Press releases from the teams after qualifying at Motegi:
Brad Binder on front row for Japanese GP
2016 World Champion takes third in qualifying session at Twin Ring Motegi. Bo Bendsneyder to start from the ninth row.
10/15/2016 - Twin Ring Motegi, Japan
Brad Binder made important progress at Motegi on Saturday ahead of raceday for the Japanese GP. The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider took third position in qualifying, but will occupy second place on the starting grid due to a sanction for another rider. In one of the tightest sessions of the season, Bo Bendsneyder took twenty-seventh place in QP.
In the last of Binder’s 16 laps in FP3, the South African set the best lap of the entire weekend at the time, giving him first position on the combined timesheets with a 1:56.651. Meanwhile, Bendsneyder placed twenty-fourth, and lowered his best time by 2 tenths for a 1:58.068.
Binder’s qualifying session was atypical, as he did not feature in the top positions until his final stint. It was only with 10 seconds remaining that he moved into the top three for the first time. That 1:56.659 lap eventually earned him his seventh front row of the year. Rookie Bendsneyder got his time down to 1:57.722 on his penultimate attempt, which put him at the back of row nine.
The Moto3 race will be held tomorrow at 11:00am local time. Brad Binder will look for a fourth consecutive podium, and his second in Japan after a rostrum in 2014. Bendsneyder will attempt a comeback that enables him to return amongst the points.
41 BRAD BINDER
"Yesterday was a difficult day because I had a couple of crashes, but today from the beginning everything went a little better. This morning we were able to ride faster than yesterday and set the best lap of overall. In qualifying we took practically the same time, which earned us a valuable third position for tomorrow. We are still suffering at some points of the circuit, especially under braking, so in the Warmup we must improve our feeling in this regard, to take definite step forward for the race. We will try to fight for the win."
64 BO BENDSNEYDER
"Today's qualifying session did not turn out as we wanted; it was one of the worst qualifying sessions I've had this season. We had only one rear soft tyre, which is the one that I felt best with, and we put that on for the second run. After qualifying we saw that maybe it would have been better using it for the last stint, but it is very easy to say what would have been the best decision in hindsight. We can’t do anything about it now, so we must keep looking forward. Tomorrow we must try to find a better setup in the Warmup and fight hard in the race to move up as many positions as possible. That's what we have to do."
THREE RIDERS IN THE TOP6 FOR THE SKY RACING TEAM VR46 AT MOTEGI
In qualifying Migno scored the second fastest time, but tomorrow he will start from pole for the penalty inflicted to Ono. Positive feelings also for Bulega and Dalla Porta, fifth and sixth.
Motegi (Japan), October 15th, 2016 - The Sky Racing Team VR46 was the real protagonist of the qualifying session at the Grand Prix of Japan. Thanks to work of the whole team, the young Italian talents achieved the front two rows of the starting grid. Andrea Migno is second, but he will start from the first box of the grid for the penalty inflicted to Ono (1.56.443 ed). Immediately behind him Nicolò Bulega and Lorenzo Dalla Porta, respectively, with the fifth and the sixth lap time.
Migno, with the fastest guys since the yesterday free practices, signed a great 1.56.529, a time that will allow him to start in front of everyone tomorrow. With a gap of a tenth from him there is Bulega who closed with a best of 1.56.673 at his debut on the Japanese circuit. After a difficult Friday, very positive day also for Dalla Porta (1.56.682) who made an important step forward between FP3 and qualifying.
PABLO NIETO - Team Manager
I am very pleased with what I saw today on the track. We did a great job and we were able to place all the three riders in the top two rows. Is a good result for the whole team and all the guys. We are really confident for the race.
BEST TIME > 1.56.529
For the fourth time in this season I will start from the first row, but this time from the pole position for the penalty inflicted to Ono. I am glad with this result: it was important for the whole team.
BEST TIME > 1.56.673
It was a good qualifying. Yesterday I made my debut on this track and today I was fighting for the pole till the last seconds. It was a pity for the last lap, I did not seen the checkered flag, but I have a good pace for the race and I'm looking forward to back on track.
Lorenzo Dalla Porta
BEST TIME > 1.56.682
We were able to make a big step forward between the FP3 and the qualifying and I achieved the second row. I am satisfied: the rhythm is good and I'm confident for the race.
