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Moto2 2013: Preview

A look ahead to the 2013 Moto2 World Championship, which starts in Qatar on April 7.
By Neil Morrison

Moto2 enters its fourth year of competition in 2013. Last year's title runner-up Pol Espargaro starts as favourite, but with half-a-dozen others threatening to step up and challenge.

Even with a rider as talented as Marc Marquez, last season saw five different race winners, 13 different riders on the podium and, most notably, a gap of less than three-seconds covering the podium in eleven of the 17 rounds.

With Marquez - plus Andrea Iannone and Bradley Smith - moving up to MotoGP, 2013 promises to be even more open. Here we take a look at the top contenders for Marquez's crown…

#40 Pol Espargaro – Spain – Tuenti HP 40 Pons Kalex
It comes as no surprise to see the younger of the Espargaro brothers touted as the preseason favourite for 2013. Coming off a strong end to 2012, which saw him on the podium in 7 of the final 9 races, he hasn't put a foot wrong throughout preseason.

During both tests at Jerez he was inside the top 3 in every dry session he competed in and the continuity of working with the Kalex chassis and Sito Pons' team is clearly paying dividends. Rumours persist of talks between him and Yamaha having already taken place and should the season start well we may see a deal that sees Espargaro step up to MotoGP in 2014 sooner rather than later.

Official pre-season Test Results:
Valencia – 1st
Jerez I – 1st
Jerez II – 1st
Gap from 1st place at above tests:
+0sec
+0sec
+0sec
Last year's championship placing: 2nd
He said: “The objective is clear. Last year we missed the title by a little. This year we are more eager, with the energy that last year gave us and we have all the aspirations of winning the title. You have to do things calmly because the season will be long and complicated but through working hard the sacrifices will be rewarded.

#18 Nico Terol – Spain – Mapfre Aspar Suter
Nico Terol's preseason form seems to have been boosted by his terrific end of season podium display at Valencia in November. Before then it had been a difficult season, with the Spaniard languishing in 18th place overall in the championship. He has found consistency throughout the off-season and he believes the Aspar team have made big gains with the Suter chassis they struggled to understand last year. Truer tests of his progress will come outside Spain but Terol can find solace in his chief adversary, Pol Espargaro, too. Pol's 1st season aboard a four stroke saw him struggle in similar circumstances. And look where he is now.

Official pre-season Test Results:
Valencia – 2nd
Jerez I – 5th
Jerez II – 7th
Gap from 1st place at above tests:
+0.200sec
+0.900sec
+0.802sec
Last year's championship placing: 18th
He said: “From the first moment I felt very comfortable and I rode fast. The Suter 2013 is a bit more rigid and gives me more confidence. The team has taken a huge leap. The potential of the Aspar Team is more than tested, but gradually, we're getting the results we deserve and we must go on.”

#60 Julian Simon – Spain – Italtrans Racing Kalex
After finishing 2nd in Moto 2's inaugural season in 2010, Julian Simon has struggled to replicate the form that earmarked him as a future race winner and world champion in the class. A vicious broken leg two years ago and an inability to get on with last year's Suter chassis saw Simon lurking on the outskirts of the top ten. A switch to the Italtrans team and Kalex chassis has revitalised him and he heads to Qatar buoyed after a settled and consistently fast preseason. If Simon has any designs on progressing through the class he'll hope to be regularly challenging for podiums this year.

Official pre-season Test Results:
Valencia – 3rd
Jerez I – 4th
Jerez II – 3rd
Gap from 1st place at above tests:
+0.404sec
+0.730sec
+0.552sec
Last year's championship placing: 13th




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Aegerter leads, Moto2, Dutch MotoGP 2012
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Marquez, German MotoGP 2014
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Marquez, German MotoGP 2014
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Miller, German Moto3 Race 2014
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