Felice Monteleone – FMPhotoSport MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3 News
Moto2/Moto3 Official Test Jerez, Thursday, 19 March 2015
Moto2™: Speed Up Racing’s Sam Lowes finished the rain-affected final preseason test in Jerez on top of the overall timesheets.
Wind and rain affected all three days of the test at the Circuito de Jerez, with the fastest times being set during a ten minute period during the first session on day two. That session had started with a damp circuit, but as the on-track action created a dry line, teams frantically sent their riders out on slicks to post a flying lap.
With the weather creating hazardous conditions through the test, some riders took advantage of the situation to try out their wet set-ups, and carried on working despite the risks, although Tito Rabat was lucky to escape unhurt after a high-side at turn 4 on the final morning. The reigning Moto2™ World Champion was taken to the Medical Centre, but escaped without injury.
Rain prevented any faster times on the final day, with many teams deciding not to risk their bikes and riders ahead of the season opening race in Qatar on the 29 March.
Lowes led the way with a 1’44.129, over a second quicker than the rest of the field, although his lap was 2 seconds slower than the fastest time set by Johann Zarco at the previous test in Jerez, during February.
German rider Jonas Folger, on the AGR Team Kalex, finished 2nd fastest overall, ahead of the Derendinger Racing Interwetten machine of Thomas Luthi (+1.115s). Takaaki Nakagami, who was one of the only riders to go out during the last session on the final day, ended up in 4th on the timesheets, just five-hundredths ahead of JIR Racing’s Swiss rider Randy Krummenacher.
Nakagami’s teammate, Azlan Shah, was 1.6s off the pace of Lowes in 6th, while Rabat, who put in exactly 53 laps on both of the first two days ended up in 7th overall.
Technomag Racing’s Dominique Aegerter posted a 1’45.977 (+1.848s), which was good enough for 8th place on the combined timesheets, with QMMF Racing’s Julian Simon, the fastest rider after the first day, in 9th.
Finnish rider Mika Kallio, who will ride for the Italtrans Racing Team in 2015, completed the top ten but was over 2 seconds slower than Lowes.
Having completed the final preseason test, the teams and riders now head off to Qatar for the opening round of the 2015 Moto2™ season on 29 March. The lack of dry testing time has only added to the excitement ahead of the first round, due to the fact no one is quite sure who will have the best race pace when the lights go out at the Losail International Circuit in just over a week.
Moto3™ rookie Navarro fastest overall in Jerez
Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Jorge Navarro, in his debut season in Moto3™, ended the final preseason test in Jerez fastest overall.
Wind and rain affected all three days at the Circuito de Jerez, with most of the fastest times being set during the second session on day two. Despite the harsh weather, the test saw riders out on track in every single session, as teams took advantage of the time to collect valuable data during wet conditions.
Navarro, who was runner up in the FIM Repsol CEV Moto3™ Championship last year, set a 1’48.189, which was over two and a half seconds slower than the best time recorded by his teammate Fabio Quartararo at the previous test at the circuit in February. Despite this, the young Spaniard was still over 7 tenths quicker than the rest of the field, with British rider Danny Kent finishing second on the Leopard Racing Honda.
Quartararo (+0.844s), who had dominated the two previous preseason tests, had to settle for third on the combined timesheets, with Niccolo Antonelli making it an all-Honda top four on the Ongetta-Rivacold machine.
Another class rookie, the Red Bull Rookies Cup winner from 2014 Jorge Martin, finished the test in 5th on the leading Mahindra bike, 1.076s slower than his compatriot Navarro.
Gresini Racing Team Moto3 rider Enea Bastianini was in 6th place, 0.12s behind Martin, with Isaac Viñales just one-hundredth of a second further back on the leading Husqvarna in 7th.
Belgian Livio Loi ended the test in 8th on his RW Racing GP Honda, ahead of the Sky Racing VR46 KTM of Romano Fenati. Next up were the factory Red Bull KTM Ajo bikes of Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira, separated by just 0.047s, in 10th and 11th overall respectively.
Unfortunately for RBA Racing Team’s Ana Carrasco the test ended on a sour note, as a crash on the morning of the final day ended with her breaking her collarbone, although the medics at the track have ruled out the need for surgery, and the team is positive about her recovery schedule.
The weather conditions during the final preseason test may have it made it more difficult to predict who will be pushing at the front come the first round in Qatar on 29 March, but if anything this just adds even more excitement to the already unpredictable Moto3™ World Championship.