Xavier Simeon and Bradley Smith are confident they can deliver a double top 10 finish for the Tech 3 Racing Team in tomorrow’s Jerez Moto2 race after a difficult qualifying session this afternoon. Simeon’s quest to register his first World Championship points of the season will commence from 17th position on the grid after he set a best time of 1.44.308 in easily the best conditions of a weekend badly disrupted by rain.
The Moto2 qualifying session took place on a full dry track, presenting Simeon and Smith with their first oppor tunity to work on the set-up of the Mistral 610 machine on Dunlop slick tyres. Simeon was confident of fighting for a top 10 place on the grid but he encountered a lack of rear grip under acceleration, with the rain that disrupted practice resulting in low grip levels. His time was less than 0.4s outside of the top 10 and he will start two places higher up the grid than team-mate Smith.
The British rider’s session didn’t go according to plan and his bid to qualify close to the top six was thwarted by a crash with just 10 minutes remaining. He was unhurt in the spill and managed to return to the track thanks to the lightning quick work of his Tech 3 Racing crew and he set a best time of 1.44.406 to finish less than 0.1s behind Simeon.
17th, 1.44.308 — 18 laps
“I am a little disappointed because I had a very strange feeling during qualifying and it wasn’t anything that I encountered during the pre-season testing at this track. I was lacking grip on the exit of the corner and even if I tried to ride very clean and smooth, I struggled a lot. I wanted to start from a top 10 position and maybe with a bit more luck we would have been able to manage it. I would prefer a wet race tomorrow because I’m sure we will be fast and competitive in the rain. But even with dry conditions I am confident I will be able to climb up several positions and be battling inside the top 10. That has to be my target and I will be giving my maximum effort to make sure it happens.”
19th, 1.44.406 – 18 laps
“Today wasn’t ideal preparations for the race and starting from 19th we know is going to make it more tricky when the times are so close. We were still able to learn a lot today and that will be very helpful for future races. To be honest I would prefer a wet race tomorrow because we are a lot stronger in the rain. There are a lot opportunities to pass here in the wet, so I’m not worried about that and I will get my head down and attack right from the start. I was very fast in the rain here last year, so hopefully if it is raining I can produce another performance like that to put today behind us with a good result.”