With the rain and fog making a return to the Jerez circuit, the final day of testing for the Moto2 class was largely a washout. The weather threatened to improve briefly in the afternoon, but failed to make good on its promise.
At the end of the third, wet day, it was Nico Terol who topped the timesheets, just as he had on the first day of wet practice at the Andalusian track. The Mapfre Aspar rider ended the day nearly three tenths ahead of Scott Redding and Danny Kent, the two British riders separated by just a couple of hundredths. Johan Zarco took 4th spot, a little ahead of Ricky Cardus and Xavier Simeon.
The Moto2 class now has one final group test before the season starts, returning to Jerez in mid-March. They test from 18th to the 21st of March, before flying out to Qatar for the 2013 season opener.
Official times from the final day of testing at Jerez for the Moto2 class:
The return of rain and fog to Jerez meant that much of the final day of testing for both the Moto2 and Moto3 classes went to waste, with a depleted field taking to the track in the morning, before packing up and leaving in the afternoon. Jack Miller was the fastest man in the rain, the Caretta Technology RTG rider ending the day faster than Alex Rins on the Estrella Galicia KTM, and RW Racing's Jakub Kornfeil.
The teams now pack up and head home for a month, preparing for the final test in mid-March. They visit Jerez one more time between 18th and 21st of March, before flying out to Qatar for the season starter.
Official times after the final day of testing at Jerez for the Moto3 class:
Press releases from some of the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the second day of testing at Jerez:
Pol Espargaro continues to dominate the Moto2 class this preseason, once again topping the timesheets on the second, much drier day of testing at Jerez. The Tuenti HP 40 rider lapped the track four tenths faster than Stefan Bradl's pole record, the Spaniard clearly showing his intentions for 2013. Takaaki Nakagami took second slot, the Italtrans rider fast at a track he knows well, while Scott Redding find some extra speed to take 3rd spot, a respectable half a second behind Espargaro.
Julian Simon completed the Kalex whitewash of the second day, the Italtrans rider nearly three quarters of a second behind Espargaro. Aspar's Nico Terol was the first non-Kalex, the Spaniard setting the 5th fastest time on the Suter, and the last man to get within a second of Espargaro, ahead of two more Kalexes, those of Espargaro's teammate Tito Rabat, and Redding's Marc VDS teammate Mika Kallio.
Though the conditions were far better on Wednesday, the riders lost a lot of time in the morning to fog, the mist causing problems until well after noon. With rain set to return for the final day of testing on Thursday, it remains to be seen how much action will take place, or whether the teams will pack up early and go home.
Times on the second day of testing:
Maverick Viñales took control of the Moto3 class on the second day of the test at Jerez, lapping under the 125cc record on a day which saw much better weather than the rained out first day. Viñales did not have it easy: fellow Spaniard Alex Rins got within six thousandths of the time of Viñales, setting the 2nd best time on Wednesday. Luis Salom completed a Spanish and KTM clean sweep, the Red Bull KTM man three tenths behind Viñales.
The three Spaniards were clearly faster than the rest, Jonas Folger the best of the chasing group, getting within a second of the JHK T-Shirt LaGlisse rider on his Mapfre Aspar Kalex KTM. The Mahindras continued to perform well, Miguel Oliveira setting the 5th best time, ahead of a surprisingly strong Juan Guevara, the Technomag CIP rookie grabbing 6th spot on the TSR Honda.
The weather cooperated in the afternoon at least. The sun finally burned off the last remnants of fog in the bottom section of the track some time after noon, allowing everyone to set a competitive time. The rain looks set to return on Thursday, threatening to bring the three-day test to a premature end.
Times from day 2:
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after a (rather fruitless) first day of testing at a wet and windy Jerez:
Moving south did little to help with the weather for the Moto2 class. After three days of sunny weather at Valencia, the trek down to Spain's south coast was met with a solid day of wind and rain, with times suffering accordingly.
Mapfre Aspar rider Nico Terol did not suffer, however. The Spaniard had topped the first day of testing at Valencia, and was top of the timesheets in Jerez as well, putting his Suter ahead of Simone Corsi on the NGM Forward Speed Up machine. Julian Simon was also strong in thewet, taking 3rd spot, though nearly two thirds of a second off the pace of Terol, and just ahead of championship favorite Pol Espargaro. Espargaro has suffered in the wet in recent races, but made good progress at Jerez. The Kalex, which last year was dominant in the dry but difficult in the wet, also showed signs of progress, with Simon, Espargaro and Marc VDS Racing's Scott Redding all in the top 5, and all riding Kalexes.
Testing continues tomorrow, with the weather set to improve for the test on Wednesday. However, with the rain likely to return on Thursday, it remains to be seen who will stay on after that, if the track is not dry.
At a wet, windy and miserable Jerez, the Moto3 riders had their second opportunity to prepare for the 2013 season. On Tuesday, their time on the track was most spent on working a wet set up, rather than pushing the development of their Moto3 machines.
