10-seconds off Moto2 pace but a lot of speed to be found
High-profile MotoE riders sparked up their mounts for the first time in Spain overnight in company with the official Moto2 testing schedule ahead of season 2019.
The fastest time from the first outing for the MotoE machines came from Ajo Motorsports rider Niki Tuuli, a 1m51.721. That opening day benchmark nearly ten-seconds slower than the fastest Moto2 time of the day recorded by Lorenzo Baldasarri, as a new chapter also started for Moto2 with the move to Triumph engines for season 2019.
Clearly, these are only the first baby steps for the MotoE machines, but with high-profile teams and highly skilled riders, Dorna is certainly providing this new class with every chance of success.
Many riders would have liked to have turned a lot more laps but were restricted by battery capacity and recharge times, as at this test many of the two-rider teams only had one machine at their disposal to be shared by two riders.
Former WorldSSP podium finisher and Moto2 rider Niki Tuuli (Ajo Motorsport MotoE) topped the times on Day 1 of three, setting a quickest time of 1:51.721.
Moto3 laptimes had tumbled dramatically after the first runs, and by the end of play Tuuli, a previous WorldSSP podium finisher, proved fast enough to beat 2017 European Moto2 Champion Eric Granado (Esponsorama Racing) by 0.121s.
Former Grand Prix rider Randy de Puniet (LCR E-Team) completed the top three with only 0.185 splitting the trio.
Bradley Smith is another high-profile current riders to be taking on MotoE in 2019, alongside his new official test role as development rider for Aprillia MotoGP, the Brit will race MotoE with the One Energy Racing Team and was 0.618 off the top on his first outing.
“I am happy to have completed my first laps on the MotoE bike. The first session was in the wet, so it was a good opportunity to compare it to the feeling in the dry conditions that we had later. I am positively surprised with the handling of the bike and the way it has performed here at Jerez. We have to work out which steps we need to take to improve everything and evaluate the result of each step. So far everything we have seen has been positive; now we need to analyse the work we have done on this first day and make a plan for tomorrow. We were in the top three for the majority of the day, now we have to work out a way to be the fastest, which is the objective.”
Alex De Angelis (Alma Pramac Racing) was just 0.064 behind Smith in P5. The much anticipated return of former MotoGP frontrunner Sete Gibernau, meanwhile, saw the 45-year-old hit the ground running and only just over a second off the top.
World Endurance Champion Josh Hook was P14 and shared the Alma Pramac electric bike with team-mate Alex De Angelis as the Australian got his first brief taste of MotoE machinery. Hook finished up in P14 just behind fellow WEC regular Kenny Foray who made his debut with the new Tech3 MotoE squad.
Kenny Foray – P13
“Everything was totally new for me today and I also didn’t know the track very well yet. So, the first laps I spent to learn the track and then I started to try to find a feeling, after being on a 1000cc machine all the time. Lap by lap, I enjoyed it more and more, but I know, I still have to work a lot on myself to adapt my style, especially to improve my corner speed and some other things. I have to admit, it’s not easy, but it’s a lot of fun!”
Josh Hook – P14
“I had a great time. If I have to be honest, I was impressed by the power delivery of the bike when accelerating, but mainly the most impressive thing was how easy the bike is to ride. After two laps I was already pushing hard. I wanted to lap more but the battery doesn’t allow it”.
Female road race sensation María Herrera is also taking on the new challenge of in an Ángel Nieto squad alongside team-mate Nico Terol. Terol was the faster of the two on day one after completing ten laps with a best effort of 1’54.192. Terol had the opportunity to ride the bike here on the occasion of the Spanish Grand Prix earlier in the year and is confident that there is plenty of room for improvement over the next two days of the test.
Nico Terol – P12
“I did seven laps in the final session of the day, after watching my team-mate in the other two. I didn’t have the set-up how it needed to be – it was very soft on the front and I couldn’t brake how I wanted. On the fourth lap I set my best time and I am sure I could have gone faster but tomorrow I will have two sessions back to back and I’ll be able to give more and get more out of the bike.”
María was riding the Energica machine for the first time and was sixteenth fastest in her debut appearance on the bike she will race in 2019. The Spanish youngster reported a good feeling from her first laps of the Spanish track and already has some ideas on how to adapt her riding style to the specific demands of this new machine.
María Herrera – P16
“The first feeling with the MotoE bike is good, the acceleration is quite smooth and it reminds me of a 600 – you have to keep the corner speed up because you can’t be aggressive on the gas. I have to understand the best way to get this bike stopped with the weight it has, which will be one of the main points of focus, as well as the inertia in corner entry, having never ridden a bike like this before. I didn’t ride much today, only the first two sessions, but I am keen to get the bike set up how I like it and seeing how far we can go with it.”
Teams and riders were not just getting their heads around new and very different machinery than they had ridden before, but also were getting up to speed with new rubber. Specially designed, the front tyres are a derivative of MotoGP tyres but the rears have more of a Superbike background.
The fronts need to support the heavy bikes under braking, whereas the rears need to warm up quickly for the shorter race distances in the FIM Enel MotoE World Cup. With the different characteristics of each, that made it something very new for each rider out on track – regardless of their racing experience.
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