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Apr 5, 2012

Luthi Sets The Pace During Moto2 Practice Thursday Night In Qatar

Mike di Meglio (63).
FIM Moto2 World Championship
Losail International Circuit, Qatar
April 5, 2012
Free Practice Sessions One & Two Combined Results (all using Honda engines and Dunlop tires):

1. Thomas LUTHI, Switzerland (SUTER), 2:00.767
2. Claudio CORTI, Italy (KALEX), 2:00.918
3. Pol ESPARGARO, Spain (KALEX), 2:01.198
4. Esteve RABAT, Spain (KALEX), 2:01.202
5. Scott REDDING, Great Britain (KALEX), 2:01.336
6. Mika KALLIO, Finland (KALEX), 2:01.360
7. Marc MARQUEZ, Spain (SUTER), 2:01.455
8. Mike DI MEGLIO, France (SPEED UP), 2:01.524
9. Takaaki NAKAGAMI, Japan (KALEX), 2:01.630
10. Toni ELIAS, Spain (SUTER), 2:01.826
11. Max NEUKIRCHNER, Germany (KALEX), 2:01.849
12. Julian SIMON, Spain (FTR), 2:01.886
13. Simone CORSI, Italy (FTR), 2:01.899
14. Andrea IANNONE, Italy (SPEED UP), 2:02.069
15. Bradley SMITH, Great Britain (TECH 3), 2:02.081
16. Xavier SIMEON, Belgium (TECH 3), 2:02.187
17. Alex DE ANGELIS, South Africa (SUTER), 2:02.306
18. Dominique AEGERTER, Switzerland (SUTER), 2:02.375
19. Johann ZARCO, France (MOTOBI), 2:02.445
20. Randy KRUMMENACHER, Switzerland (KALEX), 2:02.534
21. Ratthapark WILAIROT, Thailand (MORIWAKI), 2:02.595
22. Nicolas TEROL, Spain (SUTER), 2:02.678
23. Roberto ROLFO, Italy (SUTER), 2:02.730
24. Ricard CARDUS, Spain (AJR), 2:02.917
25. Yuki TAKAHASHI, Japan (SUTER), 2:02.944
26. Angel RODRIGUEZ, Spain (FTR), 2:03.352
27. Gino REA, Great Britain (MORIWAKI), 2:03.728
28. Axel PONS, Spain (KALEX), 2:04.347
29. Anthony WEST, Australia (MORIWAKI), 2:05.652
30. Alexander LUNDH, Sweden (MZ FTR), 2:05.846
31. Marco COLANDREA, Switzerland (FTR), 2:06.578
32. Nasser Hasan AL MALKI, Qatar (MORIWAKI), 2:06.886
33. Elena ROSELL, Spain (MORIWAKI), 2:06.934

More, from a press release issued by Speed Master:


Today begun the Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar with its first two practice sessions, kicking off the first event of 2012 World Championship.

It was a positive day for both Speed Master riders. Andrea Iannone and his crew worked on some initial changes between the first and the second practice, in order to modify the setting of the bike and focus on the tyres choice, verifying these decisions in FP2.
Great start for Di Meglio, who set competitive lap times on top of his Speed Up machine and kept within the top 10 constantly. The Frenchman showed a consistent pace, putting in a positive performance.

Andrea Iannone #29 - 14th with 2'02.069
"I'd say the day went ok. The first session went well, the setting had to be fixed but in general I had a good feeling on the bike. The second practice was a little bit more complicated, we didn't manage to show our potential. In any case we didn't use any new tyres, we were on used tyres, which are the ones that we could use for the race and with those there's work to sort out. Anyway I'm not worried, now we have to improve the bike's setting. Let's wait for tomorrow and we'll find out how it goes."

Mike di Meglio #63 - 8th with 2'01.524
"I'm really happy with this first day. We worked very well, I had a good feeling on the bike. We still have to improve our pace when I'm out on the track alone, but we are moving forward and tomorrow we'll try a modification to the setting to get a better stability with the Speed Up machine. I'm adapting my riding style as much as possible, we'll try some solutions to improve our lap times more easily, I hope the weekend goes on as today, then we'll see what happens on Sunday."

More, from a press release issued by Marc VDS Racing Team:

Doha, Qatar - 5 April 2012: The Marc VDS Racing Team made a solid start to the opening round of the 2012 Moto2 World Championship in Qatar today, with Scott Redding finishing fifth fastest and Mika Kallio just one place further back in sixth.

