Moto2

Tom Lüthi On The Triumph Moto2 Bikes: "You Have To Be So Smooth And So Careful"

Jerez marked the start of a new era for Moto2 as a whole, but it also marked a reset in the career of Tom Lüthi. The Swiss rider moved up to MotoGP with the Marc VDS team for 2018, but suffered through a miserable season vying for the last few places in every race. It was, he told us, the most instructive year of his career.

For 2019, Lüthi returns to Moto2, racing a Kalex for the Dynavolt Intact GP team. On Saturday evening, a group of journalists spoke to Lüthi at length about adapting back to Moto2, and how the class has changed with the advent of the Triumph engines and the introduction of Magneti Marelli electronics. It proved to be an extremely enlightening insight into the differences between the old Honda-powered 600cc Moto2 bikes, and the new, 765cc Triumph-powered triples.

Q: How are you adapting back to Moto2?

TL: It was actually a good day for us. A little bit disappointed, it was a pity it was shortened a little bit by the rain and the conditions. I've got to the point already where I have really had enough of this rain, after Valencia, and now again! It's tiring...

But we could work quite well, it was an interesting day, but still a lot of work to do. I have still quite a lot of focus on the seat position, still not absolutely happy with that. We could improve some steps, but still there is some more to do, for sure. Also in the bike in general we could improve, electronics side, engine brake side, we could make steps forward, but there are still many things to try to understand what's the right thing and what's the wrong thing. It's still a new bike.

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2018 Jerez Moto2 Test Sunday Times: Odendaal Quickest In Damp Conditions

Heavy rain on Saturday night, and intermittent rain during Sunday severely limited track time for the last day of Moto2 testing. Most riders chose not to risk a crash, and packed up and went home early. Of the few who did venture out, Steven Odendaal was quickest, scoring a moral victory for the RW Racing team and the NTS chassis. 

Testing is now finished, and the Moto2 class will reconvene in February.

Times:

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2018 Jerez Moto2 Test Saturday Times: Marini Quickest As Rain Stops Second Session

Luca Marini finished the second day of testing for the Moto2 class on top of the timesheets, the Sky VR46 rider getting under the existing pole record in the morning session of practice. Sam Lowes, very happy to be back on a Kalex with the Gresini Team, was second, a quarter of a second slower than Marini, while Alex Marquez just pipped Remy Gardner for third. 

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2018 Jerez Moto2 Test Friday Times: Baldassarri Fastest, Martin Breaks Bones In Debut Triumph Test

Friday saw the birth of two new eras in Grand Prix racing: the start of the MotoE class, and the first official test with the Triumph Moto2 engine managed with Magneti Marelli electronics. The Triumph 765 triples introduce a very different sound into the paddock to the four-cylinder Honda CBR600RR engines they replaced, and have a very different character. 

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2018 Valencia Race Round Up: KTM Cleans Up, New Tires Make The Difference, Emotional Farewells, And A 2019 Testing Preview

It has been a strange and intense year in MotoGP, so it seems fitting that we should end the year with such a strange and intense weekend. Three races defined by the weather, by crashes, and by riders holding their nerve and playing their cards right. And at the end, an explosion of emotion. Exactly as it should have been.

There were no titles on the line on Sunday – no serious titles, though the riders vying for Independent Rider and the teams chasing the Team Championship may choose to disagree – but the emotional release on Sunday was as great, or perhaps even greater, than if all three championships had been decided. We had records broken in Moto3, a new factory on the podium in MotoGP, and a farewell to old friends in all three classes, as riders move up, move over, or move on.

The weather figured prominently, as you might expect. Moto3 and Moto2 got off lightly, the rain falling gently and consistently, keeping the track wet, but never to a truly dangerous degree. That did not stop riders from falling off, of course, and dictating the outcome of both races. Those crashes – two races, two riders crashing out of the lead – were just as emotional as the riders who went on to win.

In with the new, out with the old

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Grand Prix Commission Introduces MotoGP-Style Qualifying For Moto2 & Moto3

The Grand Prix Commission, MotoGP's rule-making body, has decided to change the qualifying system used for the Moto2 and Moto3 classes and adopt the same system used in MotoGP. From next year, the fastest 14 riders across all three free practice sessions will pass directly into Q2, the rest going into Q1. The four fastest riders from Q1 will then also go to Q2, meaning 18 riders will fight it out for the front 6 rows of the grid.

The changes are aimed at achieving two ends. Firstly, to homogenize the qualifying procedure across all three Grand Prix classes, and helping Moto2 and Moto3 riders prepare for MotoGP. Secondly, to improve the show in qualifying, and make it more attractive and exciting for viewers, as has happened in MotoGP. 

Though both these aims are laudable, the new system may have an unintended negative consequence as well. At the moment, towing is mainly a problem during qualifying, as riders - especially in Moto3 - try to find a fast rider to follow in an attempt to improve their own qualifying position. It has created many dangerous situations during qualifying, with near misses as slower riders sit on the racing line while riders going full speed approach.

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