Nov 19, 2012
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Livio Loi (57).
Valencia, Spain: Livio Loi signed off his 2012 season in style by taking a hard fought second place in a damp but drying final CEV Buckler Spanish Moto3 Championship race at Valencia today.
Loi impressed during wet qualifying, setting the fifth fastest time overall in the opening session, but slipped back to ninth in the second dry session after running foul of traffic on track.
The 15-year-old Belgian started the race from the third row of the grid, but lost places on the run down to the first turn, eventually completing the opening lap in 12th position. Loi got his head down and worked his way back through the field, setting the fastest lap of the race as he closed on the leading group, which included Moto3 World Championship regulars Arthur Sissis, Niccolo Antonelli, John McPhee and Brad Binder.
As Binder started to pull out a gap at the front of the race, it was Loi who led the chase after taking advantage of mistakes by his more experienced rivals to move up into second place aboard the Marc VDS Racing Team's Kalex-KTM machine, which he was racing for the first time this weekend.
Despite coming under pressure from Kevin Calia and another World Championship regular in the form of Adrian Martin, Loi managed to defend second position to the chequered flag to take a well-deserved podium finish in only his second appearance in the Spanish Championship.
Livio Loi #57: 2nd Position
"My start was not so good, but I managed to chase and catch the group ahead of me and then worked myself through towards the front. When Antonelli crashed that put me in second, with Brad having already pulled out a small gap at the front of the race. I pushed hard to catch him, but by that time the tyres were past their best and the bike was sliding around a lot. I also hit a couple of false neutrals while I was chasing, which didn't help, so eventually I had to settle for second place. Congratulations to Brad on the win, but I'm pretty happy to come away from the last race of the season with second place, especially as it's my first outing on the Kalex-KTM and only my second in the Spanish Championship."
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal, Marc VDS Racing Team
"Livio did a great job today, finishing second in his first race aboard the Kalex-KTM bike, with an all new crew and on only his second appearance in the Spanish Championship. In 2012 he's taken a race win and two podium finishes in the ultra-competitive Red Bull Rookies Cup and now he's added a podium finish in what is undoubtedly the most closely contested championship outside of Grand Prix racing. It just proves what we already knew; that he has the talent to go far in this sport. I am really looking forward to working with Livio next season, as he makes the step up to the world stage, but we also need to remember that this step is a big one and our expectations must reflect that. I would like to say a big thank you to everyone at BMP, Volker Scheck and everyone at Bischoff and Scheck as well as Marc van der Straten because without their support this season none of this would have been possible. We have some time now to celebrate Livio's podium finish together before the hard work starts ahead of next season."
More, from a press release issued by SMT Honda:
Rutter delights SMT Honda with Macau GP win
Michael Rutter gave the SMT Honda team arguably their finest moment in racing when he won Sunday's Macau Grand Prix by a comfortable 4.9s. Having missed all of the 2012 season, it was the perfect way for Robin Croft's hard working team to bounce back and their joy was further enhanced when, with John McGuinness also taking seventh, they received the inaugural team award.
After practice and qualifying was plagued by accidents and delays, Rutter duly lined in pole position and with McGuinness taking a close second, the team were in great shape going into Saturday's 15-lap race. However, it was only half a lap old when rain began to fall and Race direction called a halt to proceedings as the race cannot be run in the wet due to it being too dangerous.
The race was cut to 10 laps and moved back to Sunday afternoon but Rutter moved into the lead on lap one after Gary Johnson briefly hit the front and quickly established an advantage of 1.6 seconds over the chasing pack of Johnson, McGuinness and Simon Andrews. The Midlands rider continued to stretch his lead and had established a lead of 3.6 seconds by the time Martin Jessopp squeezed ahead of Johnson to move up to second. The Ducati rider put in a series of fast laps to reduce the gap to 2.6 seconds, but Michael called on his vast experience and edged away as the race reached its conclusion to take a fantastic victory for himself and the team.
Hopes of a team 1-2 were dashed though when McGuinness was unable to match the pace of Jessop and as he fought with Andrews and Johnson for the final podium position, he overshot Lisboa corner as he tried to put a pass on Johnson and it dropped him down the order. The 2001 winner regrouped though and fought his way back up to seventh at the end of the 10-lap race.
Speaking afterwards, race winner Rutter commented; "It's fantastic here and to have taken my 8th victory is superb. It's so important round here to get a good start and, having been behind Stuart Easton and a few of the others in the past, it's so difficult if you're behind, so a good start was crucial. That's exactly what I got and with the team giving me a brilliant bike, it's been superb from start to finish."
Team owner Croft had to leave the event early due to family commitments but added; "What a brilliant way to come back into racing! It hasn't been the easiest week for anyone with accidents, delays and postponements but I can't praise the team high enough and I'm incredibly proud of all of them this week. From start to finish, they've worked so hard and been a credit to both themselves and the team so to be here now as Macau GP winners is a fantastic feeling. I'd like to thank each and every one of them for their efforts and a massive thank you to Barry Owen and John Curtin of Jezac Trading and to all our other sponsors as, without them, none of this would have been possible. Finally, on behalf of the team, I'd like to pass on my condolences to the family and friends of Luis Carreira who sadly lost his life during qualifying."
More, from a press release issued by Dan Kneen/Marks Bloom Racing
Strong top ten finish at Macau for Kneen
Dan Kneen put in a strong performance in Sunday's Macau Grand Prix to claim an excellent ninth place in just his second visit to the demanding 3.8-mile Guia circuit. Riding the Marks Bloom Racing Suzuki, the Isle of Man rider was consistently in the top 15 during practice and qualifying and he was rewarded with a fine top ten result, only beaten across the line by seasoned Macau GP competitors.
Making his return to the event after missing the 2011 meeting, Dan's week started steadily with 15th in free practice as he re-familiarised himself with the Armco-lined circuit but he soon quickened his pace and by the time qualifying had concluded, he had shaved five seconds off his lap times to qualify in ninth and line up on the third row of the grid.
A good start to Saturday's 15-lap race saw Dan immediately move up to eighth but the race was less than a lap old when rain began to fall. Rules state that racing won't take place if it's wet due to it simply being too dangerous so it was put back 24 hours to Sunday and reduced to 10 laps. A solid start saw Dan consolidate his ninth place and it proved to be a fairly uneventful race for the 25-year old, as he circulated a couple of seconds behind Jimmy Storrar but comfortably clear of tenth placed James Hillier.
Speaking later, a pleased Dan said; "I've really enjoyed my return to Macau and having arrived nice and early, I was able to relax and ease my way into the meeting. I just went out in practice and qualifying to get used to the circuit once more and build myself up so I was more than pleased with ninth on the grid. The lap times were good and I was running a good pace and ahead of quite a few riders with a lot more experience than me whilst the ones ahead were all top runners!"
"I got a good start when the race got underway on Saturday and was up to 8th when the red flag came out due to the rain so had to do it all over again on Sunday. It was a similar story on Sunday and I just had a nice, steady race keeping it all nice and smooth. There were some top lads in front of me and they were just that bit quicker than me, utilising their experience but I'm sure with a bit more work to the bike and another year under my belt, the top six will be within reach in 2013."