ANOTHER FRONT ROW START FOR BASTIANINI AT MOTEGI. SIXTH ROW FOR DI GIANNANTONIO
Gresini Racing Team Moto3 racer Enea Bastianini enjoyed another great qualifying session this afternoon at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit: the 18-year-old rider from Rimini set the fourth fastest time, 1’56”664, just 0.2 seconds off pole position.
A performance that will enable it to Bastianini to start tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Japan from the third spot on the grid, following the penalty of three grid positions given to pole man Hiroki Ono. Enea will then start so the front row for the eighth consecutive race, ready to do battle again for another podium finish.
His teammate, rookie Fabio Di Giannantonio, has instead experienced a little more complicated qualifying session: the 18-year-old rider from Rome often slowed by traffic during his fast laps, tomorrow will start from the sixth row of the grid with the 18th fastest time, 1’57”187. “Diggia” however is not far from the fastest riders in terms of performance and remains confident that he can make a good comeback in the race tomorrow.
ENEA BASTIANINI (3rd - 1'56"664)
“I’m pretty happy with this result. This morning in the last free practice session we wanted to try the soft tyre to check the behaviour of the bike ahead of Qualifying, but a crash in the final prevented us to do so. In addition, this afternoon the track temperature was higher, there was a lot of difference compared to this morning therefore at the beginning of the qualifying session I struggled to reach a good feeling with the bike. However, in the final stages end we made some changes to the set-up that seems to work well and we managed to get the front row, which was our goal. We still need to work on the front end for the race, because at the moment I don’t have the right feeling under braking, especially when I release the brakes. Anyway, our pace is good, so we should have a good race”.
FABIO DI GIANNANTONIO (18th - 1'57"187)
“Unfortunately today we were not able to complete a good Qualifying, in fact I think it was one of the worst of the season, because I only managed to complete one or two clean laps. In the first run I got a reasonable time, then in the second exit I tried to follow some riders trying to improve, but during my fast lap there was a contact with another rider going downhill into Turn 11 and I had to slow down. Afterwards, alone, I couldn’t really improve a lot my performance and finally, in the last run, a rider slowed me down in both of my two time attacks… As a result we will start from the back and tomorrow it won’t be easy, for sure. However I’m still confident: we just need to fix a couple of things on the bike, then tomorrow we can make another good comeback in the race!”.
“Bastianini got a good lap time in today’s Qualifying, despite he said that he was not able to make the most of his potential, because he’s not yet at 100% in a couple of points of the track. Enea is still competitive and he will be in the fight for the victory tomorrow, no doubt. Di Giannantonio’s day was more complicated, his first experience on this track right now is proving to be a bit uphill, although actually his gap from the top is not so high. I’m convinced that tomorrow he will still be able to recover and have a good race”.
Quartararo on the third row at Motegi
The French rider finds himself on the third row despite a fall during Qualifying. Mir and Locatelli to launch from 14th and 29th respectively on the grid.
An intense round of qualifying practice this afternoon at Twin Ring Motegi, the scene of the fifteenth round of the 2016 World Championship. On the 4.8 km of the Japanese track, the riders riders of Leopard Racing team gave their all in the decisive session to set their starting grid of the Motul Grand Prix of Japan.
The best of the "triple force", led by Christian Lundberg and Miodrag Kotur, was Frenchman Fabio Quartararo. Despite a fall mid-session at Turn 9, the 17 year-old from Nice, third overall in FP3 this morning, had an interesting time in the final minutes:. A 1'56.836 will allow him to start from the third row of the grid tomorrow.
Fourteenth for Joan Mir, the 19 year old from Mallorca, in the running for the Rookie-of-the-Year, continued his apprenticeship at Twin Ring. He continually improved his best time by precious tenths, showing a steady pace which bodes well for tomorrow. Several times already this season Mir has treated us to great comebacks. He, a true "racing animal", will give 100% on track.
Difficulties continued for his teammate, Andrea Locatelli. Even today, unfortunately, the 19 year old Selvino, while showing some interesting partial times, failed to find the ideal setting for his bike, losing precious meters on corner entry and in acceleration. Tomorrow morning he will have 20 minutes to sharpen his weapons.
Tomorrow at 8:40 Warm Up will begin: a preview of the fifteenth race of the 2016 season that will start at 11:00 o'clock.
#20 Fabio QUARTARARO - 8th (1'56.836):
"It was quite a positive day for us. To be honest I hoped for the second row, but the third is not bad. Especially if we also consider the fall in which I stumbled. We still have to fix some things but I'm pretty confident for tomorrow's race. I will give my best!"
