Barcelona Moto2 Test: Day 1 A Washout

If the old aphorism that no news is good news holds true, then the news from the first day of testing at Barcelona simply couldn't be better. Rain all morning, followed by grey skies and more drizzle kept almost everyone stuck in the pits. Towards the end of the day, as the conditions improved a little, several riders tested the water, of whom Roberto Rolfo completed the most laps - 35 in total - to get a feel for his Italtrans STR Suter Moto2 bike. His teammate Robertino Pietri - son of the former AMA racer Roberto Pietri - went out with the same objective, but was forced back into the pits after just a couple of laps, after suffering an engine problem with the Supersport-spec CBR600 unit which the Italtrans team are using while waiting for the official spec unit to arrive.

Scott Redding and Vincent Lonbois of the Marc VDS Team also went out for a quick shakedown at the end of the day,  but neither rider learnt much in the damp and cold conditions. In the press release issued by the team, Redding said "The bike feels very different to the other Moto2 machines I've tested previously, but the overall feeling first time out was definitely good. The bike was a little lacking in feedback through the chassis, but there's a good chance that this was down to the conditions today and it is something we will only be able to confirm if conditions improve tomorrow."

The riders who did go out made it an almost entirely Suter field, with just Alex Debon on an FTR, Thomas Luthi on a Moriwaki and Kenny Noyes and Joan Olive out on the Antonio Banderas Promoharris bike. Given the circumstances, the times were more or less irrelevant. Rolfo's laps on the Italtrans bike gave him the fastest time, though the 1'51.3 is nearly 5 seconds off the pace of the 250s.

Some of the main players in the Moto2 field - including the Tech 3 and Aspar teams - spent most of the day in the pits, awaiting better weather. With the conditions expected to be much drier and a bit warmer on Thursday, all of the Moto2 bikes should finally get to take to the track then. And then we should start to get an idea of the relative strength of the field.

For a full set of times, see the story on the official website.

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It seems that pre-season testing for the new Moto2 class is in disarray.
Where is the Honda spec engine? How are the teams suppose to set-up bikes when they don't have proper engines? It seems that Honda is more concerned with their bottom line then seeing Moto2 off to a good start. If I were the FIM I'd be rethinking the engine supplier for Moto2 about now!

The engines will be ready March 1st. Apparently, the problem has been one of reliability and equality, as all engines have to be very close to one another and last for three race weekends. The teams knew this, and have been understanding about it.

Testing is not so much in disarray, but rather indecipherable. Some engines are highly tuned, some are less tuned, and so it is hard to say where each team stands. This is more of a problem for the fans than for the teams, as the teams are working on chassis setup and development, and outright power is less of an issue. The fans and press are left wondering exactly who is doing what, though. We'll have a much, much better idea after the Jerez test from March 1st-3rd.