Takaaki Nakagami has topped the timesheets on the second day of the final Moto2 test at Jerez. His advantage is slim, though: the Idemitsu Team Asia rider was just fifteen hundredths quicker than Tom Luthi on the Interwetten Paddock Suter, the Swiss rider holding off former Moto3 champion Sandro Cortese. Cortese had a very strong day on the Intact GP Kalex, ending the day in 3rd, and over a tenth ahead of Johann Zarco on the AirAsia Caterham.
Luis Salom continues to make a strong debut in the Moto2 class, grabbing 5th spot a third of a second behind Japanese veteran Nakagami. Fellow Moto2 rookie Maverick Viñales struggled again on Wednesday, managing only the 14th best time, more than eight tenths behind Nakagami. Reigning World Supersport champion Sam Lowes skipped the second day of the Moto2 test, choosing to rest a painful wrist. A tendon inflammation had flared up overnight, he told British site Bikesportnews.com, and he decided to sit out the test, hoping to ride on Thursday.
The test concludes on Thursday, and with it preseason testing. The only concern will be the weather, as light showers are forecast for the afternoon.
Jack Miller has stamped his authority on the Moto3 class on the second day of testing at Jerez. The Australian put a big gap into the competition, ending the day nearly three tenths of a second ahead of the chasing pack. Isaac Viñales grabbed 2nd spot, the Spaniard putting a big gap of his own over Danny Kent. The Husqvarna man was a quarter of a second slower than Viñales, and the fastest of a tight group containing places 3 through 8. Jakub Kornfeil grabbed 4th on the Calvo KTM, just ahead of the first Honda, Efren Vazquez on the Racing Team Germany bike in 5th.
Though the Hondas are showing improvement, there is still plenty of work to be done. The latest revision of the engines now produces sufficient power, Estrella Galicia team manager Emilio Alzamora told Speedweek.com, but the Honda teams still need to spend a lot of time on set up. Fine tuning the bike will take some time, but the Honda teams are confident they can close the gap. They will need the first few races to get everything dialled in before they are completely competitive, however.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first day of the final test at Jerez:
Takaaki Nakagami has topped the timesheets at the end of the first day of testing for the Moto2 class at Jerez. With the teams and riders having taken delivery of the 2014-spec Honda engines and ECU, the field got down to work on their race set up at the final test of the season ahead of the first race at Qatar.
Nakagami topped the timesheets in the two later sessions of the test, ending the day two tenths up on Tom Luthi, the Interwetten Paddock rider putting in a very solid performance during the preseason. Speed Up rider Sam Lowes continues to make outstanding progress on his Moto2 debut, the reigning World Supersport champion a third of a second off the time of Nakagami. Lowes' position also leaves three chassis makers in the top three, the Suter of Luthi and Speed Up of Lowes close to the Kalex of Nakagami.
Differing fortunes for the Moto2 rookies, Luis Salom ending the day in 4th, while Moto3 champion Maverick Viñales finished in 14th, a second off the pace of Nakagami. Viñales is still feeling the after effects of a crash at the last day of the previous test, but is fit enough to ride. Ricky Cardus made his debut replacing the injured Alex Marinelarena with the Tech 3 team.
After a windy start to the final Moto3 test of the season, Romano Fenati ended the first day in Jerez at the top of the timesheets. The Team Sky VR46 rider topped two of the three sessions for the Moto3 class, ending the day a tenth of a second ahead of Karel Hanika. The young Czech rookie continues to impress on his debut in the class, finishing ahead of his teammate and title favorite Jack Miller, while Danny Kent took 4th on the Husqvarna.
Efren Vazquez was the fastest of the Hondas, the Racing Team Germany rider just under half a second off the pace of Fenati. The Hondas of Estrella Galicia teammates Alex Marquez and Alex Rins were not far behind, Marquez three hundredths slower than Vazquez, Rins nine hundredths slower.
Times at the end of day 1:
The FIM has today released the final, official version of the 2014 MotoGP calendar. As expected, the Brazil round has been dropped, after it became clear that construction work at the Autodromo Nelson Piquet in Brasilia would not be completed in time for the September round. To ease the congestion in that part of the season, the date of the Aragon round has now been pushed back a week, and will take place on 28th September, the date originally scheduled for Brazil.
The dropping of the Brazil round had been expected almost from the moment it was placed on the schedule. There were serious doubts that the circuit would be able to make the necessary changes in time for September 2014, and teams were informed of the doubts which Dorna and IRTA had. The inclusion of Brazil was a statement of intent, with both Dorna and the manufacturers keen to return to South America, as both Brazil and Argentina are key markets. Actually racing in Brazil will depend one of the circuits still in the country being able to make the necessary modifications to make it safe enough for Grand Prix motorcycles.
