Niklas Ajo in Misano was disappointing for the Finn, who for the second time this year had started from the front row of the grid. A mechanical problem left the Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo rider lamenting the loss of an opportunity to add points to the board. At this weekend’s venue his best result was achieved in 2012, with a fourteenth place finish.
This will be the fifth time the series has visited the Aragon circuit. The first practice session will take place this Friday at 9:00am local time. The race will start, as is the norm at European events, at 11am on Sunday.
52 DANNY KENT
"MotorLand Aragon is a track that I like, especially the second sector as it is fast and flowing. There are some slow corners, but overall it's pretty fast and this works out well for my riding style. In 2012 I had a good result in Moto3, with fourth. It is a place where I enjoy riding. Still, we have to work hard on the top speed because there are two very long straights. We have to take a small step forward to consolidate our position in the leading group, but I think we can have a good race."
31 NIKLAS AJO
"The track for this weekend is a very nice circuit. I hope it will not rain during the weekend, because in San Marino it was difficult to find a good setup after missing so many free practice sessions. Last year I had a good race at MotorLand Aragon, but this year we will see what happens because it is a totally different championship. We hope to have a good race on Sunday, as I think we have the pace to do so."
SIMEON AND BALDASSARRI HEAD TO ARAGON LOOKING FOR COMPETITIVENESS
The Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 and Xavier Siméon are ready to race in this weekend’s Grand Prix of Aragon, the penultimate European round on the calendar: the 25-year-old Belgian rider, who at Misano faced another uphill race, finished just outside the points, will rely on the two days of testing carried out last June on the Spanish track to try to regain the competitiveness he was able to put on display in the first part of the season.
Also Lorenzo Baldassarri will start from the base achieved during the two-day test, in order to start with the right foot this important event aboard Team Gresini Moto2 Suter machine: the 17-year-old rookie,who has 12 points in the standings thanks to the 11th and 9th place finishes obtained in Barcelona and Assen respectively, aims to return to fight for the top 15 positions.
XAVIER SIMEON “During the test carried out at the end of June we have seen very limited gaps between the riders, so I'm confident that at Aragon we can return to the level of competitiveness already shown in the past. Probably there will be different temperatures and conditions, but the fact remains that we can start from a good base: we know that our potential is high and we are determined to exploit it! Also for this reason we went back to the configuration used throughout the whole season so far, without the new suspension we have tried at Misano”.
LORENZO BALDASSARRI “I’m confident because I can start the weekend using the references and the data collected during the two days of tests carried out at Aragon last June, in which I was also able to get some good lap times. After a difficult weekend at Misano, where we couldn’t improve the behaviour of the bike, struggling also during the race, I’m determined to bounce back. This could be the right opportunity to return to a good competitiveness”.
SPAIN BECKONS AS JUNIOR TEAM GO&FUN MOTO3 PREPARES FOR ARAGON
The Grand Prix of Aragon, third round on Spanish soil of the 2014 Moto3 World Championship, awaits this weekend the two Junior Team GO & FUN Moto3 riders, Niccolò Antonelli and Enea Bastianini: the 14th race on the calendar inaugurates the intense final stage of the championship, ahead of the tour de force of three consecutive flyaway races - Japan, Australia and Malaysia - and the grand finale in Valencia.
Enea Bastianini arrives at Motorland Aragon aware of being able to fight again for a podium finish: the great comeback showed at Misano, which saw him climb from seventeenth on the grid to fifth place on the finish line, confirmed the great potential of the 16-year-old rookie from Rimini, who this time will try to be stronger in qualifying in order to stay with the leading group in the early stages of the race.
His teammate Niccolò Antonelli will instead have to deal with a not perfect physical condition: last Tuesday, September 16th, the 18-year-old Italian rider underwent a second surgery on his right collarbone, fractured during the summer break in July, to replace the plate inserted during the first surgery.
NICCOLO' ANTONELLI “After the last Grand Prix at Misano I had to undergo another surgeryn on my right collarbone to replace the plate that had been inserted in July. It was a complex surgery and now I’m feeling pain: however, I will be at Aragon and I will go out on track for the first practice session, then I will better assess my physical condition to understand if we can continue the weekend. I will give all to race, even if the situation is a bit more complicated compared to my return at Indianapolis after the first surgery”.
ENEA BASTIANINI “Aragon is a very nice track and it suits well my riding style: last year I also won Race2 of the last round of the MotoGP Rookies Cup and of course it would be nice to try to fight for the win again this year; in the World Championship, however, the things are a bit more complicated... Anyway, I will face this race like any other: our first goal is to quickly find the best set-up of the bike during practice and thus avoid the mistake we made at Misano, which penalized us in qualifying affecting consequently also the race. We will do our best, as always”.
BIG CHANGES FOR LOWES AHEAD OF ARAGON GRAND PRIX
The Moto2 World Championship heads to Spain this weekend, where the 14th round of the 2014 season is set to get underway at the Motorland Aragon circuit and Speed Up rider, Sam Lowes is hoping to return to the front after a difficult weekend last time out in Misano.