#36 Joan MIR - 14th (1'57.062):
"It been a difficult day for us, we have not discovered he right strategy and ninth was the best I could do. I was able to take advantage of any some slipstream to help learn the circuit better. A shame about the 14th position, but we are also left behind and then we were able to get ahead in the race. I know I have a good rhythm."
#55 Andrea LOCATELLI - 29th (1'58.506):
"I'm having setup problems and even on the straight I lose a lot compared to the opponents. I cannot take use the slipstream and find it hard to improve. I am giving it my all to push, but the difference is noticeable when I open the throttle."
Tight qualifying session for the RBA Racing riders in Japan
The Moto3 class starting grid for the Motul Grand Prix of Japan was defined today, after the qualifying practice at Twin Ring Motegi.
Rodrigo was once again in the Top-10 during the third free practice, improving by more than one second his best lap from FP2. On top of that, Gabriel could complete another long run, which was important to confirm the performance of the tyres and the efficiency of the setting of his KTM machine. In the QP, the Argentinian and his crew used the first part of the session to prepare some improvements to the setting. Eventually Gabriel ended the day with the time of 1’57.220, which he put in on the last lap at disposal, with a 0.777 gap from today’s pole (19th placement).
The day started off with a crash in FP3 for Guevara: Juanfran could complete only ten laps in the first session of Saturday, without having the chance to make a difference on the times he set on Friday. However, in the afternoon the Spaniard worked hard with his team to catch up on the lost time, aiming to keep making progress and to define the setting for the race. After touching with another rider, Juanfran had a crash at the end of the qualifying session and therefore he closed the practice in 20th position (1’57.224).
#19 Gabriel Rodrigo: 19th - 1'57.220
“Today we started the day with another long un. The pace since the beginning was quite decent, it helped us to find the strengths and the weaknesses of our bike. We did some tunings and, when we put on the new tyre, we could make a strong lap. This morning we finished very close to the Top-3, only a couple of tenths off the leading group. In the qualifying, the temperature started to rise and the track was a bit more complicated. It was tougher to set fast laps. I was within 1’57 most of the laps, but there was plenty of traffic and we couldn’t get any clean laps. It’s a shame because we have a really strong pace, one of the best we’ve had in the season so far. Despite that, we’ll have to start from the rear and it will be important to begin well. We’ll try to catch the leading group and to make full use of our rhythm, because I’m sure we have enough potential to be in the front and to fight for a good result.”
#58 Juanfran Guevara: 20th - 1'57.224
”It was a difficult day, we crashed once in each session. In any case this morning was of some use when it came to confirming some improvements on the bike, after the crash. The team found a good solution, which was handy in the qualifying. In the afternoon we had a solid start and we improved the time from FP3 straight away. I’m happy with the first half of the session, when we were on the hard choice of the tyres that are available here. During the session I felt more and more confident also on soft tyres, there was a chance to improve my lap, yet there was quite some traffic on track. In the end I touched with another rider and I crashed out. Today it was a day to forget as far as it concerns crashes, but we have to learn and take the positive for tomorrow. It will be a complicated race, we’ll have to push hard since the beginning in order not to lose the leading group and move up as many positions as possible.”
Fifth pole position and new circuit record for Johann Zarco
Ajo Motorsport rider takes second consecutive pole position in Japan.
10/15/2016 - Twin Ring Motegi, Japan
The second day of the Japanese Grand Prix concluded in the best possible way for Johann Zarco, who took his latest pole position. It marks the fifth time this season the Frenchman will start from the front of the grid, and the second consecutive year that he will do so at Twin Ring Motegi. In addition, the Ajo Motorsport rider set a new circuit record along the way, breaking the 1:49 barrier.
Zarco needed just six laps to improve his time from Friday in FP3. On his first stint, the Ajo Motorsport rider set his best lap times, riding for the first time this weekend in the 1:50s. His eighth lap of 1:50.823 earned him third place, with his race pace very positive.
A great qualifying session performance saw Zarco up at the front from the start. However, it was on his last stint that the reigning World Championship accomplished the seemingly impossible achievement of breaking into the 1:49s. After a first attempt in which he only missed out on the last sector, on the next lap he stopped the clock at 1:49.961 for a new circuit record. After the chequered flag had already been shown, the Frenchman suffered a light crash at Turn 3.
Tomorrow, starting at 12:20pm local time, Zarco will look to repeat last year’s win from pole at the Japanese GP. A return to the podium after four races away would also be a good result for the French star.
