Marc VDS Report
Mika Kallio and Scott Redding will head for the opening race of 2012 in Qatar confident of making a positive start to the season, after a strong showing in the final three-day preseason test at the Jerez circuit in Spain.
Kallio ended the Jerez test fourth fastest on combined times, just 0.318s off the fastest lap set by fellow Kalex rider Claudio Corti. Redding was just 0.3s further back in seventh position, despite struggling with illness and technical issues during the three-day test.
Continuing his methodical approach to testing at Jerez, Kallio used the three days to improve further his feeling with the Kalex Moto2 machine, ahead of his final race simulation run this afternoon. The flying Finn posted his fastest time of the test on the fourth lap of the long run, with his average over the 23 laps just a few tenths off his fastest time.
Redding struggled with illness initially, but as his condition improved so did his lap times. The 19-year-old British rider eventually finished the test seventh fastest, but felt he would have gone quicker if he hadn’t experienced problems with the official race engine, which was fitted in his Kalex Moto2 machine ahead of day two.
Both Marc VDS riders now head to the opening race of the season in Qatar quietly confident, after a preseason test schedule in which they’ve featured regularly at the top end of the timesheet.
The Grand Prix of Qatar, the first of 17 Moto2 races on the 2012 calendar, takes place over the weekend of 7th and 8th April.
Mika Kallio #36: 4th – 1’42.301
“It’s been a good three days of testing here in Jerez. The plan was to get a little bit closer to the front and we achieved that today with fourth position and less than half a second off the fastest time, so I’m satisfied with that. During the race simulation the bike felt good for all 23 laps and my times were both fast and consistent, which means we go to Qatar in a good position. Conditions will be very different in Qatar, but the work we’ve done during testing means we’re pretty sure even now how we need to set-up the bike for the first race. Remaining calm is the key to the first race; we know we have the pace to challenge the front runners, so we just need to continue with the approach that’s worked so well for us during testing.”
Scott Redding #45: 7th – 1’42.638
“It’s been a difficult three days if I’m honest. I was feeling ill ahead of the test and, although I started feeling better on the first day, my head wasn’t completely in it. The second day was better, but we had a recurring problem with the bike jumping out of gear when I was backshifting for the corners and it wasn’t really until the afternoon that I felt properly comfortable on the bike. Unfortunately, this coincided with the arrival of the wind, which had me and Marc Marquez off late on in the session. Today we had the same problem with the engine but, thankfully, it will be changed for the first race. Overall our test schedule has been really positive, but now I just can’t wait to start racing.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Manager
“Mika’s methodical approach to testing certainly paid off today, with his fastest lap of the test coming during his race simulation this afternoon. He will be quick in Qatar, a track that he has done well at in the past, and I’m confident he’ll get his second season in Moto2 off to a strong start. Scott struggled a little with illness and an engine problem during these three days at Jerez, but he proved during the previous tests this year that he has the pace to run at the front, so he will head to Qatar with his confidence intact. After such a long break I think we’re all looking forward to the first race, where I hope we’ll make a strong start to the season.”
– Repsol Moto2 Report
The Circuito de Jerez in Spain concluded the 2012 preseason for the Moto2 and Moto3 riders. It was an atypical period for Marc Márquez, who is now confident and calm after completing his recovery from injury and is ready for the upcoming campaign. The Repsol rider was one of the main protagonists of the past three days in the Official Test, where he returned to the sharp end of the timesheets and recorded a best lap of 1’42.430.
Undertaking a shorter day’s work than the two previous runs, Márquez took to the track at 11am local time. Trying out various adjustments to the fork setting of his Moto2 bike, the Repsol rider evaluated the various configurations in order to choose which would be likely to be of use to him for the new season. In the combined session with the Moto3 class he completed 35 laps, stopping the clock at 1’42.430 and claiming fifth on the testing timesheet.
In the exclusive hour for Moto2 participants, Márquez rode another 18 laps and continued to improve. Despite traffic on track, he put down a best lap of 1’42.585 —again the fifth quickest. Putting in a total of 160 laps over the past three days (more than 700km), he rode at a faster pace than the 2011 pole lap and confirmed that he is ready to go when the 2012 season begins on April 8th in Qatar.
Marc Márquez – 1:42.430, 53 laps, 234 km.
“The overall evaluation of this test is very positive —especially considering the situation that we were in compared to now. I think that we should be very happy with the results from these three days. We have been steadily re-finding our confidence with the bike, because you can’t help but lose that a little after five months out. We started to try out some changes to the configuration and are getting closer to the lead riders, who are still a little ahead of us. In any case, everything went better than I was expecting. The next challenge will be Qatar and logically we won’t be at 100% there in terms of kilometres because we haven’t had the time with the Moto2 bike, but we will have to have patience and make the most of the situation”.
– Repsol Moto3 Report
The third day of the Jerez Official Test concluded the Moto3 preseason with a brilliant performance from Maverick Viñales, who was just nine thousandths of a second off the unofficial circuit record for a lower cylinder category bike at the track —set by Marc Márquez two years ago— and quicker than last year’s pole. Miguel Oliveira rode with the frontrunners again and teammate Alex Rins made a positive debut with the Suter with which he will compete this season.
