The Moto2 motorcycle racing World Championship resumed in Jerez, Spain this past weekend. The MZ Moto2 team arrived in Jerez, Spain ready to improve on a tough baptism of fire in Qatar that saw them leave the desert with no championship points.
With their last minute IRTA confirmation, MZ developed their chassis in less than three weeks before the start of the season. Although the race in Jerez signaled the start of the World Championship on European soil, the MZ team had not laid eyes on their machine since packing it in the flight case in Qatar.
Development continued in the machine’s absence, with team members hand carrying new parts as checked baggage on their flights from Germany to Spain. Evolution parts included new fairings, airbox snorkel, front forks, and lightweight battery from new technical partner Speedcell.
MZ set out to build on their pre season testing success in Jerez incorporating and testing the new parts in the free practice. The first hour long session included a back to back comparison of front fork assemblies, fairings, and airbox snorkels.
The team continued to compile data of the evolution parts leading up to the one and only qualifying session on Saturday afternoon. With a new chassis setup, MZ rider Anthony West rolled out for the forty five minute qualifying session confident of a good result.
West’s confidence was validated when he shot to third place on the timing board around the twenty five minute mark.
The competitiveness of the forty rider strong class was evident as the top riders battled it out for the remaining twenty minutes of the session capturing and relinquishing positions with almost every crossing of the timing stripe.
When the session ended, West and MZ set a time of 1:44.7, only four tenths adrift of pole position albeit in eleventh place.
The MZ team used Sunday morning’s twenty minute warmup to make the final adjustments on the machine setup and to do an abbreviated race simulation, evaluating tire life and fuel consumption.
With the final adjustments made based on rider input and the data, MZ and West expectations were running high for the race.
After the earlier 125 race, the capacity crowd was at a fever pitch in anticipation of what was surely going to be an exciting race with more than forty riders, a fair number of which were Spanish. When the lights went out, West made a good start and was with the lead pack.
Before completion of the third lap, the race was red flagged due to fuel on the racing surface from a crashed motorcycle that claimed no less than eight competitors before the race was stopped.
The original twenty six lap race was now going to be reduced to seventeen laps with a full restart and original grid positions.
When the lights went out for the restarted race, West and the MZ were embroiled in a race long battle inside the top fifteen with riders swapping positions through every timing sector.
On the final lap, West tangled with another rider but was able to keep the MZ on track, although he slipped from twelfth to fifteenth-and in the points-in the process. The MZ team will now take the machine back to Zschopau for further development prior to the French grand prix in Le Mans.
Anthony West says: "That was a battle! There were four of us swapping position on every lap. We ended up slowing each other down fighting amongst ourselves and that allowed the lead pack to just ease away from us. Although it would have been nice to finish higher up the field, there were times where I wasn’t sure if I’d finish at all after banging fairings and wheels so many times out there."
Martin Wimmer (MZ Owner) says: "Anthony rode a brilliant race considering what we were able to give him on the bikes level. We are pretty happy with the bikes balance, frame stiffness and tire life but will need to improve on the surroundings of the engine performance like mapping adjustments, airbox pressure and exhaust pipe design. The same applies to the total weight and aerodynamics. Considering the short time we had, we are pretty confident to being able to provide further improved material for the next race."
Moto2 Championship Standings
1 Shoya Tomizawa 45 pts JPN HONDA Technomag-CIP
2 Toni Elias 38 pts SPA HONDA Gresini Racing Moto2
3 Thomas Luthi 25 pts SWI HONDA Interwetten Moriwaki Moto2
4 Jules Cluzel 21 pts FRA HONDA Forward Racing
5 Alex Debon 20 pts SPA HONDA Aeroport de Castello – Ajo
6 Simone Corsi 19 pts ITA HONDA JiR Moto2
7 Sergio Gadea 16 pts SPA HONDA Tenerife 40 Pons
8 Roberto Rolfo 15 pts ITA HONDA Italtrans S.T.R.
9 Gabor Talmacsi 14 pts HUN HONDA Fimmco Speed Up
10 Yuki Takahashi 13 pts JAP HONDA Tech 3 Racing
11 Mattia Pasini 10 pts ITA HONDA JiR Moto2
12 Kenny Noyes 9 pts USA HONDA Jack & Jones by A.Banderas
13 Julian Simon 8 pts SPA HONDA Mapfre Aspar Team
14 Dominique Aegerter 8 pts SWI HONDA Technomag-CIP
15 Yonny Hernandez 6 pts COL HONDA Blusens-STX
16 Alex Baldolini 4 pts ITA HONDA Caretta Technology Race Dept
17 Fonsi Nieto 3 pts SPA HONDA G22 Holiday Gym
18 Stefan Bradl 2 pts GER HONDA Viessman Kiefer Racing
19 Karel Abraham 2 pts CZE HONDA Cardion AB Motoracing
20 Lukas Pesek 1 pts CZE HONDA Matteoni C.P. Racing
21 Anthony West 1 pts AUS HONDA MZ Racing