Rabat takes commanding win in Argentina
Termas de Rio Hondo, Argentina – 27 April 2014: Marc VDS Racing Team rider Tito Rabat claimed his second pole position and race win double of 2014 today, after a commanding Moto2 success at the new Circuito Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina.
The Spaniard delivered a flawless performance to lead the 23-lap race from start to finish, with his second win in the opening three races stretching his World Championship lead to 28-points heading to the European phase of the campaign in Jerez next weekend.
Mika Kallio rode a determined race in his landmark 200th Grand Prix appearance, the Finn capitalising on major set-up modifications to improve rear grip. His seventh place moved him into second position behind Rabat in the World Championship standings.
Livio Loi had double reason to celebrate today after marking his 17th birthday with an inspired ride to fourth, the Belgian rider missing a stunning maiden podium by a margin of just 0.084s.
Loi’s stellar performance on a weekend in which he also scored a career best qualifying result, saw him fight for the win with Romano Fenati, Alex Marquez and Jack Miller in a nail-biting battle that was only decided at the final corner.
Tito Rabat // 1st
“From the outside it might have looked like an easy race but on the bike it was incredibly difficult. It is not easy to keep maximum concentration and I knew that if I made a small mistake Simeon was ready to attack. I am really happy because I made a good start and led the whole race. I have to say a big thanks to my team because they gave me a fantastic bike and the tyre choice was perfect. We go to Jerez with a nice lead in the championship but I can’t relax because Mika is now second and he will be pushing hard as always.”
Mika Kallio // 7th
“The bike in the race was the best it has been all weekend and we found a lot more rear grip and tyre life, which have been the biggest issues. I started so far back and the riders outside of the top 10 are completely crazy in the first two laps. They don’t know where to brake and they always run wide and mess up your rhythm. I lost a lot of places, so to get back to seventh was the maximum I could achieve. I’m not satisfied because the race could have been completely different with a better qualifying and with my pace I had the chance to battle for the podium. I’m second in the championship but Tito has pulled a good advantage, so we have to improve."
Livio Loi // 4th
“That was an incredible way to celebrate my birthday. It was an unbelievable race because I lost some places at the start, but once in my rhythm I just kept passing and moving forward. I saw the leading group wasn’t far away so I kept pushing and all of the time I was closing the gap. At the final corner I couldn’t take the inside line, so I had to go round the outside and I was still very good on the brakes, even on the dirty part of the track. But Fenati touched Marquez and Miller and I had to pick my bike up. I’m a little disappointed to just miss out on the podium after such an amazing race but this weekend has been massive boost for my confidence. Now I have showed I can be there and I want to thank the Marc VDS Racing Team for always believing in me.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Our first trip to Argentina has certainly been one we won’t forget in a hurry. Tito did a fantastic job and it always an impressive achievement to lead for the whole race in a category as tough as Moto2. He managed the race really well and it is great to have a good advantage in the championship at this early stage. I’m happy with Mika’s job because now we are 1-2 in the rankings. Qualifying is so important and starting 14th was not ideal but he fought his way back and scored some crucial points. And Livio was just phenomenal. Marc van der Straten and I have always believed he has the talent and it was a great day. With a bit more luck he could have finished on the podium and he learned more in those 21-laps than he did in the whole of last year. I am sure this is the boost he needs to become a consistent top 10 finisher.”
More, from a press release issued by AirAsia Caterham Moto2 Team:
Argentina GP Race Release
Circuit: Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo
Circuit Length: 4.806 m
Race Length: 23 laps
Race: Dry; (air temp) 23°, (track temp) 21°
After another impressive start to the weekend bad luck once again reigned over race day for the AirAsia Caterham Moto Racing Team as Johann Zarco fought against a rear tyre issue.
Having qualified on the front row the AirAsia Caterham rider was looking to capitalise on his P2 position and continue with the strong pace that he had set throughout practice and qualifying.
As the lights went out it was immediately visible that the #5 bike had a problem dropping to P9 in the first lap and continuing to descend down the field throughout the 23 lap race distance.
Despite struggling with grip the Frenchman continued to battle against the field determined to get points on the board, but it wasn’t to be as he crossed the finish line in P18.
Johann Zarco: P18
“I can’t say too many things as it is the third race and again no points. It’s disappointing because we were strong all the weekend and unlucky for Sunday.
