Miguel Oliveira took the new KTM Moto2 chassis to the top of the timesheets on its first day of official testing, at Jerez on Wednesday.

Oliveira, joining the factory-backed Ajo team for his second season in the 600cc class, set what would be the best lap time of 1m 42.316s during the second of three track sessions.

That was enough to fend off the challenge of Honda Team Asia's 2016 race winner Takaaki Nakagami, who was quickest for Kalex in the first and third sessions, finishing the day 0.187s from Oliveira.

Ajo, world champions with Johann Zarco in 2015 and 2016, have switched from Kalex to run the factory KTM Moto2 team (as they do in Moto3). Oliveira is looking to bounce back from a rough rookie season at Leopard, with reigning Moto3 champion Brad Binder signed up as his team-mate.

The pair were among those to have recently taken part in private testing at the same circuit.

"It was a very positive first day," Oliveira said. "We were able to improve our times compared to the test last week. It's a pity that in the afternoon, during the last session, the conditions became somewhat more difficult.

"Everything is going well; we have to continue consolidating the confidence that I have with the KTM and the setup we have found. We are testing small details without making big changes. It's the most appropriate approach, given that later we have new tracks to face and we will have to adapt to different circumstances.

"I didn't expect to be so high up on the timesheets, but we worked very hard with the team to set that lap. It's great that after this effort things have gone so well, but we have to keep our feet on the ground because this is just testing -what matters is what happens when the season starts.

"Tomorrow we will try to keep improving, lower the time and even try to do some race simulations during the day."

A sizeable 0.339s separated Nakagami from third place Mattia Pasini (Italtrans), with countrymen and fellow Kalex riders Luca Marini (Forward) and Franco Morbidelli (Marc VDS) completing the top five.

2016 title runner-up Thomas Luthi was sixth for Interwetten Kalex, with former team-mate Dominique Aegerter just 0.007s slower on the returning Suter chassis, run by Kiefer Racing.

Alex Marquez was eighth quickest, despite posting the second best lap in the last session, with rookies Khairul Idham Pawi (Honda Team Asia) and Jorge Navarro (Gresini) completing the top ten.

Reigning Moto3 champion Binder was eleventh quickest as he continues to make up for time lost due to a November arm injury. The South African was one-second from team-mate Oliveira.

"I felt very strong in the second session - much better than in the first. And in the third session, although we tried, I didn't feel comfortable with the tyres and we weren't able to lower our best time," binder said.

"We have tried things, I am learning a lot from the bike, I feel very confident and I am already looking forward to riding tomorrow. My arm still hurts, but I'm working hard and this is what I need in order to improve."

Moto2 riders do not yet have their official 2017 engines, which will be allocated at round one in Qatar. "We use the ex-race engines that they sell off at the end of each season," Ian Wheeler, Marketing & Communications Manager at Marc VDS, told Crash.net.

CLICK HERE for the full Wednesday results...


Loading Comments...