5 JOHANN ZARCO
"I'm very happy. On my last time across the line I didn’t see the flag, because I was concentrating on my bike. Unfortunately I made a mistake at the end, but it was not a problem because I already had the pole position in the bag. The entire qualifying session was very good for the whole team. The first stint was long and at a good pace, and the last time out with new tyres I was able to set a circuit record. We have a very good pace and are focused on having a good race. The strategy for tomorrow is to have the pace and confidence to win, but always use our heads. Getting on the podium, as long as I'm ahead of Rins, would also be good."
Navarro qualifies eleventh for Japanese Grand Prix
Despite good pace shown during free practice, Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider is unable to set a quick time in qualifying. Aron Canet will take off from seventeenth.
Jorge Navarro and Aron Canet took part in a tight qualifying session for the Japanese GP on Saturday, with up to 23 pilots less than a second off pole position. Navarro resumed his morning pace with an immediate 1:56 time, setting his top lap of 1:56.951 on his third attempt. As the session has progressed, and with more traffic on track, the Spaniard could not find space to improve his time and had to settle for a spot on the fourth row of the grid. However, his pace in practice –with a best lap of 1:56.894– indicates that he will be able to fight amongst the leading group tomorrow.
Estrella Galicia 0,0 teammate Aron Canet started the day with limited track time, due to a crash at Turn 10 early on in the morning session. His crew worked quickly to allow him to go back out, and he put in a total of 9 laps and set a best time of 1:57.994. In the afternoon, the rookie was able to implement everything he had learned over the weekend to stop the clock at 1:57.153, improving his previous best by 7 tenths.
The Japanese GP –Round 15 of the Moto3 season- takes place tomorrow at 11am local time.
Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider
11th, 1:56 951, 32 laps, 154 km
"Managing the tyres will be one of the keys to the race tomorrow"
"Despite the grid position, I think today we have taken a step forward from yesterday because we have managed to finish fine-tune the little details of my riding style that I have been talking about in recent days, and I feel more comfortable and confident on this track every time I go out. This allowed us to set a strong pace from the opening laps in the morning practice, riding with both used and new tyres. It was a shame that in the afternoon I was unable to convert that into a good lap, which would have allowed us to be better positioned on the grid. Nevertheless, I think tomorrow we can do a good job, as our pace when riding alone is good. The race is sure to be in a group, especially at the beginning when we will all have fresh tyres; managing the tyres will be one of the keys to tomorrow's race."
Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider
17th, 1:57.153, 23 laps, 110 km
"We have good pace and will try to make a big comeback"
"I was able to rest overnight and today I felt much better physically, but I started the day with a crash because I started out pushing hard with the used tyre. On the fourth lap I couldn’t save it at Turn 10. I didn’t have a good feeling with the front, but after the crash I entered the pits and my crew worked to have the bike ready, I went back out on track and the feeling was better. In qualifying we focused on improving our race pace, so after a few laps following several other riders, I decided to push by myself and was able to set a time of 1:57.153. Although I'm not happy with seventeenth position, we have a good pace for the race tomorrow and will try to make a big comeback. I'm expecting a fun race in which I think we can fight in the front group."
Loi in fifteenth despite excellent qualifying
Livio Loi was faster in qualifying than he had been in the free practices for the Japanese GP. But after fifth, third and sixth in the respective practices, RW Racing GP’s Belgian rider had to settle for ‘only’ fifteenth in qualifying, despite an excellent 1.57,082.
No less than 23 riders (of 35 in total) were in the same one second. Having a little bit of luck - or not - meant the difference between first or second row and fifth row. “We didn’t have that bit of luck and that cost two or three tenths”, RW Racing GP team manager Jarno Janssen calculated.
The qualifying session for Moto3 at the 4801 meters long Motegi Twin Ring was crowded as ever and all around were riders waiting and looking for a tow. Loi did not wait for other riders and tried to improve his lap time on his own in the final minutes. He succeeded, but just not enough. In the same time he gave Hiroki Ono a useful slipstream, towing the Japanese rider to the fastest time.
“It is strange to have a near perfect qualifying and still end up in fifteenth”, Janssen said. “After third, fifth and sixth that is a slight disappointment, but still we are pretty happy with how this weekend goes so far. I think we can expect a fast, strong and aggressive Loi in the race. We are very confident about that.”
