Press releases from the series organizers and from some of the Moto2 and Moto3 teams ahead of this weekend's season opener at Qatar:
2015 Moto2™ World Championship begins in Qatar
The 2015 Moto2™ World Championship starts this weekend with the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar.
After the recent weather-affected final preseason test in Jerez, it is hard to predict any favourites for the 2015 Moto2™ title as riders prepare to do battle under the lights at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.
Tito Rabat becomes the first ever Moto2™ World Champion since the class began to attempt to defend his title on the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Racing Kalex, with previous Champions having decided to move up to the MotoGP™ class. Rabat is joined in 2015 by two of the top three Moto3™ riders from last season as well as 14 of the top 15 riders in the Moto2™ standings from 2014, with only Maverick Viñales having left the class to join the factory Suzuki Ecstar team in MotoGP™.
Speed Up Racing´s Sam Lowes will hope to continue his preseason form during 2015 as he begins his second season in the class, while last years Moto2™ runner-up Mika Kallio has made the switch this year to the Italtrans Racing Team.
With serial contenders like Johann Zarco, Luis Salom, Axel Pons, Simone Corsi, Thomas Luthi and Rabat´s new teammate, the 2014 Moto3™ World Champion Alex Marquez, also lining up on the grid, it is shaping up to be an incredibly competitive season.
The Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar starts on Thursday with two practice days for the riders, before qualifying on Saturday, with the Moto2™ race due to take place at 19:20 local time on Sunday night.
Moto3™ World Championship gets under way in Qatar
The 2015 Moto3™ World Championship begins with the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar this weekend.
The Moto3™ class has always been a platform for the best young riders in the world to showcase their talent, and for 2015 this is no different with only four riders competing in the Championship over the age of 21.
Frenchman Fabio Quartararo will be the youngest rider to ever to compete in a full season in Moto3™, at just 15 years and 343 days, with the organisers having changed the rules this year to allow someone under the age of 16 to take part in a race. Quartararo was the CEV Repsol Moto3™ Champion from 2014, and has already impressed a number of people with his pace during preseason, having joined the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Team for 2015.
There are a number of new faces that will line up on the grid in 2015, including last years Red Bull Rookies Cup Champion Jorge Martin, who will be joined by Juanfran Guevara and Francesco Bagnaia on the on the Mapfre Mahindra Team.
Quartararo is joined in the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Team by the man who finished runner-up to him last year, Jorge Navarro, while Gabriel Rodrigo will be the first ever Argentinian to compete in Moto3™, for the RBA Racing Team.
Maria Herrera will be the second female to compete full-time in the Moto3™ class alongside Ana Carrasco, as she becomes teammates with Isaac Viñales in the Husqvarna Factory Laglisse Racing Team. Efren Vazquez, who took two race wins last year on his way to 4th in the championship, lines up alongside British rider Danny Kent for the Leopard Racing Team, with Scottish rider John McPhee also returning to the the grid with the Saxoprint-RTG Team.
Karel Hanika, Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira make up an extremely competitive Factory Red Bull KTM Ajo team, while the rider who finished the championship in 5th last year, Romano Fenati, is joined by compatriot Andrea Migno in the Sky Racing Team VR46.
A total of 14 nationalities will be represented on the grid when the lights go out in Qatar, and with less than 0.6s separating the first six across the line last year, it once again promises to be an exciting start to the 2015 Moto3™ World Championship.
Teams have an extra day of practice at the Losail International Circuit to prepare for the season opener, with things kicking off on Thursday in Qatar ahead of qualifying on Saturday and the Moto3™ race scheduled to take place at 6pm local time in Qatar on Sunday.
Moto3 - Marco Bezzecchi at Losail with San Carlo Team Italia
The Italian CIV Moto3 runner-up will replace Stefano Manzi, who will make his debut at Austin.
For the seasonal debut in Moto3 World Championship, planned from 26th to 29th march at Losail International Circuit, San CarloTeam Italia will get out on track with a news. Due to the paragraph 188.8.131.52 ("Minimum age in the Moto3 class") of the FIM rules, Stefano Manzi, designated rider of the federal team for the 2015 season, will be forced to wait for the second round on the agenda to make his debut at Circuit of the America in Austin on April the 12th.