Lowes knows Aragon well from his time in the World Supersport Championship – he took victory at the Spanish venue back in 2012 – and even though the track configuration used for World Supersport differs slightly to the 5.078 mile Grand Prix layout, the British rider had time to learn the differences in a test with his Speed-Up team in June.
The 24-year-old showed strong pace in testing at the Spanish circuit and is hoping the time spent at the track will give the team an advantage in setting-up his Honda-powered Speed Up machine this weekend.
Lowes has shown promise in his debut Moto2 season although has suffered with a lack of feeling from the Speed Up chassis in recent rounds, something the team are hoping to see resolved this weekend with a switch to Ohlins suspension.
Sam Lowes: “Misano was a really tough weekend for us so afterwards we sat down with the team and said that things needed to change. Ahead of this weekend we’ve switched to Ohlins suspension and we’ve also changed a few people in the team so it’s now more in line with what I wanted. Aragon is a great circuit and I’ve had some good results there in the past. We were fast when we tested there earlier this year so hopefully that’s a good sign. We’re working really hard at the minute to make this work so let’s hope we can get back towards the front this weekend.”
Click on any image to download a high resolution, copyright free version for editorial use.
Gino Rea aiming for a Top 15 at Aragon
Gino Rea awaits the Aragon Grand Prix with great anticipation, after an action packed break following a positive outing at Misano. Rea was privileged to ride at Valentino Rossi’s Ranch in Tavullia, getting in quality track time and an experience to remember for the young rider. On returning home, Gino fitted in more crucial track time, riding at the Desertmartin International Motocross track in Northern Ireland. Off the back of a positive ride at Misano for the AGT REA Racing team, Rea is confident that he can push into the Top 20 this weekend and ideally the Top 15.
“I’m really looking forward to getting back on track here at Aragon. It’s a circuit that I really enjoy and I think we’re coming in with positive vibes after improving our pace in the last two races. I had the 19th fastest lap time in the race at Misano so the goal here is to qualify in the Top 20, preferably in the Top 15. I’ve had a good time since Misano riding at the VR46 Ranch and I’ve been out riding Motocross so I’m keen to get back on a road bike.
AGT REA Racing will be on track tomorrow at 10.55 local time for the first free practice session of the grand prix weekend. Follow the team on their Facebook www.facebook.com/agtrearacing and Twitter @AGT_REA_Racing for updates at Aragon.
New Dunlop Tyre Moto2 Specification For Aragon
For the second consecutive event, Dunlop is making an early introduction of the next generation tyre specifications with the 2015 soft compound front tyre being nominated for the Aragon round of the FIM Moto Championships this weekend. After the enthusiastic reception of new front and rear tyres in Misano, both front options will be new generation constructions.
The 5km Spanish track has a multitude of fast and slow corners with elevation changes and required a strong front tyre due to the hard braking zones. Rear grip varies according to track temperatures and Dunlop is providing the same 997 specification as chosen by the majority of the grid last year in addition to the 9855 newer variant of the 2013 medium option that was also successfully used at Aragon.
The new tyre is an evolution of the existing range and will be known as ‘Soft 1’. The option was part of the range tested at Jerez, Valencia, Almeria, Paul Ricard, Brno, Mugello and Catalunya using a range of chassis and riders. ‘Soft 1’ features an evolution of the construction but the same compound as its predecessor.
Moto3 riders will have the same specification choice as at Misano where the medium options were chosen by all riders.
Tyre allocation and colour codes:
Fronts 120/75R17, 3 x ‘Soft 1’ (soft - black Dunlop logo on yellow background) and 5 x ‘Medium 2’ (blank)
Rears, 195/75R17, 4 x 9855 (medium – black Dunlop on silver) and 4 x ‘997 (hard - yellow Dunlop on black)
Fronts: 95/75R17, 5 x Medium (black Dunlop on silver) and 3 x Hard (yellow Dunlop on black)
Rears: 115/75R17 , 6 x Medium (black Dunlop on silver)and 3 x Soft (black Dunlop on yellow)
The riders will have three sets of wet tyres with an additional set being permitted if all sessions are declared wet.
Race Stat: Construction Counts
Riders tend to think that the hardness of the compound is what matters but at Misano Tito Rabat was 0.2 seconds per lap quicker than his 2013 overall race time using the new tyres with the same compound but different construction. The perception was that the tyre was three steps softer.
Clinton Howe, Operations Manager Motorcycle Grand Prix
“Dunlop was very pleased that the new 2015 specifications were received so well by the riders in Misano. As always, a race situation was what was needed to confirm our direction for future development as the Moto2 machinery and tyres evolve. Both the new front and rear were raced with very good results and valuable information was gained for future reference.
“In Aragon we will see another of the new proposed 2015 front specs in Aragon, utilising the multi-tread design of soft compound wings with a stronger centre compound. The new front compound (1) tyre will be our softest available option of the year so far and will be allocated along with the new (2) front compound raced at the previous race in Misano. The rear compounds are the same options that were last used in Silverstone and both have a very good working range in multiple temperatures.”