Mika Kallio posted the fastest time as the Jerez Moto2™ test drew to a close on Thursday – in the process registering the best lap of the week.
The Marc VDS Racing Team rider – who during the day was focusing on clutch settings – went ahead with his leading time of 1’42.169, edging out team-mate Tito Rabat by just 64 thousandths of a second. However, this only happened once thick fog had lifted from the Andalucian venue, which in the morning had witnessed extremely poor visibility and for that reason little track action.
In the case of Rabat, the Spaniard was unable to complete a race simulation as he struggling with direction change at the 4.4-kilometre circuit. Third was the consistent Tom Luthi, with the Interwetten Paddock Moto2 rider only a further 21 thousandths adrift as less than one tenth of a second covered the top three, promising for a tightly-contested World Championship season once again. The Swiss was not completely happy either, though, suffering from a lack of grip and therefore confidence.
The top five was rounded out by Idemitsu Honda Team Asia’s Takaaki Nakagami and Tasca Racing Moto2’s Alex de Angelis, who was left to regret a crash on the previous day which had destroyed his Suter; as a result, this limited his running time today. 2012 Moto3™ World Champion Sandro Cortese completed a strong week in sixth place, ahead of British rookie Sam Lowes who continued to impress with Speed Up. The rest of the top ten consisted of Gresini Moto2’s Lorenzo Baldassarri, Federal Oil Gresini Moto2’s Xavier Simeon and NGM Forward Racing’s Simone Corsi.
There was less optimism on this particular occasion for the Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 riders, with Nico Terol and Jordi Torres ending the test in the unfamiliar territory of 17th and 23rd positions, with Torres in particular not helped by a Wednesday crash caused by a problem with an electrical sensor; furthermore, this left the Spaniard in pain when it came to attempting a long run. At Caterham Moto Racing, Johann Zarco and Josh Herrin ended the week in respective 18th and 28th spots.
26th overall was Pons HP 40’s Maverick Viñales, the reigning Moto3™ World Champion. However the Spaniard came under fire on Thursday, having crashed and destroyed his Kalex despite red flags having been flying around the track for over one minute.
The final pre-season test for Moto2™ will take place at the same Jerez circuit between Tuesday 11 and Thursday 13 March.
|36||Mika KALLIO||FIN||MarcVDSRacingTeam||KALEX||1:42.169||Day 3Session3|
|30||TakaakiNAKAGAMI||JPN||IdemitsuHondaTeam Asia||KALEX||1:42.465||0.296||0.211||Day 3Session3|
|92||Alex MARIÑELARENA||SPA||Tech3||TECH3||1:43.367||1.198||0.076||Day 3Session3|
|25||AzlanSHAH||MAL||IdemitsuHondaTeam Asia||KALEX||1:44.693||2.524||0.011||Day 2Session2|
Marc VDS Report
Mika Kallio smashed the Jerez lap record by over a second on the final day in Spain, posting a time of 1’42.169 to finish the three days of testing at the top of the timesheet, just as his Marc VDS teammate, Tito Rabat, did one week ago in Valencia.
Rabat looked all set to repeat the success of Valencia, after finally ousting Tom Lüthi from the number one slot on the timesheet with a time of 1’42.223. But shortly after calling a halt to testing, the 24-year-old Spaniard had to sit and watch as his teammate finally denied him the top spot.
It was a tough test for the team’s Moto3 rider, Livio Loi. The 16-year-old Belgian made good progress on the opening day, but the increased pace meant he struggled to find a good feeling with the bike on the remaining two days.
Kallio and Rabat will now head to Australia, where they’ll participate in a Dunlop Moto2 tyre test at Phillip Island from 3 – 5 March, their final test ahead of the first race of the season in Qatar. Loi will return to Jerez from 11-13 March, to participate in the final Moto3 test.
Mika Kallio: 1st – 1’42.169 – “The first two days we confirmed the settings we tested in Valencia, keeping our preferred tyres for the race and qualifying simulations today. In the race simulation I was happy with my speed and consistency, with my best and worst laps separated by just half a second. In the qualifying simulation I finally had the feeling that was missing last year – the feeling of being on the limit. I knew I was on a fast lap, but it’s always good to see it confirmed on timesheet, especially when your name is on the top! Okay, it’s only testing, but it all builds confidence ahead of the first race.”
Tito Rabat: 2nd – 1’42.223 – “It’s been a good test for us, as we’ve managed to test a lot of things on the bike over the three days. Each time we’ve made a small step, but always in the right direction, constantly improving the bike and the lap time. We still have some things to try in Phillip Island next month, mainly tyres and fairings, but I’m happy with where we’re at right now. The aim during testing was always to build towards the first race in Qatar and that’s exactly what we’ve done here at Jerez and in Valencia last week.”
Livio Loi: 12th – 1’46.906 – “The first day I was already quicker than I was here last year, but increasing your pace also highlights problems with the set-up of the bike that weren’t apparent before. We worked through different settings on the second day, and there was some improvement, but we made a bigger step today, and I was able to break into the 1’46s bracket for the first time. Of course, now I’m faster again, the bike again feels different and this is something we’ll have to address at the next test. It’s a lot of work, but when it brings results like it has today then it’s definitely worth it.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal – “There’s not much I can say about Mika and Tito, other than they’ve done a great job once again. With Tito topping the timesheet in Valencia and Mika claiming the top spot here in Jerez, it means we go into the new season confident that both riders will be able to fight, not just for race wins, but also for the championship. With Livio we still have some work to do. He improved his pace compared to last year straight away, but then stalled because the bike felt different at this new pace. Today he made a few small changes, but the improvement came from him, not the bike, and he did a good job to break the 1’47s barrier this afternoon. Now he needs to come back next month, start at the same pace and make another step, which, again, can only come from him.”