The Moto3 class had the worst of the weather on the first day of the final three-day test at Jerez ahead of the 2018 season. The Moto3 bikes only got a single session that was really any use, the day's two other sessions being marred by rain. Aron Canet came out on top of the timesheets, the Estrella Galicia rider leading by over a third of a second.
The final test for the Moto2 and Moto3 class is underway at Jerez, and for the Moto2 bikes, that means they are finally testing with the official Moto2 Honda engines. The weather has been a touch recalcitrant on Tuesday, the track sometimes dry, but light showers blowing in and out to render the track rather tricky.
Michelin's return to the MotoGP paddock has been nothing if not eventful. Since taking over from Bridgestone as official tire supplier to MotoGP, Michelin has had both spectacular success and highly visible failure. Lap records (and more importantly to Michelin, race time records) have been broken, but there have also been delaminating tires, compulsory pit stops, and at the start of their time, a lot of crashes as the riders, teams, and Michelin all struggled with the front tire.
It is hardly surprising that the first two years of Michelin's return did not go entirely to plan. Having been out of MotoGP since 2009, it was predictable that Michelin would run into unexpected problems. The spate of front end crashes which marred the first Valencia test was quickly remedied as riders learned to fathom the different nature of the Michelins, teams adapted the geometry of the bikes, and Michelin changed the profile of the front tire to improve the contact patch. The extreme tire wear was dealt with by using harder compounds, which Michelin then slowly adjusted back in search of the right balance.
By the end of their second year in the class, Michelin had a much better understanding of the demands of MotoGP, and tires had become much less of a talking point. That is something of a double-edged sword according to Piero Taramasso, head of Two-Wheel Motorsport for Michelin. "We want people to speak about the tires, but in a good way," Taramasso joked to reporters on the final day of the Qatar test. "But I know this is not the case, I know that when we do well, nobody speaks about the tires, when something goes wrong, everybody speaks about the tires, this is the way it is since forever."
Alex Marquez has underlined his role as favorite for the 2018 Moto2 title by smashing the unofficial Moto2 lap record at Jerez on the final day of the test. The Marc VDS rider became the first man to lap the track in under 1'41 on a Moto2 machine, beating the official pole record by over a second.
Marquez' time put Pecco Bagnaia back into second place, after dominating the first two days of the test. The Sky VR46 rider still ended the day in second, as well as finishing the test as second overall after all three days. Red Bull KTM rider Brad Binder took third place, beating his teammate Miguel Oliveira for the first time this test, but still eight tenths of a second slower than Marquez.
Tony Arbolino has made a splash on the final day of the Moto3 test at Jerez by taking another tenth off of the unofficial lap record set yesterday by Enea Bastianini. The Snipers Team rider took the lap record to under the 1'45.5 mark, taking half a second off the existing official pole record set by Jorge Martin back in May last year.
Pecco Bagnaia continues to dominate proceedings at Jerez, lapping nearly half a second under the previous pole record at Jerez, taking advantage of the track resurfacing which happened last year. The Sky VR46 rider was two tenths of a second quicker than Alex Marquez on the Marc VDS Kalex, the top two remaining unchanged from Monday.
Lorenzo Baldassarri put the Pons HP40 into third on the timesheets, the only other rider to end below the previous pole record. A full eighteen riders ended up under the race lap record of 1'42.596, however.
Enea Bastianini got the better of Jorge Martin to top the timesheets on the second day of the Moto3 test at Jerez. The Leopard Racing rider destroyed the Moto3 lap record, a result of the circuit resurfacing which took place last year after last year's Grand Prix at Jerez in May.
Pecco Bagnaia has underlined why there is so much interest in him from MotoGP teams by topping the first day of the Moto2 test in Jerez. The Sky Racing VR46 Team rider topped both dry sessions, the lunchtime session seeing very little action on a wet track.
Jorge Martin has topped the timesheets on the first day of the Moto3 test at Jerez. The Gresini Honda rider got off to a strong start topping both dry sessions in the morning and in the afternoon, the lunchtime session having been hit by rain and a wet track.
The official start of the WorldSBK season is less than two weeks away, with practice for the first round set to kick off at Phillip Island on Friday 23rd February. And to get fans in the mood for the return of actual racing, the coming week sees a full program of testing take place.
The week kicks off in Jerez, where the full grid of Moto2 and Moto3 has now assembled. After skipping the Valencia test last week, the Marc VDS Moto2 team, Sky VR46 team, and Swiss Innovative Investors team are all on track together in Jerez. The test will last for three days, from Monday through Wednesday 14th February, with the Moto2 and Moto3 classes taking to the track in separate sessions.