The conditions saw a reversal of the dry weather tests at Valencia last week, in many different respects. At Valencia, Spanish riders on KTMs had dominated; in the wet at Jerez, English-speaking riders on Honda-powered bikes took charge. Top of the pile was Ambrogio Racing's Danny Webb, who led from the start, and then put on a late charge in the afternoon on his Suter Honda, heading up his teammate, the South African Brad Binder. Australian Jack Miller took 3rd spot, riding an FTR Honda for Caretta Technology RTG. Zulfahmi Khairuddin was the first non-English speaker, and first KTM, the AirAsia rider finishing ahead of Luis Salom, Jonas Folger and Maverick Viñales, the three men who had led for much of the Valencia test.
In difficult conditions, several riders crashed, chief among them the rookies. Livio Loi, Florian Alt, Francesco Bagnaia, Philipp Oettl and Matteo Ferrari all took a trip to the gravel trap, though there are no reports of serious injury.
Testing continues tomorrow and Thursday, with hope that the conditions will improve before the teams pack up on Thursday evening.
The first test at Sepang was a disheartening affair for Ducati. The times of all four Ducati riders - Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso in the factory Ducati team, and Andrea Iannone and Ben Spies in the Pramac Ducati junior team - were well off the pace of the fastest men at the test, with Hayden, fastest Ducati rider, ending the test two seconds behind Dani Pedrosa on the Honda. Ducati acknowledged that they had a lot of work to do, and that there would be no quick fixes. Serious improvement would not come in the short term.
But Ducati Corse boss Bernhard Gobmeier was at pains to stress that improvement would be made, and that Ducati is working on a number of solutions. Ducati test rider Michele Pirro joined Pramac's Andrea Iannone at Jerez this weekend for three days of private testing at the circuit, trying out some modifications which could be tried at the next MotoGP tests at Sepang, just over a week from now. Parts tested included new chassis parts, as well as some electronics updates, which Ducati declared had performed 'according to expectations'.
With the first full test for the World Superbike class behind us, and the first test of the MotoGP grid about to get underway at Sepang at the end of this week, it is time to take a look at motorcycle racing's preseason, and evaluate where we stand so far. Just what is the state of play for both MotoGP and World Superbike in 2013?
The question is even more pertinent now that both series have been taken under the wing of Dorna, much to the consternation of World Superbike fans and, to some extent, the WSBK paddock as well. It was feared that Dorna would either kill off World Superbike entirely to strengthen the position of MotoGP, or impose such stringent technical regulations on the series as to dumb it down to Superstock spec.
Fortunately, neither of those options looks likely. World Superbikes will continue as a separate series, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta was keen to explain when quizzed about the takeover at Ducati's Wrooom launch event early in January. The aim is to build a strong WSBK series to stand alongside MotoGP, preserving the unique identity of the two series - WSBK as a place to race production bikes, MotoGP as the series for racing prototypes.
The long wait of so many MotoGP fans is nearly over. The 2013 MotoGP season is about to get underway, or rather, the phony war of testing, which is the first step on the road to the 2013 MotoGP season. In just a few hours' time, the howl of the CRT machines will fill the grandstands at Sepang, joined two days later by the roar of the MotoGP prototypes.
The CRT machines have two extra days of testing ahead of the full test at Sepang, where the teams will have their first chance to test the new spec Magneti Marelli electronics system on track, after having first dialed the system on the dyno at their respective bases. The system is to be used by all of the CRT teams except for those running the Aprilia ART bikes, and so far, the reaction has been very positive to the capabilities of the system. This should come as no surprise, given that Magneti Marelli is the de facto standard in the MotoGP paddock, already in use by both Yamaha and Ducati, though both factories run their own custom software.
The BMW Goldbet World Superbike and Pata Honda World Supersport teams issued the following press release after two-day test at Jerez:
The WSBK teams issued the following press releases after the test at Jerez:
Marco Melandri topped the second day of testing at Jerez for the World Superbike and World Supersport riders at Jerez, the weather finally taking a turn for the better, and allowing the riders to turn a lot of laps and get a lot of work done. The BMW rider sat atop the timesheets for most of the day, finishing a tenth of a second ahead of David Giugliano on the Althea Aprilia.
Eugene Laverty took the factory Aprilia to third, a quarter of a second behind Melandri, while Leon Camier posted impressive times on the Suzuki GSX-R1000, grabbing 4th ahead of Jonathan Rea on the Pata Honda. The Pata Honda squad have a lot of work to do this season, the Ten Kate-run and HRC-backed CBR1000RR now sporting a new swingarm, a new exhaust, and new electronics.
Reigning World Supersport champion Kenan Sofuoglu was the fastest of the WSS men, the veteran Turk returning to Kawasaki. But Sofuoglu looks like he could have a battle on his hands, with Sam Lowes ending the day less than a tenth behind Sofuoglu, despite this being the young Englishman still adapting to the Yamaha YZF-R6. Young Dutchman Michael van der Mark continues to impress on his WSS debut, ending the day in 3rd on the Pata Honda CBR600RR, half a second behind Lowes and nearly a quarter of a second quicker than Lowes' teammate Vladimir Leonov.
The Suzuki press office issued the following press release after the first day of testing at a very wet Jerez: