Back On Track: Moto2 Testing At Barcelona On Wednesday, MotoGP And WSBK To Follow

After several long, dark months of near silence on racetracks around the world, motorcycle racing fans can ready themselves for a feast of on-track action. For 10 of the next 14 days will see every international race class on track testing, with the bonus of the opening round of the World Superbike championship to top it off. 

First up is a major outing for the Moto2 and 125cc classes at Barcelona's Montmelo circuit. A total of 42 riders are expected to take to the track, including the cream of the 125cc crop and some of the major players in Moto2. 

In the 125cc class, the four favorites for the title will face off for the first time. The Derbis of Pol Espargaro and Marc Marquez will be up against the Aprilias of Bradley Smith and Nico Terol, as the teams and riders prepare for the championship. 

Smith returns to the Aspar fold, after failing to find a place in Moto2. In compensation, however, Smith will start the season with the best chance of becoming the first British World Champion since Barry Sheene in 1977. He knows the bike and the team, and his biggest challenge may come from his still growing body, as he inches north of 5'8, outgrowing the ideal size for a 125 racer.

Fortunately for Smith, his prime challenger Marc Marquez is having the same problem. The Spanish Ajo Motorsport Derbi rider has shot up since winning his first race back in 2008, and is rapidly approaching human size. His growth spurt didn't prevent him from putting in a very strong season in 2009, and more should be expected in 2010.

But most of the interest will go out to the Moto2 class, where a large contingent of over 25 riders is scheduled to hit the track, including some of the favorites for the title. Development will continue on the Kalex Pons of Sergio Gadea and the Aspar RSVs of Julian Simon and Mike di Meglio. Tech 3 will continue the development of their home-grown chassis, with Yuki Takahashi and Raffaele de Rosa due to take to the track. Two British-based chassis will also be in action, with American Kenny Noyes joining Joan Olive on the Antonio Banderas sponsored Promoharris bike, built in conjunction with Harris Performance, alongside the FTR ridden by Alex Debon of the Ajo team. 

The FTR bikes destined for the Speed Up team of Gabor Talmacsi and Andrea Iannone are not yet ready to take to the track, and so Talmacsi will be running a tuned CBR600RR with racing wheels and the standard Dunlop tires, instead. Meanwhile, Ant West, who had previously tested at Valencia aboard a CBR600RR Supersport bike, will be giving the MZ its first outing, despite MZ not being officially accepted as a Moto2 entry.

Japanese chassis specialists Moriwaki will only have Spanish riders Fonsi Nieto and Yannick Guerra out on track, though they will be supplying bikes to 6 riders of the current grid. But the largest contingent will be from Swiss engineering firm Suter, who will have a whole gaggle of bikes out, in the hands of luminaries such as Hector Faubel, Roberto Rolfo, Jules Cluzel, Stefan Bradl and British rider Scott Redding.

Despite all these various chassis, the times are still going to far more difficult to interpret than a neutral observer might hope. The level of engine tuning employed is still varying wildly, from 125hp stock engines with just an exhaust and ECU, to Superstock-spec engines in the Tech 3 machines, to 140+hp full-blown Supersport engines in the MZ and several of the Suters. The philosophies are still radically different, one team choosing to focus on chassis development and setup where another is looking more towards getting their riders up to speed.

At least as interesting are the names of riders who will be absent. Former MotoGP rider Alex de Angelis of the Scot team will be missing, as well as former 250 star Mattia Pasini and former 125 standout Andrea Iannone. Teams are still struggling with both development and funds, and several teams have chosen to wait until the official engine arrives for the tests at Jerez on March 1st before starting to spend their money.

