Barcelona Moto2 Test: Day 2 Sees Faster Times And Plenty Of Falls


The second day of testing for the Moto2 class at Barcelona took place under far better conditions than the first. The day started off relatively sunny and dry, but damp patches and a cool track made for a treacherous track, which caught many riders out. The main victims were Roberto Rolfo and Alex Debon, two of the men tipped for success in the class, who both suffered serious shoulder injuries. Rolfo dislocated his shoulder and will be out for four weeks, while Debon fractured a collarbone and is likely to be out for a similar period. The Spaniard was taken to Valencia in the afternoon to undergo surgery to set the collarbone. Rolfo's injury came at a time when the Italian was doing well. He had just set the second time of the day behind American Kenny Noyes when he went down on a damp part of the track. In addition to Rolfo and Debon, the list of fallers included Thomas Luthi, Fonsi Nieto, Raffaele de Rosa and Julian Simon, though these riders came away relatively unscathed.

At the end of the day, it was the Japanese rider Shoya Tomizawa who reported the fastest time on a Suter MMX, ahead of Frenchman Jules Cluzel, also on a Suter, with the Colombian Yonni Hernandez in 3rd aboard a Blusens BQR. But while the teams are still using a mixture of engines - with a power difference of over 15 horsepower in some cases - the times need to be taken with a very large helping of salt, especially as these times have been released by the teams, rather than recorded by the official timekeeping.

Claudio Corti of the Forward Racing team illustrated the difference best to, saying "I was on the front straight, and ahead of me was [Mike] di Meglio. Our bikes were matched pretty evenly, but we passed [Yuki] Takahashi easily." Given that Takahashi and the Tech 3 team are using a Superstock engine, and are well down on power, Takahashi's fifth fastest time is fairly impressive.

The same could be said for Kenny Noyes' sixth fastest time, set aboard the Jack&Jones Promo-Harris bike. The team has elected to use a CBR600 engine in a relatively mild state of tune, while they concentrate on developing the chassis. Other teams - including Scott Redding's Marc VDS team, who are fielding Suter MMX bikes - have chosen to put full Supersport-spec engines into their bikes, to allow their riders get up to race speed as quickly as possible. The argument will be settled once and for all from March 1st, when the grid are to receive the official Honda Moto2 engines, leveling the playing field. 

Testing is due to continue tomorrow, but with more rain forecast, some teams are packing up early. The tricky conditions today were summed up succinctly by Kenny Noyes in the press release issued by the American rider:

"We were cruising today at about 85% because the track was real cold. There were guys crashing everywhere. The grip just wasn't there. But we got in a couple of hours on good work in the morning when the sun was out. The track was slow because of the low temperature and because there was no rubber down after the rain, but it was good for the team to know that our feedback from the earlier tests is starting to pay off. My feeling is that with normal track temperature and some rubber down we'd be over 2 seconds faster, which is about right. Anyway, we are all gonna get faster and a lot is gonna depend on the state of tune of the official Honda engines that we will not get until the official IRTA tests. When the temperatures started to drop in the afternoon, we backed off a bit and worked on running a steady pace in the 50´s to try and get a feel for how the bike will be when the tires start to wear. So far so good! I love this bike!" 

