Yuki Takahashi was in outstanding form at his home track in Japan today, the Tech 3 Racing rider claiming a brilliant front row grid position for the Twin Ring Motegi Moto2 race.
The Japanese rider has worked tirelessly with his Tech 3 Racing crew to find a comfortable set-up at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit, which is renowned for its stop-and-go nature with a series of hard braking points linked by long straights.
And his efforts paid off handsomely this afternoon, Takahashi storming to a stunning third place in the decisive final moments of another typically hard fought Moto2 qualifying session.
A best lap of 1.53.439 thrilled a large home crowd and put Takahashi on the front row of the grid for the fourth time in 2010, setting him up perfectly for what is sure to be an emotional race at the Twin Ring Motegi.
Takahashi is determined to mount a podium challenge tomorrow as a fitting tribute to compatriot Shoya Tomizawa, who was tragically killed during the Misano Moto2 race in early September.
Raffaele de Rosa was just over 0.5s behind Takahashi but only 17th on the grid, a result that perfectly illustrates the close level of competition in the Moto2 class.
The Italian set a best time of 1.54.070 and is determined to fight for his third point-scoring finish of the campaign in tomorrow’s 23-lap race.
Yuki Takahashi 3rd 1.53.439 – 18 laps
“I am really happy to be on the front row of the grid for my home race. It is always special to race in front of the home fans and we’ve all had to wait a long time for this moment after the race was cancelled in April. I am really satisfied that we could get third because it has not been an easy weekend and my Tech 3 Racing crew have been working really hard to improve the bike. We have had to change the bike a lot but we have finally found a setting that allows me to push at my limit. At the end of the session I had a good rhythm and I was able to get third position on my last lap. I think that Shoya was with me on that last lap and now I am going to give my maximum effort tomorrow to get a good result for him.”
Raffaele de Rosa 17th 1.54.070 – 19 laps
“This weekend has proven to be quite difficult so far and it has not been easy to find a good pace. I’ve been struggling a lot with hard braking and that is one of the most crucial factors at this track. I can’t stop the bike and although we’ve tried some different settings to improve in this area, it is still not enough for me to push at the level I am capable of. It is clear that the bike is competitive because Yuki is going very fast, so we need to try and find some more confidence in the hard braking points. I’ll try and adapt my style a little bit tomorrow, taking some different lines, to see if that can help. Although I’ve had some problems, I am still in 17th position on the grid, so I am confident I can fight to score some points in the race.”
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