17 November 2014
Moto3: Promising start to Aspar’s Mahindra era
“I'm happy because we achieved good times even though the track was not at its best” - Francesco Bagnaia.
The Aspar Moto3 team and expanded 2015 rider line-up made their Mahindra debut during testing at Jerez last week.
Mahindra has closed its own factory squad to concentrate on supplying machinery to other teams, headed by Aspar, from next season.
The deal has also allowed Aspar to grow from just a single Kalex KTM entry for Juanfran Guevara, to a three-strong line-up of Guevara, former VR46 team rider Francesco Bagnaia and rookie Jorge Martín.
The trio got to know their new machines in the rain-hit three-day test, the last day of which saw Bagnaia fastest from Martin, reversing their positons on day two.
"Today was the most fun day of the test for us, and we did a lot of laps in the wet. This bike gives me great confidence in these conditions - in fact our times were fast, I felt comfortable and I was able to push hard,” Bagnaia said. “In the last stint of the day we were able to enjoy some time on an almost completely dry surface and rode with slicks. We have taken an important step with the development of the bike. The day concluded positively, allowing us to go to Valencia with a good foundation for further work. I'm happy because we achieved good times even though the track was not at its best.”
Rookies Cup champion Martin was just 0.25s behind the Italian.
"I had a great time riding with Pecco and Juanfran. I'm already looking forward to next Monday at Valencia and to trying new things - hopefully in better weather. Although the track was not in good condition, at the end of the day we tried a soft tyre and already on the first lap I managed to lower my times from yesterday. It is very satisfying to see that every day we are evolving and gradually getting used to the new bike. I am very happy with both the bike and the team, who are helping me adjust to the new class."
Guevara also improved his times from the second day, despite stopping early due to an engine issue.
"This morning we took the opportunity to gain some confidence in the wet. We also worked to try to adjust this new bike to the rain, then we decided to wait to see if the track would dry and if we could work at least a little on dry asphalt. With an hour to go before the end of the day, we went out with slicks - but we couldn't trust the surface,” he said.
“On the last time out we noticed a slight dip in engine performance and we preferred to stop and not force things. Still, we were able to work out some electronic parameters on the final stints. Overall these two days have been quite unproductive for us."
Aspar, like most of the Moto2 and Moto3 teams present at Jerez, will be back on track at Valencia on Monday and Tuesday.
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