Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after qualifying at Qatar:
Bittersweet third place for Brad Binder in Qatar GP qualifying
Red Bull KTM Ajo rider takes third in the first QP of the year, but will start from the second row after incurring a penalty. Bo Bendsneyder –eighth– also sanctioned and will start from eleventh.
03/19/2016 - Losail International Circuit, Qatar
The first Moto3 qualifying session of the year was held on Saturday at the Losail International Circuit, bringing great results for the Red Bull KTM Ajo team. Brad Binder took third place in the session -second best result of his Grand Prix career so far- whilst Bo Bendsneyder made his qualifying debut with a strong eighth position. However, penalties for irresponsible riding in FP3 yesterday sees both riders dropping three places on the starting grid for the Qatar GP, to sixth and eleventh, respectively.
Teamwork was once again one of the most important aspects of the qualifying session. At a circuit that features long straights, Brad Binder and Bo Bendsneyder helped each other to set the best lap time possible. Located in the middle of the timesheet for much of the session, the Red Bull KTM Ajo pair made their attack with seven minutes remaining. Binder set his fastest lap –2:06.245– 2 minutes before the chequered flag fell, while Bendsneyder waited until his last attempt to put in a 2:06.539.
The Moto3 World Championship’s first race of the season kicks off on Sunday from 6pm –local time. The Red Bull KTM Ajo has won the Qatar GP on 2 previous occasions in Moto3: In 2013 with Luis Salom and in 2014 with Jack Miller.
41 BRAD BINDER
"Today it was very important to get a good result and qualify on either the first or second row of the grid, because yesterday I made a mistake that saw me pick up a three-place penalty. In any case, I feel very good; we were able to get third position in the QP session and that gives me a good feeling about the race tomorrow. We have worked hard on our pace over the past few days and I think I'm ready to get a good result tomorrow. We will go all-out for it."
64 BO BENDSNEYDER
"At the beginning of the qualifying session things were difficult; it was very windy on track, so the lap times were not as fast as in the test or this week’s Free Practice sessions. In any case, I continued pushing hard. Along with Brad [Binder] I think we did some good teamwork. We helped each other, rode together and gave one another slipstreams, which enabled us to set good lap times. Tomorrow is my first race in the World Championship and I'm looking forward to it."
Bagnaia and Martin lead the charge for Mahindra in Qatar GP qualifying
Qatar, 19 March 2016
Ultra-competitive Moto3™ class sees top 19 riders separated by less than one second
Bagnaia will start season opener from 12th with Martin two places behind
Mahindra Racing homologates second fairing to offer choice to riders
Aspar Mahindra Team riders, Italian Pecco Bagnaia and Spaniard Jorge Martin, led the way for Mahindra Racing in tonight’s qualifying session for the season-opening Qatar Moto3™ Grand Prix. In an extremely tight session at the 5.38km Losail International Circuit near Doha, the fastest 19 riders were separated by less than a second at the end of the 40-minutes.
Bagnaia (19) finished with a lap time of 2’06.733, 0.6 seconds from pole, placing him 12th on the grid. Martin (18) was just 0.2 seconds adrift and will start tomorrow’s season-opening 18-lap race two places behind his teammate.
Prior to the session, Mahindra Racing, in partnership with the factory-supported Aspar Team, its three customer teams and partner Peugeot MC Saxoprint team, took the decision to homologate a second fairing for the 2016 Moto3™ season.
With the support of all of the teams and the agreement of Moto3 Race Direction, Pecco Bagnaia used the alternative fairing in tonight’s qualifying session.
Commenting on the decision, Mufaddal Choonia, CEO of Mahindra Racing, explained: “Our riders have been struggling this weekend and have not been able to show the full potential of our new bike. We wanted to try something different to improve the situation and decided to try a new fairing, closer in style to what we used in 2015. Pecco found that it gave greater stability and increased corner speed, albeit sacrificing some slipstreaming benefits.
“Our plan had been to continue working on our aerodynamics package during forthcoming tests, but we took the pragmatic approach to introduce this second fairing this weekend with a view to giving options to all of our riders over the coming weeks in order to see improved performances across the board.
“There is a busy schedule of races coming up and so it made no sense to wait. While Pecco was pleased with the feeling from the alternative fairing, Jorge showed that there is merit in both, and so all of our riders will have the chance to evaluate for themselves and choose which option suits them in Argentina.”
