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Moto2: Pol Espargaro confirms man-to-beat status

15 February 2013

2012 Moto2 title runner-up Pol Espargaro confirmed his status as this year's man-to-beat by leading the opening test of the year at Valencia.

The Pons Kalex star, second to Marc Marquez with four wins last season, topped the timesheets on days two and three in Spain, finishing with a 0.2s advantage over surprise opening day pace setter Nico Terol (Aspar).

"We have started 2013 on the right foot and I'm very happy with my performance and the team in these three days,” said Espargaro.

“The first day was 'touchdown', after two months without Moto2, and on the next two have been able to lap faster and faster, even though at times it was cold and the wind was very annoying.

“Today, with pleasant temperatures and no wind, I was able to go down to 1m 34.5s, six tenths faster than my pole record in last November's grand prix. My runs were very fast and consistent.

“This is only the first test, but I leave here with confidence and the desire to continue working hard.”

Behind Espargaro and Terol, all Spanish top four was completed by Julian Simon (Italtrans) and Jordi Torres (Aspar).

The second of the three official Moto2/Moto3 pre-season tests will be held at Jerez from February 19-21

Double Moto2 race winner Thomas Luthi (Interwetten) is set to miss the test after suffering arm and shoulder injuries in a final day clash with Ratthapark Wilairot at Valencia.

Luthi was fifth fastest (+0.516s) at Valencia and the top non-Spaniard.