Alex de Angelis took a determined lead in the first session of free practice for the Moto2 class, the RSM Team Scot rider dominating for much of the session, leading by over a second for a large part of practice. De Angelis made good use of the new Ohlins suspension fitted to his GP210, as well as a thinner fairing, improving the aerodynamics and saving a total of 5 kg on the total bike weight.
Results and summary of qualifying for the Moto2 class:
Kenny Noyes has taken an impressive first pole during qualifying for Moto2 at Le Mans, on his first ever race weekend at the track. The Jack & Jones rider set the fastest time with plenty of time left in the session, deposing quasi-local rider Yuki Takahashi, riding for the French Tech 3 team. Alex Debon put in another strong performance on the Aeroport de Castello FTR, finishing ahead of another local hero, Frenchman Jules Cluzel of the Forward Racing team.
Toni Elias headed up the second session of Moto2 free practice at Le Mans, though he was made to work for it during a very hectic last 10 minutes. The Gresini rider had a comfortable lead for most of FP2, but with 10 to go, Yuki Takahashi, Andrea Iannone and Raffaele De Rosa all took turns at the top of the timesheets. After the flag had fallen and the dust had settled, it was Toni Elias who came out on top, just eight thousandths of a second ahead of Andrea Iannone, and under five hundredths ahead of Tech 3's Yuki Takahashi, while BQR's Yonny Hernandez is a tenth behind Takahashi.
Jules Cluzel gave heart to his home crowd, by setting the fastest time in the first session of practice for the Moto2 class at Le Mans. The Frenchman took the lead in the last quarter of the session, deposing Toni Elias, who had dominated up until that point. Elias was also forced to allow former Gresini teammate Alex de Angelis ahead of him, by just nine hundredths of a second. Sergio Gadea rounds out the provisional front row, finishing just ahead of Fonsi Nieto, who was also fast all session.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that the wealth of chassis choices in Moto2 is a double-edged sword. With so many frames to choose from, and the field so incredibly tight, teams are looking for the reasons why their riders are not performing as they had hoped and expected, and putting the failure to perform down to their choice of chassis.
The Mapfre Aspar team were the first team to team to make the jump. The Aspar team, fielding 125cc World Champion and former 125cc champ Mike di Meglio, decided to drop the Italian RSV chassis they had been using since the start of the year, and switch to the Swiss Suter chassis, currently favored by the bulk of the Moto2 paddock. The steel trellis RSV chassis - though stunningly beautiful and one of the few departures from the standard aluminium beam chassis being used elsewhere - has had problems with weight, and Aspar had complained that the pace of development was not meeting the team's demands.
One thing that loyal readers may have noticed is that MotoMatters.com does not usually carry press releases. This is a conscious choice, as most press releases are a little too bland to be of much great interest, albeit for a number of very good reasons.
There are always exceptions, however, and the outspoken Parkalgar Honda World Supersport team manager Simon Buckmaster is very much one of them. In his latest Simon Says column, which the team sends out as a press release, Buckmaster covers a number of extremely interesting points. He discusses the reasons the World Supersport grid is so thin this year, the options the Parkalgar team is considering for 2011, and the strange qualifying schedule that has been foisted upon the World Supersport class. A very interesting read indeed.
THE biggest talking point of the moment is the reduced grids with the main focus on the Supersport class. For the opening race of the season in Australia we had only 17 riders on the grid which was of course disappointing after much fuller grids for so many years. Back in Europe we have 18 full time riders with a couple of wild cards thrown in which normally means at least 20 on the start line.
I spoke to the people at In Front at the end of last season and told them if more was not done we would be in the same position as Moto GP sooner than they thought. I must admit I did not think it would be the very next season myself. They took absolutely no notice of me anyway. Even now nobody seems that bothered and if they are they certainly have not shared their concerns with us.