Moto2 Race Report
The Tech 3 Racing Team had a disappointing start to the new Moto2 era in Qatar after Yuki Takahashi and Raffaele de Rosa both crashed out in the early stages of the eagerly anticipated 20-lap race.
Japanese rider Takahashi, who has impressed with a series of consistently fast performances on the Tech 3 machine in winter testing, was involved in a fierce battle at the front of the inaugural 600cc four-stroke encounter.
Making a good start from fifth on the grid, Takahashi starred in the leading group in an enthralling opening few laps and seemed destined to play a prominent role in the battle for a top three finish when his hopes were d ashed on lap seven.
Looking to strengthen his bid for a historic victory in the first Moto2 race, the 25-year-old had just overtaken pre-season favourite Toni Elias to claim second place when he lost the front end of his Tech 3 machine.
Boosted by a superb qualifying performance that saw him start from seventh on the grid, de Rosa made an equally impressive start and the Italian rider was challenging in the top six when his hopes were ended by a crash on the third lap.
Takahashi and de Rosa both escaped injury and are confident they will be challenging at the front again when the Moto2 world championship resumes at the Twin Ring Motegi in Japan on April 25.
Yuki Takahashi (DNF) says: "This is a big disappointment for me and the team. I felt comfortable in the leading group at the start of the race and I knew that three fast riders like Bradl, de Angelis and Simon were out, so this was a really great chance to claim at least a podium finish. The bike felt really food and that’s why I decided to make the attack when I did on Elias. But there were another 13 laps, so it was a bit too early to try and push and I accept this. I know the bike is good and that has given me a lot of confidence for the rest of the season. The next race is my home race in Japan, which is hugely important for me. I will be doing my very best to put this early disappointment behind me and get a good result for the Tech 3 Team."
Raffaele de Rosa (DNF) says: "Today is a really big disappointment because I expected a lot more. The first target was to finish the first race and get a lot of information on the bike for the future, especially understanding the performance of the tyres over a race distance. I’m sure I had the potential to at least finish in the top ten because I was feeling good in the first couple of laps. But I lost the rear end and crashed and for me that is a big disappointment. I am sorry to the team because they have worked really hard all winter and given me a good bike. I hope for a much better result in Japan later this month to show the true potential of the Tech 3 Moto2 package."
Herve Poncharal (Team Manager) says: "I am very disappointed because we have put in a lot of effort to make this project competitive right from the start of the season and then we leave the first race without any points. I don’t think there is any doubt that we could have easily had a podium finish tonight but Yuki and Raffaele crashed out early in the race and it was their fault. I’m disappointed because it was important that we finished the race to get some crucial information on how the bike performs over a race distance. The only positive thing I can say is that we had a very strong qualifying session and a good first few laps, and that proves the Tech 3 Moto2 package is looking strong for the future."