Livio Loi - 15 (1.57,082)
“For sure I’m a bit disappointed with the result, because the session itself was good. I missed the first few minutes of qualifying after we decided to make a last-minute adjustment to the bike. It felt good and was an improvement, but it meant I was out of the top 10 for a while. When we improved in the second run I was back in the top 10 and felt confident of improving even more and therefor climb in the rankings, but it turned out otherwise. It’s a pity, but the bike feels good, the pace is good, I’m really happy with the tyres and I feel confident I can ride a strong race.”
Morbidelli powers to front row in Japan
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli starred in a record-breaking Moto2 qualifying session at the Twin Ring Motegi track today to secure a second front row start in the 2016 World Championship campaign.
The 21-year-old started this afternoon’s 45-minute qualifying session in confident mood having finished inside the top three in FP2 and FP3.
And his optimism was well placed when he instantly launched an attack for the top three again in an eventful qualifying session that saw reigning World Champion Johann Zarco set the fastest ever Moto2 lap of the 4.8km Twin Ring Motegi venue.
A hot lap of 1’50.317 ensured Morbidelli was the closest challenger to the dominant duo of Zarco and Thomas Luthi and the Italian was delighted to secure only the fourth front row start of his Grand Prix career.
Márquez will launch his challenge for a second successive podium finish in 2016 from the middle of the third row of the grid in eighth in tomorrow’s 23-lap encounter.
The Spanish rider was boosted by an impressive ride into the top six in this morning’s final practice session, despite a slow speed tumble when he lost the front-end of his Kalex machine at turn five.
Márquez was able to set a fast and consistent rhythm in qualifying and a best lap of 1’50.563 was just a fraction over two-tenths-of-a-second away from claiming a third front row start in the last five rounds.
Franco Morbidelli: 3rd - 1’50.317
“I am very happy to be starting from the front row of the grid for tomorrow’s race and it is a good reward for all the hard work the team has put in so far this weekend. It is a bit of a pity that I wasn’t able to improve my pace in the last run and we have to check the data tonight to understand why that was the case. But to be inside the top three is a good result. I have been very competitive in every session so far and I go into the race confident that I can be fighting for the podium. We are in a good run of form and it is important to keep that momentum going for the final part of the season.”
Álex Márquez: 8th - 1’50.563
“I am happy with my performance so far this weekend because this was a track I struggled a lot on last season. We have made a big step in improving my feeling on the bike and that has been reflected in my performance in every session. I have been fast and consistent but we need to work a little bit on the rhythm in the Warm-up tomorrow morning. I need to make a good launch off the line and be aggressive in the early part of the race to make sure I don’t lose contact with the leading group. The most important thing is to finish the race and score decent points on a track that has not been easy for me in Moto2.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“We can be very optimistic heading into tomorrow’s race that Franco and Álex will both be very competitive in the lead group after what was a very strong qualifying performance from both of them. Franco has been a permanent fixture inside the top six all weekend and to be on the front row in a session where record laps are being set is a positive outcome. His race rhythm is also very strong and I have no doubt he will be challenging for another podium tomorrow. It is a shame that Álex didn’t quite make it into the top six but he has been consistent and I am expecting him to put up another strong challenge in the leading group.”
Kent qualifies on the fifth row in Japan
At the Twin Ring Motegi, the English Leopard Racing rider confirmed his good sensations of Free Practice and tomorrow will start from 15th position on the grid.
Miguel Oliveira was forced to sit out the event from the pain that the Portuguese rider was still suffering from his recently broken collarbone, the Leopard Racing running with only Danny Kent on the second day of Motul Grand Prix of Japan. The 4.8 km of the Twin Ring Motegi, was again host to the official qualifying session to decide the starting grid.
The good feelings from yesterday have resulted in another positive day for the English rider, who was 15th in Free Practice 3 ahead of the shootout session. This was the same position that the 22 year old from Chippenham confirmed in qualifying this afternoon, showing a good pace and lowering his own reference lap by 0.8s.
Last year in Moto3, Kent closed the Japanese Grand Prix in sixth place: can he duplicate the result of 2015 and re-enter the Top Ten? The goal is within his reach.
Tomorrow at 09:10 Local Time (GMT +9) the riders will be back on track for 20 minutes of warm-up before the lights go out at 12:20 for the fifteenth race of the 2016 Moto2 World Championship.
#52 Danny KENT - 15th (1'51.035):
"I’m happy. P15 is not where we want to be, I feel our potential is a little bit better, but the weekend in general has gone quite well for us. There haven’t been any mistakes and I have good feeling with the bike. The team are working really well, I have a good feeling with the bike and I’m happy and confident on the bike. I feel like we can have a strong race tomorrow. I think from the pace we have we can be fighting in the group for tenth."
