Moto2 and Moto3 riders test at Jerez
After a tougher start to the year than expected for KTM riders in the Moto2 class, the Austrian factory were stealing headlines on Tuesday at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto in the one day Official Moto2 and Moto3 Test.
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder had two different bikes to try, and differing swingarms on the Red Bull KTM Ajo bikes of Binder and teammate Jorge Martin indicated the Austrian factory was trying several different options.
The Red Bull KTM Tech 3 bike of Marco Bezzecchi was also sporting a different swingarm. In addition, at least one new frame was being used by more than one KTM machine, with American Racing KTM having a third bike in the garage that was undercover.
“It was a difficult test, but we tried a lot of things and had many information, some positive, some less positive. We are still a bit in trouble, but trying to find a way to improve the bike. My riding now is quite consistent, so it’s not bad, although I’m still missing something. The team worked very well, also KTM is helping us a lot. I guess we will see the results of our work in Le Mans.”
After the test, both Binder and Martin were especially positive about changes they’d tried in the last session; happy with improvements made when riding in hotter temperatures – a key area in which they’d suffered during the Grand Prix.
In terms of new parts, MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward were also out testing a new chassis and swingarm in Jerez as they got more valuable miles under their belts ahead of a crucial stage of the season. With MV Agusta already having scored points twice in their debut season in Moto2, even bigger progress is now the name of the game.
After his huge crash at the start of the race in Jerez, Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) wasn’t testing due to concussion and it was unfortunate for the Australian, with the SAG team having plenty of small bits and pieces to try – including an anti-chatter device.
Gardner’s teammate Tetsuta Nagashima was out on track though to get through the work load, as well as suffering a crash at Turn 13.
Star replacement rider Mattia Pasini was also back on a Kalex-framed bike, with the veteran Italian now lending his talents to Petronas Sprinta Racing as he replaces the injured Khairul Idham Pawi.
Pasini is set to stand in for the team’s regular rider whilst he is sidelined with an injury to his right hand and used the Moto2 Official Test at Jerez to acquaint himself with the Kalex machine.
Although there was no official timing at the test, Pasini was one of the quickest on track from the off. He put in a total of 54 laps, with a pace consistently in the 1min 41s.
“It was an incredible first day with PETRONAS Sprinta Racing here at Jerez. I’m very happy with the team; this is a family. I felt very comfortable both inside the box and on the bike. We were able to complete quite a few laps, although during the midday session the asphalt temperature was too high. I think we did a great job. We didn’t really change the setup much from that with which we started the test and instead we just adapted the bike to my riding style. Although there was no official timing, I felt that we were among the fastest on track. Now it’s time to concentrate on Le Mans and give our all to achieve the best possible result.”
Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) was a particularly happy man after the test, solving issues he’d suffered with all weekend.
“Even on the first lap of the test we were faster than during the race weekend. It’s obviously frustrating because the weekend was very difficult, but honestly today was fantastic. We were very fast, even in the afternoon with 52 degrees of track temperature our pace was faster than during the whole event. We went back to a more standard set-up and started again, so both pace and feeling improved. I’m happy albeit a little bit frustrated that it didn’t happen today before, but the team did an amazing job and so Kalex by bringing new parts. We can look forward to Le Mans.”
Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) was back out after a tough home GP through no fault of his own, and he was one who had some things from chassis manufacturer Kalex to try.
Teammate Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) avoided the incident on Sunday but crashed, twice, during the test.
Dimas Ekky Pratama (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) bounced back after getting embroiled in the incident off the start on in the race too but crashed once in testing, along with Iker Lecuona (American Racing KTM) and Bezzecchi.
Meanwhile in the Moto3 class, Albert Arenas (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) was working on bike settings – more specifically clutch settings – and getting more mileage under his belt after a cycling accident put the Spaniard out of the Argentina and Americas GPs. It didn’t stop him from taking a top five at his home Grand Prix in Jerez, however, before the Championship returns to the venue at which he won last year.
Championship leader Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) was another out on track and he had some new front forks parts to test, with Arenas also trying them in the final session of the day.
The man now just one point behind Canet in the standings, Jerez winner Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse), was another high profile rider and team out on track, back at work and preparing for France. He worked on electronics, the clutch and engine braking.
Reigning Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Champion Can Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was a key name pushing for more mileage as the youngest ever Grand Prix winner tries to find his feet with the 2019 KTM and struggling with it so far this season. The Turkish rider got plenty track time but did, however, crash twice at Turn 2 – rider ok.
The next official outing for the Moto2 and Moto3 field now comes at Le Mans as the SHARK Helmets Grand Prix de France appears on the horizon. Although plenty reportedly have some private track time beforehand to get in gear….