While the purists - and there are many - are still lamenting the loss of the two-stroke 250cc bikes, now reduced to scrap metal in crushers in Italy and Japan, the pace of developments in the world of Moto2 is starting to pick up.
Tuesday sees the Tech 3 team debut its long awaited Moto2 bike, which features a chassis designed and built by the team under the watchful eye of chief engineer Guy Coulon. The bike is due to hit the track for a shakedown test at the Ledenon circuit in the south of France, though some confusion over who is due to ride the bike. The original reports over on Crash.net made it clear that Tech 3 would not be flying their Japanese rider Yuki Takahashi back from Japan to ride the bike, leaving Raffaele de Rosa as a possibility. According to the French site Caradisiac.com, however, Tech 3 team boss Herve Poncharal has granted the young French rider Florian Marino the honor of being the first man to ride the bike, after promising him that reward if the former Red Bull Rookie finished on the podium this year. At Brno, Marino did even better, winning the race and claiming his prize.
"We are not going bring Raffaele de Rosa all the way from Naples just for a shakedown test," Poncharal told Caradisiac. "Florian's job will consist of making sure that everything is OK and the bike is ready to ship to the tests at Valencia scheduled for December 9th and 10th. De Rosa will ride the bike then." Pictures of the bike (shown below in an earlier stage of development) are available on the team's Flickr page.
Things are not proceeding quite so smoothly for the Speed Up Aprilia team. The former Gilera 250 team which fielded 2008 World Champion Marco Simoncelli was due to run an Aprilia-framed bike in 2010, but Aprilia's sudden withdrawal has left the team in limbo. Speaking to Italian site GPOne.com, team boss Luca Boscoscuro said that he had not yet received official word from Aprilia that they would not supply the team with bikes, despite the factory's press release. Boscoscuro is still hoping that the Noale factory could yet reverse its decision and provide them with a bike to race. The Aprilia was still the team's preferred option.
"Personally, I have more faith in the work of the engineers at Noale than any other constructor," Boscoscuro told GPOne.com. "It's true that the Aprilia Moto2 bike hasn't traveled an inch on a track yet, but the enormous experience behind the project gives me hope." If need be, Boscoscuro was prepared to take on the further development of the project inside the team, following a similar track to the Aspar team. Selecting another chassis was the Speed Up Aprilia team's final option.
Aprilia' silence has caused the team serious problems. The team was due to make an official presentation in Hungary, together with riders Gabor Talmacsi and Andrea Iannone and their Hungarian sponsor, but this was called off at the last minute. What's worse, the team could lose some of their top engineers as well due to the uncertainty. Boscoscuro is hoping to receive word from Aprilia soon.