Julian Simon was the fastest man over the three full days of testing at Valencia, the first time the Moto2 bikes had been on track with the official spec engine. The Mapfre Aspar rider topped the timesheets on Tuesday, finishing ahead of Kenny Noyes on the Banderas Jack&Jones bike and Toni Elias on the Gresini Moriwaki. The top ten was virtually unchanged from Tuesday, only Alex de Angelis improving his time, though not his position.
Where previous tests have provided little comprehensible information due to poor weather and wildly differing engine specs being used, Valencia offered a prolonged period of dry track and the introduction of the spec Honda CBR 600 engine, meaning that for the first time, it is possible to make some comparisons and draw some conclusions. And there are certainly some interesting perspectives being opened up. The fact that springs most prominently to your attention is the dearth of 125 riders at the top of the timesheet, the sole exception being the reigning 125cc World Champion Julian Simon. But to call Simon a 125 rider is to do him an injustice, Julito spent two years racing 250s before making the step into Moto2, and has clearly lost none of his experience of bigger bikes.
In parallel to the lack of 125 riders, alternative routes into the GP paddock appear to be opening up. In the top ten there are two riders from the Spanish CEV championship, one rider from the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup, one rider from the German IDM Supersport championship and a refugee from World Superbikes. Tech 3's Yuki Takahashi is the best of the former 250 riders, though the third of a season the Japanese rider spent aboard the Scot Honda in MotoGP is clearly a strong foundation.
The richness of chassis has not yet thrown up a clear winner, with all of the chassis performing relatively well. 12 of the 13 chassis finished within 1.4 seconds of the fastest bike, with only the TSR of Mattia Pasini over 2.5 seconds off the pace. In fact, the whole field is relatively close. The top 10 are all inside a second of each other, and less than 1.9 seconds separates the first 27 riders. Within that cross section, however, clear groups are forming: Simon, Noyes, Elias, together with Claudio Corti, Yuki Takahashi and Alex de Angelis are all pretty close. The next group is larger, from Vladimir Ivanov - the big surprise of the test - in 7th down to Jules Cluzel in 13th. From there, there's a huge bunch with little separating them, all the way down to Robertini Pietri in 30th.
With just two and a half days of testing done, it is a little premature to be drawing too many conclusions, but the first proper test of the Moto2 bikes has thrown up plenty to chew on. Fortunately, we won't have to masticate too long, as the next test starts at Jerez on Saturday.
Overall times from all three days of testing:
|6||15||Alex de Angelis||Scot||1'37.687||0.531||0.052|
|14||35||Raffaele De Rosa||Tech3||1'38.426||1.270||0.125|
|20||63||Mike di Meglio||RSV||1'38.572||1.416||0.030|
|29||95||Mashel Al Naimi||BQR||1'39.212||2.056||0.014|