THIRD ROW FOR BASTIANINI IN QATAR QUALIFYING. DI GIANNANTONIO 28th
Gresini Racing Team Moto3 racer Enea Bastianini will start from the third row of the grid in tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Qatar: during this evening’s Qualifying at the Losail International Circuit the 18-year-old rider from Rimini got the ninth fastest time, 2’06”657, but he will line up his Honda on the eighth spot of the gris after the penalty of three positions inflicted to Bo Bendsneyder for slow riding during FP3.
Bastianini set his best time at the end of the Qualifying session, resulting very fast in the T2 and T3 sectors of the track, but losing precious ground in the T4, which includes the long finish straight, having no other riders’ slipstream in front of him. Enea therefore remains confident that he can remain in the leading group tomorrow, to fight for a good result.
His teammate, Fabio Di Giannantonio, finished the qualifying in 28th place with a lap time of 2’07”611, obtained at the beginning of the Qualifying session: the 17-year-old rookie from Rome tried to improve his performance in the final stages, but he failed to take advantage of the new tyres in his last run.
ENEA BASTIANINI (8th - 2'06"657)
“It was a quite difficult qualifying because the conditions of the track changed again and I struggled a bit with the set up. We had to work on the bike, but things improved in the last run so I was able to make a good lap; it’s only a pity that I was not able to take any slipstream on the final straight, that would have made the difference, but it must be said that several riders set their best time alone, so this is not an excuse. We have to work a little for the race, but I think we can stay in the leading group: at the beginning of the race someone could try to open a gap, but on this track it is difficult: I think that the race will be decided in the final laps and at who will have the most fresh tyres will make the difference”.
FABIO DI GIANNANTONIO (28th - 2'07"611)
“Too bad, yesterday things went very well and today we had the credentials to do a good qualifying. At the beginning of the session we made a good start, but then I lost myself: when I returned to the track I was alone and didn’t have the right pace. I still have to learn a lot and without references I was not able to make a good lap time. At the end we mounted new tyres but I was unable to exploit them and therefore tomorrow we will start from the back. However, tomorrow I will try to make a good start then I will fight!”.
“Tomorrow we expect a hard fought race: Enea ended the Qualifying 0.5 seconds off the pace, but at T3 he was in line with the lap time set by poleman Fenati. Unfortunately in the T4 he lacked a slipstream to make a difference, so considering this we can definitely do well tomorrow. Unfortunately Di Giannantonio could not take advantage of his last run with new tyre: it would not take so much to gain several positions on the grid, but that's okay; let him grow and give him confidence”.
Positive qualifying session for the RBA Racing riders
The qualifying session for the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar took place today at the circuit of Losail.
The day kicked off with the QP for the Moto3 class. During the 40 minutes at disposal, the RBA Racing Team riders put together the decisions that were taken after the free practices of the previous days. With some tweaks to the KTM set-up, Guevara worked hard to take full advantage of the session: Juanfran finished with the time of 2’06.939, which puts him in the 15th position of the starting grid for tomorrow’s race.
Rodrigo kept making progress: after the good results of Friday, Gabriel maintained again a good pace in today’s QP. With the time of 2'06.983, the Argentinian will start tomorrow from the sixth row of the grid.
#58 Juanfran Guevara: 15th - 2'06.939
“Today we had our first qualifying of the year. We were slower than in the free practices: the conditions of the circuit weren’t perfect, it was very windy and that didn’t help anybody out. In general, we improved a bit the performance of our KTM on soft tyre, compared to the FP. In the first half of the session we were among the top-10, but we couldn’t take full advantage of the last few minutes. With a couple of tenth less, we would have finished the session among the 10 fastest riders. In any case, this isn’t too bad. For tomorrow we have everything pretty much sorted out, we don’t really want to make changes to the current set-up. It’s the first race and it’s really important to get to the chequered flag, in order to begin the year in a positive way.”
#19 Gabriel Rodrigo: 18th - 2'06.983
”Today in the QP it was very windy, it was hard to be faster without any slipstream. We started off well and we set a time that was quite good since the beginning. We put together a few other good laps, keeping up a good pace, and when I was on my best lap I almost crashed out, but luckily I saved it. It’s a shame because I think I could have improved a few tenths and, being all so close, I could have moved up a few positions. We finished 0.8 seconds off the first guy and in a track as long as this one it’s quite good. It looks like we’re on to a tight race tomorrow. We’ll try to stay calm in the beginning and stay with the front group, in order to fight for a good result.”
Second row start for Zarco in Qatar
Ajo Motorsport rider will lead off the second row of the grid tomorrow, securing fourth place in qualifying on Saturday.
03/19/2016 - Losail International Circuit, Qatar
The first starting grid of the 2016 Moto2 season was decided on Saturday in Qatar. The reigning World Champion in the class, Johann Zarco, improved his fastest lap for the third consecutive day to place fourth in qualifying, meaning the Ajo Motorsport rider will start from the second row tomorrow.
Although there were strong winds in the early stages of the QP run, the Moto2 riders took very little time to go fast. Johann Zarco went from strength to strength over the duration of the 45 minutes. After going out with worn tyres for his first stint, the Ajo Motorsport put on fresh rubber at the end to complete three hot laps. The final one of these was concluded just after the chequered flag fell, giving him a time of 1:59.419 to place fourth –just 0.065s off the front row.
Zarco will fight for his first podium in Qatar tomorrow, with the aim of rectifying some misfortune from last season; in the 2015 Grand Prix at Losail, only a mechanical failure prevented him from taking the win. The race will start at 19:20pm local time.
5 JOHANN ZARCO
"Qualifying went well. In the end, fourth position was the best I could do, and I only just missed out on the front row. My race pace is strong and I feel good again with used tyres. Everything is positive; I have to be focused in the race tomorrow, be fast at the beginning and then ride more calmly in order to finish very fast again. I want to thank the team, because they are doing a great job and I feel better every time I get on the bike –and I’m going faster and faster."
QUARTARARO HITS THE FRONT ROW
The 16 year old from Nice will start tomorrow from third place on the grid; Mir and Locatelli place well in the Top 20, both within 1" from poleman Fenati.
Qualifying for the Moto3 Grand Prix at the Losail International Circuit on Qatar took place this evening as the three Leopard Racing riders looked to make an impact on the grid ahead of the race tomorrow.
Fabio Quartararo took third place on the grid for the Qatar Grand Prix with a best time of 2'06"399. The Frenchman ended the official qualifying session in fourth position, but gained the front row due to the penalty imposed on the South African rider Brad Binder.
In the early stages of the session it was Fabio Quartararo and Joan Mir that lead the way while teammate Andrea Locatelli lapped just shy of the leading two riders times, themselves split by just +0.154s.
With 18 minutes to go, Quartararo ran off track twice but fortunately without incident.The session saw major rivals Niccolò Antonelli and Jorge Navarro both fall without injury. In the last moments of the 40 minute session, Joan Mir tried to go for broke in his lap but could not avoid contact with his teammate Andrea Locatelli.
Fortunately the Italian managed to stay in the saddle despite damage to the bike and damaged gear. The Italian managed to secure a decent 20th place start for tomorrow’s race, within 1” of compatriot Romano Fenati who took the second pole position of his career as the chequered flag ended the session.
Tomorrow at 15:50 local time (GMT +3) will see the Warm Up session for the cadet category before the first race of the 2016 season of the Moto3 World Championship at 18:00.
#20 Fabio QUARTARARO - 3rd (2'06.399):
"It 'been a positive day, but we could do better. It was nice to see many riders still on track. The most important thing is to be on the front row and get a good start. I immediately had a good time, then on two occasions my rhythm was affected by the traffic. But the position is good, my team has done a great job and I want to thank all the people who have come here to cheer."
#36 Joan MIR - 10th (2'06.728):
"I'm happy because we found a good set-up, in the first outing and was immediately fast. We tried for another time but at that moment the wind got up so we tried a soft tyre and made a small change to the rear and immediately felt at ease. We had a good first part to qualifying (10 thousandths from pole) but when I arrived in traffic I was pushing hard and I fell down. I apologize to Andrea for ruining his flying lap. We must however be positive and keep morale high for tomorrow."
#55 Andrea LOCATELLI - 20th (2'07.170):
"Unfortunately we had a hard session. I will try to start strongly tomorrow and attack from the first laps. I'll think of doing just a nice comeback and a good race. Unfortunately today qualifying went wrong as I was involved in a collision but luckily I did not fall, my chassis was damaged and I could not change gears. We have 20 riders within 1 second and I will give everything in the race tomorrow."
POLE POSITION FOR ROMANO FENATI AT LOSAIL
Extraordinary qualifying for the talent of the Sky Racing Team VR46. He improved his lap time in the last attempt. Fifth and seventh row for Nicolò Bulega and Andrea Migno
Losail (Qatar), March 19th 2016. Second pole position in his career for Romano Fenati with the Sky Racing Team VR46. The young italian talent confirmed the excellent feeling with his KTM also in the qualifying, and thanks to the teamwork, he is at the top place of the standings. After the pole position at Motegi last October, Romano will start from the first box of the grid also at the Losail circuit.
Nicolò Bulega after the three good practice sessions, got the fifth row in his first Grand Prix in the Moto3 – he is 13th. Andrea Migno, who was affected by the strong wind, is 19th. Romano, constant in all the sessions, signed an excellent 2.06.131, which earned him the pole position. Nicolò recorded the time of 2.06.786 and Andrea 2.07.101.
PABLO NIETO - Team Manager
I'm really pleased with today's result. Romano got the first pole position of the season in the first race. We have done a great job in the pre-season and we have to continue in this direction. Nicolò and Andrea were a bit unlucky and they will start from the 5th and 7th row. Tomorrow will be a long and tough race, we can not give up.
ROMANO FENATI - Pilota Sky Racing Team VR46
BEST TIME > 2.06.131
It was a really incredible qualifying: I struggled a bit with the management of the strategy and I returned in to the pits for keeping the concentration. I came out almost at the end of the session and I did this great time (2.06.131). For the race I have a good pace and I am confident. There are several riders ready to fight for the victory. Thank to all the team for this incredible result.
ANDREA MIGNO - Pilota Sky Racing Team VR46
BEST TIME > 2.07.101
I struggled due to the strong wind and tomorrow I will start from the 7th row. Over the weekend we did a good job, so I'm confident. We have a chance to recover several positions.
NICOLÒ BULEGA - Pilota Sky Racing Team VR46
BEST TIME > 2.06.786
After three positive sessions of free practice, I was expecting something more. But it is my first GP in Moto3 and I have to get experience. The wind prevented me to improve my lap time. I have to stay focused on the race, with this team I can do a great job.
Livio Loi rakes in his first front row start
Livio Loi nailed his first front row start in the qualifying practice for the Qatar GP. RW Racing GP’s Belgian rider will start the Moto3 race from second on the grid, after Romano Fenati denied him pole position in the dying moments of qualifying.
Loi held pole position for over 16 minutes. He came to top the timing sheets in his eighth lap with a 2.06,520, and improved to 2.06,178 in his twelfth lap, with 5 minutes to go.
It looked to be a solid first place, but much to the surprise of everyone around the Losail International Circuit Fenati ducked under Loi’s time thanks to a blistering last sector, recording 2.06,131. Fabio Quartararo will accompany Fenati and Loi on the front row, as Brad Binder was penalized with three positions.
“It was a bit unfortunate that Fenati just snatched pole position, but that’s also part of the game,” RW Racing GP team manager Jarno Janssen commented. “Yet we are more than happy, as the front row was our main goal. It’s a great position to start from, and we are confident about our chances in the race, as Livio has proven he can ride a string of consistent fast laps. For sure it will not be easy, as the race in Qatar is often a hustle with usually a big group, with all the associated risks.”
Livio Loi - 2 (2.06,178)
“Of course I was a bit disappointed for just a second, as I lost pole position. But second on the grid is still great. The biggest satisfaction is that I did it on my own. If I had had a perfect last sector like Fenati had, I would have been in 2.05 for sure, but the ‘what if’s’ don’t count. It’s good to be on the front row. A reward for the hard work over the winter and for the excellent job the team is doing. I feel confident and I strongly believe there a chances in the race. Like Jarno said: I know I can ride a number of consistent fast laps. We have the pace. A good start and staying out of trouble are the first goals for tomorrow.”
The Moto3 race in Qatar will start at 18.00 h local time, 16.00 h Central European Time.
Morbidelli and Márquez ready to race in Qatar
Losail, Qatar – 19 March 2016: Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Franco Morbidelli and Álex Márquez have qualified fifth and 13th respectively for the Qatar Grand Prix.
Morbidelli slashed three tenths of a second from his practice pace to secure his second row start for Sunday's opening round of the Moto2 World Championship.
The 21-year-old Italian is confident of challenging for the podium in his race debut for Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS in the 20-lap contest at the Losail International Circuit.
Morbidelli has been focussing on a strategy to deliver a fast qualifying lap to back-up his front-running race pace. He missed a front row start by just one tenth of a second.
