Moto2 Test Day 1 Times - Elias Leads Simon And Noyes

The first day of testing with the official Honda engine is over for the Moto2 class, and finally we have some kind of indication of both what the lap times and what the relative strengths of each rider, team and chassis are. And those indications are throwing up some very interesting surprises.

The name at the very top of the timesheet is very far from a surprise: Ever since it was clear that Toni Elias would be returning to MotoGP's middle class, he has been favorite to take the title. Elias got his campaign off to a good start, lapping in the mid 1'37s, a respectable pace which would have put him in 12th on the grid for the last ever 250cc race here just over 4 months ago. The name of Julian Simon, reigning 125cc World Champion is no real shocker either, the Mapfre Aspar rider also being hotly tipped by both fans and insiders. 

Places 3 through 5 are more of a surprise, though they range from an insiders' tipped rider to a complete wildcard. Kenny Noyes in 3rd may come as a surprise to MotoGP fans, but anyone who has kept half an eye on the Spanish CEV Formula Extreme championship in recent years will know the American's name, and will know that he is fast. Noyes has had some experience on Moto2 bikes already, having tested immediately after the race at Valencia.

Claudio Corti in 4th place is more of a surprise, the Italian riding for the former Hayate team being another unknown in the GP paddock, but having a strong history in the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup, where he was always a front runner. But 5th place is a real shocker, demonstrative of just how open the class could be. Vladimir Ivanov was widely assumed to be just a filler, a way of funding the Gresini team, as the Russian is known to have paid a significant sum to ride alongside Toni Elias. It was known that Ivanov was competent, having scored podiums in the highly competitive IDM Supersport class, but 5th in this company, and just outside the 1'37 bracket is extremely impressive. Ivanov is currently cheap in just about every Fantasy MotoGP league which features Moto2 riders, and is likely to be severely underpriced. The Russian has established himself as one to watch.

Yuki Takahashi is another name that was expected, the Tech 3 rider having performed very well throughout earlier Moto2 tests. Yonny Hernandez, on the other hand, is much less well-known, and much more of a surprise in 7th.

What the results seem to indicate at this early stage is that the role of the 125cc class as a training ground appears to have significantly diminished. Of the top 10 riders, 7 have spent at least the last year racing four strokes in one form or another, and only Julian Simon has come to the class from the 125s. Even Simon is not a real rookie, as he previously spent a year racing 250s before returning to the 125s. The first of the 125 riders is Dominique Aegerter in 15th, 1.5 seconds off Elias' pace and at the head of a host of former 125 racers, including Joan Olive, Axel Pons, Sergio Gadea and Stefan Bradl.

Another item of note is the close clustering of times: two tenths separate the top 4; five hundredths separate 5th from 6th, and there's just three tenths between places 8 through 16. In between those times are sizable jumps, which suggests the racing will be very close between small groups, rather than 15 riders all contesting a single corner, as we sometimes saw in the 125cc class.

And finally, we are starting to find out what the official engine is like. Both Kenny Noyes and Julian Simon were pleasantly surprised by the power, remarking that it was down on top end, but that the mid-range was very strong and the engine response was excellent. In a press release, Noyes noted that the most interesting aspect of having a control engine was that it made slipstreaming and drafting incredibly important. "What is really fun is the slipstreaming," Noyes wrote. "I'll tell you what it is like…it's like getting a tow down the straight at a dirt track mile. This is gonna be a fun class!" It certainly sounds like it.

Testing continues tomorrow and Wednesday.

