08.03.2020 | news
Double Moto2 points finish for PETRONAS Sprinta Racing in Qatar
Double Moto2 points finish for PETRONAS Sprinta Racing in Qatar with Xavi Vierge 9th and Jake Dixon 14thIt was a double points finish for PETRONAS Sprinta Racing under the floodlights of Losail International Circuit, in Qatar, as Xavi Vierge and Jake Dixon finished the first Moto2 race of the 2020 season 9th and 14th respectively.
After a strong qualifying session yesterday, Xavi continued this good form at the start of the race and ensured that his Triumph-powered Kalex machine was at the sharp end of the grid for the majority of the race, after starting tenth. Unfortunately an issue with the front tyre forced the Spaniard to change strategy to conserve the tyre to ensure that he crossed the line. Despite battling with this issue for the final eight laps, Vierge put in a solid performance and was able to cross the line ninth, earning valuable championship points.
Team-mate Dixon was forced wide during the first lap to avoid a collision, but was able to make up a couple of places during the few laps of the race. Biding his time, the Brit was able to keep tyre wear to a minimum to build an attack in the closing stages. Proving that he was stronger than those riders around him, the Brit set his fastest lap of the race in the penultimate lap. Having started 20th, Dixon was able to cross the line 14th.
The PETRONAS Sprinta Racing team will now have to wait until next month for Vierge and Dixon to be back out on track, as the postponement of the Thai GP sees America host the second round of the season (3-5 April).
A very unusual weekend without MotoGP, but it was an opportunity for both Moto2 and Moto3 classes to hog the limelight. The results from this weekend were positive with a great second position for John. KIP is struggling but that’s expected coming from Moto2, especially without racing for nearly a year, to the extremely competitive Moto3 class. He can evaluate this weekend and work to improve himself now to be better in the next round.
Great result in Moto2 to have both riders in the points. We need to understand about the tyre situation with Xavi. He had a good pace but that dropped because of the tyre, it wasn’t only him either. Very good race from Jake too, to come back and score two points is something that we can be proud of. He managed the tyres very well. So all positive and we look forward to the next round. We do leave Qatar with uncertainty about where we are going next but the riders will just have to keep their heads down, focus and be ready for when the next race will be.
With Xavi it was a very good strategy through all the pre-season testing and here we’ve been doing really good consistent laps, running long stints with the same tyres. He did exactly the same in the race. It was a good start he was in the top six for most of the race and felt good until eight laps to go basically, when the front tyre started to drop in performance and he said it was impossible for him to break with a good lean angle, it was difficult for him to enter the corners – which we all saw. It’s a shame. We finished ninth and we saw that other riders had a similar problem, they went even more backwards than us so hats off to Xavi for finishing in the top ten.
With Jake we started off with not so much knowledge from him and from the team because his crew chief and him were working for the first time together. Pre-season testing was good but we had the setback with his finger and he struggled a bit in Jerez. The test here last week was difficult, it was hard for everyone but we had a good meeting of how to improve for the race weekend and we did that. It’s been a great job from the team and a great job from Jake. He’s been working hard and he’s shown that he has a great talent. Today he was riding smart and the target was points. He finished 14th and that’s two points so it’s really good to have points with both riders.
We came here with the goal of finishing the race, but also to try to get a podium. For half of the race we were in the position that we wanted to be in the lead group and were trying to save the tyres for the last laps. For the last laps I felt like there was something wrong with the right side of the front tyre and I couldn’t do anything about that. From there my goal changed to just finish the race in the best position possible. It was P9 and after the race we see that I have a burn on the tyre, so now we need to analyse what happened. But from the first day here with the team I felt good and we completed the work that we needed to arrive here ready. So thank you to the team for that.
It was difficult in the beginning; I nearly got taken out by another rider on the first lap and it ran me off the track, I lost a good two seconds from that. As the race went on I became stronger and stronger. From eight laps in the bike started to feel better, the fuel tank started to get lighter and I just got faster, got into my rhythm. The last five laps I was doing 1min 59secs lap times, comfortably within that in fact. I just need to figure out how to improve the first part of the race with a full fuel tank. On the last lap I didn’t realise Marini went down until we came in afterwards. I saw on the TV that me and him collided. First of all I want to apologise to him and his team because I didn’t intentionally try to hit him. As I committed to go I had to turn in and I had nowhere to go, so apologies to them and I hope that he’ll be all right. Overall I just want to thank Razlan Razali, Johan Stigefelt and all of the team for giving me the opportunity this year to be able to develop and get better as the season goes on. They have great belief in me and I have great belief in the whole team they’ve put around me. I think as a team we’ll only grow stronger and this is only the start of good things.