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Apr 5, 2013

Nakagami Tops FIM Moto2 Free Practice Three In Qatar (Updated)

FIM Moto2 World Championship: Takaaki Nakagami (30) in action Friday at Qatar. Photo courtesy of
FIM Moto2 World Championship
Losail Circuit, Qatar
April 5, 2013
Free Practice Three Results (all using Honda engines and Dunlop tires):

1. Takaaki NAKAGAMI, Japan (KALEX), 2:01.480
2. Pol ESPARGARO, Spain (PONS KALEX), 2:01.565
3. Scott REDDING, UK (KALEX), 2:01.819
4. Esteve RABAT, Spain (PONS KALEX), 2:02.271
5. Simone CORSI, Italy (SPEED UP), 2:02.574
6. Johann ZARCO, France (SUTER), 2:02.633
7. Julian SIMON, Spain (KALEX), 2:02.667
8. Alex DE ANGELIS, San Marino (SPEED UP), 2:02.907
9. Nicolas TEROL, Spain (SUTER), 2:02.923
10. Dominique AEGERTER, Switzerland (SUTER), 2:02.951
11. Sandro CORTESE, Germany (KALEX), 2:03.139
12. Toni ELIAS, Spain (KALEX), 2:03.285
13. Mike DI MEGLIO, France (MOTOBI), 2:03.304
14. Anthony WEST, Australia (SPEED UP), 2:03.343
15. Jordi TORRES, Spain (SUTER), 2:03.360
16. Ratthapark WILAIROT, Thailand (SUTER), 2:03.431
17. Axel PONS, Spain (PONS KALEX), 2:03.449
18. Danny KENT, UK (TECH 3), 2:03.546
19. Mika KALLIO, Finland (KALEX), 2:03.715
20. Randy KRUMMENACHER, Switzerland (SUTER), 2:03.780
21. Xavier SIMEON, Belgium (KALEX), 2:03.781
22. Yuki TAKAHASHI, Japan (MORIWAKI), 2:03.852
23. Louis ROSSI, France (TECH 3), 2:03.915
24. Mattia PASINI, Italy (SPEED UP), 2:04.080
25. Ricard CARDUS, Spain (SPEED UP), 2:04.277
26. Sergio GADEA, Spain (SUTER), 2:04.626
27. Marcel SCHROTTER, Germany (KALEX), 2:04.665
28. Kyle SMITH, UK (KALEX), 2:05.093
29. Steven ODENDAAL, South Africa (SPEED UP), 2:05.386
30. Doni Tata PRADITA, Indonesia (SUTER), 2:05.798
31. Rafid Topan SUCIPTO, Indonesia (SPEED UP), 2:05.837
32. Alberto MONCAYO, Spain (SPEED UP), 2:05.967

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

Doha, Qatar - 5 April 2013: The onset of rain halfway through this evening's third and final free practice session in Qatar meant that none of the top ten riders were able to improve their lap times from yesterday, with the result that Scott Redding and Mika Kallio remain fourth and eighth on combined times.

With dark clouds gathering over the Losail International Circuit ahead of the final free practice session, Redding wasted no time once the session started, posting his fastest time of the evening on his eighth lap, shortly before rain forced all the riders back to pit lane.

Kallio wasn't so lucky. Still working on the set-up of his Kalex Moto2 machine, the 30-year-old Finn had just returned to the track to push for a quick lap time when the rain arrived over the circuit. With rain continuing to fall sporadically throughout the remainder of the session, no further improvement in lap time was possible for Kallio.

Qualifying for the Grand Prix of Qatar takes place tomorrow evening, followed less than three hours later by warm-up for Sunday's race.

Scott Redding #45: 4th - 2'01.433
"The problem with Qatar is that even when the skies are completely black, you're not sure if it's going to rain or not. In the end we decided to continue with our original plan and I managed to post my fastest lap on the second exit, just before the rain came for the first time. After that I was trying to push to further improve my time, but the rain kept reappearing and the track conditions were changing with every lap. I'm happy enough with third today, especially as I did the time on a used tyre."

