Moto2 Moto3 Jerez Test Underway

Moto2 2016 Jerez Test Day One

After several private tests, teams and riders in the intermediate class were finally able to take to the same track, at the same time and with the same conditions, all critical for assessing early pace. The first day of testing in Jerez had near ideal conditions, the sun shinning from the first session until the end of the day.

Times were immediately quick with the top three already under the circuit record in the first session. Tom Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten) asserted himself well on the first day, leading all three sessions and putting in a best time of 1’42.271. 2016 sees Luthi with a new crew chief, Gilles Bigot, the pair focusing on improving braking stability and furthering their knowledge of the 2016 Kalex.

Second and 0.118s behind the Swiss rider on combined times was Sam Lowes. The Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 rider completed a high number of laps with a focus on longer runs, he and the team keen to confirm what they had tested in Jerez privately a week before.

Sam Lowes
Sam Lowes
Sam Lowes

“It’s been a really good first day, we tested some new parts for Kalex and Ohlins and we worked a lot on used tyres. I’m really happy because we are working good for the race pace: we did a not bad lap time and also many runs with fast laps. We have some more things to try tomorrow, today we worked also a little bit looking for more grip and we’ll continue tomorrow”.

Having shown well in multiple private tests, Takaaki Nakagami was third overall on the Idemitsu Honda Team Asia Kalex with a 1’42.507, again under the best lap set by Stefan Bradl in 2011. The Japanese rider found his old form towards the end of the 2015 season and is well on his way to reasserting himself as a regular podium challenger. As with Luthi and Lowes, Nakagami is also on the 2016 Kalex.

Fourth was Alex Rins, the Paginas Amarillas HP 40 rider taking to his 2016 Kalex for the first time this year. Previous tests had been run on a private production 600cc sport bike for the Spaniard, his 1’42.692 an impressive time considering his lack of track time on the Kalex.

Just over half a second back on Luthi and fifth overall was Axel Pons, who had shown well in private testing at the Jerez circuit during prior tests. The opening day of the test was spent experimenting with bike settings with both an empty and full fuel tank as the AGR Team seek to improve Pons’ comfort on the bike.

Reigning Moto2 World Champion Johann Zarco was sixth fastest overall and 0.681s slower than Luthi. Although strong and confident in slow turns, Zarco and his Ajo Motosport team are still seeking confidence in the faster corners.

Marcel Schrotter (AGR Team), Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Team), Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Dominique Aegerter (CarXpert Interwetten) rounded out the top ten. All of the top 11 riders were within a second of Luthi’s fastest time.

Dunlop, the official tyre supplier of the Moto2 class, brought a new softer compound rear for riders to test. If the test goes well this tyre could be introduced in Jerez, Le Mans and potentially Motegi.

In 13th, Simone Corsi was the leading Speed Up machine and the top non-Kalex bike. Leading the way for Tech 3 was Xavi Vierge, the CEV runner-up ending in 24th and with room to improve over the coming days.

Testing resumes on Thursday at 1120 Local Time for the Moto2 riders.

Moto2 2016 Jerez Test Day One Times
  1. Thomas Luthi 1m42.271
  2. Sam Lowes 1m42.389
  3. Takaaki Nakagami 1m42.507
  4. Alex Rins 1m42.696
  5. Axel Pons 1m42.850
  6. Johann Zarco 1m42.952
  7. Marcel Schrotter 1m42.960
  8. Lorenzo Balassarri 1m42.966
  9. Sandro Cortese 1m43.087
  10. Dominique Aegerter 1m43.134
  11. Joans Folger 1m43.157
  12. Luca Marini 1m43.298
  13. Simone Corsi 1m43.351
  14. Mattia Pasini 1m43.351
  15. Danny Kent 1m43.448
  16. Franco Moribdelli 1m43.462
  17. Edgar Pons 1m43.479
  18. Xavier Simeon 1m43.491
  19. Alex Marquez 1m43.563
  20. Miguel Oliveira 1m43.620
Moto3 2016 Jerez Test Day One

After a number of private tests, the Moto3 World Championship finally had their first official run on track at the Jerez circuit. The first day of official testing has already thrown up surprises with Italians dominating the day and rookie Nicolo Bulega topping the combined time sheets after three sessions on track.

