MotoGP 2019 – Rnd 11 – Red Bull Ring, Austria
FIM Enel MotoE World Cup
After an interesting first weekend of racing for the FIM Enel MotoE World Cup in Germany (Link), it’s time to saddle up this weekend for Round 2 where the electric bikes join the MotoGP circus at Red Bull Ring.
Niki Tuuli (Ajo MotoE) leads the way as the grid prepare to fight it out for another 25 points, with Austria presenting a very different challenge.
The Sachsenring is tight and twisty, which the Red Bull Ring most definitely isn’t. Testing at Valencia and Jerez had created some expectations ahead of the season opener, but practice in Germany certainly saw the order shuffle as the grid took on the unique track. So will that also be true as we switch it up again and head for Spielberg?
“Like I always say, we’ve been in the top three in almost every session this year and we’ll try to continue like this and consistently be in the top three in every session, and also in qualifying we’ll try to do as we did last time. That’s our plan, so we try to continue like this. This first weekend was really good for us, we have good pace for the bike and with this bike, I don’t think the changes are such a big difference and I think we have good pace for every weekend, I feel really good on the bike and that’s the main thing. I think this track will be a bit more difficult for me, there are many hard braking points and that’s where I don’t feel I was really good at Sachsenring. I think other riders in the top group were better than me in the braking zones. But we’re not so far on the brakes, and it will be a different weekend with the track so different, but there are also fast corners, which is where I feel good. But we’ll see, we need to find a compromise between braking and the fast corners. We’ll see but I hope we’ll be in the top three in the first session.”
Tuuli and fellow podium finishers Bradley Smith (One Energy Racing) and Mike Di Meglio (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) will be hoping not, as will Hector Garzo (Tech 3 E-Racing), who all had some serious speed in Germany.
“I’m ready for Round 2. I have analysed what happened at Sachsenring as much as I can, looking at Free Practice, qualifying and the race. I think we gave everything we had in Germany, so we are satisfied with the second place we achieved. Looking ahead to Austria, the E-Pole session is the main aspect where we have to improve, but the introduction of an FP3 session will help us get better prepared for qualifying. The Red Bull Ring is a track with very long straights, so we will have to study what our strengths might be with the MotoE bike. The goal for this weekend is to continue from where we left off. We must prevent our rivals from breaking away in the standings, since there are not too many races in the MotoE World Cup. We will try to emerge from Round 2 as the series leaders.”
Mike Di Meglio
“Here will be a hard race because there a lot of hard braking, and I think for the first lap and during the race there will be a lot of fighting. In Sachsenring I felt good in the hard braking, but a little slower than Niki in the fast corners. So we have to see because each track is different, and we have to see how the grip will be at this track. But we need to be in the front and push practice by practice. I don’t think it’s a very complicated track, many riders come here to train to understand the track but after a few laps they understand where to go, it’s stop and go. It’s not like Sachsenring where you have to focus on where to put the wheel. But we have to focus practice by practice and see if some new rider arrives at the top.”
The likes of Eric Granado (Avintia Esponsorama Racing) need more from Round 2 after a tougher start, with a six-race calendar making every point crucial in the fight for the crown.
“I am quite motivated, among other things because I don’t know the Austrian circuit and I really want to start working with the team on Friday and get the bike ready for Sunday’s race. This weekend we will have one more training, what which is very important for me as I’ve never race in this track. Despite not getting the result we expected, in Germany we had a great rhythm and I am happy with the level we proved. Here I’ll try to be competitive again in the Superpole and mainly in the Race.”
Matteo Ferrari (Trentino Gresini MotoE) will be looking to bridge the gap to the front quartet and hoping the Red Bull Ring is the place to do it, too, with the Italian having completed the top five last time out.
“I’m really charged up, because at Sachsenring we were competitive, so we want to aim higher. This is a new tack for the bike, we have no data, so the methodical work we’ll put in place will be even more crucial than before. I never race at the Red Bull Ring with other categories, so it will be important to understand the key parts of the track. There are some very important braking zones at this track and with MotoE the braking part is crucial. Despite the unusual time, the 8:30am FP3 session on Saturday is surely a positive factor.”
And Alex De Angelis (Octo Pramac MotoE) and Xavier Simeon (Avintia Esponsorama Racing), who were only tenths apart, will be eager to take that duel a few places forward.
“I am very motivated and looking forward to this second race. The Red Bull Ring is totally opposite to the Sachsering circuit where we raced the first race because it has many straights. How the MotoE bikes will behave here is a big question mark. In Sachsenring I could show that I am competitive with these bikes and I hope to be that fast also this weekend where the goal will be to get on the podium.”
Sete Gibernau (Join Contract Pons 40), meanwhile, made a huge step forward once the lights went out and came out on top in an incredibly close fight throughout the points. He led Nico Terol (Openbank Angel Nieto Team), Mattia Casadei (Ongetta SIC58 Squadra Corse), Niccolo Canepa (LCR E-Team), Jesko Raffin (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Kenny Foray (Tech 3 E-Racing) over the line when the race was stopped, with only a second separating a solid top ten from only a couple of points for those in the squabble. That’s sure to reignite at Spielberg.
Josh Hook was the final points scorer in the opening MotoE race and will be looking to march further up the order this weekend.
Two practice sessions on Friday are joined by a new FP3 on Saturday morning in Austria, with all three deciding the order the riders then head out for E-Pole at 16:00 (GMT +2). Will Tuuli rule the Ring? The six-lap race begins at 10:00 on Sunday.
MotoE Points Standings
|3||Mike DI MEGLIO||Energica||FRA||16|
|6||Alex DE ANGELIS||Energica||RSM||10|
|17||Randy DE PUNIET||Energica||FRA||0|