Mika Kallio #36: 8th - 2'01.981
"We made some changes to the set-up ahead of the final session today and, to be honest, they didn't work. On the first exit the bike felt completely different and I wasn't getting any feedback from the tyres, only chatter. We switched back to the previous set-up and, although there was still some vibration from the front, the feeling was immediately better. Unfortunately, before I had a chance to find my rhythm and push for a fast lap the rain arrived and that was that. Obviously I'm not happy to have effectively lost a session, as it leaves us with work to do in qualifying tomorrow."

Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"Rain has been a constant companion for the Moto2 teams during testing, but if you can't race in the middle of the desert without it raining then what hope is there? Scott managed to get in a quick lap early in the session to go third, but Mika wasn't quite so lucky. He made some changes to the bike overnight and had to confirm these changes before starting to push for a fast lap, which, unfortunately, coincided with the arrival of the rain. Hopefully the weather will improve ahead of qualifying tomorrow, as I want to see both riders pushing for a front row start in Sunday's race."

More, from a press release issued by MAPFRE Aspar Team:


Both riders improved front end feeling despite the poor track conditions, Nico Terol finishing ninth and Jordi Torres fifteenth

The Moto2 riders were no luckier than the Moto3 competitors as they experienced conditions more suited to a wild west movie than a GP free practice. Due to the wind and sand blowing around at Losail the track became slippy on Friday evening. In addition to the sand and the breeze, spells of drizzle also forced the riders into their pit boxes to seek refuge twice, the first time with half an hour to go and the second with ten minutes remaining. Nakagami, fastest for the second consecutive day, continues to put preseason favourite and second fastest rider today, Pol Espargaro, in the shadows. Like in Moto3 the conditions prevented the Moto2 riders from imrpoving their Thursday lap times.

Small steps always carry you forward. The aim of the MAPFRE Aspar riders at this early stage of the season is to gradually improve each session and to understand how to make those improvements and stay on the path to progression. Lap times, due to the Losail track conditions, did not improve today though - but
Nico Terol and Jordi Torres did improve their feeling with the bike. Both of them focussed their work on their front end feeling, which is essential for the fast corners at this circuit. Improving in this manner has meant improvement in terms of timesheet positions, with Terol finishing ninth and Torres fifteenth.

9th Nico Terol 2.02.923 (12 laps): "The set-up and the feeling with the bike have improved compared to yesterday so I'm satisfied with those aspects. I was riding more smoothly and the front end was giving me more confidence. We reduced chatter and we're turning better on fast corners, as we're more stable. It's a shame I wasn't able to register a better lap time. When the track was empty we had to come into the box because of the rain. We had a few things to test so it would have been good to have more track time, but it was better than yesterday. I love this circuit so I was hoping for a smoother day, we're having to try quite a few tweaks. We'll keep working hard, we're close to the top five and getting there would change our perspective.

15th Jordi Torres 2.03.360 (13 laps): "I'm happy to have improved and we tried a couple of new things despite the conditions. All the previous work running at this track has helped and today I went for it to try and get up near the top. Now it's clearer what I need to do, my references are set and I like riding here. I want more front end confidence but we're on the right track and we've been working really hard since we got to this circuit. The team are making things easy. We're taking small steps forward and I'm convinced that tomorrow we'll see that work reflected on the timesheets".

More, from a press release issued by Team JiR:

More progress for Team JiR and Mike Di Meglio at Losail

Team JiR and rider Mike Di Meglio put in more hard work at the circuit of Losail today ahead of Sunday's Moto2 World Championship opening round.

Once more the 25-year-old Frenchman spent the day fine-tuning his Team JiR machine, ahead of tomorrow's qualifying session and Sunday's race.

And again he ended the day 13th in the classification overall. Tomorrow both the team and rider will be working hard to ensure a good starting position on the grid for the race.