Having taken pole position for the 2015 CEV Moto3 Junior World Championship race in Jerez, Bulega has a strong track record at the circuit with hundreds of laps completed at the Spanish track during his time in the CEV. The reigning Junior World Champion set a 1’46.591 during the third and final session to top combined times. After a strong debut race in Valencia, many are expecting big things from the SKY Racing Team VR46 rider and his early speed has caused the team to restructure their test plan. It was also a strong debut for the 2016 KTM, the Austrian manufacturer eager to return to the top of Moto3 after a Honda mounted rider won the title in both 2014 and 2015.

Fellow VR46 Academy rider Niccolo Antonelli was second fastest aboard his Ongetta-Rivacold Honda. His 1’46.861 from the first session saw him 0.270s shy of Bulega’s time. The Italian focused on fine-tuning his Honda, already pleased with the base setting but looking for more front-end feel. Antonelli is aiming to continue his strong end to 2015 and be involved in the title fight throughout the year.

Also breaking into the 1’46s was Jorge Navarro who set a 1’46.967 in the final session, 0.307 behind Bulega. The Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider is yet another favourite to contest the title after a strong rookie campaign in 2015. Already comfortable with his setting and pace, Navarro and his team and experimenting with various setting options.

Fourth was Enea Bastianini aboard his Gresini Racing Moto3 Honda. Unlike Bulega and Antonelli, Bastianini did not manage to go under the 1’47 mark with a best time of 1’47.073, 0.482s behind rookie Bulega.

Enea Bastianini
Enea Bastianini
Enea Bastianini

“Today was a good day, we were able to be fast enough with the hard tyre and we kept a pretty good pace. I’m pretty satisfied with how these tests started mainly because towards the end of the day we made some changes to the bike, finding a solution that seems to work very well. At the end, then, I also put the softer tyre, but in this case we were not able to express our potential: therefore we must work to make some progress in this condition”.

Fresh off his Dunlop Forever Forward victory, Philipp Oettl ended the first day of testing in fifth overall with a 1’47.186 aboard his Schedl GP Racing KTM. Oettl has made finding an improved pace in Qualifying his main aim for the test and the season as a whole, a poor grid position leading to many difficult races in 2015.

Fabio Quartararo (Leopard Racing), Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Romano Fenati (Sky Racing Team VR46), Francesco Bagnaia (Mapfre Team Mahindra) and Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) completed a top ten split by 0.901s.

Francesco Bagnaia

“Today has been a very positive day for us, we have improved in the fast corners and it is easier for me to hold my line, which is a step forward from the last test. We have been working a lot on the front end but we have realised that as the rear tyre starts to wear we get a lot of sliding. We will work on improving this tomorrow. In the last run we managed to get a little extra out of the new tyre and I was able to set a good lap time. We tried to maintain a strong pace on used rubber today and in the end we were able to set the fast lap on new rubber. Having said that, in my opinion there is not a great difference between the medium and the soft tyres.”

It was a strong showing for the new Mahindra with Bagnaia in ninth and teammate Jorge Martin just behind in eleventh.

Jorge Martín

“We started the day quite well but then we ran into some problems as the temperatures rose. Also in the afternoon I didn’t feel as comfortable, we’re not sure why, I just lost some feeling opening the gas on the exit of the slow corners. Anyway, we have worked hard all day to improve and the positive thing is that we have made progress since last week, so we have to keep working to find a better feeling with the rear. We are still not sure about the soft tyre so our best lap today came on a race tyre, which is positive. Today we worked with the old gearbox but we’ll try the new one again tomorrow.”

Meanwhile John McPhee was the leading Peugeot bike, the Peugeot SAXOPRINT Motocycles rider 23rd and within two seconds of Bulega.

Testing resumes for the lightweight class at 1000 Local Time on Thursday.

Moto3 2016 Jerez Test Day One Times
  1. Nicolo Bulega 1m46.591
  2. Nicolo Antonelli 1m46.861
  3. Jorge Navarro 1m46.967
  4. Enea Bastianini 1m47.073
  5. Phillip Oettl 1m47.186
  6. Fabio Quartararo 1m47.303
  7. Brad Binder 1m47.318
  8. Romano Fenati 1m47.361
  9. Francesco Bagnaia 1m47.447
  10. Joan Mir 1m47.492
  11. Jorge Martin 1m47.510
  12. Andrea Migno 1m47.519
  13. Juanfran Guevera 1m47.738
  14. Livio Loi 1m47.867
  15. Bo Bendsneyder 1m47.878
  16. Khairul Idham Pawi 1m47.903
  17. Andrea Locatelli 1m48.108
  18. Darryn Binder 1m48.149
  19. Gabriel Rodrigo 1m48.217
  20. Jules Danilo 1m48.309