Grand prix rookie Claudio Corti edged out 125, 250 and MotoGP race winner Toni Elias
by just 0.033sec during the final pre-season test for the brand new Moto2 class, at Jerez.
Corti, a former FIM Superstock 600 champion and triple runner-up in the 1000cc class, steered his Suter Moto2 chassis - run by for the Forward Racing team - had been a consistent contender at the previous official tests, claiming fourth overall at Valencia, then sixth overall at the first Jerez test.
The Italian then saved his best for last at the second Jerez outing, with his peerless day three lap time just edging out pre-season Moto2 favourite Elias. The Spaniard, who recorded his best lap time on day one, nonetheless goes into the first 600cc grand prix season having been third, first and second at the three tests.
But the Jerez test came to a worrying conclusion for Elias when he fell while trying to avoid a slower rider and was taken to Barcelona to check injuries to his left hand and foot. The initial diagnosis was of bruising and the Gresini (Moriwaki) rider should thus be fit for the start of the season on April 9-11 at Qatar.
Third overall by the close of action on Monday evening was Czech rider Karel Abraham, who improved by more than two seconds over the three days to put his Cardion AB (RSV) just 0.247sec from Corti.
After struggling at the first two tests, Scott Redding propelled himself into contention with fifth for Marc VDS Racing (Suter), while American grand prix rookie Kenny Noyes - second at Valencia and third at Jerez I - once again proved his potential with fifth for Jack&Jones by Antonio Banderas (Promoharris).
125cc world champion Julian Simon has been first, tenth and sixth in the official outings for Mapfre Aspar (RSV), while the incredibly close nature of the new Moto2 class was underlined by the top nine riders at Jerez II all finishing within half a second of Corti!
Those rounding out the top ten behind Simon were; Yonny Hernández (Blusens-STX), Jules Cluzel (Forward Racing), Anthony West
(MZ Racing) and Yuki Takahashi
(Tech 3 Racing).
Those just outside the top ten need not fear too much with the top 16 riders all within one-second of Corti, while the whole 40 rider field was covered by 3.2sec.