2013 Qatar Moto2 | Preview

Tuenti HP 40 Moto2's Pol Espargaro

Tuenti HP 40 Moto2’s Pol Espargaro

2013 Qatar Moto2 Championship

The Moto2 Championship, which replaced the former 250cc two-stroke class in 2010, will enter its fourth year in 2013, the action getting underway this weekend with the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar at Losail International Circuit in Doha.

The Moto2 class, which uses 250cc, four-stroke Honda-spec engines, has not had a double-champion yet, with Toni Elias (Moriwaki) winning its debut year, Stefan Bradl (Kalex) in 2011, and Marc Marquez (Suter) last season. And with Bradl and Marquez both in MotoGP, the only rider that could possibly become a double champion is Elias, who will compete aboard the Blusens Avintia Moto2 machine in 2013.

But the early favorite and biggest threat to everyone in Moto2 is Tuenti HP 40’s Pol Espargaró. The Spaniard has been extremely fast throughout the preseason, leading the final test in Jerez by almost a half second ahead of Aspar Team’s Nicolas Terol.

Besides Terol, the other big contender will be Espargaro’s compatriot Julian Simon aboard his Italtrans Racing Team Kalex. Also expect Marc VDS Racing Team’s Scott Redding and Italtrans’ Takaaki Nakagami to be podium contenders.

The NGM Mobile Forward Racing Team lines up with a strong package this year, as it fields four riders on a Speed Up chassis in the shape of Alex De Angelis, Simone Corsi, Mattia Pasini and Ricky Cardús. Having shown glimpses of good pace throughout testing and a raft of data to share, the team is one to watch as the championship gets underway. Interwetten-Paddock’s Tom Lüthi, who last year was leading the race for a period, has not recovered from his big crash in the Valencia test, and is replaced by returning Sergio Gadea.

The field also sports some promising rookie prospects, most notably 2012 Moto3 World Champion Sandro Cortese, who lines up with his newly formed Dynavolt Intact GP team on-board a Kalex, and Tech 3 Racing pair Danny Kent and Louis Rossi. And with a newly enforced minimum combined bike and rider weigh of 215kg for 2013, the narrowly aligned class is only going to get even more exciting.

The racing gets underway Thursday at Qatar with the first free practice Thursday.

2013 Qatar Moto2 on TV

SPEED TV will broadcast Qatar Moto2 at 11 p.m. EST Sunday, April 7.

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