moto2 / Leopard Racing return to scene of Kent’s first win
After a mixed affair in Argentina, the Leopard Racing team heads for Austin for the third race of the 2016 season.
The result from Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina left something to be desired for the Leopard Racing team in the Moto2 class, weather conditions throwing their strong start to the weekend off balance. A change of plans followed and Danny Kent and Miguel Oliveira spent Sunday chasing the feeling they had had with their Kalex on Friday and Saturday. Neither rider had ever ridden their Kalex in the treacherous conditions of Warm Up, nor of the race.
Both were fortunately able to complete the 23 laps of the race but finished just outside their goals, although the goal was within reach of the British and Portuguese riders. Their attentions will be steely focused on gaining points in Austin and advancing up the world standings.
Stefan Keifer and his team left Argentina along with the riders and have already arrived in Texas for the third round of the calendar, held at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas. On this track last year in the Moto3 category Danny Kent romped to victory from pole position while Miguel Oliveira started from second and managed to set the fastest lap of the race.
Designed by German architect Herman Tilke, the COTA track measures 5.5km with 20 corners, nine right handers and 11 lefts. Friday, April 8th will hold the FP1 and FP2 sessions, each lasting 40 minutes and beginning at 10:55 and 15:05 Local Time (GMT-5) respectively.
Stefan Kiefer: “Finally I think it was a hard weekend for all riders and also for our two rookies because of the weather. The tracks started on Friday with low grip, which was, I don’t why know, but it was great for our riders and they qualified really well, especially Danny. It was getting hard her for us as the conditions improved so finally we went back a little but to end position eight and 18 for Miguel was really good. We were satisfied with these positions. On the finally day on Sunday we had mixed conditions, which was really hard again. The thing here was for sure both our riders, they’re both still rookies, especially Miguel and they didn’t really have the confidence to open the throttle early especially over the wet patches. As soon as they realised what they had to do they’d lost a lot of meters already and finally the race wasn’t what we expected. For sure we will improve for the next race in Austin. The expectation for Texas will be higher. Coming back to the race in Argentina, when we took the lap times of Danny, he was Qualified in eighth place with a gap of 0.5 or 0.6 tenths which means we closed the gap compared to Qatar a little bit. For sure we try to maybe not reduce, but stay in touch with the best riders. Staying within a second or so of them is important. I think it’s possible and we’re looking for both to be in the points.”
Moto2™ Schedule (Local Time, GMT -5):
Friday, 8th April:
10:55-11:40 – FP1
15:05-15:50 – FP2
Saturday, 9th April:
10:55-11:40 – FP3
15:05-15:50 – QP
Sunday, 10th April:
09:10-09:30 – WarmUp
12:20 (19 Laps) – Race