Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after qualifying at Silverstone:
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after qualifying at Silverstone:
It has been a long, hard weekend of negotiating in the paddock at Silverstone for a number of team managers. Especially for everyone involved in the situation revolving around the Go&Fun Gresini team, and the rider they have a contract with for 2015, Scott Redding. Meetings have been held with factories, team managers, riders and sponsors, in a bid to get everything back on track for next year.
At the core of the problem lies the impending loss of title sponsor Go&Fun by Gresini. Without the money the Italian energy drink firm brings in, Gresini can no longer afford the factory option Honda RC213V it leases from HRC. Without an RC213V, Redding will not ride for Gresini. And without bikes from Honda, Gresini will have to find another way of surviving in MotoGP.
Silverstone was the deadline HRC had given Gresini to tell them whether he would be racing with Honda next year. If Gresini could not afford the RC213V, this would give Honda the time to find an alternative slot for the bike. Rumors that Gresini would not be able to afford the bike had started a flurry of activity, both rumored and real, among other teams and factories. If an RC213V were to become available, there were teams who were willing to snap it up. If Redding were to become available, there were teams and factories who were keen to see him on their bikes.
Result and summary of qualifying below:
Results and summary below:
Jonas Folger has topped the final session of free practice for the Moto2 class at Silverstone, the German taking a clear lead as the session came to an end. Tito Rabat took second, and could have been in for more had his bike not packed up on him as the session came to an end. As it was, it left him pushing his bike back to the pits. Maverick Vinales took third, just ahead of Rabat's Marc VDS teammate Mika Kallio. Marcel Schrotter took a strong fifth position, the Tech 3 bike clearly more suited to the Silverstone track.
The session was marred by a couple of serious crashes. Azlan Shah and Tetsuta Nagashima went down early on, in a very ugly collision which caused the session to be red-flagged. Nagashima was transported to the medical center, where he was treated for hip and back injuries. After the session restarted, Axel Pons crashed heavily, and was left lying on the ground for a long time while he received treatment. The crash brought to an end a strong run of results for Pons at Silverstone, the Spaniard having performed very well so far this weekend.
Dani Pedrosa, Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo rescued themselves from disaster on Saturday morning, all three rider finding the pace they had been missing and earning a passage straight to Q2. All three had struggled on the first day of practice, but qualified comfortably for Q2 in FP3.
But it was Marc Marquez once again topping free practice for the MotoGP class, the Repsol Honda man dominating FP3 right from the start. Just how hard Marquez was pushing became clear towards the end of the session, when he lowsided at the Loop, the front coming loose over a bump. Marquez was unhurt, and went on to post another hot lap before the end of the session.
Andrea Dovizioso was second fastest, getting very close to Marquez using the extra soft tire. But Dovizoso had been quick throughout, even when lapping on the medium tire, the hardest of the two options for the Ducatis. Dani Pedrosa took 3rd, ahead of the Movistar Yamahas of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo, restoring some semblance of the normal order. Pol Espargaro was the fastest of the Tech 3 satellite Yamahas, beating his teammate Bradley Smith by nearly a quarter of a second. Stefan Bradl ended the session in 7th, after falling heavily in the middle of the session, though he walked away unhurt.
Alex Rins has topped the time sheets following the third Moto3 Free Practice session at Silverstone, making the most of fine and sunny conditions the Estrella Galicia rider guided his Honda to a time of 2:14.273, which was over a second quicker than Danny Kent's benchmark Friday time. Fellow Spaniards Isaac Vinales and Alex Marquez completed the top three positions ahead of Jakub Kornfeil and top Mahindra rider Brad Binder.
Championship leader Jack Miller recovered from his shaky FP2 session yesterday to post the sixth quickest time almost four tenths behind Rins. Italian rider Niccolo Antonelli claimed seventh position from Miguel Oliveira, Romano Fenati and Juanfran Guevara rounded out the top ten.
Silverstone, like so many British racetracks, is built on the site of a former World War II airfield. Though that fact may appear to be largely irrelevant, the location makes a massive difference to conditions at the circuit. To allow the lumbering RAF bombers to take off on their nightly runs to Germany, the airfield was set up on the flat top of a hill. The combination of altitude and ubiquitous wind gave the bombers as much help as possible at take off.
Though the bombers are gone, the wind remains, and it played havoc with all three Grand Prix classes on Friday. The blustery wind blew the bantamweight Moto3 bikes all over the track. It hammered the heavier Moto2 bikes from all sides. And it robbed the precious warmth from the MotoGP bikes' Bridgestone tires, draining heat and reducing the grip. The mixture of strong winds, major cloud cover and low temperatures made it difficult for everyone during free practice.
As the heaviest and most powerful of the three classes, the MotoGP bikes suffered the least directly. It was not so much a question of being blown about, Bradley Smith explained, as having to concentrate on your braking markers and take more care when accelerating. With a headwind in one direction, you could find yourself able to brake a little later, the Tech 3 Yamaha man said, while a couple of corners later, when you had switched direction, a tailwind would blow you into corners faster, meaning braking a little bit earlier than normal. Getting on the gas could be tricky: if the front wheel lifted too much, then you could find yourself off line and running wide. Having bikes weighing 160kg meant they were not easily overpowered by the wind, but the more subtle changes made it all the more treacherous.