Gresini Press Release: Simeon And Baldassari's Crew Chiefs Analyze Moto2 Preseason Testing

The Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 team issued a press release reviewing progress in testing so far. The crew chiefs of Xavier Simeon and Lorenzo Baldassari talk about the steps made at the two tests in Spain, and look ahead to the season to come. The press release appears below:


Throughout February, the Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 carried out the first major phase of winter testing in preparation of the 2014 World Championship campaign: despite being forced to miss both Almeria and Valencia test, due to the injury suffered last February 6, Xavier Siméon was able to make the most of the recent Jerez test. The Belgian rider, alongside his crew chief Tommaso Raponi, went down to business working on the 2014 Suter chassis set-up reaching soon a good feeling, confirmed by the ninth overall fastest time in the combined standings, but especially by a very steady pace over the long distance.

Ahead of the last pre-season test, scheduled from 11th to 13th of March at Jerez, confidence is really high also on the other side of the garage, where rookie Lorenzo Baldassarri impressed by setting the eighth fastest time in the recent Andalusian test aboard the Team Gresini Moto2 Suter machine. Together with his crew chief, Spaniard David Jabal, the young Italian rider made ​​several adjustments which proved to be of helpful in its path to adapt himself to the Moto2 category, that seems to suit his riding style.

Let’s have an in-depth look at the work done by the two crew chiefs during the Spanish tests.

TOMMASO RAPONI (Xavier Siméon Crew Chief) “Having missed both Almeria and Valencia testing sessions, we arrived in Jerez with the new Suter yet to be discovered: we therefore started from a basic configuration, provided by Suter technicians, then on the second day we started to try some setting solutions, again in collaboration with Suter engineers. On the third day we finally began to reap the fruits of this work finding a great consistency, always lapping around the 1’43” mark, so we are satisfied. We focused especially on the rear end, working on links, springs and shock absorber calibration: by combining these three things we have reached a good set-up of the rear suspension, which resulted in more grip. In the next test at Jerez we will continue in the same direction, to see how far we can push to further improve the performance of the bike under load transfers. At the moment there is no chatter in the front end, therefore we will continue to move weight on the back, either moving forward the front wheel or by raising the front end, which could be a good solution to meet Xavier needs in terms of riding style. However, we will do it step-by- step. Finally, we will deepen our knowledge of the 2014 Suter, that has changed a lot compared to the 2013 version with regard to the chassis stiffness, in order to be well prepared for the first race. Despite the time lost, I am satisfied with the work done so far; moreover, the working relationship with Xavier is already very good”.

DAVID JABAL (Lorenzo Baldassarri Crew Chief) "With Baldassarri we started from the set-up used during last season by Tommaso Raponi, and to be honest we didn’t change it a lot, because Lorenzo feels already at ease with the bike. In any case, some changes to the chassis has been made​​, especially with regard to the swingarm: we tried various lengths, and the result was that Lorenzo is more comfortable with a longer swingarm, which allows him to get a smoother power delivery out of the corners; this is very important because Lorenzo rides with very high lean angles. To meet his riding style characteristics we also worked on engine mapping, in order to facilitate him under acceleration. Finally, at Jerez we slightly changed front and rear heights, finding more grip, so the situation is further improved. In general, I think we have already reached a good set-up, considering the consistency showed at Jerez. In the next test, in March, we will continue to work gradually on the bike, without making more than one change at a time”.


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It's interesting to hear what kind of adjustments they make when setting up a bike. I understand a tiny bit of what it takes to set up a car for racing, but I'm oblivious as to what a bike needs.
Example : I have no idea how changing spring rates / damping / reboud linkage on the rear would affect grip or why they are moving more weight to the rear of the bike so long as they don't experience chatter on the front.
Setting up a bike seems way more tricky than a car.