Unfortunately for Márquez the chatter issues that appeared in free practice again slowed his pace in qualifying and he faces a tough assignment from the fifth row of the grid.
The red hot pace in qualifying saw 14 riders within one second of pole position, setting the scene for a torrid contest in the 20-lap Moto2 race.
Franco Morbidelli: 5th - 1'59.509
"I'm really happy for this result. The changes we made after practice were positive and I could build my pace during the session so I have to thank my crew chief Pete Benson and all my team. For the race it looks like Jonas Folger and Sam Lowes are quite fast but I'm ready for the battle and to fight for the podium."
Álex Márquez: 13th - 2'00.009
"We had a lot of problems in qualifying with chatter and despite the changes we made we still need some more adjustment for the race. My rhythm for the race is good but when you start 13th in a Moto2 race it is difficult to be in the front, so I will need a good start and try to pass many riders in the opening laps and keep a strong pace."
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"I was pleasantly surprised by Franco's qualifying lap and he was still improving on his final lap and he did his times without the benefit of a slipstream, which can mean a couple of tenths at Qatar. I expect Franco to make a strong race. After practice I thought Álex had the potential to be faster so now we need to find some set-up solutions to make him more comfortable for the race and allow him to fight for a good result."
Losail has a very bitter taste for the Forward Racing Team
Season 2016 begins uphill for the Forward Racing team. Lorenzo Baldassarri and Luca Marini were both victims of bad falls, which penalized heavily their qualifying.
Marini fell victim of an accident with another rider ending up in the gravel and destroying his bike. The mechanics of his box heroically put back on track his Kalex in just twenty minutes allowing "Maro" to at least do one flying lap. With 2'01.414 the rider from Tavullia closes the session in 26th place.
Baldassarri was fighting to enter the Top5 but he crashed heavily five minutes from the end of session, rolling in the gravel and dislocating both his shoulders.
The doctors of the Clinica Mobile and the Medical Center did everything they could but most likely the young Italian will have to skip tomorrow’s race. "Balda" has nevertheless marked a good 1'59.716 that would put him on the seventh place of the grid.
Statements will be available as soon as possible.
"Today’s crash was really bad luck, I only can say this. Until now it had been a great weekend and we did a really nice work. I am sure that from now on it can only get better.
I want to thank the team who have done a fantastic job in putting the bike back together; when it came back to pit it was really in bad shape.
I managed to complete just a single lap unfortunately and that's why tomorrow we start from the back of the grid, I'm sure we are still be able to perform well. "
Second row starts for Estrella Galicia 0,0 riders at Qatar GP
Jorge Navarro and Aron Canet use stellar teamwork to earn fourth and fifth, respectively, on tomorrow’s starting grid.
The Estrella Galicia 0,0 riders had a superb qualifying session on Saturday for the Grand Prix of Qatar, in which Jorge Navarro -despite suffering a crash- placed fifth and debutant Aron Canet, sixth. Due to a penalty imposed by Race Direction on Brad Binder, dropping him down three places on the grid, Navarro will take off from fourth and Canet fifth.
During the session, which featured a strong headwind, the riders encountered a lot of the typical traffic on track. Navarro crashed at Turn 6, after colliding with Jakub Kornfeil after the latter hit the brakes hard and fell. Back in the garage, Navarro’s crew worked quickly to get his Honda NSF250RW ready for a final assault on the timesheets, and the Spaniard set a best lap of 2:06.448. The time took him onto the second row of the grid for tomorrow's race.
Starting just behind Navarro will be teammate Aron Canet, thanks in part to the teamwork between the two Estrella Galicia 0,0 riders. The rookie was able to put together a strong lap time of 2:06.462, using all the knowledge he had picked up over the past few weeks at Losail. He was the fastest debutant in the session, and will take off from fifth on the grid.
The first race of the 2016 Moto3 season will take place tomorrow at 6pm –local time– at the Losail International Circuit.
5th, 2:06.448, 13 laps, 70 km
"I have a good pace riding alone, so tomorrow it will be important to be smart and keep a cool head"
"Qualifying was a little chaotic. Almost as soon as I went out, I got ahead on the timesheets. On my second stint, in which I went out on new tyres and I was looking to set a good lap, Jakub Kornfeil hit the brakes very hard and lost the front end of his bike; I was right behind him, and when I clipped his back tyre I couldn’t prevent a crash. Thankfully I escaped unhurt. I want to thank my crew for getting the bike ready for a final stint, in which we were able to take a few important tenths off our times and move up positions on the grid. The work by the team and how we recovered is what I will take away from today. I have a good pace riding alone, so for tomorrow's race it will be important to be smart and keep a cool head."
