Throughout the first season of Moto2, there was much smugness among the diehard curmudgeons who had bemoaned the loss of the two-stroke 250s at the fact that the 600cc four strokes were considerably slower than the old 250s were. The old guard treated the Moto2 machines with disdain, regarding them as little more than jumped-up sportsbikes, bearing little relation to true Grand Prix Machinery.
There was some merit in their argument: The 250cc two-cylinder two strokes were jewels of engineering, beautifully constructed, lightweight, powerful and precise as a surgeon's scalpel. The Moto2 bikes were bigger, bulkier, and in part thanks to the rudimentary electronics and slipper clutch, much more out of shape into and out of corners. If 250 races were like a fight to the death by olympic fencing champions, Moto2 races were like a barroom brawl after the bar had been drunk dry.
The Moto2 and 125cc riders got a break on Saturday, the weather gods deciding to, if not exactly smile, then at least hold off on the punishment for the second day of the IRTA test at Jerez. The paddock awoke to clear skies, but the cool temperatures and strong wind was hardly conducive to posting fast times, the track still damp and treacherous in patches until well into the afternoon.
The point of selecting Jerez as the location for the official Moto2 and 125cc test is to escape the worst of Europe's winter, but the trouble is that sometimes, you can run, but you can't hide. That was very much the case on the first day of the three-day test, with cold temperatures and heavy rain making riding a very tricky affair, and one which a number of riders chose to sit out altogether, most notably last year's championship runner up Julian Simon.
But between - or more accurately, before - the showers, the vast majority of riders took the opportunity to give their Moto2 machines a shakedown run, using the official Moto2 engines supplied by Geo Tech for the first time, the engines which the teams will be using for this test, and the following three races. Despite the fact that everyone is now on equal equipment - at least in the engine stakes - the conditions meant we were still denied a realistic look at the comparitive strengths of the field.
With the weather greatly improved from Friday, our shooter-on-the-scene Andrew Gosling of TBGSport ventured beyond the confines of pitlane, and sent us back the following shots:
MODERATOR: Ben, quite a weekend for you. Up and down, as it has been for I think most people here at Indianapolis. First of all, congratulations, pole position. Two weeks ago was the first front row, and now you've gone one better in pole.
Here at MotoMatters.com, we are not in the habit of publishing press releases unless they have something of particular interest to impart. That is very much the case with the interview with Red Bull Ajo rider Marc Marquez that arrived in our mailboxes. Despite being a press release from a sponsor - therefore avoiding controversy and difficult questions - the interview is highly illuminating about Marquez. The current 125cc championship leader is widely tipped for success, underlining his status in the paddock by becoming the first rider to win five 125 races in a row at the Sachsenring, and looking just about unbeatable. At the age of just 17, Marquez looks to have a big future in MotoGP. Here's what he had to say to the Repsol Media service:
After so many weeks of races one after the other, are you looking forward to slowing the pace down a bit?
"It's true that racing every week can be hard but, in my case, where I have been winning and things came easily, I've been very motivated weekend after weekend. The holidays are always good though, even more when you've done your work well beforehand".
Does interrupting such a good run bother you?
"Yes. When you have everything going well, you're riding comfortably, with confidence and, on top of that the wins are coming, you would race every weekend, but it's also good to disconnect and come back to the second half of the championships stronger".
With so much racing, so much travelling and so many days away from home, do you get worn out?
"No, because if you manage it well, when you finish a race you can do some light exercise which helps you to recover well. Also, in winter we do an intensive preparation which has to keep us going all season".
Which win has been the most exciting for you?