2010 Moto2 Valencia Test Day 2

March 2, 2010
Steve Atlas
Steve Atlas
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Professional-grade speed and an attitude to match, Steve Atlas is the new blood at MotoUSA. Atlas has AMA racing creds that are even more extensive than his driving record.

Noyes at speed on his new Moto2 machine.
American Noyes topped the afternoon timesheets today in Valencia, while also finishing the day second-quickest overall.

Spain’s reigning 125cc World Champion Julian Simón topped the time sheets on Day 2 of the first official IRTA Moto2 test in Valencia, Spain. This test also marks the first time all of the teams have used the new spec engine from Honda.

Simon rode his Mapfre Aspar machine to a best lap of 1:37.156 in the morning session, which then held up as quickest time of the day. The lap also topped yesterday’s leader Toni Elias by almost a half second.

“We must continue to improve, as I’m still not completely happy with the rear end of the bike which slides a lot when accelerating, and the tires are still not entirely to my liking,” said Simón in a team press release. “The engine has left me happy, because it’s more or less the same power as the one we had (originally). That was the remaining question, we didn’t know if it would flow more or less but it’s already clear the engine makes the bike go well and is fun.”

Simón was followed by American Kenny Noyes of Team Jack&Jones by Antonio Banderas, who was quickest in the afternoon session and second-overall on the day with a 1:37.371.

“This was another steady step forward on set-up but we are still looking for a bit more front-end feel,” Noyes said in a release. “We have improved corner exit. I can get on the gas early and get out of the corners real good. We are still looking for a little more mid-corner speed, but there is a trade-off between getting a good launch and carrying very high corner speed. We are going back to Barcelona to get ready for Jerez now. We only had one soft tire left for that final session and I got three 37s in a row out of it. We only had two soft rears for the three days so most of the work was done on the harder Dunlop. But the soft tire is actually what I’d use for a race at this track on a chilly day like this. We are only allowed 1500km on the engines and we already have 650 on mine, so Dani (Devahive, team director) decided to load up and save our ammo for Jerez, which is our first European race after Qatar and Japan.”

Looking ahead to the championship, Noyes added, “We are keeping our feet on the ground and working one day at a time, improving every time we go out. For sure it is going to be a challenge to learn 12 new tracks out of 17, but my teammate has been on the championship trail now for eight years and knows them all. That will help me…and I am working the Playstation real hard!”

Behind Noyes was former MotoGP race winner Toni Elias on the Gresini Racing entry, who matched his lap from Day 1, just in front of Forward Racing’s Claudio Corti. Another pair of former MotoGP riders, Scot Racing’s Alex de Angelis and Tech 3’s Yuki Takahashi, made up the top-six and were the last two riders inside the 1:38-mark.

Yonny Hérnandez on the Blusens-STX bike, Valentin Debise of Team WTR San Marino, Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham and Corti’s Forward Racing teammate Jules Cluzel made up the remainder of the top-10 on today’s timesheets.

Marco Simoncelli won the first and the last 250cc race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Many have been worried thus far in pre-season testing that the Moto2 bikes would be substantially slower than the 250cc GP bikes they replace (shown here). But the results of the official IRTA Valencia test have been promising thus far, with the top riders within roughly a second of last year’s pole time.

For comparison, the Moto2 machines are still slightly slower than the 250cc GP bikes they replace. In qualifying for last year’s Valencia GP, Alex Debon set pole at a 1:36.116 on his works Lotus Aprilia, while the fastest lap of the race went to Hector Barbera with a 1:36.886. The outright qualifying lap record for the track is held by current MotoGP rider Mika Kallio at a 1:35.659 from 2007, and Hiroshi Aoyama set the all-time best race lap in 2006 with a 1:35.109.

This shows that the potential for the new Moto2 bikes to match previous 250cc GP speeds is looking more and more promising, as they are now within a little over a second of last year’s pole time, despite still being relatively early in the development cycle. This was of serious concern earlier in pre-season testing, as they were quite far off the pace and at some tracks even worried about the faster 125cc GP riders closing in on them. This now looks to be far less of an issue as long as development continues as it had been.

Moto2 Valencia Day 2 Results
1. Julian Simón (Spain) Mapfre Aspar: 1:37.156
2. Kenny Noyes (USA) Jack&Jones by A. Banderas: 1:37.371
3. Toni Elias (Spain) Gresini Racing: 1:37.540
4. Claudio Corti (Italy) Forward Racing: 1:37.579
5. Yuki Takahashi (Japan) Tech 3 Racing: 1:37.635
6. Alex de Angelis (France) Scot Racing: 1:37.901
7. Yonny Hérnandez (Columbia) Blusens-STX: 1:38.114
8. Valentin Debise (France) WTR San Marino Team: 1:38.190
9. Karel Abraham (Czech) Cardion AB Motoracing: 1:38.260
10. Jules Cluzel (France) Forward Racing: 1:38.301