CONFIDENT LOWES TO LAUNCH FROM FOURTH AFTER STRONG QUALIFYING AT MOTEGI
Sam Lowes and the Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 will start tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix from the second row of the grid, the 26-year-old British rider setting the fourth fastest time, 1’50”333, at the end of this afternoon’s Qualifying session at Twin Ring Motegi.
Very determined as always, Lowes has improved significantly during Qualifying compared to the free practice, missing the front row for just 0.016 seconds, showing an excellent competitiveness. The good pace shown on the long runs on used tyres also bodes well ahead of a race that promises to be closely fought.
SAM LOWES (4th - 1'50"333)
“The fourth position is a good result because it means that we can start the race very close to the front: our pace is already good, but tomorrow morning during the warm-up we will try to make some other small improvements on the bike. I expect a race with very fast lap times, but I feel good and I’m confident: during practice I made several long runs on old tyres, keeping a good pace, so we believe we can enter into the fight at the top. Zarco and Luthi in particular are very competitive here, but we will be there!”.
“Today Sam and the team worked really well: we saw a very tight Qualifying session, the lap times have dropped a lot and as a result it was definitely not easy to stay in the top positions, but we did it: the fourth fastest time puts us in a good position for the race tomorrow. As for the pace we are not far away and we think that we can make some more small step forward in tomorrow morning’s warm-up. If we succeed we can fight with Zarco and Luthi. It won’t be easy because they have proven to be very fast, but we will do our best!”.
Tetsuta Nagashima to start from eighth row at home GP
Ajo Motorsport Academy riders sets his fastest time of the weekend in qualifying session and will start from the eighth row of the starting grid.
10/15/2016 - Twin Ring Motegi, Japan
Tetsuta Nagashima completed a second day of action at Motegi with a good feeling and having made improvements in every session to date. The Japanese rider ended the qualifying session with a time of 1:51.739, which will allow him to start from twenty-fourth position on the grid tomorrow for his second Moto2 wildcard of the season.
He started the day by improving his times in the last free practice session of the weekend, completing eighteen laps on his two stints and achieving a creditable 18th place with his time of 1:51.948. He placed ahead of several much more experienced riders in the class.
In qualifying, Nagashima again lowered his times but dropped out of the Top 20. He set his fastest lap of 1:51.739 in the middle of the session, to place twenty-fourth.
Tomorrow Tetsuta Nagashima will participate in his second consecutive race in the Moto2 World Championship this season, starting at 12:20pm -local time-.
45 TETSUTA NAGASHIMA
"Today has been a very good day because we have improved a lot and my lap times have not been at all bad. I felt good on the bike and I think I can go faster. I tried to go faster at the end of the qualifying session but I made some mistakes and could not improve my time. However, the feeling was really good. Tomorrow morning we can make some final adjustments in the warmup and will work hard to do well in the race."
Moto3 - Up and downs at Motegi for 3570 Team Italia
Lorenzo Petrarca improves gradually, Stefano Valtulini is looking for the right feeling.
Some positive aspects and some setbacks characterized the day at the Twin Ring Motegi of 3570 Team Italia. In the only session of qualifying practice, with the pole position set by the home rider Hiroki Ono (Honda) in 1’56’’443 (penalized later of three places on the grid), Lorenzo Petrarca and Stefano Valtulini got respectively the 31st and 33rd time.
More than the result on the starting grid, Lorenzo Petarca proved his constant improvement, which was proved also by the performance in the third session of free practice where he set a time in 1’58’’461, at just 1’’8 from the top. Just a set back during the qualifying precluded him the opportunity of recovering his positions (and rows) on the starting grid, even though he’s still confident in view of the race.
Stefano Valtulini had to face some more problems than expected, due to a crash without consequence at Turn 2 during the official qualifying, and, together with the team, he’s trying to find the right confidence to understand the difficult braking points of the Twin Ring Motegi.
Lorenzo Petrarca (3570 Team Italia - Mahindra MGP3O #77) 31st, 1'59"369
"The place on the grid doesn’t represent our real value. Compared to yesterday we improved a lot, especially in the last session of free practice, we were able to get closer to the group of rider behind us, with a limited gap from the first. I have a good feeling with the bike and I like the track, but unfortunately a setback in the qualifying didn’t allow us to start up ahead. I am confident for the race, here at Motegi I am at ease and I can ride as I like. We’ll do our possible to finish this weekend with a convincing result."