More important than position was the fact that both Marc VDS riders finished this evening's two 45-minute free practice sessions just half a second off the fastest time, which was set by former 125cc World Champion, Thomas Lüthi.

Both Marc VDS riders overcame problems today, with Redding having to change the set-up of his Kalex Moto2 machine to overcome front-end chatter and Kallio missing a pit exit in the second session after an electrical problem with the bike.

Redding and Kallio are confident of finding further improvements in tomorrow's final free practice session, ready for Saturday's all-important first qualifying session of the new season.

Scott Redding #45: 5th - 2'01.336
"Overall it's been a good day. The first session was a bit hard because I managed to pick up a cold on the flight over and I found it difficult to breathe properly. The second session was much better and we could focus on finding a solution to the front chatter we experienced. We still need to do some more work on this tomorrow, but it's not a big problem. I'm happy with the lap time today and I'm confident we can close the gap even further tomorrow. I was looking for top six on day one and we've achieved that, now we need to do the same in tomorrow."

Mika Kallio #36: 6th - 2'01.360
"We had a good start to the weekend and we're pretty much where we expected to be position wise. We're just over half a second off the fastest lap, but I'm confident there is more to come tomorrow. We had a problem with the bike in the second session, which cost me one pit exit, but I still managed to improve my time on my last run, so we didn't lose out too much. It was a good day and a solid start to our first race weekend, which is what we wanted here."

Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"Qatar hasn't been particularly good to us in recent years, so it's good to put that behind us with two solid performances in the practice sessions today. Both Scott and Mika were consistent throughout free practice, and their fast laps came towards the end of each session on the same tyre with which they started. We have achieved our aim today, but tomorrow we must do the same and then on Saturday we need to qualify both riders on the first two rows of the grid. It will be a challenge, as the lap times at the top are close, but I think it's a realistic goal."

More, from a press release issued by the QMMF Racing Team:

QMMF president Nasser Khalifa Al Attiyah: Full support for lady racer Elena Rossell

Elena Rossell had a tough first day of practice at the Grand Prix of Qatar. Whereas her new team-mate Anthony West and local hero Nasser Al Malki just struggled with the set-up of their bikes, the Spanish lady racer battled the pain of a pelvis fracture that was detected after her crash at the last pre-season test in Spain less than two weeks ago. Despite her difficulties with fast direction changes, the 25-year-old from Valencia, Spain, is determined to push on for her team and to make the best out of the unique experience of her first ever night-race.

Encouragement came not only from the technicians in her team, but also from Mr. Nasser Khalifa Al Attiyah, president of QMMF and vice-president of the International Motorcycle Federation FIM. "We have Anthony West, one of the best international racers, we have Nasser Al Malki, our wild card entry and the hero of the fans here in Qatar, and we have Elena Rossell, the only lady racer in motorcycle Grand Prix racing. This is a marvellous moment in the history of our team and it will be a very exciting weekend for QMMF and for motorcycle racing in our country", he said. "Our best wishes go to all our riders, but especially to Elena who is competing at our home Grand Prix despite a painful injury. Having a female rider in our world championship team has been our goal for a long time, because we want to show the world that we are serious about developing top woman riders in Grand Prix racing. We've worked successfully with female riders in the Qatar championship and in the Endurance world championship, and now we are the first team to offer a lady the opportunity to ride a full Moto2 world championship season. We want to encourage women to compete on world level and it is part of my responsibility as vice-president of FIM to open up such opportunities. At the same time, we show the world that we are a very open-minded country and that we believe in the right for women to live up to their true talents. Women are not only there to hold umbrellas I believe that they can compete on eye level with their male rivals in motorcycle racing and that they have they same amount of talent to win!"

Anthony West 29th in 2.05,652
"When I got this chance to ride for QMMF Racing Team, I couldn't believe my luck. I spent the winter trying everything in my power to continue in Grand Prix racing and it was mentally tough because I changed and swapped and spent lots of time talking to teams and trying to raise money, when all I wanted to do was to ride a bike. Now I am happy to be here in a good team and to be able to concentrate on my real job. Yesterday, I saw the bike for the first time, and sitting on it in the box was my pre-season test! When I went out on the track today, I noticed that the seating position was quite different to what I was used to previously. It's the first thing I want to try and work on with this bike, to sit more in the center, because right now, I feel like there is too much weight on the rear of the bike which makes it difficult to turn. I haven't ridden a Moto2 machine since the Valencia Grand Prix last year and I am not riding it at a 100 per cent yet. The bike has the potential to be good, we just need a bit of time to find the right direction!"

