Moto2™: headline stealers and hidden aces?

Navarro top in Moto ™ Rodrigo takes the reins in Moto ™There have been a host of strong performances in testing, but now it’s more than a dress rehearsal – and time to show your hand.

After a few days on track at Jerez and then again Qatar, it’s safe to say we have a number of names who look like they’ll be challenging at the front in Moto2™ this year. But testing never tells the whole story as some focus one way and others the other, and the first race of the season has plenty in store.

The man who was fastest by the end of testing at Losail International Circuit was Jorge Navarro (Beta Tools Speed Up), and the Spaniard is certainly on that list of those we expect to be fast. With a good number of intermediate class podiums to his name in 2019, Navarro already had some momentum too – and although he’s still looking for that first Moto2™ win, his consistency has been impressive. His teammate Fabio Di Giannantonio was also a pretty consistent performer last year as he found his feet as a rookie as well, and testing showed another step for him so they’ll be coming out swinging.

Speed Up in general were impressively quick in preseason, which now includes the Aspar Team as they make to switch to the chassis, so it could be an interesting battle of the manufacturers. The headlines in the team were stolen by Aron Canet as the rookie Spaniard proved a revelation and was often up inside the top five or six, but Hafizh Syahrin had also started to re-adjust to Moto2™ by the end of testing as the Malaysian moves back into the class. Two more contenders? It seems so.

Jorge Martin (Red Bull TM Ajo), meanwhile, was the fastest Kalex runner overall – and another to switch chassis. The Spaniard was second to Navarro and showed off that momentum he’d been gaining throughout the latter half of 2019 despite the change in machinery; something that bodes well for him. Fellow sophomores Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) and Nicolo Bulega (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) were also inside the top ten after they impressed, and the interesting mix of veterans and newer faces continued in ninth as American Joe Roberts put in a stunner at Losail. Like Martin, he’s switched chassis – can that form continue into the race weekend?

Experience was scattered throughout the timesheets, however, with some fast after time attacks and others we expect to burst out the gates higher up once the flag drops and the talking stops. Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) led the charge in third, Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) was fifth, Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) tenth, Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing) 11th… and the two men who duelled for the win in the desert last year, Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40) and Tom Lüthi (Liqui Moly Intact GP), were 12th and 13th. With that amount of experience and success all a little further down the timesheets, it seems likely we’ve not seen everyone’s full hand – but now we will.

Moto2™ go racing at Losail International Circuit on Sunday 8th March at 18:00 LT, tune in to see some more pieces of the puzzle revealed in what will doubtless prove another classic encounter.

1 – Jorge Navarro – (Beta Tools Speed Up) – Speed Up – 1:58.520
2 – Jorge Martin – (Red Bull KTM Ajo) – Kalex – +0.135
3 – Remy Gardner – (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) – Kalex – +0.144
4 – Fabio Di Giannantonio – (Beta Tools Speed Up) – Speed Up – +0.311
5 – Marcel Schrötter – (Liqui Moly Intact GP) – Kalex – +0.408