Stefano Valtulini (3570 Team Italia - Mahindra MGP3O #43) 33rd, 2'00"081
"I can’t be satisfied obviously. I faced more difficulties than expected especially in the braking point, a crucial point in order to set a good time. With the team we’re trying different solutions of set-up in order to find solutions in view of the race."
Emanuele Ventura (3570 Team Italia - Team Manager)
"This morning went well for Lorenzo in the third session of free practice. With new tyre, he could be able to improve his laptimes, riding on 1’58’’, reducing the gap from the reference group. We expected to repeat this performance in qualifying, but a setback made us lose some precious time. With Lorenzo we are confident in view of tomorrow, he has a convincing race pace and he has a great feeling with both bike and track. Unfortunately Stefano has lived a difficult day, he’s struggling more than expected and we’re trying different solutions of set-up suitable for his riding style."
Two crashes compromise Forward Racing Team qualifying
Two close crashes at the beginning of the session compromised the qualifying of Lorenzo Baldassarri and Luca Marini that tomorrow will be racing the Moto2 Grand Prix of Japan. The team has done an outstanding job in fixing the battered bikes in record time allowing the two riders to return on the track eight minutes from the end of the round and allowing them to improve the previous time but mostly to recover the feeling with the bike in view of tomorrow's race.
"Balda" continued the work done on Fiday in the morning, further improving his Kalex and demonstrating he has the potential to fight for the Top5. Unfortunately, the fall compromised his final performance but the Italian managed to grab the Top15 finishing in 14th place in 1'50.969.
Same fate for "Maro" on his first experience on the Japanese track. The rider from Pesaro had shown to learn the track quickly in the free practice sessions, despite the fall Marini is ready to comeback tomorrow where he will start 26th on the grid with a time of 1'51.925.
Lorenzo Baldassarri – 14 '- 1'50.969
"This afternoon’s crash is a pity! The fall has undermined the entire session because we were stuck in the box for a while even if the team made an outstanding work to put the bike back together. I was able to return for the last 8 minutes left and I did my best. Surely we do not start in front but I’m convinced I can do a good comeback. "
Luca Marini – 26 '- 1'51.925"
"I'm not happy of this qualifying, this morning we worked very well on used tires for the race, and we found a good pace. I made a highside at the penultimate corner in qualifying, sometimes it happens when you are pushing. Too bad because I felt comfortable with the bike and I wanted to do well. Now we have to check the data and try to put everything in place because, even if we start on the back, I am convinced that we can make a good race. "
Giovanni Cuzari – Team Owner
"Hard day for us today, the fall of both our riders has put a strain on the work of the whole team who was timely and professional in repair the damage suffered by the bikes. Fortunately, both "Balda "and" Luca "are well and were not hurt and this is the most important thing. Tomorrow they start a few positions back but they have already proved in the past to be able to make the difference in these conditions. Luca, with the progress made in just few sessions, can make a good race even starting a little back; it will be difficult but we always believe in it. I wish to thank the guys for their umpteenth demonstration of professionalism. "
Vierge and Vinales prepared for Motegi challenge
Xavi Vierge will begin the Japanese Grand Prix from the sixth row of the grid after producing a solid effort in qualifying as he aims to seal a point scoring result aboard the Mistral 610 in the 23-lap sprint tomorrow. The 19-year-old got straight into gear in FP3 where he worked closely with the Tech3 Racing Team as they resolved the grip issues that he was struggling with yesterday. Vierge completed the 45-minute session in 16th and he set his fastest lap on his 14th out of 18, which saw him finish only one second back from third. This display filled the Spaniard with optimism for the afternoon shootout and here he pushed non-stop before eventually speeding to his personal best on his penultimate run that left him under half a second back from the top ten. In the race, he will seek to undertake a strong start and then meet the chequered flag inside the top fifteen, to close the first of the triple flyaway events in a positive manner.
Meanwhile, Isaac Viñales will commence the round 15 fight from two places behind Vierge after a relentless performance today at the iconic Twin Ring Motegi track. The young rider opened proceedings by continuing his work from yesterday, and he carried on the momentum by setting a solid time in FP3 on only his 6th lap whilst running with used tyres, which boosted his confidence for the qualifying practice. Here, Viñales attacked immediately and battled against the stop and go circuit, before posting his fastest time on his 14th lap, which put him just 0.170 back from his teammate. Now, the Spanish rider looks on to the Grand Prix tomorrow where he will aim to fight in the highly competitive pack and then cross the finish line inside the points.