Nasser al Malki 32nd in 2.06,886
"I am happy to be back in Grand Prix racing for this weekend and it's fantastic to have a chance to compete in front of all my friends and family here at Qatar. Apart from the first round of the Spanish Championship in Jerez last weekend where we didn't learn a lot due to bad weather and ever-changing track conditions, I haven't been riding a Moto2 bike in many months and I need more time to get the right feeling and a better set-up. I don't feel good on the bike, neither on the entry nor on the exit of the corners. Some riders enter the turns really easy, but whatever I try, I can't keep the same lines. We definitely need to improve!"

Elena Rossell 33rd in 2.06,934:
"I was in pain after my crash in Jerez and I thought that I pulled a ligament or something, but when the problem continued, I had another medical check where a crack on the right side of the pelvis was detected. Riding with this injury hurts a lot and I wasn't able to move on the bike the way I should. I hope things get better over the next days, because I really want to make the best out of this opportunity here at Qatar. It's the first Grand Prix of the season and the home race of my team. It's also the first ever night race for me and it's a fantastic experience to go out on the track under flood lights. At the same time, there is no doubt that we have a lot of work ahead of us: I've only ever ridden here once on a street bike and we are still at the beginning as far as track knowledge and set-up of the bike goes."

More, from a press release issued by Gresini Racing:

Ratthapark Wilairot began the difficult task of getting his Moriwaki machine up to speed in the ultra-competitive Moto2 class tonight, as the new season got underway with free practice at the Grand Prix of Qatar. The Thai rider made progress from his performance in preseason testing two weeks ago at Jerez but is still some way from matching the team's expectations in terms of results and along with his crew he has a busy weekend ahead.

Ratthapark Wilairot (21° 2' 02" 595) "We tried many things on the bike tonight but I had a problem on the rear that we struggled to solve. We also had a problem with vibration on the front that we have improved but the rear is still sliding a lot. We have to check the data but we already have some ideas to improve it with some changes to the rear shock and rear swingarm, so hopefully I can do much better tomorrow."

Fausto Gresini "Unfortunately in Moto2 we are some way down on the time sheets at the moment. We seem to have improved a little on the Jerez test but we still have a lot of work to do tomorrow to find the best way to improve the bike. I think Wilairot has more to give but we have to all work together to improve his situation, which is currently not satisfactory. We will hopefully improve tomorrow because I believe we have the potential and we'll be trying our best."

More, from a press release issued by JiR Moto2 Team:

Positive signs for Team JiR despite tough start in Qatar

The 2012 Moto2 World Championship finally got under way tonight at the Losail circuit, near Doha for the first practice sessions of the season. The lone Team JiR rider under the floodlights was Frenchman Johann Zarco, entering into his first competitive foray on the four-stroke Moto2 machine. Initially, it was a good start for the 21-year-old from Cannes, who was in 14th position in the first practice, but in the second session he could only take a further two-tenths off his best time, while some other riders improved still further. As the flag went out to end the final session this evening, Johann managed to improve a little, allowing him into the top 20 with a best time of 2m 02.445s. Tomorrow will be a long day for team and rider, as they work hard to make up time on the leaders..

Johann Zarco
Position: 19th
Best lap: 2m 02.445s

First I was quite happy today, as I could keep the pace of other riders and then we changed something on the bike and this helped me still further. Later today I didn't improve a lot in lap times perhaps just two-tenths of a second and this was not enough for me so I lost some positions. We have a very sensitive bike and when I made a change it did not help me as much as I thought. However, I could change my riding style a little and this helped me move up a position towards the end of the final practice session. I am a little disappointed as this was not the lap time I was aiming for today. There are positives to take from today, including the fact that we have tried a number of tyres to help choose one for the race. Tomorrow I know I have to work more and try and push the limit a little further I think this is the only solution to get into the top ten which is my aim. I think this will be a little more difficult, but it is still possible. I need to be under pressure to perform, so this helps me. I think we can improve tomorrow as it's a fast track, so I can learn where we can make up some time. I think there is quite a bit more time to be saved from how I ride the track, as well as improving the set up of my MotoBI. Tomorrow we just need to make the right set-up decisions quickly and try and not lose too much valuable time.

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