2014 Moto2 And Moto3 Valencia Test, Day 1 Notes

After a private test at Almeria last week, the full Moto2 and Moto3 fields assembled at Valencia for the first full official test of the year for the Grand Prix support classes. Conditions were far from ideal: though it remained dry all day, it was cold, with asphalt temperatures barely cracking 10°C at midday. The cold track caught an awful lot of riders out, with many people crashing, though nobody suffered any serious harm. Mostly, it was just riders' pride and their bikes which ended up dented.

In the Moto2 class, Mika Kallio ended the day as fastest, somehow fitting that the icy Finn should top the timesheets in the freezing conditions. The Marc VDS Racing rider ended the day just ahead of Aspar's Jordi Torres, and Interwetten's Tom Luthi. Spaniards Nico Terol and Tito Rabat took 4th and 5th respectively. So far, the names at the top of the timesheets are familiar ones, having been fast in Moto2 last year. 

Of the newcomers, Sam Lowes made a very solid impression, continuing the good start he has so far made to his Moto2 career, Lowes is now alone in the Speed Up team, his erstwhile teammate Alessandro Nocco has been withdrawn due to sponsorship problems. Lowes ended the day as 8th fastest, under three quarters of a second slower than Kallio. In the Pons team, Maverick Viñales has made an incredibly strong start to his Moto2 career, ending the day in 9th, but having featured near the top of the timesheets all day. The switch from Moto3 to Moto2 is said to be one of the toughest, going from a bike that weighs less than 100 kg to one that is 50% heavier, and has more than twice the horsepower. For Viñales to be this quick this early is a sign he could perform well. He was matched by his teammate and former rival for the Moto3 championship Luis Salom. The two former Moto3 men look like playing a significant role in this year's Moto2 championship.

In the Moto3 class, the day belonged to Niccolo Antonelli on the Gresini KTM. The Italian youngster was the fastest rider all day, putting a huge gap into the remainder of the field. Australian Jack Miller was the only man to get within half a second of the Italian, Miller settling in well at the Ajo team on the KTM. Miller was one of the riders to crash, a harmless tumble with just a few minutes of the day left. Romano Fenati of the Team Sky VR46 squad was third fastest, while Isaac Viñales was the quickest Spaniard in 4th, and the last rider to get within a second of Antonelli.

The two Alexes, Rins and Marquez, found themselves way down the field in 17th and 11th respectively. The gamble by Emilio Alzamora and the Estrella Galicia team to switch to Honda is yet to pay off, the new and radically revised Honda Moto3 bike still badly in need of development. The engine has been changed in pursuit of horsepower, now matching the bore and stroke of the KTM, but there is a lot of work left to be done to get the bike ready for the new season. Fastest Honda was Efren Vazquez on the Racing Team Germany bike. 

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I admit it's great to see an American in Moto2, but if you haven't been following it for the last few years you've really been missing out. Moto2 is everything we (as Americans) bitch about MotoGP not having - more power than traction, backing in/sliding both ends, and incredible bravery and skill. Close racing most of the time, too - Moto2 has topped MotoGP for excitement since it's debut.

Oh for sure I've been watching it but it's not like having someone to root for. I'm sure Josh will improve as time goes on. Getting a good start is paramount in this class. It's going to take a while to get used to a new team/tracks/tires/food/etc.

Go Josh!

since Moto2 has started I can't get enough, never bothered me there hasn't been an American or sometimes I haven't even had a favorite rider. In 2010 it was Elias, 2011 was Ianonne/Bradl, 2012 was anyone who could beat Marquez, and 2013 was Redding and Naka. The battles are incredible and (almost) no matter where you are on the track there is a battle somewhere. Now that they staggered the grid I think it has taken a lot of the danger out but none of the excitement. Can't wait for next season, not really big on Herrin but can't wait to see what Lowes can do!

Dang 5*C and 9*C are the temps I saw in another article about Herrin. thats 41F and 49F, damn cold if you ask me, cannot imagine how difficult traction would be at that level of riding. Hypothermia would have to be a concern also.