After finishing outside the top ten at the opening pair of official Moto2 pre-season tests, former champion Toni Elias had claimed he was not worried since, ”In the last test, all of us will ride under the same conditions and then we will see where each one is.”
The Spaniard was referring to the debut of the official 2013 engines for this week's final official test at Jerez - teams had previously been using their own CBR600 engines, in various states of tune - and the new Blusens Kalex rider made good of those words by leading Monday's opening day.
Elias was quickest by just 0.059s from countryman Esteve Rabat, whose Pons Kalex team-mate and title runner-up Pol Espargaro - fastest at both previous tests - was 0.286s adrift in third.
Elias' best time was one-second slower than Espargaro's late February best. Testing continues over the next three days, although rain is also forecast.
“I am very happy because I again had that nice feeling when you are among the fastest riders throughout the day, when you have a good pace and, in addition, you can finish with a good lap that allows you to get the best time of the day,” said Elias, without a Moto2 podium since the inaugural 2010 season.
“It is fantastic for me and for the team, which deserves to be on top after so much work. There are a lot of things to improve, but it is clear that we are on the right way. We have advanced significantly since the last test on this track thanks to the work and constancy of all.
“We also made a private test that worked wonderfully for us and the team has managed to make me feel at my ease on the bike.
“I do not deceive myself and I know that it will be difficult, but for the moment things are going well. I knew that when we were on equal conditions - regarding engines - the differences would not be as big as in previous tests in which engines were not checked.
“We will see what happens these next three days, but this is a good way to start this last test before Qatar.”
Italtrans team-mates Takaaki Nakagami and Julian Simon, plus Marc VDS rider Mika Kallio, completed the all Kalex/Pons Kalex top six.
Forward Racing Speed Up rider Alex de Angelis was seventh (+0.560s), with Aspar's Nico Terol - quickest on three of the seven days of testing this year - the top Suter in eighth.
Johann Zarco (Suter) and Xavier Simeon (Kalex) completed the top ten.