Month: March 2015

MotoGP – clinical performance sees Doctor take the win

IMG_3678IMG_3675 IMG_3676 IMG_3677

Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi gave a riding masterclass as he took victory in the season opener at Qatar.

Rossi started from eighth on the grid and dropped down to tenth before rolling back the years to cut his way through the field, eventually clawing his way up to the frontrunners.

Once he passed fourth placer rider Iannone, Rossi looked comfortable stalking the leading duo of Lorenzo and Dovizioso as they traded places in a scintillating battle before pouncing close to the end of the race.

The 36-year-old nine-time world champion said: “In the last three seasons I always rode solid races and arrived on the podium but to come back with a victory is another thing. I am so happy because we suffered a lot during the practices and also the tests, but we worked very well for the 22-lap race and I was very strong.

“First of all you have to be lucky, but especially the work that we do with the team during the weekend makes the difference for my pace in the race. It was definitely one of the best races of my career, considering where we were yesterday. I really have to thank all my team, my engineers and all at Yamaha because I think today we did something amazing.””

MotoGP – tough opening race for Redding

_gh20437

Marc VDS Honda rider Scott Redding produced a solid performance during the season opener in Qatar to pilot his RC213V to 13th place.

Redding had gambled late on and hoped big set-up changes would improve his bike’s front-end feeling, but he was unable to close the gap to the frontrunners and missed out on his target of a top 10 finish.

Redding said: “It was a tough race and certainly not where I expected to be finishing. The target was to finish inside the top 10, so I can’t be happy to be 13th. We are making steps in the right direction but not enough to bring us closer to our target.

“Turning is the biggest issue and we need to focus on that because I should be finishing much higher up on the package I am riding. We’ve collected a lot of data and I finished in the points, but it is clear there is plenty of room to improve.”
Team boss Michael Bartholemy was more upbeat. He said: “We can take plenty of positives from a difficult weekend here in Qatar. We are still learning how to find the best set-up for Scott with the Honda and while we are making small progress, we need to improve a lot to be more competitive.

“He scored points but clearly there is a big margin to improve because we need to be fighting close with the other satellite factory bikes. This is a completely new project and we just need time to show our true potential.”

MotoGP – helmet issue costs Lorenzo the win

IMG_3673
Jorge Lorenzo has blamed helmet problems for the drop in pace which cost him the win in Sunday’s season opener in Qatar.
The Factory Yamaha rider got off to a flyer from the line and had been in contention at Losail for much of the race as he  traded blows with Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso at the front, but the double premier class champion suddenly dropped back late on and was passed by Andrea Iannone, who went on to finish third.
Lorenzo blamed his sudden lack of pace on part of his HJC helmet’s liner working loose and blocking his vision, costing him half a second a lap.
He said: “It was a difficult race. After the first lap, I found myself in second place and I followed Dovizioso. I was faster and I passed him where I could in the fast corners. On the speed and in braking the Ducati was much stronger than our bike, but we could recover on corner speed while the acceleration was similar. To be honest, I thought that I could win the race, though it surely wasn‘t going to be easy, because Valentino had a very strong pace at the end of the race.
“I was feeling better and better, but suddenly there was something wrong when in the top part of the helmet the foam came loose and came down so I lost half of my vision. I couldn‘t see the corners very well and couldn‘t concentrate or ride like before and I was losing half a second or more per lap. In a race where, at minimum I could fight for the win, I finished fourth.”

MotoGP – arm pump issue casts doubts over Pedrosa’s future

_ti34653

_g204393

Dani Pedrosa is to stop racing in an attempt to cure the chronic arm pump which plagued his ride during Sunday’s season opener in Qatar.

The Repsol Honda star had qualified second on the grid but dropped to sixth under the floodlights during the race, and afterwards issued a statement explaining that he had been suffering with chronic arm pump for a year and that surgery to solve the loss of feeling and strength in his right forearm has not worked.

He said: “Tonight’s race didn’t go to plan and unfortunately, I had serious problems with my right forearm which isn’t good news for me. I worked very hard over the winter in order to find a solution, because I was suffering in every race last season.

“Every doctor recommended that I not undergo another operation and I have tried to look for alternatives, but by the looks of things nothing is working positively for it. Now I have to assess my options and see what I can do. It is probably the most difficult moment of my career. I will do my best to find a solution but in this moment it is difficult to imagine what it could be.”

The concern for Pedrosa is that a further operation may actually make the problem worse, but it’s clear from the statement that his immediate racing career is in doubt. The news has led to intense speculation as to which rider could step in and ride Pedrosa’s RC213V, with many tipping double world champion Casey Stoner to fill in at Austin.