6th, 2:06.462, 14 laps, 75 Km
"Navarro and I helped each other to gain a few tenths"
"At first we struggled a bit because there was a lot of headwind. In the second stint of the session we took a step forward, but it was in the last run that Jorge [Navarro] and I helped each other to gain a few tenths. We did a great job and I rode with a good pace, but we must remember that tomorrow will be my first race in the World Championship.”
SAM LOWES BLAZES TO QATAR FRONT ROW
Aboard the Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex machine, Sam Lowes claimed a fantastic front row start at the end of this evening’s Qualifying for the Grand Prix of Qatar. The 25-year-old British driver set the second fastest time, 1’59”124, just 0.072 seconds off the pole position, set by German Jonas Folger.
The 20-lap race will start tomorrow at 7:20 pm local time, 5:20 pm CET.
SAM LOWES (2nd - 1'59"124)
“I’m really happy, I was fast with both tyres today and I made again a really good pace. The wind was quite strong so I lost something in the last split without splistream, but that’s okay. I feel good, starting from the second position is positive and I think that for tomorrow we have a good chance to fight for victory. Thanks to my team, we made a good job and I’m ready to go!”.
“Things went very well today and I’m satisfied. It was important to do a good qualifying and we managed to do so, we have been working well throughout the whole weekend and today’s result is proving it. Sam was once again very fast, missing the pole position by nothing, so now we just have to wait for the race. We are ready to do fight, let’s see how it goes tomorrow”.
Resolute Vierge all set to kick off 2016 season in Qatar
Tech3 Racing Team riders Xavi Vierge and Isaac Viñales both tirelessly battled their way through the first qualifying session of the year today and now confidently look on towards clinching success in tomorrow’s race which starts at 19:20 local time.
Xavi Vierge will bolt from the middle of the 7th row for the opening round of the 2016 Moto2 World Championship after pulling off a determined performance today. When the 45-minute shootout commenced, the young Spaniard leapt into gear and began the fight. As the clock counted down, he made steps forward before setting his fastest time on his final lap which left him only seven tenths from the top ten. This result leaves the former CEV race winner fired up and ready for battle in the 20 lap sprint.
On the other side of the garage, rookie Isaac Viñales fought relentlessly in the all-important session and will launch into his Moto2 campaign from the 9th row. The Spanish rider continued adjusting the setup of his Mistral 610 with the Tech3 Racing Team and as time progressed, he took to the track and posted his personal best on his 16th lap out of 17. Viñales now has his sights fully set fighting all the way to the chequered flag and finishing with a positive outcome.
Position : 20th - Time : 2'00.627 – Laps : 19
“We had a solid day yesterday and I gave my all in qualifying, but I can’t hide my slight disappointment at the final result. After what we achieved in FP3, I had high hopes but it wasn’t meant to be today. Nevertheless, I remain confident for the race. I have a good rhythm and my pace is strong which is a key element to success. Sunday is the most important day of the weekend, but just like last year, my main focus is to gain more experience. However, I am ready for the fight and I am looking forward to riding the Mistral 610 in the first GP of 2016.”
Position : 27th - Time : 2'01.970 – Laps : 17
“Today was my first qualifying in the intermediate class and it is clear to see that we are still in the education process. It goes without saying that the result is not where I want to be, but I must stay patient and keep on learning. Tomorrow will be the opening race of the year and I will aim to obtain as much knowledge as I possibly can for the future, but I’ll do my best and we will see where we can finish."
LEOPARD RACING START FIRST MOTO2 BATTLE FROM 4TH & 8TH ROW
Confidence boost for Danny Kent as Miguel Oliveira works hard to find his Moto2 pace.
It was a successful qualifying session for Danny Kent as he secured 11th place on the grid ahead of tomorrow’s Moto2 Grand Prix. Early session issues were overcome after his Leopard Racing crew made subtle changes to his Kalex machine enabling Kent to find the confidence he had been looking for.
For the first time this weekend, the British rider was within reach of the Top 10 and to lap under the 2 minute barrier with a best lap of 1'59 "956, less than a second off pole man Jonas Folger.