Position: 18th - Time: 1'51.281 - Laps: 16
“The team and I managed to make a big step and now I am looking forward to doing my best in the 15th round of the World Championship. Both the bike and I have improved a lot since the first practice and today I experimented with adjusting my riding style every lap whilst I was on a run and this allowed me to progress as well as prepare more for the GP. Therefore, my pace was strong which is very important because the race is a long one so it is vital to have a good rhythm. Tomorrow is the big day and I am confident about what I can achieve so let's see what happens, but I have to say thanks to the guys for their hard work and also for believing in me when there are tricky times, like yesterday."
Position: 20th - Time: 1'51.451 - Laps: 17
“I am satisfied with the overall performance today and I feel positive about being able to get into the top fifteen tomorrow even though the Grand Prix will certainly be a challenging one. The qualifying result itself is decent and I am optimistic because we ran a good rhythm this afternoon which is what we need at a track like this. It’s a 23 lap race, and the circuit is very stop and go so it certainly will be demanding but on the whole, I am prepared and I look forward to the battle at the Twin Ring Motegi."
PEUGEOT MOTOCYCLES SAXOPRINT SHINES WITH GREAT QUALIFYING PERFORMANCE IN JAPAN
Albert Arenas and John McPhee delivered the best team performance so far during a timed session to start from 13th and 16th position respectively in tomorrow’s Moto3™ Grand Prix of Japan.
Saturday’s qualifying which decided the starting grid for the race took place in sunny conditions likewise all free practice sessions but in slightly warmer temperatures compared to Friday afternoon’s FP2. So perfect track conditions allowed a high pace in general and a hard fought for positions which the close times of the wild Moto3 pack verify.
Motegi newcomer Albert Arenas, Peugeot Motocycles SAXOPRINT’s Girona born rider, displayed an astonishing performance to qualify for 13th position on the grid, his best ever starting position in his still young grand prix career. 19-year-old Arenas took benefit from all free session to improve with every exit to get used to all this unfamiliar circumstances at his first visit to Japan. Arenas also decided for a brave tactic during qualifying to ride his lap time by his own, which gives confidence for the race too.
On the other side in Peugeot Motocycles SAXOPRINT’s garage there were also pleased faces to see after qualifying mainly in John McPhee who sealed a fifth row start for Sunday’s Round 15 of the season. The experienced Scottish rider and his crew were working diligently throughout both days of practice to overcome yesterday’s crash and to top the weekend so far with a brave ride during qualifying. But foremost, McPhee is confident to do even better in the race because of his fast and consistent pace, which he was able to work on it this morning.
Time schedule on spot is the common one with no changes for race day but with a significant difference in time for all TV spectators in Europe which sees a seven hours’ advantage to CET.
#12 Albert ARENAS, Grid position 13th - 1´57.061 (13/14):
“Today I’m super happy because P13 is my best qualifying result so far. But I’m more happy about my performance because I was able to do this lap time alone and most important for several times. Of course it was a help to have consistent weather so we were able to use every practice thus far this weekend to our utmost benefit. After day two at this track I can say that I’m familiarized with it meanwhile. Beyond that I feel really good with the bike and also with the conditions, but also with myself. I think that I become one with the bike and this is important for the confidence as I feel that I can go faster lap by lap. First my strategy for qualifying was to follow other riders but in my second exit when I was behind one rider that it would be better for me to push for lap time at my own. So I did it in my last exit and it worked out perfectly. But I’ve to admit that I was riding in groups during FP3 this morning in order to gain some references. However, during qualifying I was able to improve my lap time with every exit which is a very important fact. So for tomorrow there is something possible because of the fact that just twelfth riders are in front of us. In any case, I’ve confidence in myself and also in the bike. I wouldn’t like too much thinking about possibilities for tomorrow, I just try and do my best during the race and try to enjoy it as much as possible. I’m really looking forward to it. A big thank you to the team for their support and job done this weekend.”
#17 John McPHEE, Grid position 16th - 1´57.087 (14/15):
“I think we can’t be really satisfied but more or less happy with today’s qualifying performance we were able to show. All lap times are very, very close and to get one clean lap was a little bit down to luck. I mean a fast group and a good slipstream. I felt there was more possible because I feel really good with the bike and I need to say thank you the team because everything is improving step by step as the weekend goes on. We know that we can run the lap times as the fastest guys so I think during tomorrow’s race we will see one big group and hopefully a fun battle.”