Moto2 – Zarco leaves Jerez with fastest lap
The final day of testing has concluded at a sunny Jerez for the Moto2 class with Johann Zarco finishing top of the timesheet on his Ajo Motorsport Kalex bike.
With the inclement weather of yesterday continuing, it was the 24-year-old Frenchman who took advantage to post the fastest time of the day with a 1’42.121 during the second session. Zarco’s confidence on soft and hard tyres was evident as he was consistently quick, and he revealed that over the three day test he was focusing on trying to relax on the bike, which is the key to him going faster.
Speed Up Racing’s Sam Lowes had another great day at Jerez, finishing 2nd overall on the time sheets, and posting his fastest time over the three days in the second session on the final day, a 1’42.165. His pace is made all the more impressive by the fact that it was the first lap Lowes had done with a new swingarm and fairing, plus his was the only bike in the top 12 not to be on a Kalex chassis.
Moto2 Champion Tito Rabat was in third, continuing his impressive testing form, with a best time of 1’42.392 on his Estrella Galicia 0.0 Marc VDS Racing bike. As usual the Spaniard was one of the busiest riders, managing well over 100 laps throughout the day and cementing his reputation for consistency over the three days.
Axel Pons and Jonas Folger were again on impressive form on their AGR Team Kalex machines, finishing 4th & 7th respectively, with Folger closing the gap to his teammate over the three days to just 2 hundredths of a second.
Luis Salom finished the test 5th overall, but couldn’t quite match his best time of day two, as he finished 0.15 seconds slower with a 1.42.652 during the final day, although he managed to finish the test ahead of his Paginas Amarillas HP 40 team mate Alex Rins, who managed to break the 1’43 mark with a 1.42.927.
With the top ten riders separated by less than 9 hundredths of a second, it could be all change when the Moto2 teams and riders return for another 3 day test at Jerez between the 17-19th of March.
Moto3 – Quartararo stuns again with Jerez pace
Fabio Quartararo has laid down a marker to the rest of the Moto3 field after dominating the last two days of the Jerez test. A weather-affected first day meant that a lot of the times were not exactly representative of the true pace, with Isaac Viñales finishing fastest on a day where the riders only started to put in quick times in the final session.
As soon as the sun arrived for day two of the test, the stage was set for Quartararo to show why there is such hype surrounding his GP Debut at Qatar. He showed incredibly consistent pace throughout the last two days, and smashed the Jerez Moto3™ pole record (1’46.173) set by Jack Miller last year by over half a second with a 1’45.580.
Apart from the Frenchman, the only two other riders that managed to break the 1’46 mark were the other class rookie Jorge Martin and the Brit Danny Kent, who finished 2nd and 3rd respectively in the test.
It was the reigning Red Bull MotoGP™ Rookies Cup Champion Martin who surprised the most with his 1’45.593 in the second session of day 3, as it was almost a second quicker than he had lapped in any of the previous sessions. He was also the only rider to finish in the top 6 over the three days not on a Honda, showing off the potential of the Mapfre Mahindra Aspar Bike.
Danny Kent continued to show how well he has made the switch from his Factory Husqvarna machine to the Leopard Racing Honda by looking genuinely quick throughout the test. The Englishman said that the test had been a great success, with his times made even more remarkable by the fact that his team were concentrating on doing race simulations on old tyres and not focusing on lap times.
Niccolo Antonelli on the Ongetta-Rivagold bike continued his impressive pre-season form, to finish the test 4th fastest overall, shaving 0.8 seconds off his best time from Day 1. However the big surprise over the test was the dramatic improvement of the Scotsman John Mcphee. He rose from 15th and 19th respectively on the time sheets from the first two days to post a 1’46.306 on the final day, a two-second improvement on his best time from day 1.