Valencia Moto2 Test Overall Times - Simon Beats Noyes And Elias To The Punch

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: 

Pos No Rider Bike Time Diff Prev
1 60 Julían Simón RSV 1'37.156 0.000  
2 9 Kenny Noyes PromoHarris 1'37.371 0.215 0.215
3 24 Toni Elias Moriwaki 1'37.530 0.374 0.159
4 71 Claudio Corti Suter 1'37.579 0.423 0.049
5 72 Yuki Takahashi Tech3 1'37.635 0.479 0.056
6 15 Alex de Angelis Scot 1'37.687 0.531 0.052
7 61 Vladimir Ivanov Moriwaki 1'38.040 0.884 0.353
8 12 Thomas Luthi Moriwaki 1'38.056 0.900 0.016
9 68 Yonny Hernandez BQR 1'38.144 0.988 0.088
10 10 Fonsi Nieto Moriwaki 1'38.151 0.995 0.007
11 53 Valentin Debise ADV 1'38.190 1.034 0.039
12 17 Karel Abraham RSV 1'38.260 1.104 0.070
13 16 Jules Cluzel Suter 1'38.301 1.145 0.041
14 35 Raffaele De Rosa Tech3 1'38.426 1.270 0.125
15 40 Sergio Gadea Kalex 1'38.456 1.300 0.030
16 80 Axel Pons Kalex 1'38.459 1.303 0.003
17 2 Gabor Talmacsi FTR 1'38.512 1.356 0.053
18 8 Anthony West MZ 1'38.523 1.367 0.011
19 25 Alex Baldolini ICP 1'38.542 1.386 0.019
20 63 Mike di Meglio RSV 1'38.572 1.416 0.030
21 59 Niccolo Canepa Scot 1'38.671 1.515 0.099
22 48 Shoya Tomizawa Suter 1'38.681 1.525 0.010
23 41 Arne Tode Suter 1'38.783 1.627 0.102
24 4 Stefan Bradl Suter 1'38.893 1.737 0.110
25 5 Joan Olivé PromoHarris 1'38.940 1.784 0.047
26 6 Álex Debón FTR 1'38.977 1.821 0.037
27 77 Dominique Aegerter Suter 1'38.988 1.832 0.011
28 45 Scott Redding Suter 1'39.198 2.042 0.210
29 95 Mashel Al Naimi BQR 1'39.212 2.056 0.014
30 39 Robertino Pietri Suter 1'39.339 2.183 0.127
31 75 Mattia Pasini TSR 1'39.701 2.545 0.362
32 29 Andrea Iannone FTR 1'39.999 2.843 0.298
33 52 Lukas Pesek Moriwaki 1'40.254 3.098 0.255
34 27 Vincent Lonbois Suter 1'40.525 3.369 0.271
35 3 Simone Corsi TSR 1'40.766 3.610 0.241
36 21 Vladimir Leonov Suter 1'40.768 3.612 0.002
37 88 Yannick Guerra Moriwaki 1'41.072 3.916 0.304

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Moto2 looks as if it could supply us fans with some very close racing and the times from the front riders are close enough to 250/SS, after one test, for us to to take the new class seriously..
Here's hoping Dunlop can find a compound that gives them a shot at toppling the old lap records which will help folk accept it as a true No.2 class..Oh, and some beautiful warm Spanish sunshine for the Jerez test..

will be worth keeping an eye on this year. They have a Moto2 class running Superstock level CBR motors, not supplied as a spec engine, but with strict tuning rules. They don't have a spec ECU either, but no traction control is allowed. Michelin will supply the tyres.
Valencia, Jerez and Catalunya are ports of call on their'll be interesting to compare times from Moto2 in GP.
With the 125 riders down the list so far, could the pecking order as to where future Moto2 riders in GP come from, be about to change.?

It will mean that the riders still get their start racing in Spain. Many of the 125 riders would get a start in the CEV too so it's just another intermediate step. Going in and out of the GP paddock used to seem difficult. But maybe it will be the norm. The most it could threaten would be to challenge the relevance of 125s in GP. It will be interesting to see if other national series' make a similar class. IOMTT seems to be running at least one bike from the formula. If these moto2 chassis start being available 2nd hand and people keep crashing 600s for donor motors, maybe it really could be the second coming of the TZR in providing affordable, competitive race machines for all

Having spoken to a few series organizers for a piece I wrote for MCN Sport recently, Moto2 will start to appear in other national series within a couple of years. They'll be running during practice in the German IDM championship, but they won't be racing, though that may change in 2011. BSB and the Dutch national series currently have no plans to run Moto2 bikes, but everyone I spoke to said that they were "watching the series with interest."

Personally, I think most national series will have a Moto2 class by 2013.

That seems reasonable and the likely progression. The question becomes: where do the motor for a national series come from? Theoretically, any large tuner shop could provide a spec sealed motor but will that lead to vaiation between series that complicates transitions for riders?

In Spain, they are using Honda engines with a permitted state of tune (around Superstock). That seems to be the way forward, after all, the class is about the chassis, not the engine. 

I think the idea of the control, sealed motor is great when 1 to 3 million euros is being tossed around. But on the national level I agree that just superstock regulation with standard competition controls (rules of inspection) has got to be the more cost effective way to go. Cheating could go on at any level. If the organizing body is worthy of claiming itself legitimate it will have to adopt some fairly strict rules. The "I swear it came from the factory like this" excuses should be handled by multi-year to lifetime bans.

I think other options for the formula (600cc 4 stroke) could be integrated in different national series as a control motor as well. It would just require factory support (and likely far fewer engines per campaign). Maybe a rotating system between several interested factories could be managed by the FIM where for several years a series would have one company's engine and then change. Same for tires.