With the 2012 World Championship getting closer every day, the final day of the preseason served as a litmus test for the opening races of the year. It was also a time for the teams to put the finishing touches to their work and leave their bikes in the best possible condition for a solid debut. Without the strong wind of Tuesday, activity began at Jerez at 10am. Temperatures on track of 21ºC greeted the riders. Miguel Oliveira and Maverick Viñales were two of the first out, swiftly followed by Alex Rins, debuting the Suter with which he will compete this year.
Viñales continued with his work with a focus on the first race, trying out different exhausts for his FTR Honda in order to add some extra km/h and push his acceleration. Improving upon his lap times for the third consecutive day, the Repsol rider even put in various laps under the 1’47 mark. His best time was a 1’46.838 lap.
In the same session, shared with the Moto2 riders who subsequently vacated the track at 2pm, Oliveira racked up 50 laps and fine-tuned the setup of his Suter bike. His best time as 1’48.310, three tenths faster than teammate Alex Rins. The Spanish 125GP champion debuted his new Suter today, having spent various days recuperating from a troublesome shoulder injury and picking up speed on the Honda. The rookie completed more than 40 laps, in which he clocked a best lap of 1’48.610 and placed eleventh on the timesheet.
In the final session of the preseason —between 3pm and 4pm— Viñales decided to sit it out and reflect on the positive test. Miguel Oliveira and Alex Rins put in 17 and 20 laps, respectively. The Portuguese rider placed sixth with a 1’48.245 lap, whilst his teammate was eighth with his 1’48.350 time. In the combined classification from the three days they finished eighth and ninth, with Viñales leading the way.
The Jerez test closed the preseason for the new Moto3 class, which makes its official debut at the Losail Circuit in Qatar in just under three weeks time.
Maverick Viñales – 1.46.838, 31 laps, 137 km.
“Above all today we were working on our tyre choices and on our chassis configuration. We found a setting that allowed us to go fast as a result. We have also been trying out various exhausts at this test and we can now say that we have found the definitive one. We were able to clock a fast time on the last run, which was more difficult yesterday because of the strong wind. Conditions were better today and we managed to drop our times. We have everything clear ahead of the first race, we know what we are going to do in every practice and the aim will be to adapt to the circuit as soon as possible and be fast”.
Miguel Oliveira – 1:48.245, 67 laps, 296 km.
“We rounded off the three days of testing today and I think that they have been productive for everyone. Today was the day in which I put in the most laps, because the track temperatures were favourable for us and we were improving on our times from the previous two runs. We continued working along the same lines for the entire test and focused on fast laps. I think that we have a good pace and should approach Qatar with the calmness that comes from a job well done”.
Álex Rins – 1:48.350, 60 laps, 265 km.
“I am very satisfied. We had the chance to ride with the Suter chassis today and I really enjoyed it. I think that we have done a good job of adapting and went quite fast right from the start. I want to thank the team especially today, as they were hard at work yesterday until very late. If I had to sum up these three days I would say that they were very positive, which is important when we get to the first race of the season. We are focused on Qatar and I am going to be working hard on my fitness in order to get my shoulder back to 100%”.
– KTM Moto3 Report
Leading KTM riders Danny Kent and Sandro Cortese were up with the best over three days of tests on the Jerez circuit in Spain for the new Moto3 class of MotoGP. Strong times registered by Cortese and Kent again underlined that they are in good shape ahead of the opening GP in Qatar.
Kent and Cortese of the Red Bull KTM Ajo team are riding the new KTM Moto3 machine and remained in the top five on all three days of testing. On Monday Kent was third fastest and Cortese was fourth, on Tuesday Cortese was second fastest and Kent was placed third and on Wednesday Kent moved up to second and Cortese was fourth. Also performing well on all three days riding the KTM Moto3 bike was Malaysian rider Zulfahmi of the AirAsia-Sic-Ajo team who was fifth fastest on Day One and Day Three as teams continued to experiment with settings and equipment ahead of the start of the main season.
Cortese of Germany said on Tuesday that he was concentrating on getting a good feeling for the new KTM bike. “I am quite happy and we are improving day by day. The KTM is working well and we have no big problems but the bike is still new and there are still things to sort out. I feel we can still improve a lot with the electronics and the engine but we will be ready to fight in Doha.” His factory teammate Danny Kent of Britain agreed. “We are changing a few things and still trying different parts but that’s what tests are for.”
Pit Beirer, KTM’s Head of Motorsports was in Jerez for the tests and said the results had been promising and the riders and the KTM Moto3 bike had performed well. “These were good tests for us,” he said. “ We can say that over the three days we didn’t have even one technical issue so we are quietly confident that we will be able to fight for a good position in the first GP. The competition is tough but we expected that but all the riders are fit and in good shape.”
Alex Baumgaertl team boss of KALEX-KTM, the KTM-driven Moto3 bike that is being fielded by the Bankia Aspar team with Alberto Moncayo and Hector Faubel as well as the Dutch RW Racing GP team with Luis Salom and Brad Binder said the tests had been a good opportunity to test new parts in good conditions. “We are pretty happy and we’re improving step by step but we still can close the gap to the front runners and do better. Now the equipment will be shopped to Qatar and we will concentrate on analyzing the data that we have gathered from these tests.”
There will be a total of nine riders on KTM-powered bikes on the grid for the opening GP. It also heralds KTM’s return to the main MotoGP competition since the phasing out of the 250 and 125 cc classes. The Austrian manufacture however never really left the MotoGP paddock having retained a presence with the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup competition that grooms young riders on KTM machines for a future career in top racing.