“We were ready to fight for the win and even this morning I was fast but because of a problem with the rear tyre in the race I could not do it.
“I feel so much more comfortable on the bike and I know we can be on the podium. Now we have to accept what happened and move on.”
Johan Stigefelt – Team Manager:
“Right up until the race it has been another great weekend. We had such a good pace from Friday and were never below fourth.
“This morning in Warm Up we also felt very good, it’s just bad luck striking us. If it’s not a crash it’s something technical like today. We have to evaluate now the issue that we had and then move forward.
“Johann is doing a great job and there was nothing he could do about today, nothing the team could do about it, it was out of our control.
“Now at Jerez we have to get back to being as strong as we were here, don’t think too much about what has happened today and continue with the same strong pace that we have shown. We will keep working hard and our day will come, hopefully soon and hopefully in Jerez.”
More, from a press release issued by QMMF Racing Team:
West rides through the danger zone to 12th position,
Rámos battles his way to 22nd place
Despite a dangerous mechanical problem, QMMF Racing Team rider Anthony West rode to 12th position at the Grand Prix of Argentina and saved the day with the third top result in the third race of the season. The 32-year-old Australian bolted from 20th place on the starting grid to eleventh position in the first lap and started to challenge his rivals for a Top Ten finish, when his engine suddenly lost power and oil. West dropped back a few positions, but re-established contact to the group he had been fighting with despite a slippery right footpeg and despite a lack of traction due to oil dripping onto his rear tyre. He clawed his way back to 12th place on the penultimate lap and crossed the line just half a second behind German Marcel Schrötter in eleventh place and 21.5 seconds behind race winner Esteve Rabat.
Team-mate Román Ramos entertained the crowd of more than 70000 spectators at the first Argentinian Grand Prix in 15 years with a brave battle, moving up from 29th on the starting grid to 22nd position in the end with ever-improving lap times. On his way, the 23-year-old left local hero Sebastian Porto and another eight riders in his wake.
Anthony West – 12th place
“We had a problem with the engine that started after the seventh lap. After fighting with Kallio, I had opened up a gap to the group behind me and I already could see the group in front of me. I was catching up to Folger who rode in sixth position, when the engine started to slow down. Kallio caught me, we fought for a bit, then I started to realise that my bike was now really slow. I also lost traction and then, for no reason, my foot started slipping from the footpeg. I looked down and realized there was a lot of oil coming out of the engine. In the right-hand corners, I almost ran over my own foot a few times, because I slipped off so often and so suddenly. That lost me a lot of time in the middle of the race. There was so much oil coming out all over my boot and onto the rear wheel that riding was really dangerous and I was very lucky to stay on the bike and to finish the race. When I finally managed to find a better position with my right foot and to adjust my riding style, I could catch one more rider in the end, Jonas Folger. But by the time I realized that I could somehow ride around the problem, it was too late to catch the whole group in front of me and I had to settle for 12th!”
Roman Ramos – 22nd place
“It was a good race-weekend for us. The set-up of my bike is better than it has ever been since I started this year and I think we established a really good line of working. Obviously, there is a lot of work yet to be done because we are still way behind, but my lap times in the race were the best of the whole weekend, which is encouraging. In fact, towards the end of the race, I was faster than ever before and I am very happy with that. I want to thank my guys in the team for they great work they have done. I am confident that we can be faster again in Jerez and fight for a position closer to the front. It’s a circuit that we know really well, we are at our home Grand Prix and this will help us to achieve the best possible result!”
More, from a press release issued by Husqvarna:
Top 10 finishes for Husqvarna riders in Argentina
Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo factory rider Danny Kent and supported rider Niklas Ajo both finished in the top ten in a very competitive field in Rd. 3 of the Moto3 World Championship on the brand new circuit of Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina.
Kent, who rides the Husqvarna FR 250 GP machine finished in ninth place and Ajo in eighth after what had been a positive and promising weekend for them but on race day it was tyre wear that slowed them down in the final stages, according to team manager Aki Ajo.
“Right from the beginning it had been quote a good weekend with both riders improving their pace. Danny did really well to be third in qualifying and Niklas was seventh. The race today was a big fight and both were in the top group for a long time but finally they had to slow down because their front tyres were quite destroyed,” Ajo commented after the race.
