A prototype of the 2019 Kalex Moto2 chassis made a promising debut at Valencia, lapping 1.3s from the current race record on a standard version of the Triumph 765cc engine.

Poor weather cut short what was supposed to be a three-day test with former grand prix rider Jesko Raffin, but Kalex CEO Alexander Baumgärtel described it as a 'zero-problem rollout'.

The 765cc triple will replace the current four-cylinder 600cc Honda engines in Moto2 from the start of next year. A new, more complex, ECU system will also be introduced.

"Overall, we are very happy how things went during our first rollout with the 2019 bike," said Baumgartel. "It was, so to speak, a 'zero problem' rollout. In addition, we were lucky with the weather on Monday when the conditions were very good for most of the day.

"Unfortunately, the two remaining days fell proverbially into the water. Apart from that, Jesko Raffin did a great job. He made no mistakes and he also convinced with enormously valuable statements.

"After he came back from the winter break a bit stiff, we started our program with the current [Honda-powered] bike which is equipped with an 'end-of-life' engine, which has significantly less power.

"The purpose of this exercise with two reference runs was, to give Jesko the feeling for a racing bike after his four months break. Of course, he did his training program during the winter months, but he never was riding an on-road bike.

"But from the third run on, we focused exclusively on working with the Triumph bike.

"Jesko was immediately enthusiastic about it. After just five laps, his comment was: 'The bike feels like a Kalex'. That was a huge relief for us. That was what we have been working for and this always has been our goal, at least about the confidence and feeling for the front."

The official Valencia Moto2 race lap record is a 1m 35.312s, set by Thomas Luthi in 2014. The pole record a 1m 34.879s by Johann Zarco in 2016.

Raffin set a 1m 36.6s during his day on the Triumph, which is 0.3s quicker than his best lap on a Honda-powered Kalex in November's race. 

Given that Raffin was also 1.3s behind the best lap in last year's GP, it is safe to assume that - once the race engine and Magneti-Marelli ECU are available - Moto2 is set to be faster than ever in 2019.

"For this test, we were using just standard parts as far as the engine, electronics and the clutch are concerned, but at the end we were able to set a 1m 36.6s with Jesko. This is certainly a nice reference time for us. Therefore, we are very satisfied with our first rollout," Baumgartel said.

"The first impressions of the rider are mainly positive and there occurred absolutely no problems. Of course, it would have been enormously helpful to accumulate more laps and kilometres, but for the beginning, it was a very enjoyable start to our test program with this bike.

"We already have reached a level, we would have expected only for the second or third rollout with standard components. The rider’s feeling with the chassis was good straight away. This is why it makes no sense to think about a next test at the moment.

"In this regard, we have to wait until we get the ECU for this engine."

Kalex is currently locked in a close battle with KTM to retain its Moto2 supremacy.

Comments

Loading Comments...