The first day of testing at the penultimate test for the 250 and 125 classes saw a fairly full field take to the track, particularly in the 250 class. For Marco Simoncelli, it was the first time to get a good look at the competition he will be facing this year, and going solely by the timesheets, he would seem to have the measure of them.
As ever, though, things are not quite that simple. Alvaro Bautista, down there in a lowly 10th spot, spent much of the day lapping without a transponder, and so his times are at best unreliable. But what is clear is that Simoncelli's first day times are respectable, already faster than the fastest race lap set in 2008, though still three quarters of a second off the race record. Hector Barbera was only a fraction slower, while new boy Mike di Meglio showed just how quickly he is getting up to speed by setting the third fastest time. Simoncelli crashed during the session, but walked away unhurt.
In the 125 class, Julian Simon continued his strong showing in testing, leading the way once again by half a second over Sandro Cortese. Bradley Smith was third quickest, three quarters of a second slower than his Aspar team mate Simon. The big surprise for the 125 boys were the large gaps between the riders, with three seconds difference between Simon and British rider Scott Redding in 10th, who also has a factory spec RSA Aprilia at his disposal.
One place ahead of Redding was the Italian and European 125 champion Lorenzo Savadori. The 15-year-old Italian has made terrific progress during testing, and is definitely a rider to watch for the future. Savadori finished just behind Danny Webb, the De Graaf Grand Prix rider who is entering his third season of 125 GPs, and will also have an RSA spec Aprilia this season.
Testing continues on Monday and Tuesday.
|3||Mike di Meglio||Aprilia||1'42.011|
Circuit record: 2007, Alvaro Bautista, Aprilia, 1'40.521
Circuit record: 2007, Gabor Talmacsi, Aprilia, 1'45.027