The talented rider from Rimini, who will turn 16 (the minimum age provided for by the rules) on the "Race Day" of Losail, on Sunday the 29th, will be for this reason unable to get out on track for free practice and qualifying of the Grand Prix of Qatar, which are a necessary pass to take part at the race.
Since Manzi will make his debut only in Texas, San Carlo Team Italia has decided to entrust the second Mahindra MGP3O to the sixteen-year-old Marco Bezzecchi, who became vice-champion last year in CIV Moto3 at his debut in the Italian championship. Bezzecchi was born in Rimini on 12th November 1998 and he is already part of the program of the federal team as representative of the project "San Carlo Talenti Azzurri FMI" based on the research and the training of young Italian riders in motorcycling.
Moreover, Marco Bezzecchi this year will race on a Mahindra MGP3O, set up by Team Minimoto-Portomaggiore, in Moto3 CIV, whose first round is planned at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli during the weekend of 25/26th April. Before this commitment, Bezzecchi will have the opportunity to make his debut in World Championship with San Carlo Team Italia, choosing the number 53 for the occasion.
Rabat looking to start title defence with a win in Qatar
Gosselies, Belgium – 23 March 2015: Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS head this week to Qatar, for the opening race of the 2015 Moto2 World Championship season at the Losail International Circuit.
Tito Rabat will race this season with the number one plate on his bike, the first time in the history of Moto2 that a reigning champion has returned to defend his title. The 25-year-old Spaniard is keen to repeat his success of last year by kicking off his defence with a second consecutive race win in Qatar.
The Qatar race will mark Alex Marquez’s debut in the hotly contested Moto2 World Championship, after a preseason testing schedule marred by bad weather. Despite a lack of dry track time aboard the Kalex Moto2 machine he’ll campaign in Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS colours this season, the reigning Moto3 World Champion is looking forward to the challenge ahead.
The Grand Prix of Qatar gets underway with two free practice sessions for the Moto2 class on Thursday 26th March.
“I’m pretty happy with our preseason testing, mainly because of the rain. We were able to test extensively in the wet, which I’ve never had the opportunity to do before and we learnt a lot. We know that in the dry we have the pace to fight for the win, and I think the same is also true when it’s wet now. And that’s the approach for this season, to go to every race and to try and fight for the win, starting this weekend in Qatar.”
“Qatar will be my first race in Moto2, so everything is new and we will need to concentrate all weekend. We haven’t had such good luck with the weather during the preseason tests; I needed dry track time on the bike, but mostly we had rain, which wasn’t ideal. It means we need to find a good setting with the bike in Qatar and a good rhythm for the race, but I head to the first race really motivated to work hard with the team. We need to do the best job we can during practice in Qatar, so we’re ready for the race. It’s difficult to say what my expectations are for the first race, after such a wet preseason, but there will be quite a few riders in the same situation.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“The bad weather during preseason testing means we head to Qatar with two riders in very different situations. Tito has the number one plate on his bike, so he knows he has the pace in the dry and the wet weather during testing means he’s also confident now that he can hold his own when it rains. He will be looking to kick off his title defence with a win in Qatar and I wouldn’t bet against him doing exactly that. Alex will make his Moto2 debut this weekend with far less dry track time under his belt than either he or the team expected, but his methodical approach will continue to serve him well in Qatar. I am confident that he will use the available practice time wisely and I think a top ten finish on Sunday is an achievable goal for him.”
BASTIANINI AND LOCATELLI READY TO RACE AT QATAR SEASON OPENER
The all-Italian Gresini Racing Team Moto3 duo, formed by Enea Bastianini and Andrea Locatelli, is ready to face this weekend the first round of the 2015 Moto3 World Championship, the Grand Prix of Qatar. The 17-year-old rider from Rimini and the 18-year-old rider from Selvino will race their Honda NSF250RW machines at night, under the floodlights, as has been the case since 2008 at the Losail International Circuit.