Kent, who returns to Moto3 after a season in Moto2 had his best qualifying so far in the first three rounds. He was on the front line of the grid with championship leader Jack Miller and Efren Vazquez. He got away well and stayed in touch with the lead group for the first part of the race then dropped back to sixth. Then in the final four laps Kent and Ajo were together contesting eighth place and crossed the line almost together.
Danny Kent: "We had a good start. I put myself in the lead group and was going at the pace of the qualifying session. After the first ten laps, the front tire was very worn and I almost crashed several times. On the last lap I overtook my teammate, but after his final move, I finished ninth. I'm happy because in general this weekend we took an important step forward in free practice and in the qualifying session. Also in the set-up for the race. All we need to analyze what happened with the front tyre and keep improving for Jerez."
The competition now returns to Europe for Rd. 4 in Jerez, Spain next weekend.
1, Romano Fenati, ITA, KTM, 38’34.451
2, Alex Marquez, ESP, Honda, 38’34.550
3, Jack Miller, AUS, KTM, 38’34.991
4, Livio Loi, BEL, Kalex KTM, 38’35.075
5, Alex Rins, ESP, Honda, 38’39.981
6, Efren Vazquez, ESP, Honda, 38’40.104
7, Isaac Viñales, ESP, KTM, 38’43.416
8, Niklas Ajo, FIN, Husqvarna, 38’49.436
9, Danny Kent, GBR, Husqvarna, 38’49.494
More, from a press release issued by Paul Bird Motorsport:
PBM Riders Just Miss Out In Argentina
Round three of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship headed for the first time to the Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo circuit for the Grand Prix Red Bull de la República Argentina and saw both PBM riders just miss out on the points.
Ulsterman Michael Laverty and Australian Broc Parkes were hopeful of a good result and both showed good speed in the initial stages of free practice despite Laverty sliding off in one of the sessions.
Qualifying was encouraging as the track gave more grip and former World Supersport runner up Parkes planted the Rapid Solicitors and Silkolene-backed PBM on row six in 18th place as Laverty aboard the Rapid Solicitors and Silkolene-backed Aprilia ART-powered PBM slotted in a row further back in 20th position.
Managing to avoid the opening lap skirmishes, both riders for the Penrith-based team circulated inside the top 20 for the first half of the 25 lap race, Laverty in particular enjoying a battle with a number of other Open class machines for a share of the points as Parkes held sway just outside.
Having finished in a frustrating 16th place in both previous races, Laverty was hopeful of scoring his first points but after 25 hard fought laps, he had to settle for 18th at the flag as just four seconds separated him from the 15th placed Aleix Espargaro on his Open class Forward Yamaha.
PBM team-mate Parkes was hoping to add to the brilliant point he scored for 15th in Qatar on his Grand Prix debut having missed out in Texas a couple of weeks ago when he was forced to retire, but with another astonishingly low attrition rate, the Aussie had to settle for 21st at the flag..
With five finishes out of the six races completed so far and knocking on the door of the points at all three meetings, the PBM team is making significant development progress which will continue into the first European round of the season at Jerez in Spain next weekend.
The results mean that Parkes maintains 20th overall in the 2014 MotoGP World Championship table, ninth in the Open class standings and third in Rookie of the Year. With a pair of 16th place finishes and an 18th this weekend, Laverty has yet to register on the scoreboard but importantly for the PBM team, they occupy sixth place in the manufacturer's table and 12th in the team's standings going into the next race at Jerez.
Michael Laverty: "It was a good race for me this weekend, that's the first time I've finished less than one minute from the winner. It was a goal of mine and was tough to do on a CRT bike. Here, I lost too much time in the early laps with a full fuel load but had really good pace throughout after the opening five laps. Thanks to my team and we move onto Jerez where hopefully we can challenge for points again."
Broc Parkes: "I was really happy with my qualifying position but in the race I just didn't have the pace that I expected. I still need to understand the bike a little more so I can get the best out of it in a race. I'm looking forward to Jerez next weekend as the track should suit us a little better."
Phil Borley, Technical Director: "We are happy with our results for PBM's first ever race in Argentina, especially Michael's overall time and performance in the race. Broc had qualified well but struggled in the race with less grip. For a small team that is the only remaining team in the MotoGP championship to use their own chassis to be lapping within 2.3 seconds a lap off the factory teams shows what we can achieve, and we know that we can further improve our package. Hopefully we can attract some support that will help us become more competitive in future races."