Marquez Takes Second Moto2 Win of 2011

moto2_assenReigning 125cc Champion Márquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol) took his second Moto2 victory of his debut season in tricky conditions at the Iveco TT Assen, climbing 6 places in the Championship to put him second in the standings. The 18 year old finished in front of Kenan Sofuoglu (Technomag-CIP) in second, the Turkish rider’s first podium of the season, and Bradley Smith (Tech 3) in third.

Both Sofuoglu and Smith lead the field throughout the race, battling with Spanish star Márquez and Yuki Takahashi (Gresini Racing), who made it up to second position before crashing out with only 4 laps to go. Mike di Meglio (Tech 3) was also an early front runner until he crashed out as well.

Anthony West (MZ Racing) rode a strong race to finish fourth, his best finish of the season so far. The Australian was chased by Alex de Angelis (JiR Moto2) in fifth and Mattia Pasini (Ioda Racing Project) in sixth, who welcomed the top ten finish after his DNF in the last round at Silverstone. Esteve Rabat (Blusens-STX), Thomas Lüthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2), Randy Krummenacher (GP Team Switzerland Kiefer Racing) and Max Neukirchner (MZ Racing) completed the top ten.

As the track began to dry the rain tyres started to wear and it became clear that the matter of staying upright was affected by the fast degrading tyres. The end of the race produced a number of crashes, including Championship leader Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing), who fell in the chicane with 3 laps to go, failing to finish a race for the first time this season and seeing his Championship lead narrowed slightly. It was not a good day for Gresini Racing Moto2 team, as Michele Pirro followed his team mate Takahashi and crashed on the last lap.

[Press Release Courtesy of MotoGP]

Bradl Beats Smith for Moto2 Win

bradl_silverstoneStefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing) won the Moto2 race, with British rider Bradley Smith (Tech 3) crossing the wet finish line in second and Michele Pirro (Gresini Racing Moto2) in third.

Championship leader Stefan Bradl led off the start of a drizzly and cold 18 laps whilst second position starter Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing) challenged the German rider, passing him for the lead early in the race, but it was the Championship points leader Bradl who led the field across the finish line, negotiating precarious track conditions that steadily worsened throughout the race.

Smith had a fantastic start off the grid, moving to 13th on the first lap after starting 28th. He steadily made his way through the field, at one point locking horns with fellow Brit Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing), to take the second spot on the podium, his first podium for the 2011 season. Redding crossed the line in fifth.

Mattia Pasini (Ioda Racing Project), looking for his first Moto2 victory, chased the front runners from the start of the race, setting some of the fastest laps of the race to catch the front. The Italian passed Bradl for the lead on lap 5 and quickly pulled away, until he crashed out of the race on lap 6.

Michele Pirro started from sixth to finish in the third spot on the podium, moving him into tenth in the championship. Fourth place finisher was Jules Cluzel (NGM Forward Racing) who also started from fourth. Sixth to cross the line was Esteve Rabat (Blusens-STX) followed by Yuki Takahashi (Gresini Racing) in seventh and Kenan Sofuoglu (Technomag-CIP), who earlier was in second position until he ran off track on lap 11, rejoined to finish in eighth.

Yonny Hernández (Blusens-STX), after crashing on the sighting lap, finished the race in ninth followed by Simone Corsi (Ioda Racing Project), who pitted early in the race with a problem but rejoined to finish tenth.

Pole position starter Marc Márquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol), after a poor start off the grid, crashed out on lap 6.

The difficult conditions and standing water on the track produced more several casualties, including Alex de Angelis (JiR Moto2) who crashed early in the race, Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing) who was caught with nowhere to go behind a battle between Corsi and Márquez, Axel Pons (Pons HP 40) who crashed in the first lap, after crashing out of qualifying the day before, and Raffaele De Rosa (SAG Team) who crashed on lap 9.

Anthony West (MZ Racing), who moved as high as 16th lap after starting 36th and Kenny Noyes (Avintia-STX) both retired from the race.

[Press Release Courtesy of MotoGP]

Tech 3 Racing Team Completes 2011 Preparations in Jerez

Tech_3_Racing_at_JerezThe Tech 3 Racing Team will head to the first round of the 2011 Moto2 World Championship in Qatar later this month in optimistic mood having completed its pre-season preparations in Jerez today.

After the first day of the Jerez test fell victim to more heavy rain that has caused major disruption to the winter testing schedule, Bradley Smith and Mike di Meglio were able to take advantage of improved conditions for the final two days to carry out vital development work on the new Mistral 610 machine.

Smith worked tirelessly to improve his confidence with the race set-up of his machine, the British rider completing in excess of 160-laps to also help build up his experience of t he heavier and more powerful 600cc four-stroke machine ahead of his debut season in the ultra-competitive Moto2 series.

Smith was particularly impressive on the second day, the 20-year-old outpacing a host of riders with significantly more Moto2 experience to clock the sixth best time with a 143.997. He was 15th quickest on the final day and while unable to improve his best lap time, he was able to produce a much more consistent pace in full race trim having worked closely on a range of settings with crew chief Tom Jojic.

Frenchman Mike di Meglio was also satisfied with his performance, the former World 125cc Champion spending most of his time concentrating on improving his pace and confidence with the harder option Dunlop rear tyre. Like Smith, di Meglio was able to assess and analyze a wide range of set-up options to get a clear understanding of the direction he will take when the season kicks off under the Lo sail International Circuit floodlights in Qatar on March 20.

Bradley Smith, 11th overall, 1:43.997:

“I am quite tired now as we did 160 laps in two days but it was hard work we needed to put in and it was definitely worth it. We tested everything we had inside the truck, so we know exactly how the bike is working and in what direction we have to go when the racing kicks off. We did not improve our lap times today, but we improved in the consistency. I was able to ride fast on old tyres, so we are good for the race distance and that has given me a lot of confidence for Qatar. We will try to work a little bit between here and Qatar to figure out how we can close the gap on the front guys. That is going to be important for the best lap time in qualifying. But I am feeling a lot more comfortable with the bike and the 600 is not feeling quite so alien now. We’ve still got work to do but between now and Qatar we’ll analyze a lot of data and come up with a plan for the start of the season. I’m really looking forward to racing now.”

Mike di Meglio, 30th overall, 1:44.884:

“Although the lap times don’t reflect it, this test was still positive for us. We worked a lot on the bike and I am much happier today. We spent a lot working on the set-up, particularly to help the bike use the hard tyre better, and I feel we made some steps forward. We have still got a lot of work to do but I know I can also improve my feeling with the bike. I want to thank my guys at Tech 3 Racing again for all their hard work and I’m sure we will be competitive at the first race in Qatar.”

[Press Release and Photo Courtesy of Tech 3 Racing]