Despite winter testing strongly affected by rain, which did not allow him to put on many kilometers aboard the new bike, Enea Bastianini - Rookie of the Year in 2014 - is determined to fight immediately for the top positions, while his team mate Andrea Locatelli, who immediately reached a great harmony with the team, is ready to make a big leap after a debut season that has been really useful to accumulate valuable experience.
“One year ago I was coming to Qatar as a rookie, but now I can count on the experience gathered during the 2014 campaign, which I will try to put into practice, and on the knowledge of the track: two things that will surely help me to manage the race weekend in a better way. This first Grand Prix won’t be easy for us: during the winter we didn’t test a lot due to bad weather and therefore we couldn’t take the right rhythm. However, we are ready to fight: I like the track and racing at night is really exciting: it will be nice to get back on track. My goal? I would like to do better than last year, when I crossed the line in 16th position: a result that was not bad, considering that it was my debut in the World Championship”.
“It’s difficult to make a prediction for this Grand Prix: I don’t have high expectations, the winter testing period has been strongly influenced by the weather and we couldn’t try the new bike a lot in dry conditions. We are therefore aware that the way to achieve a good balance and a good level of competitiveness also in terms of race pace is still long. At Losail we will spend the first free practice sessions to continue to better understand the bike. Anyway, for me this season will be much easier compared to last year: in 2014 everything was new for me and it took me a few practice session to get used to race at night under the floodlights, but now I can count on the experience gathered in the last season, which will be certainly useful. The Qatar round is undoubtedly special because we race at night so I can’t wait to head out on track”.
“During the winter we spent very little time on track due to bad weather, so we didn’t collect a lot of information on the new bike; in any case, the situation is the same for everyone. We head to this first Grand Prix in high spirits and we strongly believe that we can have our say. The Honda Moto3 machine is a great bike, with a very high potential: we just need some more time to deepen the knowledge in order to find the right set-up and make the most of it. Both our riders, Bastianini and Locatelli, are highly motivated and have a great desire to get on track: a key factor to be competitive”.
QATAR THROWS LIGHT ON A NEW EXCITING CHALLENGE FOR TEAM FEDERAL OIL GRESINI MOTO2
This weekend the 2015 Moto2 World Championship kicks off under the floodlights in Qatar with the first of 18 scheduled races: Xavier Siméon and the Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Team arrive at the Losail International Circuit with good feelings after a long winter testing period which, although hampered by rain, showed a great potential of the new technical package available to the rider and the team.
The 25-year-old Belgian rider has in fact adapted quickly to his new Kalex machine, being consistently fast: on the eve of his second season with the team, Xavier’s purpose is therefore to give more continuity to the good results already obtained throughout 2014, trying to fight at every Grand Prix with the best players of an extremely fought category.
“Our winter testing was short, because of the bad weather, but all in all positive: we have always been fast in all conditions, both in Valencia and in Jerez, so we arrive in Qatar in confident mood. We know that we have a competitive technical package, I like the track and I like racing at night as well; although it’s difficult to make a prediction now, e hope to be able to enter immediately in the fight for the top positions. We will give our best!”.
“Siméon made good pre-season tests, finding himself immediately at ease with the Kalex: Xavier is very determined and he will start this season with the right experience to do well in a highly competitive category like Moto2. This is a very important year both for us and for Xavier: we want to achieve good results and this is why we decided to focus our efforts on a single rider. Therefore we hope to give to Federal Oil and to all our partners the satisfactions that we all expect”.
Moto3 - San Carlo Team Italia in Qatar for the first round of 2015
Matteo Ferrari and the newcomer Marco Bezzecchi are ready for Losail.
The 2015 season of San Carlo Team Italia starts at Losail International Circuit (Qatar). In the spotlights of the Qatari track, the young emerging talents of Moto3 World Championship will take part in the first round of the season, which is divided, as always, in four days (from Thursday 26th to Sunday 29th March) and it will take place in the evening. For San Carlo Team Italia, the 2015 edition of Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar will mean the official start of the celebrations for the 30th anniversary from its foundation in 1985, getting out on track with a structure further strengthened by the contribution of well-known professionals such as the new Sports Manager, Cristiano Migliorati, one of the main author of the success of Team Italia in the last five years in European Superstock 600 Championship.