The 29-year-old has been a factory Honda MotoGP rider since 2006, winning 26 grands prix and finishing runner-up in the world championship three times. His last race win came at Brno last August.

MotoGP – Redding feels the heat in Qatar

_gh24492

Marc VDS Honda rider Scott Redding starts tomorrow’s season opener from 14th position on the grid after struggling for grip during qualifying.

The 22-year-old suffered with a lack of front end feel and rear grip on his Factory spec Honda RC213V machine, and starts today’s race from 14th on the grid after posting a time of 1.55.428.

Despite his performance,Redding is confident he can sort his setup issues and is still targeting a top 10 finish. He said: “It was another difficult night, so it was a shame I was so close to moving into the second qualifying session. That was my target to make it into QP2 but I don’t have the feeling from the front I need to push with confidence and I’m lacking rear grip too.

“I am confident I can fight for the top 10 but the pace is really fast and everybody is really close. I’m yet to 100 per cent gel with the Honda, so it will be a difficult race, but one that will be great to gain data and experience from to help us make progress in the future.”

Team boss Michael Bartholemy was less upbeat about Redding’s performance. He said: “The target for tonight was to get into QP2, so we are a little disappointed to miss out, even if the margin was very close and the soft tyre some riders have is a significant advantage. The team and Scott have worked really hard to improve the bike, and while we have made progress, it has not been enough. ”

MotoGP – Barbera top open class in qualifying

01 GP Qatar 19 y 20 de marzo de 2011; Moto2; m2; M2

Avintia Racing’s Hector Barbera produced a stunning lap to qualify as top Open Class bike in Qatar.

The Spaniard piloted his Ducati Demosedici GP14.1, essentially the unmodified bike that Crutchlow campaigned last season, to 15th place with a time of 1.55.604.

He said: “I’m happy to be the first Open bike, but we had some problems and I think that, at the beginning, I could be slightly faster. The warm up session will be very important for the race tomorrow, but we have reached the first target, and this was to be the first Open today.

“Tomorrow we’ll try to repeat, but we need to improve a little bit more the race pace, I think we are in the right direction, but we still missing something. The race will be difficult because the level in this category is very high, but we have to do it.

MotoGP – sensational start for GP15 as Dovizioso sticks Ducati on pole

OK_TI17996
OK_G204163
Andrea Dovizioso sensationally pulled the pin in qualifying at Qatar as the Ducati rider powered to pole position on the all-new Desmosedici GP15 with a time of 1’54.113.
Team-mate Andrea Iannone also performed strongly and ended the fifteen-minute qualifying session in fourth place with a time of 1’54.521, which was good enough for a row 2 start in Sunday’s 22-lap race.
Iannone and Dovizioso had previously stormed to first and second in the fourth free practice session (FP4) before qualifying, both men always using the medium compound rear tyre and lapping in excellent times.
In Q2, both Ducati riders used the soft rear tyre at their disposal: in that session Dovizioso set his best time to grab the pole on lap 5, while Iannone posted his fastest time on the sixth lap.
This is the second pole position on a Ducati for Dovizioso after the one he obtained last year at Motegi, and the third in his MotoGP career. The Italian said: “I am very pleased because today’s pole position is the result of the work of an entire team of people: after two years in which we have suffered, finally we have succeeded in making a really competitive bike, and to be honest I did not think that we would be immediately so fast with the GP15.
“We worked really well during all the tests, even though we did not have much time available to develop the new bike. With the soft tyre, we managed to set a really awesome time, but even in the fourth free practice session with the medium tyre the feeling with the GP15 was something special, so I’m confident and I think that tomorrow we can fight for the podium.”
Iannone’s performance was just as impressive, as he was still battered and cruised following his hard fall during FP4. He said: “I am satisfied with the way things went today, because in FP4 we were very quick with the medium tyres, even though I had possibly hoped to obtain something a bit more in qualifying.
“I would have liked to have started on the front row, but as I had hardly ever used the soft tyre I didn’t have much of a feeling with it and in addition we had a bit too much power on my bike and the set-up wasn’t the best. However, we must be happy with the way we are working and improving, so it wasn’t bad as a first qualifying session of the year.”

MotoGP – Repsol qualify second and third in Qatar

_g100342 _ti18106

Repsol Honda Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez will start tomorrow’s season opener Qatar from second and third on the grid respectively.

Pedrosa was the first rider to pull the pin and a hot lap in the Q2 session and then immediately went even quicker to improve on his second flying lap with his time of 1’54.330, placing him on provisional pole. Marquez then set a time of 1’54.437 on his first fast lap to slot in behind Dani in second place as the riders returned to the pits for a fresh rear tyre.