Times courtesy of

Shoya Tomizawa Technomag-CIP Suter MMX 1'49.4
Jules Cluzel Forward Racing Suter MMX 1'49.6
Yonni Hernández Blusens STX BQR 1'49.6
Julian Simon Mapfre Aspar Team RSV 1'49.8
Yuki Takahashi Tech 3 Racing Tech 3 1'49.8
Kenny Noyes Jack&Jones by A. Banderas Promo-Harris 1'49.9
Roberto Rolfo Italtrans STR Suter MMX 1'50.0
Claudio Corti Forward Racing Suter MMX 1'50.1
Alex Baldolini Caretta Technology ICP 1'50.3
Dominique Aegerter Technomag-CIP Suter MMX 1'50.7
Mike di Meglio Mapfre Aspar Team RSV 1'51.0
Sergio Gadea Pons Racing Kalex Pons 1'51.0
Mashel Al Naimi Blusens STX BQR 1'51.2
Fonsi Nieto G22 HolidayGym Moriwaki 1'51.2
Scott Redding Marc Vds Racing Team Suter MMX 1'51.2
Axel Pons Pons Racing Kalex Pons 1'51.4
Raffaele De Rosa Tech 3 Racing Tech 3 1'51.5
Thomas Luthi Interwetten Moriwaki Racing Moriwaki 1'51.8
Robertino Pietri Italtrans STR Suter MMX 1'51.9
Joan Olivé Jack&Jones by A. Banderas Promo-Harris 1'51.9
Stefan Bradl Viessmann Kiefer Racing Suter MMX 1'52.0
Karel Abraham Cardion AB Motoracing RSV 1'52.8
Vladimir Leonov Vector Kiefer Racing Suter MMX 1'52.9
Yannick Guerra G22 HolidayGym Moriwaki 1'53.6

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Good to see Kenny Noyes in the mix and going well.
It's a pity there's not a lot of variation or adventure in chassis design for the first year of a new class. It seems to me to be tailor made for something fairly radical as everyone has the same engine/power - and someone like a John Britten, or Fior, or even Bimota, or that fellow James Parker, could have come up with a design exercise to prove their theories (or disprove, I suppose). I'd presume the money is so tight that nobody is prepared to chance tossing away fistfuls of it going up what could prove a blind alley. Shame, that.

I think that kind of experimentation will come. But to be around more than a year, they'll want to be competitive right away. There will be enough variables in year one where it makes smart to play it safe for now. When they get to the point where the field is really close (fingers crossed) maybe someone will chase an idea to get an edge. Maybe a new center-hub, leading link or monoshock front end will be figured out. Though with everyone essentially being on the same level in terms of HP, I'm betting that aerodynamics would be a good place to invest rather than well proven suspension designs.

Teams must use supplied airbox, oil cooler, entire fuel rail, engine side and cam covers so you can't even change the chassis that much from what Honda already has on the CBR. It is hard to refute the conclusion that the only performance advantage to be had over a production 600 Supersport bike will be the reduced weight and the more open electronics of WSS may negate that advantage.

Trying to make a FFE using the same airbox seems to me a waste of time because it does not make sense to let components that are easily changeable (airbox, cam cover) dictate frame and suspension layout. Basically the teams are stuck with what Honda thought was the best compromise between performance and manufacturing cost. IMO a sad basis for a GP machine.

The entire process of making the new rules reinforces the fact that this is merely entertainment. Experimentation and innovation is the last thing Dorna cares about.

i was at motmelo yesterday in the afternoon, and went to the pits. i took some photos of the moto2 bikes their with farings off.
How can i post them?

also saw a few 125s keeping up with moto 2s for a few laps, 125s couldnt keep up with 250s ever.

I don't think it's going to be too hard for Honda to turn the wick up on the Moto2 engines to make sure they're faster than the 125's if that becomes necessary. However it's way too early to be thinking about that.

If fact, I would've been surprised if the Moto2 bikes were outpacing the 125's like the 250's used too. The 125's are well sorted, the Moto2's are still very much a work in progress.

There will be no variation in chassis design. Given that the motor is out of an aluminum twin-spar frame, everyone is going to build to that spec. There might be slight variations but they are all going to be just about the same design. Anyone who dares to step outside of that will fail and confirm what all the designers already know.

I think it's the Moriwaki that is already moving away from the twin spare frame. I think it's the nicely, thickly powder-coated trellis one early in the video above. There are only so many ways to get around the big inline 4 lump. I'd have liked to see a twin or v-4 to keep them narrow race weapons like the old 250s. These beasts are WIDE.

That's not the Moriwaki, that's the RSV which Aspar and Karel Abraham are using. The MZ is also a trellis design, though it's not shown. As for innovation, there'll be a story from a Moto2 designer on the website on Monday, which people will find very interesting I'm sure.

David beat me to it.

Ironically, I believe the first version of the Moriwaki Moto2 machine originally appeared with a trellis-frame of sorts...similar to their MotoGP racer they briefly campaigned in the 990cc days.