Migliorati will follow actively, on track and from the pit wall, the two riders selected by San Carlo Team Italia Moto3 for the 2015 season: the reconfirmed Matteo Ferrari (Moto3 European Champion in 2012) and the rookie Stefano Manzi, revelation of CIV and Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup in the last three years. While Ferrari will start the season at Losail encouraged by the positive results of the winter tests, Manzi will have to wait untill next 12th April to make his official debut in World Championship, since he will turn 16 (the minimum age provided for by the rules) on the day of the race in Losail (29 marzo).
For this reason, the talented rider from Rimini will exceptionally leave his Mahindra MGP3O, just for this weekend, to Marco Bezzecchi, CIV Moto3 current runner-up, representative of the project "San Carlo Talenti Azzurri FMI" based on the research and training of young Italian riders.
Lights, camera, action for Red Bull KTM Ajo’s 2015 season
Miguel Oliveira, Brad Binder and Karel Hanika to participate in Moto3 World Championship’s season-opening Qatar Grand Prix.
03/25/2015 - Losail International Circuit, Qatar
Once again, Sunday night in Qatar will begin the season for the Moto3 World Championship. The three-time World Championship winning team in the lower cylinder category, Red Bull KTM Ajo, start the campaign with a trio of riders who combine experience and youth: Miguel Oliveira, Brad Binder and Karel Hanika. Excited and optimistic, the three hope to fight for podiums and wins from the very first race.
After a final preseason test in Jerez hit by rain and bad weather last week, the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders arrive in Qatar wanting to get the most out of their new KTM bikes. Comfortable with their machinery in all conditions, Oliveira, Binder and Hanika are setting no limits for themselves. Last year at this round the Portuguese finished fourth, whilst the Czech completed his first ever Grand Prix in 14th and collected points. Brad Binder achieved his best result at Losail in 2013, with 12th place.
As is tradition at this first race, the Grand Prix takes place over four days. The action begins on Thursday with the first two practice sessions, with the Moto3 race on Sunday at 6pm local time.
44 MIGUEL OLIVEIRA
"Losail is a circuit where nothing stands out too much, as it doesn't have many slopes and a particularly long straight, where a slipstream can always make a difference. The races there are usually in groups and sometimes a little chaotic, so there is no need to get too stressed as it is the first race. In the opening GP there are always some nerves, which is normal because we have not competed for a few months, but I'm confident. I think we are all fairly ready to start. My goal is to give my best. Finishing in the Top 5 would be considered a good start to the season, but if in the final stage of the race I am in the front group, we will strive to be as high up as possible."
41 BRAD BINDER
"Qatar has always been a difficult track for me, since I've never shown what I'm capable of in the first race. Still, I feel much more prepared than at other times. I am already looking forward to riding there. I like the circuit a lot and always enjoy it. We'll see what we can do. My goal is to try to get on the podium. It is true that in preseason testing we have not been where I would have liked to have been, but I hope that Qatar is different because it is a circuit that suits my riding style quite well; it has more faster corners than slow ones."
98 KAREL HANIKA
"I can’t wait to start the Qatar Grand Prix, because it is the first race of the season and the first after a long hiatus. I like the track layout very much. Last year it was difficult to get used to the conditions there, but in the end we did pretty well and even managed to score points. I hope to enjoy the race and that the result is the one we want. Riding at night is special and I like the circuit. There are some areas where I have to learn how to take a perfect line, as it is easy to lose time. If we find the way to go fast in these particular areas, we will do well.
The goal is to finish the race and keep the bike upright in every session. We will have to work hard to get into the front group and stay with them."
Johann Zarco starts a promising season in Qatar
New Ajo Motorsport project in the Moto2 World Championship debuts this weekend in Qatar with Johann Zarco and Kalex.
03/25/2015 - Losail International Circuit, Qatar
The Moto2 World Championship returns this weekend at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar. Following good results achieved over the two months of official preseason testing, rider Johann Zarco and chassis manufacturer Kalex have already shown their strength. As part of the new Ajo Motorsport structure in the intermediate category, Zarco will attempt to give the Finnish squadron their first successes right from the opening Grand Prix of the season.
