Toni Elias may have left the Gresini Moto2 team to race in MotoGP, but Yuki Takahashi set the team off on a positive start, as they aim to defend their World Championship title, by finishing first in the second free practice session.
Gresini also saw their new rider, Michele Pirro, take 7th position.
Yuki Takahashi ( 1st 2’ 401” 695)
“What can I say? I am really happy with this first day. To be so strong in the opening Grand Prix of the season is an encouraging start. This is yet further proof of my relationship with this team, which is working really well. Today I was feeling very sad and thinking about my people back home in Japan. It is a terrible tragedy that I am struggling to get out of my mind and I found the first session hard tonight. Then I felt the motivation to have a good race so that I can dedicate it to my people and at that point everything changed. In the end I was able to set the fastest time of the evening. We still have work to do but my spirit has changed and now I am confident we can do well here.”
Michele Pirro (7th 2’ 02” 498)
“The first time under lights was a little strange for me. After a few laps I got confident and actually enjoyed it. I maybe could have gone a bit faster but there is a lot of traffic in Moto2. We have some work to do on the set-up of the bike but I am confident because we are working well and I think we can take a step forward before the race.”
“It has been a profitable day’s work with a good result at the end of it. We know we can be competitive and this is the proof although there is still a long way to go. We struggled a little in the first session but then we found our way and the hard work paid off with good positions for both riders, especially Takahashi. So I am confident and we will keep working over the next sessions to make sure we are ready to fight for a good result on Sunday.”
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