The second day of testing at Valencia saw some fairly big shakeups in the timesheets, with some riders making big steps while others barely improved, but at the end of the day, the same bunch of names sat at the top of the timesheets that had been there at the end of Monday. The order, though, was slightly different, with Julian Simon the fastest man of the day, the Aspar rider getting stuck just outside the 1'36s, his best time a lap of 1'37.156, which would have qualified him in 7th place at the last 250cc race here at Valencia.
Simon's progress was matched by Kenny Noyes of the Banderas Jack&Jones team, both men improving their times by some three tenths of a second, despite considerably cooler temperatures at the Cheste circuit. Yesterday's fastest man, Toni Elias, could not go any faster on Tuesday, ending the day with a time a hundredth slower than his best lap yesterday. Claudio Corti of the Forward Racing team - the remnants of last year's Hayate squad - once again finished 4th, while Tech 3's Yuki Takahashi improved to 5th place, less than half a second off Simon's best time.
Alex de Angelis and Thomas Luthi both made big jumps forward, De Angelis going from 15th to 6th, while Luthi leapfrogged from 12th to 7th. Colombian rider Yonny Hernandez dropped a spot to 8th place, but Fonsi Nieto of the Italtrans STR squad made a huge improvement in his times, going from 20th up to 9th.
Overall, though, the picture remains the same: The fastest former 125 rider is the extremely experienced Sergio Gadea, in 14th spot and some 1.3 seconds off the pace of his compatriot and former Aspar teammate. Of the top 10, only Simon, Luthi and Debise have no four-stroke experience, while the rest have either come up through a four-stroke class such as Superstock, World Superbikes or the Spanish CEV Formula Extreme championships.
With Simon improving his time significantly, the Moto2 times are starting to approach the times set by the 250s and World Supersport classes, though there is still some distance to go. Much of that deficit, however, is nothing to do with either the engine or the chassis, but down to the second most important component on the bike (the rider being number one in that list): The tires, as GPOne.com has pointed out. Throughout the testing period, Dunlop has been supplying the teams with tires that are both wider and a harder compound than the Supersport tires, and as a consequence, they are not producing much grip. The spec Dunlops are already being referred to jokingly as "endurance tires" in the paddock, and riders are regularly getting 45 and even 60 laps out of the tires, well over twice race distance. Dunlop is said to be working on softer compounds to provide more grip, but like Honda and the spec engines, they are focusing on endurance first, and then improving grip. A process which, while it might worry the fans, provides a much more controllable path to producing an outstanding tire.
Testing concludes tomorrow, but conditions are not looking favorable for the class. The morning is expected to be cool once again, with a chance of rain. The weather is expected to clear and warm up late in the afternoon, and so the track is unlikely to see much action tomorrow morning.
Overall times from the second day of testing for the Moto2 class at Valencia:
|6||15||Alex de Angelis||Scot||1'37.901||0.745||0.266|
|13||35||Raffaele De Rosa||Tech3||1'38.426||1.270||0.125|
|19||63||Mike di Meglio||RSV||1'38.572||1.416||0.030|
|27||77||Dominique Aegerter||B&B Team||1'39.133||1.977||0.088|
|29||95||Mashel Al Naimi||BQR||1'39.212||2.056||0.014|