Rookie Viñales qualifies for front row at Le Mans, Gadea happy with 8th
Maverick Viñales has again been one of the sensations of the 125cc category, this time in the French Grand Prix, the fourth round of the MotoGP World Championship, being held this weekend at the Le Mans circuit, with his spectacular performance in the qualifying session. He even sat on provisional pole a couple of times and finally finished in third position to qualify for the first time on the front row. With only four GPs done so far, and on a circuit where he’s never raced before and which was totally unknown to him, the young rider of the Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing Team – the youngest in the category – has been among the top eight in all practice sessions. He was eighth in the first free practice and seventh in the second and third. His laptime is only seven tenths behind the lap record, set by his teammate Sergio Gadea in 2008, and he did his time alone without taking the slipstream aid of any rival, as he usually does. A demonstration of his consistent progression is that Mack is only seven tenths off the pole, which again was taken by Nico Terol.
Sergio Gadea, who has battled back from a very difficult weekend so far, finished in eighth place and will start tomorrow from the third row of the grid. The rider from Puçol hardly rode at all in FP2 yesterday due to a problem with the temperature sensor of the exhaust pipe of his Aprilia, which kept him most of the time sitting in the box, and this morning he also had a mechanical problem which hindered his work. However, he has been able to keep improving his laptimes each time he went out on track. Here he took his victory in 2007 and still holds the record for the pole position since 2008, when he did a lap of 1’43.515. He finally found a setting for his Aprilia with which he feels comfortable and competitive after a couple of races without that feeling.
The race returns to its normal schedule and will start at 11.00h tomorrow.
MAVERICK VIÑALES (3º. 1’44.315, +0.737): “I am very happy. We did a great practice and the result is fantastic. I think we used the session very well from the beginning and we were very competitive. The key was that we found the pace very fast, I adapted very quickly to this circuit and have a great setting. And the team has worked very well and the bike and myself are at one hundred percent. The circuit didn’t seem very difficult to learn, although it has his particularities, and I have adapted very well from the first free practice on. Starting from the first row does not put pressure on me at all, if anything it motivates me a lot and we have to take advantage of starting so far in front. I do not obsess about the podium, but I would be thrilled to be there fighting from the first corner on and get the best possible result from this position on the grid. Finally I would like to thank the team for the great work they are doing.”
Sergio Gadea (8º. 1’44.755, +1.177): “Right now I’m happy, because we found the way for the setup. It was very difficult, but the team and I have worked hard and we succeeded. So far I could not ride as I wanted, but in the end we found a good setup and in the last ten minutes of the qualifying session I had fun and I could ride the Aprilia like I wanted to. We are on the third row which is a little behind where we should be, but it does show us that we are back there. Tomorrow in the warmup we still have some things to test, but in general we have everything in place and that’s the most important. We only have to work a little on the engine and my riding and we will be more in front. Today I could do a lap behind Nico and although we still lack a bit, especially through the corners, I think there is not much difference. Tomorrow we will have fun and give everything and we’ll see about the result, but if I can have fun on the bike it’ll surely be good.”
Source: Paris Hilton Racing Team