Perhaps even more interesting is the name of a not-so-neutral observer, who will be attending the test but not riding. Toni Elias, the red-hot favorite to be the inaugural Moto2 champion, will be appearing at the test as a spectator, but will only be able to stand idly by. The Gresini team have elected to skip this test as they have others, saying that they are waiting for the latest version of the Moriwaki MD600 to arrive. They had initially proposed that Elias test the previous version of the bike, but Elias rejected this idea, preferring to test at Misano next week, according to MotoWorld.es

This news is fueling unconfirmed rumors that the team is short on funds, and is still struggling to put a budget together for the year. The truth of these rumors will become apparent in 13 days' time, when the teams take to the track for the first test with the official engine at Jerez. For Elias to miss the Barcelona test may be regarded as a misfortune, for him to miss Jerez rather looks like something else altogether, to paraphrase a great Irish writer.

There is also good news for anyone who happens to be in the Barcelona area over the next three days. The track is to be opened to the public for free on all three days, starting at 9am. Access is via Gate 3, and there will also be a pit walk and rider autograph session on Thursday from 5pm local time, according to Spanish magazine Motociclismo.

Once the Moto2 and 125 tests are over, fans have a day's rest before the next test begins. On February 21st, the World Superbike series takes to the track for the last test before the 2010 season kicks off with the first race on Sunday, February 28th. Between the WSBK test and race, MotoGP returns to Sepang for another two days of testing on Thursday the 25th and Friday the 26th. And then on the Monday after the World Superbike opener, Moto2 heads to Jerez for three days of testing with the official Honda 600 engine, and a chance to see how the cards truly lie in Moto2.

Test and race schedule for the coming few days: 

Event Date Location
Moto2 & 125 Test  Feb.  17 - 19  Barcelona 
WSBK Test  Feb 21 & 22  Phillip Island 
MotoGP Test  Feb 25 & 26  Sepang 
WSBK Race, Round 1  Feb 26-28  Phillip Island 
Moto2 Official Test  Mar 1-3  Jerez 

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Comments

ON our Dyno Jet Dyno at work
a stock CBR600 with 1000km run in on it
with slip on muffler 112 RWHP
with a full System 116 RWHP
with Full System and HRC ECU 118 RWHP
with Full System, HRC ECU, Cams, Pistons and head ported 126 RWHP
are the Honda Moto2 motors going to be 140HP at the Crank or rear wheel?

What did the 250cc GP bike have at the RW?

A 250GP bike had a little over 100 RWHP. The private bikes that you could buy were in the mid-80s.

World Supersport machines - competitive World Supersport machines - all make comfortably north of 140 RWHP, and there have even been rumors from highly creditable sources that some of the engines touched 150 RWHP. These engines will only last a race weekend, though, which is not good enough for Moto2, where they have to last for 3 races.

The number quoted in the Moto2 press release back in March was 150 HP. Consensus in the paddock took that to mean 150 at the crank, which puts it in the 130-135 rear wheel HP range.

The numbers you quote are interesting, but I'm presuming the engine you dynoed was not prepared by a WSS tuner? 126RWHP is very respectable, but the difference with a WSS tuner is that they will spend hundreds of hours searching for power, something that is simply not available to commercial operations, as the customers are just not prepared to pony up the 10 grand or that this would cost.

Yours maybe David. Until there's some meaningful testing with all the main protagonists on track this class is hugely up in the air. That's not to say I don't consider Elias a contender - I most certainly do. Lets hope money doesn't get in the way once more.
Motorcycles fall over if you don't go fast

KTM quoted 110 rwhp for it's FRR250, 'some' Aprilia's were supposed to make more.The KTM was almost a match for the Aprilia on outright top speed. Pity no other Honda ever got what Ayoama got for the 09 season(don't ask) I know French contact that got a few years old Aprilia RSW 250 filled the tank with Elf Moto124 spun it up and the cold case figure was 119RWHP. Without putting a spanner on it. Last report he owner changed the pistons after half a season.
However a GP 250 weighs around 95kgs not 130kgs like these Moto2 slugs.

Don't worry would not be much change from $10k for all the HRC CBR stuff either.

http://www.webbikeworld.com/Motorcycle-racing/ktm-250.htm

A bit old but the 125/250's have dissappeared from the KTM website. They quote the Rookies bikes at 45HP and the FRR 125 made them feel like an 80cc