Xavier Simeon signed off his 2015 Moto2 activities with an encouraging final test of the year for his new QMMF team.
The Belgian, who claimed his first grand prix win at Gresini this season, continued adapting to his new Speed Up machinery during two days at Valencia.
Simeon was eighth fastest of the riders present but, like team-mate Julian Simon, stuck with the harder compound tyres used in the season-ending race rather than trying a soft tyre that Dunlop used in the Spanish CEV Championship.
A lap time of 1m 35.359s was 1.4s better than Simeon had managed on his way to 16th place with Kalex machinery in the Valencia Grand Prix.
“I took it very easy during these four days [two at Jerez, two at Valencia] of testing, without a real target in mind. But even though I just wanted to adapt to the new bike and understand how it would react in comparison to the Kalex, I felt good on the Speed Up straight away,” Simeon said.
“I also did good lap times almost immediately, which is always better than starting slow and having to work your way up. In the beginning, the bike and the tyres seemed to feel quite different on the Speed Up in comparison to the Kalex, but when we continued at Valencia and I did more and more discovery laps with the bike, it wasn't such a big difference after all. I kept gaining confidence and in the end, I was a lot quicker than in the race, which is very positive.
“These tests were an important first step for me, because I wanted to understand how the bike and how the team work, and I also wanted to establish a good feeling with everybody in the team. Everything went well, they understand what I like and I am happy with the crew and their work.
“When testing resumes in February, I want to get into serious set-up work, because the bike was nearly the same at Jerez and Valencia, since I just wanted to concentrate on riding. I also want to take advantage of the two long winter months without any tests and train a lot in order to confront next season in the best possible shape!”
Simon was sixth fastest at the test with a time of 1m 35.121s, putting him six tenths of a second behind world champion and pace setter Johann Zarco (Kalex). While Simeon concentrated on understanding his new machinery, Simon used the tests to try back-to-back comparisons with a different Speed Up chassis.
“At Jerez, I tried many different things. On day one, we started with the standard bike, similar to the one that I used during the race at Valencia. On day two, we put a new chassis in, and together with some different suspension parts, it made the bike a little softer. With these changes, the bike felt good under brakes and seemed to turn better, but was also pushing the front a bit when entering the corners,” Simon explained.
“In Valencia, we continued our line of work and I tried many more things before we finally understood what the best possible setting was with our bike. In the end, I had a very good rhythm, especially during the last part of the day with cooler temperatures. I improved even more on soft tyres, but to find out that we were almost as fast with the harder option and still had the consistency that we need, was especially pleasing.
“I am very happy with the work of the team and with what we achieved during these tests. The most important thing for me is not our lap time – it is the fact that I was able to conclude the year with a good feeling and good ideas for the new season!”