Below is the official, finalized version of the 2014 MotoGP calendar:
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the final day of testing at Jerez:
Times at the end of day 3:
Times at the end of Day 3:
Cirjesa, the body which runs the Circuito de Jerez just north of the Spanish city, and GCJ, the company which organizes the events at the circuit, are under investigation by the Spanish tax authorities and the Spanish organized crime unit for tax evasion. According to reports in the regional Diario de Jerez newspaper, the investigations center around unpaid tax over undeclared income from ticket sales to general admission areas during races, including the MotoGP rounds in recent years.
Both the police and tax authorities have spent the last six months investigating the existence of a second, clandestine set of accounts which are alleged to include the missing income. The alleged fraud was made possible because the general admission areas (the so-called 'Pelousse') are accessible without having an assigned seat number, paying spectators sitting on the grass anywhere around the hillsides overlooking the circuit. Suspicions had been raised by the fact that the number of spectators in the general admission areas seemed to be larger than the numbers officially reported. But without numbered seating, it was impossible for anyone outside of the circuit organization to know the actual numbers of paying spectators.
Press releases after the second day of testing at Jerez for the Moto2 and Moto3 teams:
In the Moto2 class at Jerez, the battle continues between Interwetten's Tom Luthi and Marc VDS Racing rider Tito Rabat, with Rabat's teammate Mika Kallio giving chase. Luthi was strong all day, and though Rabat put in a late charge to head the final session, he fell just under a tenth short of the time of the Swiss rider.
The top of the Moto2 timesheets showed a good spread of nationalities. Behind the Swiss leader, Spaniard in 2nd slot and Finn in 3rd, Japanese rider Takaaki Nakagami grabbed 4th, veteral Italian - or more properly, San Marinese - Alex de Angelis bagged fifth, and the young British rider and World Supersport champion Sam Lowes snagged sixth spot. Lowes is adapting very quickly to the Moto2 class, despite having to deal with a lack of electronics and radically different tires.
Series tire supplier Dunlop added a note of interest to the proceedings today, announcing that as of this year, they will be marking the tire compound visibly at this year's races. This will make it possible for fans to easily identify which riders are on the soft, which on the medium and which on the hard compounds from now on. The soft tires will have black lettering on a yellow background, medium will have black lettering on a silver background, and hard will have yellow lettering on a black background.
Aki Ajo's teams have a firm grip on the Moto3 class on the second day of testing at Jerez. Jack Miller ended the day on top of the timesheets, well inside the pole record set by Alex Rins in May last year. Miller's teammate Karel Hanika grabbed second spot, the Red Bull Rookie Cup champion of 2013 making an outstanding debut in the class. Rounding out the top three was Danny Kent on the factory Husqvarna, an operation which is also run by Aki Ajo.
Though Miller's time was out of reach of the rest, over a third of a second quicker than the chasing mob, the group that followed was close. Karel Hanika was strong all session, Danny Kent putting on a late charge to challenge Hanika at the end of the session, ending the day just a thousandth behind the Czech rider. Italian Romano Fenati of the Team Sky VR46 squad was another four thousandths behind Kent, and his teammate Pecco Bagnaia was another two hundredths behind Fenati.
Alex Marquez was the first Honda rider, the NSF250RW showing distinct signs of improvement. Marquez ended the day just six tenths behind Miller, with Efren Vazquez and the French prodigy Fabio Quartararo a couple of hundredths behind.
Testing concludes on Thursday.
Press releases from some of the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first day of testing at Jerez:
In the Moto2 class at Jerez, battle was rejoined once again by the two strongest men of the season so far, with Marc VDS Racing's Tito Rabat coming out on top this time. Like Jack Miller in Moto3, Rabat was on record pace, just a few hundredths off the pole record set by Stefan Bradl in 2011. Tom Luthi was forced to settle for 2nd, despite having led for a good part of the day, ending a quarter of a second behind the Spaniard, and a third of a second ahead of Rabat's teammate Mika Kallio.
Sam Lowes continues to make a strong debut in the Moto2 class, ending the day as 4th fastest, just ahead of the other impressive rookie Maverick Viñales, while Takaaki Nakagami was 6th, just behind Viñales. The two Mapfre Aspar riders Nico Terol and Jordi Torres, so fast at Valencia, were well down the order at Jerez, Terol 17th and 1.6 seconds down, Torres all the way back in 30th.