The reigning Moto3 class champion on his return to the intermediate category after competing in the class in 2013, completed 16 laps in total, as did his team-mate Miguel Oliveira.
The Portuguese registered his best time on the 13th lap, closing with 2'00"757, which secured a start from the eighth row of the grid.
Tomorrow at 16:25 local time (GMT +3) will see the Warm Up session for the intermediate category before the first race of the 2016 season of the Moto2 World Championship gets under way at 19:20.
#44 Miguel OLIVEIRA - 22nd (2'00.757):
"The feeling with the bike was worse than yesterday, the conditions were difficult with the strong wind and for me it was not easy to find a good rhythm to drive strong. Towards the end of the session we made a change that did not go as we expected so it's up to me to make a comeback race tomorrow and try, in this my debut in Moto2, to collect information as possible. Finish in the points would be a good result."
#52 Danny KENT - 11th (1'59.956):
“First of all I want to thank the team, we've had some problems this weekend but we made a change towards the end of qualifying and I instantly felt more comfortable. Myself and my team can be happy to start P11 on our return to Moto2, I'm really excited for the race as we have 20 laps to go with some fast riders and look to learn as much as possible. I'm pleased with today and have a good feeling with the bike, we'll look at the data and see if we can improve anything but overall I'm happy.”
Moto3 - Uphill qualifying for 3570 Team Italia at Losail
It's envisaged to be an attack race for Stefano Valtulini (31st) and Lorenzo Petrarca (33rd).
The riders of 3570 Team Italia will have to do an attack race at the Losail International Circuit (Qatar), scenery of the first seasonal round of the 2016 Moto3 World Championship. In the only qualifying session, that gave to Romano Fenati (KTM) his second pole position in career, Stefano Valtulini and Lorenzo Petrarca had to face several obstacles, getting respectively the 31st and 33rd time.
Under the 2'09 once again, Stefano Valtulini, with a time of 2'08"336, has reduced his gap from the top, getting closer to his referential group, proving to be confident of concretising a combative race. Session of qualifying to be forgotten for Lorenzo Petrarca, 33rd in 2'10"433, because of a crash without consequences at Turn 15, due to a wind gust, typical of the Qatari track.
Tomorrow at local 18 (16 in Italy), the start of the 22 laps on the Qatari track for the two young rookies of 3570 Team Italia.
Stefano Valtulini (3570 Team Italia - Mahindra MGP3O #43) 31st, 2'08"336
"The position is naturally not in line with our expectations, but I am quite happy. Today we got even closer to the first positions, limiting the gap at just 2", and this is very important to me because it represents an injection of confidence, since that I am at my official debut in the World Championship. It's a shame for the little problem in the last ten minutes, we had real chances to classify up ahead. Anyway I am confident for tomorrow, there's the possibility to recover positions and to finish well this first race weekend together with the team."
Lorenzo Petrarca (3570 Team Italia - Mahindra MGP3O #77) 33rd, 2'10"433
"Compared to the previous days of tests, today has been much better. The modifying of set-up have allowed me to ride the bike as I like, I have increasing feeling and for this I have to thank the team. Unfortunately , while I was improving my lap time, the limber lifted up and I crashed accidentally . Fortunately I am fine and with the confidence that I gained today, I can aim at an attack race."
Emanuele Ventura (3570 Team Italia - Team Manager)
"Today with Stefano we have taken a further step forward. The ideal time has improved sensibly and we are in a group immediately behind of the first riders of the class, sign that the path started is the right one. Unfortunately, due to a little problem in a sensor, he wasn't able to improve in the last 10 minutes of the qualifying, but he has all the premises to do well tomorrow. Talking about Lorenzo , we succeeded in finding a set-up suitable for his riding style and that gave him some confidence on the bike: the data acquisition confirms constant improvements also for him. It's a shame for the crash due to a wind gust, without that setback, he could have had a better lap time and place in the grid."
Baldassarri: "Tomorrow I want to race"
After today’s crash, Lorenzo Baldassarri is already very determined to do everything he can to compete in the upcoming GP of Qatar. Tomorrow the Italian will undergo medical checks at the circuit to get the doctors ok despite two dislocated shoulders.
"Unfortunately today I lost the rear while I was doing my flying lap, the bike threw me into the air and crashing I dislocated both my shoulders . Too bad, we were very competitive, we did 1:59.7 after the first few laps on old tires, it meant that with the leaders with new tires. Let's see how it goes tomorrow. I want to race. "
Third Row for Nakagami, Wilairot Starts from eigth row
Losail International Circuit : Saturday, March 19 2016
Ambient: 23℃:Track: 23℃
After forty-five minutes qualifying practice, IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia rider Takaaki Nakagami set ninth fastest lap time with 1’59.811 and secured the third row for the race.
Nakagami demonstrated his competitiveness by setting consistent 2min00 middles to lows. At the closing moments of the session, the Japanese Moto2 veteran successfully improved his lap time on his penultimate lap in the session.
On the contrary, team mate Wilairot had to come through a difficult qualifying. Right after the start of the session, the Thai rider, who had made a steady progress in this weekend, was hit by a rider at turn16. Although the team’s speedy work to fix the bike, Wilairot could not regain his rhythm, which forced him to finish the qualifying with 2’00.709 and start the race from twenty-third grid.
The twenty minutes warm-up session starts at 16:25 local time tomorrow before the twenty lap race starts under the floodlights at 19:20.
Takaaki Nakagami (9th, 1’59.811, +0.759)
“Having seen our tiny lap time improvement with the fresh tire, we expected the qualifying would be difficult. Anyway, we managed to secure the third row, which is more or less acceptable. Now we will check the data with my team to find something and prepare for the race.”
Ratthapark Wilairot (23th, 2’00.790, +1.738)
“It was very difficult qualifying because right after the start, a rider hit me at turn16 which made me crash and ruined my session times. After repairing the damage of my bike, I had to go with used tire, which was why I could not improve my lap time. Starting from twenty-third grid is not good, but with my race pace I can chase for top15.”
Tadayuki Okada - Team Manager
”Even though Nakagami starts the race from third row, I believe he can fight for the podium. Managing the latter half of the race will decide the outcome of the race. Ratthapark could not get his rhythm back, after his crash in the beginning of the qualifying. He had made a steady progress so far, and I hope he will fight for top15 tomorrow.”
FIRST QUALIFYING FOR PEUGEOT MC SAXOPRINT END IN DIFFERENT WAY
The newly formed French-German based Moto3™ entry completed their first qualifying practice today with mixed feelings.
The 40-minute timed session in good conditions saw the real first time attack this year, deciding the grid positions for tomorrow’s opening race at the Grand Prix of Qatar. The floodlighted Losail International Circuit was the scenery where an ultra-competitive Moto3™ class was separated from pole to 19th position by less than one second finally.
Peugeot MC SAXOPRINT’s Alex Masbou set a best effort in 2´07.209 to start from P21 on the grid tomorrow evening. The experienced French rider and his crew worked hard to found his and the bike’s form again today as Masbou felt comfortable with the all-new Peugeot Moto3 throughout the session, likewise the first day of practice Thursday evening.
Opposite to Masbou’s strong comeback, team-mate John McPhee from Scotland suffered bad luck again, but this time coming from gearbox problems which massively hampered the ambitious talent to push for decent lap times. McPhee qualified just in 30th position.
The lights will go out for the very first points hunt in 2016 with tomorrow’s Moto3™ Grand Prix of Qatar at 6:00 pm local time Sunday evening.
#10 Alex MASBOU – Grid Position 21th (2´07.209 (12/13):
“For sure, in comparison to yesterday when I felt absolutely not comfortable with the bike, things went much better today. We were able to find the way back like it was during the first two sessions. We made really progress with the bike today as we reduced the gap to the front to one second only. However, I don’t like to see me on this position because P21 on the grid doesn’t match my goals, particularly with a lap time like this. But we will keep working hard to improve further and for sure we will find solutions soon. It’s hard to speak about expectations for tomorrow’s race because we are still learning the bike as well we don’t know what will happen towards the end of the race yet. The biggest question mark is tyre wear as we weren’t able to work on long runs so much because we changed many times the setting and in doing so we don’t know yet if the tyre will last till the entire race distance. Anyway, I think that we have reached a position meanwhile which allows us to be able to fight for some points tomorrow. This of course would round up a difficult weekend in the best possible way.”
#17 John McPHEE – Grid Position 30th (2´07.847 (6/10):
“There is not much to say after this qualifying. We struggled throughout the session with gearbox issues. In the end I nearly crashed many times trying to make a good lap time. We did what we can but in the it was frustrating out there to ride through these problems. Hopefully things will go better tomorrow.”