Mike Di Meglio
Final Position: 13th
Best lap: 2m 03.304s

We went out on track once more today to try and get more feedback from my Team JiR machine. Once more we looked at the various chassis settings and spent more time trying to make small changes to see how it affected the bike. At this stage of the season we simply need as much time on the bike as possible. Tomorrow I know that as well as continuing to develop the set-up of the bike, I also need to do my best to get a good single lap time to ensure that I start Sunday’s race in a good position on the grid.

More, from a press release issued by Gresini Racing:


A rare rain shower at the Losail circuit proved to be a slight distraction to Doni Tata Pradita, who was unable to improve his pace in the closing stages of an unusual free practice session tonight. The Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 rider knows the circuit well having competed here before in World Supersport but was unable to improve his pace tonight after losing confidence in the tricky conditions.

Doni Tata Pradita (30th 2’ 05” 798 ) “Unfortunately the rainfall changed the way I was riding the track, I was tentative and didn't have a good feeling. I am disappointed because I was hoping to improve on my position from yesterday but didn't. Tomorrow is an important session and we will give it our best.”

Fausto Gresini “When you don't have much experience it is very easy to lose confidence in strange conditions like the ones we saw today. That is what happened to Doni tonight and he couldn't ride like he wanted but he'll have chance to make up for it tomorrow.”

More, from another press release issued by Gresini Racing:


Ratthapark Wilairot is ready for tomorrow's first qualifying practice of the new Moto2 season despite losing a little confidence this evening when a rare rain shower in the Qatari desert cut his free practice session short. The Thai rider preferred to sit out the final few minutes of the session and save himself for the crucial grid shootout tomorrow night.

Ratthapark Wilairot (16th 2’ 03” 4 31 ) “I am happy with my bike but not with my performance tonight. I got put off by the rain and I didn't want to risk anything. I know we have the bike ready to put in a good qualifying performance tomorrow so we'll try to do our best.”

Fausto Gresini “Wilairot showed again that he has progressed from last year because it was a wise decision not to take any risks on such an unpredictable track. He knows he has a good bike for tomorrow and he is ready for qualifying.”

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

Improved set-up boosts Wests confidence for qualifying

QMMF Racing Team rider Anthony West, who enjoyed a surprise visit of his father Tony on Friday morning, managed to solve most of the set-up problems of his Speed Up bike, especially the chattering that slowed him on the first day of practice for the season-opening race in Qatar. Due to a string of other small disturbances in the third free practice session on Friday evening, including a few light drizzles at the desert circuit of Losail, West didn’t improve his lap time by more than a tenth of a second, but is confident to be able to put a competitive lap together when it counts in qualifying on Saturday night. Young team-mate Rafid Topan Sucipto continued his learning experience in the Moto2 category and rode an impressive 1.2 seconds quicker than on day one.

Anthony West – 14th in 2.03,343 (combined 23rd in 2.03,343)
“The whole session was a disaster. The quick shifter didn’t work when I went out, so I pulled back in. It took a while to get it fixed and as soon as I went out again, it started to rain. I didn’t even do one lap. After a while, I went out again and had a few other problems, came back in and then it rained again. It continued like that and I only sort of got one good lap in, which was a lap on which I had to pass other riders. I think my time could have been much better, definitely close to tenth position. The good thing is that even though it is not completely gone, we made a huge step improving our chatter problem. The changes made a massive difference. Now the bike is rideable and starts to feel okay!”

Rafid Topan Sucipto – 31st in 2.05,837 (combined 32nd in 2.05,837)
“The light drizzles didn’t bother me, I kept going and managed to improve my lap time. My biggest problem is still the same, adjusting my riding style to the Moto2 machine. On a Moto2 bike, you need to brake much harder into the corners than on a Supersport machine and you also have to understand how the slipper clutch works. It’s similar on the corner exits, you need to be much harder on the throttle and get the bike to slide. Step by step, I am learning to crack the throttle open as early and hard as the others!”