Bel-Ray Weekend Racing Preview-October 26, 2012
The penultimate round of the 2012 MotoGP season is taking place this weekend at the Phillip Island Circuit in Southern Australia. After this event, the final round in Valencia remains to conclude the season. Bel-Ray backed Team Aspar racers are competing in all three divisions this weekend, including the MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 classes.
The Power Electronics Aspar duo of Aleix Espargaro and Randy DePuniet battled all season long for the top spot in the CRT division of MotoGP. At various times during the season,both riders held the point’s advantage. However, DePuniet suffered DNF’s in the previous two rounds while Espargaro leveraged his teammate’s misfortune to score points-paying positions and a ten-point lead coming into the Phillip Islandround.
Espargaro appreciates the point’s cushion he has over his teammate, but won’t take that lead for granted in this highly competitive contest. “Australia is a country I love and Phillip Island in particular is beautiful. The atmosphere there makes for a completely different Grand Prix to anywhere else in the world. We stay in houses for the weekend with the team and spend a lot of time together, which just brings us closer together and makes for a special race. Now we have a ten-point gap over Randy but we have to keep working hard and try to enjoy the weekend to make sure that the situation remains in our favor. Phillip Island is a tricky circuit and it tends to be quite cold so we have to stay focused because it’s easy to crash and injure yourself.”
DePuniet meanwhile is hoping to rebound from his previous finishes and end the season with strongfinishes. “We haven’t had any luck in the last two races so we need to work hard to turn the situation around. It was a tough weekend at Sepang, the track conditions were not good and we struggled to get the set-up right. Then the race was wet and we ended up crashing out. We have lost a lot of points in the last two races and Aleix has taken advantage of it in the CRT standings so we have to do whatever we can in Australia to cut the gap. Phillip Island is a very interesting circuit but it is tricky too so we have to work hard from Friday. There are two races left and we need to perform to our full potential if we want to finish as the top CRT in Valencia. We are not ready to give up yet.”
Bel-Ray backed Mapfre Aspar racers Jordi Torres and Nico Terol come to Australia with positive attitudes despite a double DNF in Malaysia. Early qualifying was strong but the wet weather caused untimely crashes for both racers. Neither was able to finish the race.
Terol spoke about his Malaysian experience and what will be necessary for a top finish this weekend. “Even though we didn’t come away from the race with the result we were hoping for last Sunday I want to think positively and reflect on our pace in the dry over the whole weekend. Our level of performance is constantly improving and we are getting closer to the pace being set at the front. We are moving in the right direction and we won’t stop until this progress turns into a result. Phillip Island is a fast circuit and it is one of my favorites. Iusually go well there and I have good memories from the past so I hope we can have a perfect weekend there from start to finish. I think we deserve a good result now so hopefully Phillip Island can be the place. We know it won’t come easily though because everybody is working equally hard towards the same objective.”
Teammate Terol also puts the past behind him and is looking for a top result on Sunday. “Sepang put the skids under a good run of form for us since Aragón. That is part of the past now and I am focusing purely on the lessons we learned. In qualifying and in the race, up until the crash, I picked up a few things that should prove useful this weekend. There are no excuses in Australia and we will go out to give it everything from the first minute. We are working hard and I want to continue our good recent form.”
Bel-Ray sponsored Mapfre Aspar racer Jonas Folger comes to Phillip Island with an eye on a victory. He led several laps in Malaysia on the way to his fourth podium during the last six races.
“This is a good time for me to be honest because I really like every track we are going to at the moment. Phillip Island is very special and doesn’t compare to anywhere else. Every corner is different to any other corner in the world and it is always a great source of motivation for me to race there. I know it is a difficult and demanding track and you can’t afford to lose concentration for a second but I am convinced we can come away with another good result,” said Folger prior to the upcoming event. “We took another step forward with the set-up in Malaysia and I feel even more comfortable with the bike than I did before. The objective for the weekend is to go out with the same mentality that has served us so well recently and make sure we prepare as best we can to be fighting for the win again on Sunday.”
Folger’s teammate Luca Amato has never raced at Phillip Island before but is committed to giving it all of his effort with the hopes of a good finish. “I am going to be pushing 100% from the first minute on track this weekend. I am struggling to adapt to this level of competition, but I am not giving up. I have to push harder to find my limits because it is clear this bike is capable of more. It will be a tough weekend because we have already been on the road for the past two weeks but I am ready for it. I only know Phillip Island from playing it on the games console but I think I will like it. All I know is that I am going to give my best and we’ll see what happens.”
Follow all of Bel-Ray’s racers in action each week on www.belray.com and www.belrayracing.com.