On their second run, neither Repsol Honda rider was able to improve their time but missed out on a 1-2 start in the dying moments as Andrea Dovizioso went top of the time sheets with his lap of 1’54.113, using the super soft tyre.

Pedrosa said: “I am very happy with today’s qualifying session and it was very important to get onto the front row. It was fantastic, because I think that it was one of my fastest laps at this track. It was vital to set a good lap time today, without making any mistakes, due to the fact that at this track all the times are very close together. Now we have to focus for the race.”

Marquez said: “Our objective was to get onto the front row and we succeeded, so I’m happy. Of course, you always want to do more, and I would have liked to have set a better lap, but we have a good setup for tomorrow and a good pace, which is the most important thing. It will be difficult to keep up with Andrea because, besides a fast one-off lap, he also has good race pace. We will try to ride our own race and fight for the win.”

The riders have a brief 20-minute warm up session tomorrow at 5pm local time and then the 22 lap race will begin at 9pm local time.

MotoGP – Espargaro pilots Suzuki to a sensational fourth place in Qatar

IMG_0442 IMG_3668

Aleix Espargaro sensationally stuck his 2015 GSX-RR into fourth position in the third qualifying session at the Losail Circuit in Qatar as team-mate Maverick Viñales dramatically upped his pace from yesterday.

In the second day of practice and qualifying for Sunday’s season-opening MotoGP race, Espargaro set a best lap-time of 1’54.994; just 0.172-seconds away from provisional pole-setter Marc Marquez. Viñales finished the session 0.854-seconds away from the top-time with a best-lap of 1’55.676; more-than a second quicker than he posted yesterday.

In the first session, both Espargaro and Viñales worked hard to find a good set-up for the race, spending a lot of time on hard tyres, but a small problem with the clutch prevented Espargaro a ‘one-off’ quick-lap with his soft tyres, while Viñales managed to improve his best time on the last lap, eventually running out of fuel just after the flag.

FP3 proved very important for the overall classification and both riders worked on developing their electronics and overall set-ups initially, but then towards the end they used their soft tyres to make their fastest laps. This proved a successful plan for both riders, with Espargaro placing fourth with a lap of 1’54.994s and Viñales 13th with 1’55.676s.

Espargaro said: “The day has been positive. In the first session we improved the traction control and my feeling with the bike got better and better. Also in the second session we worked-on finalising the set-up and we had very positive feedback. We couldn’t try any of the long runs that we wanted because in FP2 we had some little issues that delayed our work, but at the end I managed to make a very good fast lap. I feel confident with both tyre compounds, which is important for qualifying and the race. Now we need to improve a little bit the feeling with the front-end and hopefully validate our potential race pace, while attempting a fastest lap in qualifying to see where we can be on the grid.”

Viñales said: “In the first session I had some issues with the soft front tyre which didn’t give me a proper feeling, while in the second session I immediately found more confidence, even if we didn’t change anything in the set up. It is probably only that I need to learn this new bike and learn further how to manage the soft tyre and give directions to the team. I guess this is why at the end I’m satisfied with the day’s work. We made many steps forward and my fast lap is not so bad. I know I have room for improvement and tomorrow we will try our best to get much further up in qualifying.”

MotoGP – Redding closes gap in Qatar

_gh25360 _gh25506

Marc VDS rider Scott Redding made a significant improvement during this evening’s third MotoGP free practice session, overcoming grip issues to finish 12th and within 0.6s of provisional pole sitter Marc Marquez.

Redding struggled for rear grip and with a lack of feedback from the front tyre of his Factory-spec Honda RC213V during the first free practice session, but his technical crew made significant changes to the set up of the bike during the interval, which brought immediate improvements when the 22-year-old Brit took to the track for the second MotoGP free practice.

Redding finished the session within 0.6s of the fastest time of the day. However, with the top 17 riders all within a second, it wasn’t enough to elevate Redding higher than 12th on the timesheet.

Redding said: “The first session was really difficult, because the feeling I’d had with the front here at the test simply wasn’t there today. The problem was made worse by a lack of rear grip; whatever I tried I just couldn’t seem to improve. For the second session we made some fairly big changes to the bike and, straight away, the feeling was there again. In some corners the problems we’d had in the morning were completely eliminated, while in others they were only reduced, but the feeling overall was much better. My target was to do a 1’55.5 so I was happy enough when I got down to a 1’55.4, until I saw my position on the timesheet! It’s tough out there and we still need to do some work tomorrow, especially in the last sector where I’m losing four tenths in just three corners.”