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First official Moto2 test falls to Simon
4 March 2010
The first ever official Moto2 test concluded at Valencia on Wednesday evening with reigning 125cc world champion Julian Simon at the head of the overall timesheets.
The first use of the official (600cc) Honda engines finally allowed a real comparison to be made between the riders and chassis manufacturers (all riders are also using control Dunlop tyres).
Following a fragmented start to its Moto2 preparations, caused by Aprilia's last-minute decision to ditch its Moto2 chassis project, the Mapfre Aspar Team looked on with pride as Simon put their 'second-choice' RSV chassis to the top of the timesheets with a best lap of 1min 37.156sec.
That lap time was one-second slower than the pole time from the last ever 250cc grand prix, held at the same circuit in November, although less than half a second from the fastest race lap.
But it's close racing, not lap records, that will keep fans glued to their seats on a Sunday afternoon and the new class began promisingly in that respect with the top ten riders all covered by one second - and the top 20 by 1.5 seconds.
Like many of the 37 riders, Simon set his best marker on day two of testing, with poor weather on Wednesday morning ruling out any final day improvements for all but Alex de Angelis.
"It was a shame about the weather on Wednesday but fortunately during the previous two days we did a lot of work, which generated a lot of new information,” said Simon. “I'm very happy because the changes we made before coming here have been very positive, so I got up to speed pretty quickly. I found a very comfortable position on the RSV and we go to Jerez with a great desire to work further. Especially on the rear, which poses more disadvantages for us at this time. The goal is to come away from Jerez with more data and a better feeling."
Closest to Simon was an impressive Kenny Noyes, who steps up to grand prix racing this season after being a frontrunner in the Spanish Formula Extreme Championship.
Riding a Promoharris chassis for the Jack&Jones Banderas team, the American notched up more kilometres than any other rider on his way to a best lap time just 0.215sec from Simon.
The pace of Simon and Noyes was enough to nudge pre-season favourite Toni Elias back to a close third for Gresini Racing. The former MotoGP race winner had put his Moriwaki chassis fastest of all on day one, but didn't improve on day two. Nevertheless, Elias left the test just 0.374sec from the top.
Fourth best and the top Suter entry - Suter is supplying more riders than any other chassis manufacturer - was Italian Claudio Corti of the Forward Racing Team, who was half a tenth behind Elias.
Next up was Yuki Takahashi. The Japanese, riding a Tech 3 chassis for the Tech 3 team, was a consistent frontrunner and the last rider within half a second of Simon.
Another former MotoGP rider, de Angelis, only started work on Tuesday, but made it six different chassis designs in the top six with his late Wednesday effort for Scot Racing.
Elias' team-mate Vladimir Ivanov claimed seventh overall despite two crashes in the first two days, while Thomas Lüthi (Interwetten Moriwaki Racing), Yonny Hérnandez (Blusens-STX) and Fonsi Nieto (G22 HolidayGym) completed the overall top ten.
The second official Moto2 test will be held at Jerez on March 6-8.
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