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Apr 6, 2013

Pol Espargaro Claims FIM Moto2 Pole Position In Qatar (Updated)

FIM Moto2 World Championship: Pol Espargaro (40) qualified on pole position Saturday night in Qatar. Photo courtesy of
FIM Moto2 World Championship
Losail Circuit, Qatar
April 6, 2013
Qualifying Results (all using Honda engines and Dunlop tires):

1. Pol ESPARGARO, Spain (PONS KALEX), 2:00.882
2. Takaaki NAKAGAMI, Japan (KALEX), 2:01.014
3. Mika KALLIO, Finland (KALEX), 2:01.041
4. Scott REDDING, UK (KALEX), 2:01.089
5. Dominique AEGERTER, Switzerland (SUTER), 2:01.120
6. Julian SIMON, Spain (KALEX), 2:01.447
7. Nicolas TEROL, Spain (SUTER), 2:01.454
8. Esteve RABAT, Spain (PONS KALEX), 2:01.462
9. Marcel SCHROTTER, Germany (KALEX), 2:01.541
10. Mike DI MEGLIO, France (MOTOBI), 2:01.573
11. Simone CORSI, Italy (SPEED UP), 2:01.619
12. Alex DE ANGELIS, San Marino (SPEED UP), 2:01.647
13. Sandro CORTESE, Germany (KALEX), 2:01.841
14. Johann ZARCO, France (SUTER), 2:01.885
15. Anthony WEST, Australia (SPEED UP), 2:01.944
16. Jordi TORRES, Spain (SUTER), 2:02.001
17. Xavier SIMEON, Belgium (KALEX), 2:02.125
18. Ricard CARDUS, Spain (SPEED UP), 2:02.266
19. Ratthapark WILAIROT, Thailand (SUTER), 2:02.335
20. Toni ELIAS, Spain (KALEX), 2:02.403
21. Axel PONS, Spain (PONS KALEX), 2:02.432
22. Louis ROSSI, France (TECH 3), 2:02.607
23. Yuki TAKAHASHI, Japan (MORIWAKI), 2:02.800
24. Randy KRUMMENACHER, Switzerland (SUTER), 2:02.908
25. Mattia PASINI, Italy (SPEED UP), 2:03.006
26. Danny KENT, UK (TECH 3), 2:03.039
27. Doni Tata PRADITA, Indonesia (SUTER), 2:04.177
28. Kyle SMITH, UK (KALEX), 2:04.436
29. Steven ODENDAAL, South Africa (SPEED UP), 2:04.657
30. Rafid Topan SUCIPTO, Indonesia (SPEED UP), 2:04.731
31. Alberto MONCAYO, Spain (SPEED UP), 2:04.873
32. Sergio GADEA, Spain (SUTER), 2:05.869

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

Doha, Qatar - 6 April 2013: Mika Kallio will start tomorrow's Moto2 Grand Prix of Qatar from the front row of the grid, after a superb qualifying performance saw the 30-year-old Finn snatch third place with his final flying lap.

Scott Redding will head up the second row of the grid in fourth, after being demoted from the front row by pole sitter Pol Espargaro in the final seconds of qualifying.

With just 0.04s separating the Marc VDS teammates and the top 13 riders all within one second of each other in qualifying, tomorrow's 20 lap Moto2 race, which gets underway at 19H20 CET, promises to be yet another thriller.

Mika Kallio #36: 3rd - 2'01.041
"We decided to go with two longer runs in qualifying and it was a plan that worked well today. The softer option rear we started with had good grip, allowing me to build confidence on a track that was much improved compared to yesterday. When we switched to the harder rear the grip was even better and I knew I could push for the front row. I managed to catch a slipstream down the start finish straight and that set me up nicely for my flying lap. I'm feeling confident, but it's difficult to plan for the race now. Starting from the front row is a definite advantage, so we'll see how things work out tomorrow I guess."

Scott Redding #45: 4th - 2'01.089
"Obviously I'd have preferred to be on the front row, but I'm happy enough to be fourth and just 0.2s off pole for the first race. The bike felt good from the start and I was able to do the lap times quite comfortably. The only issue was chatter in some corners, which I think was coming from the clutch. It wasn't a lot, but it unsettled the bike enough to make pushing for a faster lap a little bit too risky. I was consistent throughout qualifying, with my lap times within a few tenths each time, and that will be critical for tomorrow's race."

Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"I said yesterday that I expected both riders to push for a front row start today and they didn't disappoint. Mika did a fantastic job of building pace throughout qualifying to steal third right at the end, while Scott was unlucky to be pushed off the front row by Pol Espargaro after topping the timesheet for most of the session. Both riders showed tonight that they have the speed and the confidence to be up at the front and battling for a podium finish in the race tomorrow, which is exactly the start we need to the new season."

More, from a press release issued by NGM Mobile Forward Racing:

NGM Mobile Forward Racing riders ready for the Qatar race

The first qualifying session of the season has concluded here in Doha for the four NGM Mobile Forward Racing riders and their SpeedUp bikes.

Simone Corsi, Alex De Angelis, Mattia Pasini and Ricky Cardús have tested new settings and have finished the session reducing the gap with the front group to under a second for Corsi and with De Angelis closing up on the Top10.

