With just two-weeks until season start in Qatar on March 6, the riders that will form up the grids in the 2022 Moto2 and Moto3 Championships are in Portugal for the Official Portimao Test with the aim to allow riders to get up to speed after the winter break.
Many teams and riders have already held their own private test sessions previously, with testing being conducted at other tracks such as Valencia and Jerez already this month. All riders now have three days at the Algarve International Circuit for the final adjustments before heading to Qatar.
As it would be expected at this time of the year in the south of Portugal, the first session of the day started under very windy conditions.
The opening day of the official Moto2 and Moto3 test at Portimao saw Jake Dixon (GASGAS Aspar Team) make a late lunge to the top in the intermediate class, the Brit ending the day 0.075 ahead of Aron Canet (Flexbox HP 40).
Jake Dixon – P1
“Overall I’m very happy with how today went. I have achieved my fastest lap on this circuit. It’s business as usual, when you’re not focused on getting a lap time, it comes alone. I am also very happy with the team; we continue to work hard and we have found small improvements between the second and third sessions that have allowed us to ride better. I have to try to make fewer mistakes to continue improving.”
Almost as close was Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo), only another four-thousandths in arrears. Only a few more thousandths behind came his team-mate, reigning Moto3 World Champion Pedro Acosta, with last year’s rookie sensation maintaining that moniker as he moves into the intermediate class…
Then came a small gap back to Cameron Beaubier (American Racing) as the American ended the day 0.265 off Acosta, heading up another group of incredibly tight lap-times.
Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) and Albert Arenas (GASGAS Aspar Team) were up next, with Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) just 0.002 off Arenas. Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) took P9, with Fermin Aldeguer (Speed Up Racing) taking tenth.
The likes of Fernandez, Acosta, Ogura, Beaubier and Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing) didn’t head out in the final session and with lap-times only a second off the pole record already, it will be interesting to see how the pace progresses on Sunday.
Portimao Moto2 Test Day One Times
Z.Van Den Goo
In Moto3 Tatsuki Suzuki began his tenure with Leopard Racing by topping the timesheets on Day 1, the Japanese rider putting in a 1’48.575 to pull nearly a tenth and a half clear of Izan Guevara (GASGAS Aspar Team), who is gearing up for his second season in Moto3. It was a rookie completing the top three though, with David Muñoz (BOE SKX) 0.283 off the top.
That denied Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) as the Turk was an apt 0.053 further back, with another rookie standout in fifth: Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets – MSI). The Brazilian debutant was even closer in the tight field, 0.017 off Öncü.
Deniz Öncü – P4
“We finished the first day of the Portimao Test, which is also the fifth test day for me this month. Everything has been positive so far because I have a very good rythm, I register good lap times and my pace is strong. Today we have been working a lot on the bike and we tried different set-ups to see which ones suit best to my riding style. I got some fast laps so we definitively have a great potential and good ideas. Tomorrow, we will continue the work in this direction.”
Adrian Fernandez seems to be settling in at Red Bull KTM Tech 3 as he ended Day 1 in P6, just ahead of Sergio Garcia (GASGAS Aspar Team).
Carlos Tatay (CFMoto Racing PrüstelGP) put CFMoto into the top ten on their debut in P8, ahead of another impressive rookie in Ivan Ortola (Team MTA).
Ayumu Sasaki’s first official day in Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max colours saw the Japanese rider complete the top ten.
The likes of Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and John McPhee (Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max) were outside the top ten, but it is, after all, only the first day.
Aussie rookie Joel Kelso finished day one P21 on the time-sheets despite a small tumble without consequences.
Ana Carrasco continued her adaption to Moto3 and brought up the tail end of the time-sheets at this early juncture with plenty more speed still to come from the tough Spaniard no doubt.
Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing), runner up last season, was sidelined due to illness. Taiyo Furusato (Honda Team Asia) is also sidelined after breaking his ankle.
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