7 July 2014
Marc VDS: No Moto2 team orders, ‘time running out’ for Loi
"Time is running out, so now we need to see some action..." - Michael Bartholemy, Marc VDS.
Marc VDS team principal Michael Bartholemy has pledged not to impose team orders on Moto2 title leaders Esteve Rabat and Mike Kallio.
Rabat holds a 26-point advantage over Kallio heading into this weekend's Sachsenring round, the midway mark of the 2014 season.
And with third place Maverick Vinales (Pons) 48-points behind, Marc VDS looks on course to claim its first world title.
Having seen former rider Scott Redding's championship lead disappear late last year the team are taking nothing for granted, but Bartholemy insists his riders will be allowed to race to the end.
“While it's true we now have a big lead in the championship, we were in a similar position last year and look how that turned out,” said Bartholemy. “We need to keep working, to keep pushing to give Tito and Mika exactly what they need to win races. We can't afford to be complacent, or to ride for points, because one mistake, one retirement and we could see that lead disappear overnight.
“With both riders so competitive this season I've been asked many times about team orders. Yes, we've spoken to the riders and told them we wouldn't be very pleased if they took each other out of a race, but there are no team orders. They are both racing for the championship and we'll continue to allow them to do so.”
Although Marc VDS is currently the class of the field in Moto2, its lone Moto3 rider Livio Loi is under pressure to perform.
The 17-year-old Belgian is in his second season with the team but has failed to build on a career best fourth place in Argentina - sitting just 17th in the standings and with his ride now in jeopardy.
“This year Livio has been very vocal in his criticism of the Kalex-KTM so, for Assen, we made the decision to switch bikes to KTM, just to see if it brought the improvement that Livio himself expected,” said Bartholemy.
“We took a standard KTM RC250R to Assen on Wednesday and worked through the night to upgrade it. We fitted the KTM Moto3 World Championship motor, the latest WP suspension and almost the entire KTM catalogue of factory parts. When the bike rolled out of the pit box for free practice on Thursday it was as close to factory spec as we could get it. I doubt even KTM could have spotted the differences without reducing the bike to its component parts and measuring everything.
“It wasn't until qualifying that we saw an improvement in Livio's lap time, but by then it was too late. He qualified 30th, his worst performance of the season, and then went on to finish 25th in the race. It was disappointing, both for Livio and the team.
“What is even more disappointing is how much criticism the team came in for after Assen. We've been criticised for going with the Kalex-KTM in the first place and we've been criticised for trying the KTM option in a bid to help Livio rediscover his confidence. It seems we are unable to do right for doing wrong in the eyes of some people.
“But the situation is very clear. We're in Moto3 to race and Livio needs to start producing the goods and getting the results that he, the bike and the team are capable of. If the results don't come after all this effort then we need to take a long hard look at the feasibility of continuing in Moto3 when there is no improvement and we're finishing out of the points every week.
“Unfortunately, that's the harsh reality of the situation, when racing at this level costs more than half-a-million Euros a season. Time is running out, so now we need to see some action...”
Jack Miller is currently leading the Moto3 standings. Marc VDS is currently embroiled in a contractual dispute with the Australian teenager, whom it claims to have signed for 2015 and 2016.
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