Results of the first day of testing for the Moto2 class at Valencia: 

Pos No Rider Bike Time Diff Prev
1 24 Toni Elias Moriwaki 1'37.530 0.000  
2 60 Julían Simón RSV 1'37.548 0.018 0.018
3 9 Kenny Noyes PromoHarris 1'37.692 0.162 0.144
4 71 Claudio Corti Suter 1'37.729 0.199 0.037
5 61 Vladimir Ivanov Moriwaki 1'38.040 0.510 0.311
6 72 Yuki Takahashi Tech3 1'38.089 0.559 0.049
7 68 Yonny Hernandez BQR 1'38.354 0.824 0.265
8 17 Karel Abraham RSV 1'38.644 1.114 0.290
9 8 Anthony West MZ 1'38.662 1.132 0.018
10 59 Niccolo Canepa Scot 1'38.671 1.141 0.009
11 35 Raffaele De Rosa Tech3 1'38.727 1.197 0.056
12 12 Thomas Luthi Moriwaki 1'38.784 1.254 0.057
13 16 Jules Cluzel Suter 1'38.857 1.327 0.073
14 63 Mike di Meglio RSV 1'38.882 1.352 0.025
15 15 Alex de Angelis Scot 1'38.899 1.369 0.017
16 77 Dominique Aegerter B&B Team 1'38.988 1.458 0.089
17 5 Joan Olivé PromoHarris 1'39.331 1.801 0.343
18 80 Axel Pons Kalex 1'39.351 1.821 0.020
19 40 Sergio Gadea Kalex 1'39.483 1.953 0.132
20 10 Fonsi Nieto Moriwaki 1'39.582 2.052 0.099
21 4 Stefan Bradl Suter 1'39.655 2.125 0.073
22 6 Álex Debón FTR 1'39.691 2.161 0.036
23 75 Mattia Pasini TSR 1'39.701 2.171 0.010
24 48 Shoya Tomizawa Suter 1'39.720 2.190 0.019
25 45 Scott Redding Suter 1'39.782 2.252 0.062
26 53 Valentin Debise ADV 1'40.062 2.532 0.280
27 95 Mashel Al Naimi BQR 1'40.076 2.546 0.014
28 2 Gabor Talmacsi FTR 1'40.134 2.604 0.058
29 25 Alex Baldolini ICP 1'40.567 3.037 0.433
30 21 Vladimir Leonov Suter 1'40.867 3.337 0.300
31 41 Arne Tode Suter 1'41.011 3.481 0.144
32 39 Robertino Pietri Suter 1'41.148 3.618 0.137
33 88 Yannick Guerra Moriwaki 1'41.206 3.676 0.058
34 52 Lukas Pesek Moriwaki 1'41.245 3.715 0.039
35 27 Vincent Lonbois Suter 1'41.254 3.724 0.009
36 29 Andrea Iannone FTR 1'42.651 5.121 1.397
37 3 Simone Corsi TSR 1'44.327 6.797 1.676

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The top four are less than a second away from the fastest 250 and SS600 race laps from last year and 2 secs down to 20th is close..this is the end of day One.
Things are looking's to some banging racing.
Maybe Dorna has some imagination after all..

I can't wait for this season. These bikes are all very closely matched and there will be many instances where several bikes are trying to occupy the same space at the same time.

Lines will be drawn. Cross words will be said. Gauntlets will thrown down. The racing will be intense.

That was a mistake. I created the list using an old Moto2 list. Abraham is on an RSV, and I've corrected the list above. Thanks for pointing that out! 

I'm rooting for The Boy.

I predict Toni Elias will break something necessary, like a femur.

Talmasci will do better than last year.

can anyone explain why the teams got the speck engines just now?
Why they couldn’t get them before the last tests?

I mean what's the point in running expansive tests on a bike with the wrong engine? How does that help cutting costs?

I get why it’s in Hondas interest to hold on to the engines as long as possible- but how can they get away with this?

The problem was not Honda holding the engines back, they just weren't ready. They really needed to make sure the engines didn't break, and so were trying to find the optimal balance between performance and reliability. And it took them a very long time, I'm afraid. 

so is it gonna turn out that a year in supersport or something after 125cc is preferable than going straight up and suffering badly?

I think it will take some time for people to get used to the change. Some confidence will be shattered by the experience and may never recover. Team experience and the novel chassis designs (how ever safe their design is) may also turn a hero into a zero. But it's just day one. I think some of those names are on their first outing. I wouldn't place bets yet.

Is there really going to be a 37 rider field in these races? If so, I think it will be awesome...

is impressive as a start.
I couldn't help but notice the Phillip Island WSS grid was 17 riders.