Throughout the first season of Moto2, there was much smugness among the diehard curmudgeons who had bemoaned the loss of the two-stroke 250s at the fact that the 600cc four strokes were considerably slower than the old 250s were. The old guard treated the Moto2 machines with disdain, regarding them as little more than jumped-up sportsbikes, bearing little relation to true Grand Prix Machinery.
There was some merit in their argument: The 250cc two-cylinder two strokes were jewels of engineering, beautifully constructed, lightweight, powerful and precise as a surgeon's scalpel. The Moto2 bikes were bigger, bulkier, and in part thanks to the rudimentary electronics and slipper clutch, much more out of shape into and out of corners. If 250 races were like a fight to the death by olympic fencing champions, Moto2 races were like a barroom brawl after the bar had been drunk dry.
Some of that smugness will have to go now, though. On the last day of the Jerez Moto2 test, first Marc Marquez and then later Stefan Bradl smashed through the 1'43 barrier, with Bradl beating the former 250cc lap record set back in 2005 by Dani Pedrosa. Marquez fell a tenth of a second short of Pedrosa's 250 mark, but Bradl took nearly two tenths of a second off the former 250 champion's 2005 pole record. The Moto2 bikes have now officially caught up.
Combined times from all three days of testing at Jerez for the Moto2 class:
Combined results from all three days of testing at Jerez for the 125cc class:
The World Superbike season opener at Phillip Island was an excellent way to whet the appetites of motorcycle racing fans around the globe, but the downside of the Antipodean round - and it's a big downside - is the fact that round 2 of WSBK follows fully four weeks after round 1. The MotoGP season opener fills that space, but even the Qatar race doesn't take place until three weeks after Phillip Island.
Fortunately, the media moguls at the World Superbike series have come up with a solution for race fans, stilling their hunger and promoting their series at the same time. On the official World Superbike Youtube channel, WSBK is running the World Superbike magazine, a half hour of news, reports and lengthy recaps from the first race of the season at Phillip Island. You can watch the show below, or over on Youtube.
Press releases at the end of the three-day test at Jerez for the Moto2 and 125 classes:
Finalized results of the last day of testing for the Moto2 class at Jerez:
Finalized results of the last day of testing for the 125cc class at Jerez:
The Moto2 and 125cc riders got a break on Saturday, the weather gods deciding to, if not exactly smile, then at least hold off on the punishment for the second day of the IRTA test at Jerez. The paddock awoke to clear skies, but the cool temperatures and strong wind was hardly conducive to posting fast times, the track still damp and treacherous in patches until well into the afternoon.
The state of the track was illustrated best by the times posted by the 125cc riders. Nico Terol on the startlingly lime green Bankia Aspar continues to dominate the 125 class, though his times are still 1.5 seconds off lap record pace. The opposition is starting to close in, however. Racing Team Germany's Sandro Cortese got within a tenth of a second of last year's runner up, and even led during part of the session, something which has not happened very often so far during pre-season testing. Meanwhile, Maverick Vinales - probably one of the best names for a motorcycle racer for a long time - once again put in an impressive day's testing, keeping hot on the heels of Terol and raising hopes among the Spanish media. The only concern about the Spanish and European 125 champion is how he will fare once the paddock leaves Spain and heads abroad. He has a lot of learning to do.
Here's the press releases received so far after the second day of testing at Jerez:
A minor crash disrupts Marc Márquez plans in Jerez
Combined results from both sessions of testing on Saturday for the Moto2 class at Jerez :
Results of both sessions of testing for the 125cc class at Jerez:
The point of selecting Jerez as the location for the official Moto2 and 125cc test is to escape the worst of Europe's winter, but the trouble is that sometimes, you can run, but you can't hide. That was very much the case on the first day of the three-day test, with cold temperatures and heavy rain making riding a very tricky affair, and one which a number of riders chose to sit out altogether, most notably last year's championship runner up Julian Simon.
But between - or more accurately, before - the showers, the vast majority of riders took the opportunity to give their Moto2 machines a shakedown run, using the official Moto2 engines supplied by Geo Tech for the first time, the engines which the teams will be using for this test, and the following three races. Despite the fact that everyone is now on equal equipment - at least in the engine stakes - the conditions meant we were still denied a realistic look at the comparitive strengths of the field.
Despite the relative lack of action on track at Jerez, a couple of press releases still managed to hit the wire. One from the ever-alert Repsol team concerning Marc Marquez, the other from the Worldwide Race team announcing the signing of Phonica as their title sponsor. Here are the releases:
The rain spoils Marc Márquez's team coming-out in Jerez
Results of the first day of testing for the 125cc class at Jerez, courtesy of Motoworld.es:
Results of the 1st day of testing for the Moto2 riders at Jerez: