The last race of the 2016 season saw the team’s rider Vicente Perez and Albert Arenas crossing the line in 23rd and 24th respectively.
Great weather provided the perfect scenery for the season’s finale at the Spanish circuit on the outer skirts of Valencia. The sun shines for the protagonists in the Moto3 class who put in all efforts again for great conclusion of an outstanding championship.
Peugeot Motocycles SAXOPRINT’s riders Albert Arenas and Vicente Perez underlined their talent and determination once again, racing head-to-head almost the entire race distance of 24 challenging laps at the 4 kilometres and tricky Valencia Circuit. Unfortunately, the hopes of both to round up the season in style were robbed Saturday afternoon already when both crashed during qualifying practice.
Because of these circumstances the more experienced Albert Arenas had to start form P26 far down the grid whilst team mate Vicente Perez suffered a bruised back even if he was able to qualify for 21st spot on the grid in his very first appearance in World Championship.
On Sunday, however, Valencia born rider Perez, who replaced the still injured John McPhee this time, delivered once more a solid performance to finish the race with a decent pace despite a poor start. Meanwhile, 19-year-old Arenas who from Girona had the joy to race a second time in front of his home crowd this year, couldn’t find a consistent rhythm either to pick up his real speed in today’s race.
Now, the team will make some changes before starting on-track preparation with a two-day test in Valencia in one week which will see the new rider line-up with Czech rider Jakub Kornfeil and young Finnish talent Patrik Pulkkinen.
#12 Albert ARENAS, 24th (World Championship position 35th, 2 points):
“I had another crash during this morning’s warm up but without any consequences to my confidence or the bike itself. We went into the last race of the season with a good feeling but I was at my limits from the very first moment. I’m sorry for the team and also for me that I wasn’t able to give them some points in our last race together. They would have deserved it because Peugeot Motocycles SAXOPRINT gave me this awesome opportunity to gain that much valuable experience riding in world championship since this summer. I think, we worked so hard at every opportunity and I learned so many things every time I went out on track. The team’s working style is very professional and this is a very important fact. I’m so grateful for everything and I would like to thank everyone in the team, all sponsors and partners, but particularly my crew with which I experienced a great collaboration in the last four month. I learned a lot from them all. Good luck to all of them in the future.”
#63 Vicente PEREZ, 23rd:
“For the very first time racing at world championship level I must say that I’m happy with my performance throughout the weekend. It was an exciting experience for me and I learned a lot every time. Unfortunately, the race was the most difficult part of the weekend, first when I couldn’t do better during qualifying because of the crash and then I messed my start completely. I didn’t have enough feeling and experience how to handle the clutch of this bike because it feels in a different way to that one of my bike I’m riding in Junior World Championship. However, in this class in World Championship all riders are really fast so if you don’t make a perfect start even though from that far down the grid, it’s almost impossible to catch the first or second group or either to stay with a fast rear from the beginning. But I’m happy with my race, in particular with my pace which was consistent throughout this long distance. I’m really pleased how things went this last three days. The team did a great job every time too so first my thanks to them and also to the team’s management and all sponsors who believed in me to gave me this that much great opportunity – thank you Peugeot Motocycles SAXOPRINT.”
Terrell THIEN (Team manager):
“Frankly, we expected a bit more from this race, mainly from Albert who did a good job on both days of practice. But it was a pity that he crashed yesterday afternoon which robbed him all chances to qualify better so his race was a difficult task at all. On the other hand we really must admit that Vicente’s performance was a surprise for all of us. Well, he knows the Valencia track very well but he underlined his potential even more. Valencia was the last race of the year and we can review 2016 in a good mood. The year started with many problems but we all showed determination to find solutions and solve it finally. Since mid-season we have made a big step and an important one too. At the same time the performance of our Peugeot Moto3 bike improved a lot so we really look forward to continue our partnership with Peugeot and also to receive a great technical support from Mahindra again in 2017. By the way, the next season will start in one week already when we test with our new rider line-up here in Valencia for the first time. After this we all will head into the winter break, starting the preparations in terms of home work for next year. But for now, we want to thank all team members for their tireless efforts throughout the year and wish them, who will leave us, mainly the riders in person of John and Albert, all the best for their future.”
Florian PRÜSTEL (Team principal):
“First, we would like to thank the entire team for their outstanding job done this weekend. We know it wasn’t easy always to overcome several setbacks. In the last race, we came home in 23rd and 24th position with Vicente and Albert respectively. On the side of Vicente, we’re so happy with his performance throughout all three days and also P23 is a satisfying result, taking into account that he rode our Peugeot Moto3 machine for the first time and he also made his debut in World Championship this weekend whereas it’s a pity for Albert that he couldn’t do better than 24th in his second home race with us after Aragon. But it’s to say that the qualifying always has an big effect to the race result finally. Starting from P26 on the grid, it was a big task for him to recover and catch and stay with a group to came home in a decent position. But we think we can be pleased with the last grand prix this year in general. Since we, my father and me, took over the team before the Sachsenring race, it was such an interesting experience for us. Of course, John’s victory in Brno last August came surprisingly but gave all of us a big boost. However, we need to admit that we saved the team with our acquisition to finish this season till the very last race. We started already preparations for the upcoming 2017 season which means a lot of negotiations are required to build a solid base, but we’re happy that our main sponsors, first of all Peugeot, will continue with us after this difficult season. For this very important fact we’re very delighted that we could fix it already to announce them as main sponsors for the next year again. So to say, at the same time we could sign Jakub Kornfeil and Patrik Pulkkinen, a rider line-up which match our philosophies perfectly. On the one hand we’ll race with the most experienced rider in this class and on the other we have a young promising talent from Finland who receives the support form none other than Mr. Aki Ajo. We think, this is a perfect constellation for our still young project. But at this point it’s time to express our gratefulness to all team members, first that all of them stayed with the team throughout the season till the end. We’re happy about this and we’re proud that we were able to build up in these difficult times a great collaboration within the team – thank you guys. Of course, we wish all the best and a successful future to our riders John and Albert and also the best wishes for the future to Mark Keen and Peter Schleger, who will follow John, as well to Jörg Hornig, who also will leave us. Many thanks again for all their efforts at every time and all the best for the future.”
Moto3™ GP de la Valenciana – Race Classification after 24 Laps:
1 Brad BINDER / RSA / Red Bull KTM Ajo / KTM / 40´13.777
2 Joan MIR / SPA / Leopard Racing / KTM / +0.056
3 Andrea MIGNO / ITA / SKY Racing Team VR46 / KTM / +0.081
23 #63 Vicente PEREZ / SPA / Peugeot Motocycles SAXOPRINT / Peugeot / +19.039
24 #12 Albert ARENAS / SPA / Peugeot Motocycles SAXOPRINT / Peugeot / +24.297
Moto3™ World Standings:
1 Brad BINDER / RSA / Red Bull KTM Ajo / KTM / 319
2 Enea BASTIANINI / ITA / Gresini Racing Moto3 / Honda / 177
3 Jorge NAVARRO / SPA / Estrella Galicia 0,0 / Honda / 150
22 #17 John McPHEE / GBR / Peugeot Motocycles SAXOPRINT / Peugeot / 48
33 #38 Hafiq AZMI / MAL / Peugeot Motocycles SAXOPRINT / Peugeot / 5
35 #12 Albert ARENAS / SPA / Peugeot Motocycles SAXOPRINT / Peugeot / 2
Photo credit: Peugeot Motocycles SAXOPRINT / FWeisse