The results of testing for the Moto2 class so far have been fascinating, but they have also been fatally flawed. At the public tests at Valencia and Estoril, and at private tests at tracks such as Valencia and Barcelona, there have been two variables that have made interpreting the times more akin to the dark art of Kremlinology than to a straight comparison: Engines and tires, two of the most significant factors on performance of a racing motorcycle.
Without access to the standard Moto2 engine from Geo Tech, teams have been left to decide for themselves what level of tune to use for the Honda CBR600RR engine which the standard Moto2 engine is based on. Some - especially the wealthier teams - have opted to use the highest level of engine tune available, fitting World Supersport-spec engines to their chassis to allow their riders to find the problems with chassis and setup that are likely to appear at race pace. Others have opted for the cheapest possible solution - a standard CBR600RR engine with a few HRC parts inside to bolster reliability, rather than performance - to allow them to concentrate on chassis and suspension setup and run as many laps as possible without worrying about cost and expensive engine rebuilds. Still others have decided on some kind of compromise, using an engine based around a Superstock level of tune, balancing reliability and cost against speed, trying to get the best of both worlds. Another factor was also the tires: Dunlop brought a mixture of tires to the tests, and not everybody got to use all of the various tires available.
That is now over: at Jerez, the Moto2 riders will be testing with the official Geo Tech engines for the first time this year, and everyone should have equal access to the spec Dunlops. By Sunday night, we should have some real meat to sink our teeth into, with times set using comparable equipment, the only variables being rider skill, chassis development and setup.
If the rain holds off, that is. At the moment (Friday lunchtime) rain has hit the circuit, and is expected to fall for much of the afternoon. The forecast for Saturday and Sunday is better, however, and the assembled Moto2 teams should get two full days testing in before the season commences officially at Qatar. Times and updates will be posted as they come in.