Despite their project being a mere five months old, Zarco and his team arrive at the first appointment of the year in top form. They set the fastest times in the first two weeks of testing in Valencia and Jerez, whilst last week in a second Jerez test only rain and wind prevented a repeat result. Content with his Kalex in all conditions, the Frenchman is more optimistic than ever heading to a circuit where he has struggled to achieve great results in the past. His best finish in Qatar was in 2011 (125cc) with sixth.
Under the lights of Losail International Circuit, Johann Zarco will start the 20-lap race from 7:20pm -local time- Sunday. Before that, as is usual at the season opener, free practice will begin on Thursday.
5 JOHANN ZARCO
"It will be my seventh time competing at the Losail circuit in Qatar, but I still have the same excitement about it as the first time. It's a fast circuit with a very long straight, and different to the Valencia and Jerez tracks where we undertook a good part of the preseason. The truth is that traditionally I have found it quite hard to do well at this track, because I was always a little stressed. Now my team and I are going there with a smile and confidence, so we will try to enjoy the moment. Racing at night makes it more special. I can’t wait to start the season."
KIEFER RACING UNVEIL THEIR NEW TITLE SPONSOR 2015 : LEOPARD NATURAL POWER DRINK
Efren Vasquez, Danny Kent and rookie Hiroki Ono represents the new Moto3 Team “Leopard Natural Power Drink” in the highly competitive Moto3™ World Championship.
A colourful new entry will appear at this year in the Moto3 class, as the newly formed team, “Leopard Racing” unveils their livery at the World famous “Circuito de Jerez” in southern Spain.
The team run by Kiefer Racing, that is newly to be named “Leopard Racing”, a long time participant at the highest level of motorcycling racing, with already one championship title to its name. The new team will consist of a three rider line-up, made up of a well balanced mix of experienced and young talented riders.
Heading Leopard Racing is Efren Vazquez from Spain, he finished last season’s campaign in the lower category of GP racing with two victories and a fourth place in overall standings. Alongside the Spaniard is Danny Kent of the UK, a very experienced Moto3 participant of numerous years. Completing the line-up is Hiroki Ono from Japan, being the rookie of the team, for his first season at World Championship level.
Ambitions are high for the Leopard Racing outfit, in its first year of Moto3 class collaboration. Honda Racing Corporation is providing an excellent support with their new Motorbikes: the new NSF250RW has already proven it’s self in competitive pre-season testings.
During this weekend the Championship gets underway with the “Grand Prix of Qatar”, held in the exciting floodlit stadium “Losail International Circuit” in Doha, the capital of Qatar.
Sponsored by “Leopard Natural Power Drink”, a 100% natural ingredients based power beverage; using cardamon, ginger, pear, lime and maca root. With no chemical components, Leopard is the first natural power drink, made to boost your energy level throughout the day.
#7 Efren VAZQUEZ
“In my opinion, it is great to have the Leopard brand in the series. For me personally, it will be a great opportunity to enhance my career in such an environment, and to be able to compete at the highest level in the Moto3 class. My complete trust is with all of the partners and my dedication to return their trust in me. I would also like to thank HRC for their outstanding support. Looking forward to an exciting season, I’m honoured and happy to be part of this new venture.”
#52 Danny KENT
“ I’m really happy to be part of the “Leopard Racing “ project in 2015, in such a brand new project, after our pre-season trials and the hard work from the team members, we have set our ambitions to a very high level. We will make a strong showing in this competitive class. A big thank you goes to HRC for their outstanding support and to be able to compete at a peak level this year.”
#76 Hiroki ONO
“Honestly speaking, I look forward to this enormous challenge. The step from Spanish Championship, where I raced last year, to the World Championships is a huge leap, having gained experience from my time at the Spanish races, now I face a big learning curve! Being able to compete in Moto3 World Series will offer me the opportunity to improve my performance and I will do my absolute best to assist the team. I’m very happy and grateful to all who have supported me, supporters, Leopard Racing team and Honda for an excellent collaboration.”