The expectations for the race are good, with many riders fighting within the same second. It will be a race full of surprises and the NGM Mobile Forward riders are ready to start the season taking home the points.

Simone Corsi – 2’01.619 – 11th
“I was hoping for a little something more during this first qualifying session. We started off really well, the feeling was there but after I changed the tire at the end of the session I was not able to get in the fast lap time due to chatter problems. Tomorrow we will start the race from the fourth row but the race is long and we can still fight to get a good result.”

Alex De Angelis – 2’01.647 – 12th
“There are two aspects to today’s qualifying session. I was able to get very closer to the front group and reduce the gap with them to under a second. The feeling with the bike has improved but we were not able to confirm the Top10 positions that I had during the previous free practice sessions. We have worked a lot to get a good race pace and we want to keep working to keep the positive trend that we have followed so far. For tomorrow’s race my goal is to get the first points of this season for the team.”

Ricky Cardùs – 2’02.266 – 18th
“Today we have tested a new setting solution on the bike that has made helped the handling of the bike become smoother compared to how it had been on the last few days. We are sure that the race pace can be greatly improved. Tomorrow’s race will be an exciting one with many interesting fights. Today we have made a very big step and tomorrow we could make another.”

Mattia Pasini – 2’03.006 – 25th
“I can’t say I’m satisfied I expected to do better. Today we have had some problems with the rear brake but the team spirit remains positive, we are united and in terms of tomorrow’s race we will try to pull out a joker out of our sleeve.”

More, from a press release issued by Avintia Blusens Racing:

Toni Elías starts behind highest places of the grid in the first Moto2 race of the year but with tight times and possibilities of making a good race

Smith qualifies in twenty eighth on his debut in a Grand Prix with the intention to keep on learning in the race

Qatar, 6 April 2013. Although the starting position is behind highest ones, Toni Elías has possibilities of making a good race tomorrow in the first GP of the World Championship. It is true that Toni and the Blusens Avintia team have the ability and the quality to be in more advanced positions, but in this first qualifying session of the season the times were very tight and in the race the differences will be probably reduced. The pace of the Manresa rider is good and it will probably allow him to “fight" with rivals that today, by little difference, were quicker and in advanced places in the grid. Toni does good starts and if he can improve the last details in the warm up, he will be able to move up and be in top positions. His partner, the debutant Kyle Smith, has been adapting to the track and to the championship, finishing his first Moto2 qualifying session in twenty eighth place. Kyle has been improving every time he has gone out to the track and tomorrow he will continue doing so.

24 – Toni Elías (20th, 2’02.403): "Starting from backward positions, the first part of the race will be difficult and we will have to fight, but that does not have to be decisive. I have confidence, we have improved in every practice and I am sure of making a good race. The times are tight and in the race those differences are not large. My fastest lap would have been better if a rider had not bothered me and, because the times are tight, we would have won enough positions. Anyway we have to improve and for that we will use the twenty minutes of the warm up. If we achieve it, we will be competitive. I usually do good race starts so I hope to take advantage of it to move up as soon as possible in the first laps. We have a good pace and I hope to get out of here with the maximum points possible."

9 – Kyle Smith (28th, 2’04.436): "My first qualifying session in the World Championship is done! I am happy because every session I have been improving and getting closer to the other riders. It has been more difficult than what I imagined to know the track, but the positive thing is that I have progressed. I would have liked to be in higher positions, but if in the first GP is always difficult, debuting in an unknown circuit and at night is still more difficult. In my opinion it has been a positive qualifying and tomorrow I hope to continue improving. Today I have made my lap time alone and this is positive. If tomorrow I am able to be in a group, I will learn and improve for sure."

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


MAPFRE Aspar rider makes improvement to settings and his teammate Jordi Torres will make his Losail race debut starting on the sixth row

Nakagami was the man on the pace during free practice but then it was Redding who started to become the protagonist during most of qualifying in Moto2. The first QP of the year in this class showed us various things, the first being that although free practice saw a few unexpected lap times once things got serious in qualifying the normal order was restored. That was demonstrated by how tight the lap times were, with only a second splitting the top 13 riders. The second was that the preseason favourites are on the pace here and will be the ones going for victory tomorrow. The wind made things hard on Saturday and the riders struggled to beat their Friday best times.

Nico Terol worked studiously to make gradual improvements around this Middle Eastern circuit and he was amongst those who managed to bring his times down for a third consecutive day. With a few moments remaining Terol was lapping fourth fastest and he stayed in the top ten throughout the session. A run-off track hindered further progress and he concluded the QP in seventh, with seven tenths reduced from his best Friday time and his confidence growing on cornering. His teammate Jordi Torres was also improving, taking his best time down by over a second. The Catalan rider ended just 1.1s off the top spot and was happy with his progress. With some final warm up tweaks made he will be ready for his Losail debut.

