Moto2 Valencia Test
The first preparations for the 2011 Moto2 World Championship got underway at Valencia on Monday, where the intermediate category convened for the official one-day Test.
Battling through cold and windy weather (which caused a brief interruption to the day’s Moto2 test program), 35 riders were in attendance at the site of the final Moto2 round of the 2010 season at Valencia, which took place just the day before.
Moto2 championship runner-up Julian Simon led the unofficial times on board the Suter MMX machine of his Mapfre Aspar team with a time of 1’36.7 after completing 46 laps, some six-tenths of a second outside Toni Elias’ pole position time for Sunday’s race, but the focus for the Spaniard was on trying a range of components for use next season.
Julian Simon says: "I’m quite happy with the work done today. We collected a lot of information that we’ll be able to study over the winter in order to prepare for next season."
Viessmann Kiefer Racing Moto2 rider Stefan Bradl, testing a Kalex chassis, matched Simon’s effort with Scott Redding of the Marc VDS Racing Team just two-tenths back as he rode the 2011 version of his Suter in the afternoon. The British Moto2 rider put in 40 laps throughout the day.
Scott Redding says: "We tested the new chassis and various other parts and it’s been positive and a good starting point for next season."
Japanese rider Yuki Takahashi started work with the Gresini Team along with Italian Michele Pirro whilst Kenan Sofuoglu, who earned himself a permanent ride with Technomag-CIP for 2011 with his impressive displays in the final two rounds of the 2010 campaign, amassed 47 laps on the Suter of the French team.
His Swiss Moto2 teammate Dominique Aegerter worked on new parts for the manufacturer. Andrea Iannone, who finished the inaugural Championship in third place, was also on track.
With World Champion Toni Elias and Valencia race winner Karel Abraham both absent as they prepare to test their premier class machines tomorrow, two riders making the switch in the opposite direction were on track. Aleix Espargaro completed the second-highest number of Moto2 laps – 80 – on his Pons Kalex, while Finnish rider Mika Kallio took to the Suter of the Marc VDS Racing Team for the first time.
Mika Kallio says: "It was a good opportunity to get some first impressions on the bike. Of course the power is lower compared to the Ducati I was riding this year but I like the bike as it’s much lighter and nimble. I have to do more laps to get used to it and we have to iron out a few minor issues, but I’ll get more and more confident with the bike quickly."
Esteve Rabat (Racing Team by Quereseno), Bradley Smith (Tech 3), Pol Espargaro (Tuenti Speed Up) and Randy Krummenacher (Viessmann Kiefer Racing) started their new adventures in the class having made the leap from 125s, with the first of the four setting the best time (1’38.0). Smith’s Tech 3 team were lent a hand by their premier class rider Colin Edwards, and the young Brit rode the highest number of laps putting in 90 turns of the track.
Bradley Smith says: "It was great. Obviously the wind affected us but it wasn’t too much of a problem for me as I was trying different things to get comfortable and see what direction my base set-up needs to follow."
"I got to ride the 2010 bike while Colin and Mike (Di Meglio) rode the 2011 version, and I think it was the best thing to do so I could adapt to the bike. It was also good to work with (Crew Chief) Tom Jojic for the first time. It was a great day and a big confidence boost, and for a first day we did a good job."
Espargaro also enjoyed his initial adaptation to the bike, a crash failing to curb his enthusiasm. "It’s a difficult motorbike, moving all the time, but it’s good fun. We are learning and I think we can do a good job because the team is so professional. I had a small crash but it was nothing serious."
Jules Cluzel (Forward Racing), Raffaele de Rosa (G22 Racing Team), Max Neukirchner (MZ Motor), Xavier Simeon (Holiday Gym Racing), Thomas Lüthi (Interwetten), Kenny Noyes (Jack&Jones by A. Banderas), Alex de Angelis (JiR Moto2), Mashel Al Naimi (QMMF Racing Team), Yonny Hernández (Racing Team by Quereseno), Ratthapark Wilairot (SAG Racing Team) and Axel Pons (Pons Racing) were all present with their Moto2 teams.
Other Moto2 riders also on track included Lukas Pesek, Anthony West, Gabor Talmacsi, Arne Tode and Alex Baldolini.