After a tougher start to the year than expected for KTM riders in the Moto2™ class, the Austrian factory were stealing headlines on Tuesday at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto in the one day Official Moto2™ and Moto3™ Test. Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder had two different bikes to try, and differing swingarms on the Red Bull KTM Ajo bikes of Binder and teammate Jorge Martin indicated the Austrian factory was trying several different options. The Red Bull KTM Tech 3 bike of Marco Bezzecchi was also sporting a different swingarm. In addition, at least one new frame was being used by more than one KTM machine, with American Racing KTM having a third bike in the garage that was undercover.
After the test, both Binder and Martin were especially positive about changes they’d tried in the last session; happy with improvements made when riding in hotter temperatures – a key area in which they’d suffered during the Grand Prix.
In terms of new parts, MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward were also out testing a new chassis and swingarm in Jerez as they got more valuable miles under their belts ahead of a crucial stage of the season. With MV Agusta already having scored points twice in their debut season in Moto2™, even bigger progress is now the name of the game.
After his huge crash at the start of the race in Jerez, Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) wasn’t testing due to concussion and it was unfortunate for the Australian, with the SAG team having plenty of small bits and pieces to try – including an anti-chatter device. Gardner’s teammate Tetsuta Nagashima was out on track though to get through the work load, as well as suffering a crash at Turn 13 – rider ok. Star replacement rider Mattia Pasini was also back on a Kalex-framed bike, with the veteran Italian now lending his talents to Petronas Sprinta Racing as he replaces the injured Khairul Idham Pawi, and Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) was a particularly happy man after the test, solving issues he’d suffered with all weekend.
Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) was back out after a tough home GP through no fault of his own, and he was one who had some things from chassis manufacturer Kalex to try. Teammate Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) avoided the incident on Sunday but crashed, twice, during the test. Dimas Ekky Pratama (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) bounced back after getting embroiled in the incident off the start on in the race too but crashed once in testing, along with Iker Lecuona (American Racing KTM) and Bezzecchi – riders all ok.
Meanwhile in the Moto3™ class, Albert Arenas (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) was working on bike settings – more specifically clutch settings – and getting more mileage under his belt after a cycling accident put the Spaniard out of the Argentina and Americas GPs. It didn’t stop him from taking a top five at his home Grand Prix in Jerez, however, before the Championship returns to the venue at which he won last year.
Championship leader Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) was another out on track and he had some new front forks parts to test, with Arenas also trying them in the final session of the day. The man now just one point behind Canet in the standings, Jerez winner Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse), was another high profile rider and team out on track, back at work and preparing for France. He worked on electronics, the clutch and engine braking.
Reigning Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Champion Can Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was a key name pushing for more mileage as the youngest ever Grand Prix winner tries to find his feet with the 2019 KTM and struggling with it so far this season. The Turkish rider got plenty track time but did, however, crash twice at Turn 2 – rider ok.
That’s it from Jerez and the next official outing for the Moto2™ and Moto3™ field now comes at Le Mans as the SHARK Helmets Grand Prix de France appears on the horizon…although plenty reportedly have some private track time beforehand to get in gear.