Moto2: Qatar Winners talk Jerez
Jerez welcomes the Moto2 World Championship, MotoGP’s all-new intermediate class powered by Honda. The historic first race of the new series at Qatar was full of surprises, with Japanese teenager Shoya Tomizawa (Technomag-CIP, Suter) winning an enthralling encounter from Alex Debon (Aeroport de Castello, FTR) and Jules Cluzel (Forward Racing, Suter).
The concept of Moto2 is to allow up-and-coming riders to compete in GP racing’s intermediate category without the requirement for a multi-million euro budget. Qatar certainly proved the efficacy of the new regulations – Tomizawa proved his huge talent by beating a grid full of riders using identical Honda engines and Dunlop tyres, not by having the richest team behind him.
Many Moto2 riders and teams tested at Jerez during the off-season, so round two of the series may well turn out a different result to the first race.
Series leader Tomizawa expects a fascinating weekend right from the start of practice on Friday. The 19-year-old from Chiba was on the pace during the final preseason tests at Jerez during March, so he should be able to run up front during the Spanish GP weekend. The former 125 and 250 All-Japan race winner insists he feels no pressure to stay at the top of the points table – his main aim this year is to be consistent, with good finishes at every GP.
Suggesting that Moto2 should continue to serve up thrillingly close racing, the fastest 16 riders at the Jerez test were separated by just one second, with Tomizawa only six tenths off the fastest man, but in 13th place! Claudio Corti (Forward Racing, Suter) was fastest during the tests at 1m 44.044s, three hundredths faster than Toni Elias (Gresini Racing Moto2, Moriwaki), who this coming weekend should be much stronger than he was in Qatar, where he suffered with a preseason injury. As well as confirming the competiveness of the new class, the Jerez testing times also prove its ability to serve up surprises. While Tomizawa was 13th quickest, fellow Qatar podium men Debon and Cluzel were 15th and eighth!
Qatar runner-up Debon, who broke a collarbone only weeks before the first race, is determined to do well at his home GP. And he has high hopes because he loves the Jerez track – he started last year’s Jerez 250 GP from pole position. Third-place finisher Cluzel is also convinced he can carry on from where he left off in the desert, having felt comfortably fast during the Jerez tests.
Moto2 Road Racer Quotes
Shoya Tomizawa (Technomag-CIP, Suter rider) says: "First of all, I am a bit sad about Motegi because I know the racetrack so well that I thought the weekend would give me a good idea about my bike set-up. But anyway, I am quite happy the race has been postponed to October because the weather should be OK and I will be able to race in front of my family, friends and fans. Now we are heading to Jerez; I like the track and I enjoy racing in front of the Spanish motorcycle fans because it’s something really special. I experienced the Jerez atmosphere for the first time last year – during the race you can hear the crowd because the spectators aren’t far from the track. I don’t feel any pressure following my win in Qatar – my aim this year is to be consistent and finish all races. We have already tried my Moto2 bike at Jerez, during the final IRTA tests, so it’s going to be quite interesting from the first session."
Alex Debon (Aeroport de Castello-Ajo rider) says: "Jerez is my home Grand Prix, so obviously I really want to win this race for the Spanish fans. But I will try to treat this as a normal race weekend, working with my team to get the best out of my machine. We are confident we can find a good setup and I know the track very well, so if everything else goes okay, I think we can have a good race. Moto2 seems to be a great class – the machinery is very equal, which is a good thing. It makes you work hard to find an advantage, this is why I worked to save my tyres during the race at Losail, so I would have better grip for the final, most important laps."
Jules Cluzel (Forward Racing rider) says: "I feel very positive about this second Moto2 race. During the Jerez tests I felt really comfortable with the bike, so I believe that it should be possible to stay with the fastest riders once again. Another podium finish would be really great, especially for the championship points! I feel in good physical and mental shape, so I think everything should go fine this weekend. Let’s say that we hope that we can be as competitive as in Qatar."