7th Nico Terol 2.01.454 (17 laps): "I'm very pleased because I went fast from the start and it was great to be in the top five for so long. The pace was good so we're ready to race. Towards the end I was fourth and pushing to win a few more tenths of a second but I got too straight and I decided not to risk it and ran off. The bike is much better than in first free practice and there is less front end chatter. We're turning better but we still need a bit more grip, though in general the sessions have been good. We're at a good level and we're getting closer to the front. I want to start the race aggressively and not let the front runners get away."

16th Jordi Torres 2.02.001 (17 laps): "It was a busy qualifying session and we tried a lot of stuff, some of which worked and some didn't. Generally I'm pleased because I'm able to finally realy ride here at Losail, I'm growing in confidence and we're improving constantly since we got here. The rhythm is good and we're getting closer to the front. We're quite sure of our plan but in warm up we still have to work a bit more. I want to adjust the front end still so that we can make turning a bit easier."

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

Anthony West turns things around in qualifying

Rafid Topan Sucipto getting stronger and stronger

After struggling with chattering problems in the free practice sessions, QMMF Racing Team rider Anthony West turned things around in qualifying for the Grand Prix of Qatar and conquered 15th place on the starting grid of the Moto2 class. Since the feeling for his Speed Up bike came back only in the qualifying session, the 31-year-old Australian stayed well inside the limits without taking too may risks and is now convinced about his chances to go even faster in the race and to battle for a strong result.

His young team-mate, Indonesian teenager Rafid Topan Sucipto, made also a big step in the right direction, taking another second off his previous best time to qualify in 30th position. Like West, Sucipto is also looking forward to the race, with the aim to go faster again.

Anthony West – 15th in 2.01,944

“Today in qualifying was the first time that the bike felt normal, the way it had done in testing when we were in Jerez. We got rid of the chatter problem, which was a big issue and which we never ever had before. We had to change a lot on the bike, which left us a bit behind. On the last laps, I felt I could have gone faster, but I wasn’t sure what the bike was going to do because we had to change so much on it. I had good grip, but I just didn’t use the full potential the grip gave me. The weekend had been difficult and when the bike was working well all of a sudden, I just wasn’t riding it at a 100 per cent. But I could follow any other rider in front of me easily without making mistakes, lap after lap, so I think for the race we should be strong!”

Rafid Topan Sucipto – 30th in 2.04,731

“I am happy. I managed to improve my riding style, braking later, going through the turns faster and opening the throttle earlier. I also got a better lap time and was faster than some other riders, which feels like a good step towards the right direction. Tomorrow in the race, I want to go faster again and put up a good fight!”

More, from a press release issued by Tech 3 Racing:

Rossi and Kent set for season opening showdown in Qatar
Tech 3 Racing Team riders Louis Rossi and Danny Kent will commence their 2013 Moto2 World Championship challenges in Qatar tomorrow night from 22nd and 26th place on the grid respectively.

Tonight's 45-minute qualifying session under the spectacular Losail International Circuit floodlights proved to be a difficult challenge for Rossi and Kent, who are still in the process of working with the Tech 3 Racing Team to get the maximum performance out of the Mistral 610.
Both have been working tirelessly throughout practice and qualifying on continuing to adapt their riding style to suit the heavier and more powerful 600cc Honda-supplied engine after graduating from the Moto3 category they raced in during last season.

A treacherously slippery track surface certainly didn't help preparations this evening, with an earlier gusting wind blowing sand and dust onto the 5.38km surface, which had a significant impact on the amount of grip available once again.

Disappointed not to have challenged higher up the grid in qualifying, both remain optimistic that they can kick off the 2013 campaign with a challenge for the top 15 in tomorrow night's 20-lap race, which is the first of 17 on this year's World Championship calendar.

Frenchman Rossi set a best time of 2.02.607 that placed him just outside of the top 20 and he was just a fraction over one second away from the top 10.

British rider Kent, who won two out of the last four races in the 2012 Moto3 World Championship, will make his Moto2 debut from 26th position on the grid after he set a personal best time of 2.03.039. The tricky track conditions have made it difficult for Kent to find a set-up he is comfortable with and his crew plan further modifications in advance of the race to try and improve his feeling.

Louis Rossi 22nd 2.02.607 – 16 laps:
“I am not very happy with the final position on the grid but it is not too bad considering this was my first Moto2 qualifying session. The gap to the front is not huge and I am not far away from the top 15, so finishing in the points will be my goal tomorrow night. I am sure with a good start I can recover some places and then it will be about learning how to manage the bike over the race distance, which I have no experience of. I am quite confident but I would be happier if I had more feeling from the front tyre. I am not sure where the limit is but I think that is down to my lack of experience in this class rather than it being an issue with the set-up of the bike. I am still adapting my style but I am really looking forward to my first race in Moto2 and I want to thank my Tech 3 Racing crew for working hard to help me progress.”

Danny Kent 26th 2.03.039 - 16 laps:
“Obviously I am disappointed to be starting my first race in Moto2 with the Tech 3 Racing Team in 26th position on the grid and it has not been an easy weekend so far. I have struggled all weekend and although we have made a lot of changes to the Mistral 610 machine we have not found a solution that enables me to push with a lot of confidence. We will make some further modifications to the bike for the race and hopefully I can improve my pace and get into a good battle that will help me gain some experience.”