Swiss veteran beats Bezzecchi’s Thursday time on Day 3 as the Japanese star edges out McPhee by just 0.050.
The third and final day of the Official Moto2™ and Moto3™ Jerez Test saw lap records tumble. In the intermediate class it was the experienced Tom Lüthi (Liqui Moly Intact GP) who took top honours with a 1:40.326, with Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) leaving the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto as the man to beat in the intermediate class as the Japanese rider, John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) and Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) set scintillating 1:44s in Andalucia.
In Moto2™, Marco Bezzecchi’s (SKY Racing Team VR46) Thursday time saw the Italian take P2 in Andalucia, 0.122 behind Lüthi, with Federal Oil Gresini Moto2’s Nicolo Bulega completing the top three across the combined three days. On the third and final day at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto, a total of 20 intermediate class riders improved their times from the opening couple of days as the sun shone once more. Lorenzo Baldassarri (FlexBox HP 40) was first out on track to get as much mileage on the board as possible, with he and the team doing less private testing that most of the other riders, while they spent most of Wednesday testing Kalex’s more “radical” 2020 chassis. The five-time race winner finished P14 overall after getting his lap time down to a 1:41.137 on Day 3.
Also on Day 3, Speed Up were seen testing a new front aero package, a big change to what we’ve seen from Speed Up in the past. Characteristically their riders have always suffered in terms of top speed, so it’s likely we’ll be seeing this breaking cover a lot more at the Qatar Test in one week’s time.
Casting back to the overall times and it was Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Tetsuta Nagashima who claimed P4, the Japanese rider improving on the final day to sit 0.344 off Lüthi’s benchmark. The impressive Aron Canet (Aspar Team) rounded out the top five as the Spanish rookie continues to seamlessly acclimatise to life as a Moto2™ rider. Canet ends the test as the leading rookie and non-Kalex rider – a job well done for the 20-year-old.
Petronas Sprinta Racing’s Xavi Vierge finishes 0.066 off compatriot Canet in P6 with a best time of 1:40.776, with fellow Spaniard Jorge Navarro (Speed Up Racing) claiming seventh. Both he and teammate Fabio Di Giannantonio finished under half a second off Lüthi’s lap record, the Speed Up duo sit slightly ahead of Day 1 pacesetter Remy Gardner (Onexox TKKR SAG Team) and tenth best – and riding wounded – Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo).
In Moto3™, the final day in southern Spain saw the riders go into time attack mode as they aimed to see what their one-lap qualifying pace was like. The top three all set their 1:44s in the opening session of Friday, along with 14 other riders as Honda riders locked out the top five, Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) and Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0) sitting 0.5 off Ogura’s time. And talking of the Japanese factory, their new Moto3™ machine made more of an appearance on Friday, with the biggest difference being the gearbox.
According to some KTM teams, the 2020 bike is much nimbler than the previous version and the leading Austrian factory rider was sixth place Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo), with Albert Arenas (Aspar Team) a tenth behind in P7. Honda Team Asia’s Yuki Kunii joined his teammate inside the top 10 by finishing P8, a great job by the rookie who has Filip Salač (Rivacold Snipers Team) and Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) behind him in P9 and P10 respectively.
The Moto2™ and Moto3™ riders and teams will be putting in more hard graft over in Qatar on the 28th February – 2nd March, before the season proper gets underway on the 6th-8th March at the Losail International Circuit.
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