moto2 / Extraordinary Qualifying for Nocco in Malaysia
A day to remember for the 19 year old Italian who secured a sixth row start for the Malaysian GP, meanwhile Danny Kent, left distraught with 24th.
After a Friday of free practice characterized by bad weather, the two riders of the Leopard Racing Team, Danny Kent and Alessandro Nocco, today faced the second day of the Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang. Both were fully committed to the official qualifying session to achieve the best grid position possible.
Danny Kent this morning improved his pace by two seconds but was only able to manage 22nd place in FP3. In qualifying this afternoon the British rider was unable to find any feeling with his Kalex, comparing it to riding on ice. No matter what he or the team did, he was unable to advance past 24th place.
But for Alessandro Nocco, called by the Leopard Racing team to replace the injured Miguel Oliveira here in Malaysia, miracles were occurring. In qualifying this afternoon he showed his full potential, making the most of a bike and tyres that he is still learning, setting a 2’23.629 on his final lap, which earned him 16th on the grid. A truly wonderful achievement for a rider in only his second race weekend.
Tomorrow at 10:10 Local Time (GMT + 8) the riders will be back on track for 20 minutes of warm-up before the lights go out at 13:20 for the seventeenth race of the 2016 Moto2 World Championship.
#20 Alessandro NOCCO – 16th (2’23.629):
“I enjoyed it more than ever! In these difficult conditions, those who adapt better to the circuit and manages to find the right line to give gas, are strongest. Towards the end we were on track with rain tyres and it was difficult to improve. I’m happy with the result because I don’t know the bike or the tyres and everyone else has so much experience. I really want to thank the Leopard Racing team and my chief Ian and his mechanics, and say ‘ciao’ to my family (who are looking at me right now from home) and my girlfriend.”
#52 Danny KENT – 24th (2’24.542):
“Absolutely terrible Qualifying. It felt like I was riding on ice no matter what we did with the bike. Even following other riders was impossible. They were getting on the gas and had no movement, so much more drive. It was a disaster. I had no feeling. Once again a bad Qualifying and I’m just not enjoying riding.”
Moto2™ Starting Grid – Malaysian Grand Prix 2016:
1 – Johann Zarco / FRA / Ajo Motorsport / Kalex / 2’18.621
2 – Franco Morbidelli / ITA / Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS / Kalex / 2’20.755
3 – Axel Pons / SPA / AGR Team / Kalex / 2’21.383
16 – Alessandro NOCCO / ITA / Leopard Racing / Kalex /2’23.629
24 – Danny KENT / GBR / Leopard Racing / Kalex /2’24.542
Moto2™ Schedule (Local Time, GMT +8):
Sunday, October 30th:
10:10 – 10:30 – WarmUp
13:20 (19 Laps) – Race
Photo Credit: Leopard Racing