Stefan KIEFER (Team manager)
“In 2015 we face a completely new challenge, we look forward to this new chapter for Kiefer Racing. So I would like to offer thanks to Title sponsor Leopard Natural Power Drink and the whole Honda team, who allow us to compete in the highly competitive Moto3 class, at the highest level. With just some days before the season start at Losail, we, as a team, are ready to take up the challenge, and meet our targets. My feeling is we will be able to race with the leaders in our category. As has been said, our ambitions are high, but we can count on an excellent background from the partners, so I wish to express my thanks to all of those involved in this new project.”
Miodrag KOTUR (Leopard Racing)
“Firstly, I have to admit that we’re extremely proud to be competing in 2015 on the highest level of motorcycling racing. Giving thanks to Kiefer Racing for their cooperation, we are capable to enter the World Championships and to represent our new 100% Leopard Natural Power Drink. This is not our only goal. Our targets are high, our rider line up demonstrates our determination to reach our targets. Due to our well balanced mix of vast experience and young talent, we are confident we will be part of the front line in our field. Whilst both, Efren and Danny have proved themselves with wins at several Grand Prix races last year. Hiroki arrives from the tough school of Spanish CEV Championships last year. Following pre-season trials which have shown that our team have demonstrated to be at an excellent competitive level and look forward to an exciting premier season. Finally I would like to extend my gratitude to HRC for such an excellent support, also to all other partners and staff. From this point of view, I really look forward to the start of the Championship this weekend in Qatar.”
#ForeverForward: Dunlop launch new league to highlight the top overtakers in Moto2™ and Moto3™
The FIM Moto2™ and Moto3™ World Championships are globally renowned as the showcase for the best young motorsport talent. There’s another reason why the championships are so popular with fans; the sheer amount of action and overtaking.
Dunlop, the Official Tyre Supplier to the two championships, has launched a new overtaking league table that will focus on the battles throughout the field, the fightbacks from adversity and the determination of the best riders in wheel-to-wheel combat.
The #ForeverForward league table will be published after each race on www.motogp.com and will show which riders have made the biggest improvement from their starting position to finishing position. At the end of the year, the rider (from either championship) who has made the most progress during the season will receive the prestigious new Dunlop #ForeverForward trophy.
In recent seasons, Moto2™ and Moto3™ has provided compelling viewing for spectators and thrilling action for TV viewers. We asked fans why they love these championships and they told us is was the overtaking, the battles and the fighting throughout the field. In a world where many racing championships get criticised for providing processional races we believe this award, and the debate it will create on social media, will attract new audiences to the excitement of these championships.” stated James Bailey, Director, Motorsport PR and Communications.
The #ForeverForward hashtag will be used on the @DunlopMoto Twitter feed to create conversations around the best overtaking moves at each race. A video highlighting the best overtaking moves will be released on www.motogp.com on the Monday afternoon following each race event.
Dunlop: Official Tyre Supplier
2015 sees all riders in the intermediate and lightweight classes of the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship continuing to compete on Dunlop tyres. Dunlop and Dorna renewed the long-term partnership at the end of the 2014 season, with this season being the sixth year of supplying Moto2™ and fourth year of Moto3™.
Moto2™ continues to produce ultra-competitive racing. Several riders from the Dunlop one-brand series have more than held their own in the top formula including reigning champion Marc Marquez, with 2013 Moto2™ champion Pol Espargaro and Scott Redding not only moving to MotoGP™ for 2014 but finishing very creditably 6th and 12th respectively in the standings. Maverick Viñales is the sole Moto2™ graduate for 2015.
Moto3™ was the only one of the three MotoGP™ championships going to the wire in 2014 and saw Alex Marquez crowned. Jack Miller did everything he could at that last round in Spain but winning the race wasn’t enough. Miller’s season performance was enough though to earn a place in MotoGP™ with Alex Marquez making the same leap.
The 250cc four-stroke engines are open to manufacturer competition unlike Moto2™ which has a controlled Honda engine. Dunlop has three slick compounds available with two front and two rear compounds selected for each round.